When I Had My Son and Named Him
essay, Mar. 2019
Last weekend I visited Otori Shrine in Tokyo for the first time. People there worship the God called “Yamato-Takeru-no-Mikoto”. He is known as God of War. In fact, it is said that he was so strong, he conquered both east and west Japan. On the other hand, such power threatened the emperor, and he was expelled from the capital city, Kyoto.
The Nihon-Shoki, the oldest chronicales of Japan, state that “Yamato-Takeru-no-Mikoto” really existed. It describes him as a tragic hero.
Even though his name is well-known, I never really knew anything about him until I researched Yamoto online when preparing to visit Otori Shrine for the first time.
Before that, I only saw “Yamato-Takeru-no-Mikoto” as God having a good name. If you are Japanese and have a boy, you may consider naming him: “Yamato”, meaning Japan; “Takeru”, meaning health or war; or “Mikoto”, meaning life or king (1).
Actually, I had no idea I should consider Yamato-Takeru-no-Mikoto when I named my son. After I met friends of my son named after the God, I thought “what a wonderful idea and name!” I deeply understand that by naming their children after the God, the children’s parents wish their sons to be strong and admirable men.
Visiting Otori Shrine also reminds me of my feelings when I had my son and named him. Even though I didn’t think of naming my son after the God, I gave him a name meaning the earth, wishing him to be healthy, strong and kind as if the earth nourishes nature.
“Yeah, dear son of mine, be a such guy.”
I fondly recall my wish 20 years ago, and I’m so happy that my wish has finally come true today!
Way to go to:
To Otori Shrine from Ueno Station:
Open Google map
1. Japanese names have different Kanji, or Chinese characters. Therefore, the same names sometimes have different meanings depending on which Kanji are used.
Work for kimono company. Love skin care, fashion and bread. Mother of 3 children.
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