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First of all, I hope this question is acceptable. It is KINDA subjective and KINDA cultural, I guess, but it does still refer to language, I think.

This question was difficult for me to word, so I will expand a bit: I'm tasked with helping with a writing project for a friend. I can only really do cultural research, as I don't speak Japanese beyond understanding some very rudamentary words and phrases.

For the project, the idea is to come up with a nickname for a character with a cloud motif. We wanted to avoid using 雲 so as to not be too on the nose (think those anime characters that use kanjis like 闇 or 死 in their name), and also because we don't like spiders. So what I thought was that we could use 波状? はじょう is short and sounds pleasant, but basically I'm unsure if it's a good suggestion.

Is the word 波状雲, or maybe rather the type of cloud well-known enough in average Japanese vocabulary for a reader to understand the relation between 波状 and the cloud-motif?

Thank you very much for any help, and I again apologize if this question falls outside of what's allowed.

2 Answers 2

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  1. 波状雲 is a very understandable word if you can see the kanji. Less so with just the sound, since it's not that common, but still understandable with context.
  2. 波状 (approximately "wave-shaped") is common and understandable, but it's unlikely to be associated with 波状雲 by most people, unless they were already primed for some reason.
  3. 波状, with those characters, is odd as a name. Wouldn't you find "wavelike" or "waveshaped" to be a weird name in English?
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  • 1. Thank you that's helpful to know as well! 2. What about the scenario I describe, where the name itself lacks the kanji for cloud, but the association with cloud is established in the literature. Does that feel logically connected? 3. I wouldn't find "wavy" super strange for a nickname, no.
    – Sunbather
    Oct 14, 2020 at 15:45
  • Oh, also, "unless they were already primed for some reason." that's lovely! So, if they see a character with a wave motif, and that'd be their nickname or title, for example, the reader could make the connection?
    – Sunbather
    Oct 14, 2020 at 18:04
  • I think the only way you could really prime someone for sure is to actually mention the word 波状雲 beforehand. Anything else would be hit-or-miss. Oct 14, 2020 at 18:12
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I think so, 波状{はじょう}雲{うん} exists in wikipedia. The word is the composition of 波 : "wave" + (形)状 : "shape of" + 雲 : "cloud".

I hope Japanese people find it pleasant to watch the picture below (i.e. the clouds like the wave-motif clouds as you said). For me, it's Okay.

波状高層雲

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  • So, for example, if you read a book about a deity that lives in the clouds, and their title would include "波状" it would feel sensible to you? Also that's a very pretty picture, I like it. :)
    – Sunbather
    Oct 14, 2020 at 15:47
  • I think so if the story tells about the deities in the cloud which is wave-shaped. Oct 14, 2020 at 23:30

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