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Japanese names of characters from “Baki the Grappler”

Japanese names of characters from “Baki the Grappler”
Japanese names of characters from “Baki the Grappler”

Image by: BAKI-DOU comic 1 © Keisuke Itagaki, Akita Shoten

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What is the story?

Baki the Grappler is a long-running series that started in 1999 written and illustrated by Keisuke Itagaki. The story features a professional fighter named Baki, who trains to become a better fighter and achieve his goal to surpass his father, Yujiro, who has the title of ‘The strongest fighter on Earth’. His motivation comes from the desire to avenge his mother who was killed by his father. Eventually, Baki fights his father only to be completely crushed by him. After being beaten, Baki begins his training again by traveling around the world and meeting many powerful fighters.

Image by: BAKI official website © Keisuke Itagaki (Akita Shoten)/BAKI production committee

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What is the Japanese title of Baki the Grappler?

The Japanese title ‘グラップラー刃牙, Gurappurā Baki’ is the exact translation of the English one. ‘Gurappurā'(グラップラー) is written in katakana since it is an English word, however, in this series it doesn’t mean a grappler but a martial artist. Baki is the name of the main character of this series. Grappler Baki continues to the next series ‘BAKI’(バキ), ‘Hanma Baki’(範馬刃牙), and ‘Baki-dou’(刃牙道).

Image by: BAKI-DOU comic 1 © Keisuke Itagaki, Akita Shoten

Baki Hanma (範馬 刃牙, Hanma Baki)

Image by: BAKI Ep 4 © Keisuke Itagaki (Akita Shoten)/BAKI production committee

Let’s begin with the main character Baki. He is the son of Yujiro whom he is working hard to defeat and avenge for his mother. He is also the half-brother of Jack Hanma who has the same goal as him. ‘Han’(範) is an example, ‘Ma’(馬) is a horse, ‘Ba’(刃) is a blade, and ‘Ki’(牙) is a fang.

Yujiro Hanma (範馬 勇次郎, Hanma Yūjirō)

Image by: BAKI Ep 7 © Keisuke Itagaki (Akita Shoten)/BAKI production committee

Now let’s look into the strongest creature, Baki’s father Yujiro. He works as an assassin for different organizations and shows no mercy towards anybody. As if Baki were a toy, Yujiro wishes Baki to become strong so that he can challenge him in a fight. ‘Yu’(勇) means brave, ‘Ji’(次) is next, and ‘Ro’(郎) is a common ending for boys’ names.

Doppo Orochi (愚地 独歩, Orochi Doppo)

Image by: BAKI Ep 11 © Keisuke Itagaki (Akita Shoten)/BAKI production committee

Doppo is a strong but humble man who takes his role as the founder and Director of the Shinshinkai Karate style very seriously. He has mastered this fighting style and is known by many names such as the ‘Man-Eater Orochi'(人食いオロチ, Hitogui Orochi), the ‘Tiger Slayer’ (虎殺し, Tora Koroshi), and the ‘God of War'(武神, Bushin.) ‘Oro”(愚) means foolish, ‘Chi’(地) is earth, ‘Do’(独) means alone, and ‘Po’(歩) is to walk, or a step.

Goki Shibukawa (渋川 剛気, Shibukawa Gōki)

Image by: BAKI Ep 7 © Keisuke Itagaki (Akita Shoten)/BAKI production committee

Goki is a master of Jujutsu and participates in the underground fighting arena. He is known to have a comedic personality, however, when it comes to martial arts he has a very traditionalistic attitude. At the same time, he still believes that anything is allowed in a real fight and does not limit himself to using only traditional techniques. ‘Shibu’(渋) means bitter, ‘Kawa’(川) is a river, ‘Go’(剛) means strong and hard, and ‘Ki’(気) ie energy.

Kaoru Hanayama (花山 薫, Hanayama Kaoru)

Image by: BAKI official website © Keisuke Itagaki (Akita Shoten)/BAKI production committee

Lastly, Japan’s strongest Yakuza, Kaoru. He is the second generation boss of the Hanayama Group and is capable of efficiently leading the Yakuza at his young age. His code of honor is to fight until the end even if it meant death and it is an ancient family vow that has been passed from generation to generation. ‘Hana’(花) is a flower, ‘Yama’(山) is a mountain, and ‘Kaoru’(薫) means sweet smell.

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Interesting lines and phrases – Learning Japanese!

Here are some useful phrases from the BAKI series that will help you along with your Japanese studies!

Image by: BAKI-DOU Comic 1 Ep 1 © Keisuke Itagaki, AKITA shoten

EN/ ‘He is the strongest because he never rejects anybody, whenever and wherever.’
JP/「何時でもItsudemo 何処でも Dokodemo 誰とでもDaretodemo断らんからKotowaran kara   最強なんじゃSaikyou nanjya 」

The word ‘Demo’ has many ways to use. In this phrase, it is put with the indefinite pronouns ‘Itsu’(何時) = ‘when’, ‘Doko’(何処) = ‘where’, and ‘Dare’(誰) = ‘who’ which changes its meaning to ‘any’. For example:

Itsu + demo = ‘Itsudemo’ (何時でも) Whenever
Doko + demo = ‘Dokodemo'(何処でも) Wherever
Dare + demo = ‘Daredemo'(誰でも) Whoever
Nani (What) + demo = ‘Nandemo’(何でも) Whatever
Dore (Which) + demo = ‘Doredemo’(どれでも) Whichever

‘Kotowaran’(断らん) is another way to say ‘Kotowaranai’(断らない) which means won’t reject. ‘Sai’(最) is the most and ‘Kyo’(強) is strong, ‘Jya’ is a way of speaking for elderly people.

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