Some sharks are seemingly named after birds:

  • great white shark: hoojirozame 頬白鮫 from hoojiro (meadow bunting)

  • sandbar shark: mejirozame 目白鮫 from mejiro (white-eye)

  • blue shark: yoshikirizame 葦切鮫 from yoshikiri (reed warbler)

Maybe a great white does have white cheeks, but I'm not sure if a sandbar shark really has white eyes, and I see no connection between blue sharks and reed. Is this just a coincidence?

On another note, the triplewart footballfish (箕作柄長提灯鮟鱇 mitsukuri enaga chouchin ankou) seems to be named after the long-tailed tit (enaga) which is equally baffling.

1 Answer 1


It's an interesting question, but as far as I googled, I was not able to track any evidence that links sharks with the birds' (names).

For examples, popular "exceptions" from yours are . . . 甚平鮫, Jinbeizame, in English, whale sharks was named after because of their body appearances and patterns look like that of 甚平,a Japanese haori, and another popular exceptions are 小判鮫,kobanzame, in English, suckishes, are named because their rays look like that of 小判 (old minted gold )

Kotobank says the following about 目白鮫:



Their eyes are covered by the white nictitating membrane,

Then when I went to Wiki about what a "nictitating membrane" is,

I found out that sharks and birds commonly have full nictitating membranes . . . 

As the Wiki page says,

Some reptiles, birds, and sharks have full nictitating membranes;

So that I think some of sharks have this kind of "full nictitating membrane" like birds, and I thought that is the reason why, I guess.

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