In the popular volleyball anime show “Haikyu!!”, Nekoma High School is one of the biggest rival team of the main team Karasuno High.

The characters of team Nekoma are likened to cats, just as members of team Karasuno are likened to crows.

meanings of kanji in Anime

Because neko(ねこ / ネコ / 猫) means a cat, and karasu(からす / カラス / 烏) means a crow in Japanese. But, wait a minute. We don’t see any “猫” on Nekoma’s jerseys and there is the kanji 音駒 instead.

What is “音駒”?

What Does the Kanji on Nekoma’s Jersey Say?

meanings of kanji in Anime

Well, the answer is very simple. 音駒 says “Nekoma”! There is no 猫 in it but still.

The word Nekoma is the made up name of a high school for this manga. The word Nekoma could be written in kanji like this “猫間”, “猫真”, and so on, in order to keep the sound “neko” and to use the actual kanji which means a cat.

However, if they use the kanji 猫, the word looks so fake as a Japanese high school name.(@_@;) On the other hand, both kanji symbols of 音(ne)駒(koma) are often used for real area names in Japan. So, the name look very natural and believable.

When we read the kanji both together, it keeps the sound “neko” in it at least!

The Battle at The Garbage Dump

Gray squirrels are the most common animals that I’ve ever seen around my garbage dump in USA.

However, in Japan, most common things that I saw around our garbage bin, were crows pecking it in mornings and stray cats sitting on it at nights.

So, for Japanese people, crows and cats are the common image of the animals that they see at dumpsters.

Members Name of Team Nekoma

meanings of kanji in Anime

Kuroo(黒尾): kuro(黒: Black) + o(尾: Tail)

Kodume(孤爪): ko(孤: Lonely) + tsume(爪: Nail)

Yaku(夜久): ya(夜: Night) + ku(久: Long-Continued)

Their names are somewhat reminiscent of cats. Especially, Kozume’s first name Kenma(研磨) means “Polishing”. Then his name sounds like “a lonely cat sharpening his nails”.

Then the Coach’s name Nekomata(猫又) contains the kanji 猫(cat)! Acctually, Nekomata is the name of the cat Yokai. Σ(・ω・ノ)ノ!

Also, there are some members’ first names that contains large cats like Lev(リエーフ: It means “Leo/Lion” in Russian.) and Taketora(猛虎: 虎 is a tiger.)


The author of Haikyu!! frequently uses animals to set up the teams in this manga. If you pay attention, you may find even more fun facts. (((ΦωΦ) Meow.


Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Patience”! Nekoma never let the ball fall and wait until they get a point.

If you want to know the meanings of any Japanese kanji that you don’t see English subs for in a particular animation or live action movie, tell me “Name of the Show”, “Season and Episode #” and “the Exact Moment (Minute: Second) if it’s available”!

If it’s just Japanese kanji that you see around you, like a shop sign or a tattoo, you can send me the photo as long as you are allowed to take picture of it.

I can’t promise to reply to everyone but I’ll try my best!

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1 Comment

  1. Levente

    Nice Piece!

    Was wandering why would they use those kanjis! 🙂


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