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Japanese names of characters from “Knights of the Zodiac”

Japanese names of characters from “Knights of the Zodiac”
Japanese names of characters from “Knights of the Zodiac”

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What is the story?

Knights of the Zodiac is a story written and illustrated by Masami Kurumada. It is one of the famous series’ created in the ’80s. After obtaining the bronze cloth of the Pegasus constellation in Greece, an orphan named Seiya becomes one of the 48 bronze warriors of the goddess Athena. With all the other saints, Seiya fights against evil to protect the peace and justice of the world.

Image by: Saint Seiya official twitter © KURUMADA PRODUCTION https://twitter.com/seiya_offcial

What is the Japanese title for Knights of the Zodiac?

The Japanese title of Knights of the Zodiac is called Saint Seiya (聖闘士星矢 read Seinto Seiya.) 聖 means holy and 闘士 is warrior. Seiya is the main character of the series and a warrior of the goddess Athena.

Image by: Saint Seiya comic 1 © KURUMADA PRODUCTION/Shueisha Inc

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Why is it called Knights of the Zodiac?

You might be wondering why the English title is Knights of the Zodiac because it isn’t the translation of the real title which is Saint Seiya(聖闘士星矢.) The English title doesn’t necessarily have to be the exact translation so it can be anything else relating to the story. Therefore it is called Knights of the Zodiac because they are the knights of the goddess Athena and protect the galaxy like the zodiacs in the night sky.

Image by: Saint Seiya official website © KURUMADA PRODUCTION

What are the meanings behind the character’s names?

In Japanese culture, names have significant meanings that are supposed to represent you as a person. Names can be expressed in hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Let’s look at the names of the 5 main warriors of the bronze saints.

Pegasus Seiya (天馬星座の星矢, Pegasasuza no Seiya)

Image by: Saint Seiya official website © KURUMADA PRODUCTION

Seiya, often called Pegasus Seiya is one of the 48 bronze saints who serve Athena. He is under the protection of the Pegasus constellation. ‘Sei’(星) means star and ‘Ya’ (矢) means arrow. ‘天馬星座’ is read as Pegasus but it is not one of the proper ways of reading this kanji, ‘天’(Ten) means sky or heaven, ‘馬’(Uma) means horse, and ‘星座’(seiza) is the pegasus zodiac sign. When you combine these 4 kanji’s it means a Pegasus constellation.

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Dragon Shiryu(龍星座の紫龍, Doragonza no Shiryū)

Image by: Saint Seiya official website © KURUMADA PRODUCTION

‘Shi’(紫) is purple and ‘Ryu’(龍) means dragon. Shiryu is a calm and loyal boy who was raised and trained by the gold Libra saint in China. He is protected by Draco, the constellation of the dragon.

Cygnus Hyoga(白鳥星座の氷河, Hakuchō seiza no Hyōga)

Image by: Saint Seiya official website © KURUMADA PRODUCTION

‘Hyo’(氷) is ice and ‘Ga’(河) is the river. He is the bronze saint of the Cygnus constellation. Like his name, he possesses ice powers and could freeze anything in his way. (白鳥, read Hakuchou) is swan or separately ‘White’ ‘Bird’ and (白鳥星座 Hakuchou seiza) means Cygnus.

Andromeda Shun(アンドロメダの瞬, Andoromeda no Shun)

Image by: Saint Seiya official website © KURUMADA PRODUCTION

Shun, the kindest warrior of the bronze saints is protected by the Andromeda constellation. Sweet and gentle Shun is often mistaken as a girl because of his delicate facial features. His name ‘Shun’(瞬) means blink or instant.

Phoenix Ikki(鳳凰星座の一輝, Houōseiza no Ikki)

Image by: Saint Seiya official website © KURUMADA PRODUCTION

Ikki is Shun’s long lost brother and the bronze saint of the phoenix constellation. He acts cold and harsh but inside he is actually a caring person who never fails to save his brother Shun from any danger. ‘I’(一) means first and ‘Ki’(輝) means sparkle or gleam. ‘鳳凰’(Houō) means phoenix.

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Interesting lines and phrases – Learning Japanese!

Here are some useful phrases from knights of the zodiac which will help you along with your Japanese studies!

Image by: Saint Seiya comic chapter 11 © KURUMADA PRODUCTION/ Shueisha Inc

EN/ Farewell my friend!!
JP/ 「さらばSaraba  友よ!!tomoyo!!

‘Saraba’ is an old fashion way to say goodbye or farewell. You say ‘Tomodachi’ for friends and you say ‘Tomoyo’ for my friend.


Image by: Saint Seiya comic Chapter 20 © KURUMADA PRODUCTION/Shueisha Inc

EN/ They are wrapped around Buddha’s finger!!
JP/ 「仏陀のBuddha no  手の平の上!!Teno Hira no ue!!

‘Tenohira’ means palm and ‘Ue’ is up. The direct translation is ‘You are on Buddha’s palm’, which is an idiom meaning You are under Buddha’s (or anyone else’s) control.

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