Choosing kanji to name your own child is big deal in Japan! And I’m glad some people are interested in that Japanese culture for Anime character’s kanji names. Thank you for the request of the explanation!
What is the meaning of the kanji name “Tenya Iida”?
Most of the names of characters for “My Hero Academia(僕のヒーローアカデミア)” are presenting their quirks. But his name is a little special. Because finding out the meanings of each kanji doesn’t make any sense.
I’ve already talked about some other characters’ kanji names. Please check out the list on the page above. (*’▽’)/
Meanings of Each Kanji “Iida Tenya”
His name “Iida Tenya” looks like this 飯田 天哉 in Japanese Kanji. 飯田 (Iida) is a common last name in Japan.
The first kanji 飯 (ii) is also pronounced “meshi” and it means “Steamed White Rice” or “Meal”. The second kanji 田(da) is also pronounced “ta” and it means “Rice Field”.
His first name 天哉 is a kind of rare but it sounds natural enough because of “哉 (ya)”. 哉 is one of the popular 止め字 (tomeji: End Character) for boy’s name. Tomeji is the kanji that comes the end of the name to make main kanji sound like person’s name.
That means the main kanji of his name is “天”.
The Kanji “天” is open to interpretation, in Japan a more common understanding would be “The Sky and Above” or “The Opposite Word of Earth “. The sun, the moon and stars are there. Rain comes from there. It’s somewhere we are never be able to reach when we stand on the earth.
Here are examples of idioms using this character:
- 天 ＋ 国 (kuni / koku: Country) = 天国 (ten-goku: Heaven)
- 天 ＋ 気(ki: Mood) = 天気 (tenki: Weather)
- 天 + の (no: of) + 川 (kawa: River) = 天の川 (ama-no-gawa: Milky Way)
The Name of Tenya Iida and His Quirk
As I mentioned at beginning of this post, the kanji name 飯田 天哉 doesn’t look so special. But wait! A couple of things I should tell you.
His name “Iida Tenya” includes Idaten! 韋駄天 (idaten) is one of the gods in Buddhism. Idaten has anecdotes that he ran fast, and sometimes Japanese people call fast runners “韋駄天”.
And also there is a former baseball player Iida Tetsuya in Japan. He was very famous because he could run very fast to steal base and he was called Idaten too. Some My Hero Academia’s fans seem to be believing Iida Tenya got named after this player. But I’m not sure.
Bad Image of His Hero Name “Ingenium” in Japanese
The author explained that he named “Ingenium” after the Latin word that is the etymology of the word “engine”. It’s also the etymology of “genius”, “ingenious”, and so on. I think that affected Iida’s personality.
However, there is a sad news. Some fans are talking about bad image of his hero name. Why? Because… in Japanese slang, they pronounce 陰毛 (inmou) “Inge”. Well, 陰毛 means… the hair down there!
Yeah, sadly that image struck my brain too when I heard the name “Ingenium” for the first time. I feel sorry for him!
If you want to know about other character’s name, just let me know!
Today’s Japanese Kanji Shirt is “Genius”! Smart Tenya should wear this.
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!
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org