A question about names

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by Supra Vijai, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Could some one please explain why some martial artists have changed their names over the years? Also why and what sort of process is involved? I realise in the Japanese language different pronounciations of the same Kanji can and do exist which can complicate things from a Western point of view.

    Key examples within Ninjutsu being of course

    Manaka Fumio ---> Manaka Unsui
    Tanemura Tsunehisa ---> Tanemura Shoto
    Takamatsu Hisatsugu---> Takamatsu Toshitsugu

    From what little I've been able to gather from reading around the changes were to each persons' warrior name but hoping to get a better understanding of it :)

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Bruno@MT

    Bruno@MT Senior Master

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    You forgot Hatsumi sensei. :)

    changing your name is sometimes done among native JMAists (perhaps other people as well but I would not know) when they are at a defining moment in their life and feel they need to identify with the ideal / concept they want to represent or strive for, or if they want to make a break from who they were or what they did before the name change.

    In sumo it is done sometimes when a wrestler reaches Ozeki status (champion). the more prestigious names (often of predecessors from the same stable) are reserved until a wrestler has shown that he will likely not disgrace that name.
     
  3. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    As Bruno said, the reasons can change. For example, Hatsumi Yoshiaki was told by Takamatsu that he should change the pronunciation of the first character to "Masa" (an alternate reading) as all famous warriors with the character "Yoshi" all met bad ends (such as Minamoto Yoshitsune, betrayed and killed by his brother.... although there is a theory that he escaped to China and changed his name as well. The name taken was Tamuzin, although most remember that person as Ghengis Khan).
     
  4. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

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    Is this unique to those who study budo, or do other Japanese do it? Is it a legal name change, or something more akin to a pen name or nick name?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  5. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Thanks! For the life of me I couldn't remember his original name.. complete mental blank :s
     
  6. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Wait, so one theory is that Genghis Khan was originally Minamoto Yoshitsune? Fascinating!

    Also in terms of ideals and concepts they want to represent or strive for, would there be a particular reason for choosing a particular name? For example, I've read that "Shoto" means "Law of the Sword" and "Unsui" literally translates to "Clouds and Water" etc, from a Japanese cultural point of view, what sort of ideals would those refer back to? I realise the Law of the Sword may be kind of self explanatory :p
     
  7. Inazuma

    Inazuma White Belt

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    During the summer of 2010 Manaka Sensei had a gathering of his top students at the honbu in Japan. During this special event he expained to us that it was traditional in Japanese society, not just in budo, to change one's name, or have it changed by their teacher, at major milestones in life Examples of these types of events are when one leaves their teacher, like when Unsui Sensei left the Bujinkan, or when one reaches a certain level in their training. In modern times this is not recognized as a legal name change, but more like a new nickname.
     
  8. tenzen

    tenzen Blue Belt

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    In thailand the nak muay change their names also. And a lot of bjj guys abopt a new name also.
     
  9. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    For the same sorta reasons/along the same lines?
     
  10. tenzen

    tenzen Blue Belt

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    Yes. The names are given to you by those you are around and train with. Also in thailand your name will reflect the camp you fight for. So if u fought for let's say fairtex gym because its a more famous gym, you would be supra vijai fairtex.
     
  11. shirobanryunotora

    shirobanryunotora Yellow Belt

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    Hi-after reading through the replies to your query thought you may be interested to know why i use the nickname "shirobanryunotora". One night after training with Shihan Nagato, he approached and commented whilst grinning that i looked rather "shiroban".I had not been very well over the last couple of days and it showed.He said the term roughly meant "white as a night sheet"-a slang type phrase similar to the English term "night sickness or white as a sheet" and thought it suited me that night. This led on to a mini discussion on nicknames and warriornames and so on.So, by combining that phrase with the standard Bujinkan usage of-"....ryu(no tora)" which is derived from prev.Soke Takamatsu usage etc-i became, on that night at least- shirobanryunotora-the white in the night dragon of Tiger Takamatsu-good luck with your research-till the next rr
     
  12. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    This just begs another thread on what everyone here would change their names to at what points of their lives! :)

    Very interesting thread though. I have read somewhere I'm sure that Native Americans would change their names for the same reasons. There are a great many superstitions and myths about names. What we are named seems to be far more important than just having something to call us when dinner is ready!
     
  13. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Long time Tez! Why don't you start by answering your q? What would you change your name to?

    As for people calling you for dinner, no one calls me for dinner :( I whistle and my dog comes running though... actually she comes running for anything cause she wants food :p
     
  14. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Thanks for the insight... interesting how things translate back to English isn't it? The "white in the night" made me lol and now I need to explain to people at work why I'm laughing at 9am on a Saturday morning when everyone else is still falling asleep
     
  15. tenzen

    tenzen Blue Belt

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    My name change appears in every post I make.
     
  16. shirobanryunotora

    shirobanryunotora Yellow Belt

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    Hi-yes indeed there appears to be much thought into the meaning of names.
    Many cultures seem intent on providing what they consider appropriate names
    at various times within ones life.Birth,coming of age,marriage,death etc.
    Each of these type events involve a change of some nature and so a change of name to reflect that seems apt.

    Agree with your recall of the American Native Indian usage at certain times
    and if my memory is correct-for example; the naming parent would concentrate on the child,pick up and carry them out of the birthing Teepee and then name the child dependent on what caught their attention when they "show or introduce" the child to the outside world.This could be the reaction by the child or the reaction of the world to the child etc.

    Furthermore there are other systems such as numerology which try to provide further insights into names and numbers inherent in ones life and events.The current usage of Tarot cards or Zodiac info are other approaches though the interpretation of such data seems to have a very wide range which can often be contradictory.I am also often fascinated in trying to determine which method(s) certain cultures approve and/or disapprove of in this regard.Till the next-rr
     
  17. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Different tribes of Native Americans used different methods to name children. You have to remember just how big North America alone is. Tribes along the East Coast were different from tribes on the Plains, and both then were different from West Coast tribes.123
     

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