Good day everybody,

My name is Salva, which in katakana is written サルバ (saruba)

However, the japanese word for Monkey is SARU, written in kanji as 猿, but it is also very common to see it written in katakana as サル

This leads me to wonder if writing my name as サルバ (SARUBA) can have some bad meaning because it contains the word "Monkey" サル (SARU).

What do you think about this?

Thank you very much in advance.

  • 5
    Or you can embrace that it means monkey and instead focus on the positive aspects of the potential nickname. Apr 3, 2019 at 12:54
  • 1
    去る猿有らば、「去る猿、さらば!」 <silliness/> More seriously, サルバ could sound like either 猿場 (literally "monkey place") or 去る場 (literally "place where one goes away"). I agree with @ratchetfreak's approach. Apr 3, 2019 at 21:23

1 Answer 1


The short answer is "Don't worry". Reasons:

  • There are already many loanwords that contain サル, such as サルサ "Salsa", フットサル "futsal" and サルベージ "salvage".
  • For historical reasons, Japanese has tons of homophones. せいこう (seikō) means "success", "precision" and "sexual intercourse". かみ (kami) means "paper", "hair" and "god". In a language like this, the similarity between サルバ and サル is virtually nothing. It may work as a wordplay for kindergartners, but mature adults will feel nothing about it.
  • Monkey may have a strong derogatory nuance in Western countries, but historically speaking, monkeys are familiar animals and have not been disliked in many Asian countries including Japan.

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