I'm working on a personal translation of a oneshot manga and there is a character who is introduced like this:

enter image description here

I've been translating the family's surname as Medeshima but the first name feels too long if it's all one name. I'm inclined to think his name is Youichirou, and Mitsukuni is a title or moniker of some sort. I'd guess it's either a joke about yakuza monikers or some sort of reference to history. Is my thinking on the right track?

If there's any other examples of stuff like this from history/real life/other media, I'd also love to see it, but my main concern is just whether his name is really this long, or if part of this is a title.

1 Answer 1


I believe 要壱楼満國 as a whole is his given name. Mitsukuni is known as a samurai-like given name (See 徳川光圀).

Before the Meiji era, some Japanese people with high social status had one or more secondary names (See 字【あざな】 and 仮名【けみょう】). Laypeople today, including myself, don't understand the old rules around these well, but we sometimes hear such secondary names presented in historical dramas, as if they were their "middle names".

After the Meiji Restoration, having such secondary names was prohibited, but a few people chose to register given names that looked like "two (or more) given names combined together", presumably because such names sounded prestigious to them. One real example is (藤本)太郎喜左衛門将時能. Although this practice is now entirely obsolete and a given name like 要壱楼満國 is highly unrealistic today, people can still sense an aura of authority similar to that of a sengoku warlord from his name.

You can read more about this in this article: A long history of Japanese names

  • Thank you so much! I really appreciate you providing all the extra context and I will definitely be reading that article when I get the chance. Commented Jun 21 at 10:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .