As a French I've always heard that Songohan's name comes from gohan meaning meal/cooked rice. The English Wiki says the same and even mentions ご飯.

But I don't understand why, since the names in the family are like this:

  • 孫悟空 Songokū

  • 孫悟飯 Songohan

  • 孫悟天 Songoten

So it seems only the last kanji changes between the characters, and since 飯 alone already means meal/cooked rice, and 悟飯 alone doesn't mean anything, why do we focus on gohan and not only han to explain the name of the character?

EDIT: after reading your answers, I realized my mistake was to read 飯 alone as han. That's why I didn't understand people saying "the name means meal because of go + han" since to me han alone already meant meal.

I'm sure noone understands what I mean but thank you, it's clear now.


1 Answer 1


It's a pun. In fact, many, many of Dragonball's characters are puns on food (or food-related) items:

  • サイヤ人 Saiyajin from [ヤサイ]{野菜}人 "vegetable people"
  • ベジータ Vegeta from ベジタブル "vegetable"
  • ウーロン Oolong from 烏龍 (type of tea)
  • ピラフ Pilaf
  • ランチ Lunch
  • ヤムチャ Yamcha from 飲茶【やむちゃ】 (snacks & tea)
  • カリン塔【とう】 Korin Tower from 花林糖【かりんとう】 (type of sweets)
  • バーダック Burdock from 牛蒡【ごぼう】 "burdock root"
  • カカロット Kakarrot from 人参【キャロット】 "carrot"
  • ギニュー Ginyū from 牛乳【ぎゅうにゅう】 "milk"
  • バータ Butta from バター "butter"
  • リクーム Reacoom from クリーム "cream"
  • ジース Jheese from チーズ "cheese"
  • フリーザ Freezer from "freezer" (like "fridge")
  • etc.

For a full list see Dragonball Wiki's Origins of character names, which I found via this question on Anime.SE

So, 孫悟飯 doesn't literally mean "(cooked) rice", but it certainly alludes to it, like the names of so many other Dragonball characters.

By the way, you need gohan (here 悟飯) to make the pun work. 飯 by itself is read meshi and 飯【はん】 is not a word.

  • Thank you but it doesn't really answer my question about gohan (which isn't very clear, I admit).
    – Destal
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 21:04
  • @SimonDéchamps I added a line to my answer. See if this answers your question about gohan.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 21:42
  • Oh my, I was missing the point that 飯 alone cannot be read han to mean meal/cooked rice. So that's why the pun is on gohan and not han.
    – Destal
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 22:00

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