Character: All About Sesshoumaru » His Name
It seems that aside from his character, Sesshoumaru's name also brings quite a bit of questions. What does it mean? Does it symbolize anything in particular? And exactly which is the correct way to spell it? Here, I've tried to include some information regarding the different aspects of his name. If you have some extra insights, feel free to email me and I'll add it here if applicable.
The Correct Spelling:
I get this question through email so much that I've finally decided to add this here. If you've been browsing the web quite a bit, you would've noticed that the most common spellings floating around are: Sesshoumaru, Sesshomaru, and Sesshou Maru with a space between his name. So which is the correct way to spell his name? Looking at my site, you've probably already guessed that I believe the proper way to spell his name is Sesshoumaru with the "u" and no space. There's probably going to be people who are protesting right this minute about how Cartoon Network spells it without the "u" and that I'm wrong. Although the spelling of Sesshomaru isn't necessarily wrong, I don't believe that the way I've spelled it is wrong either.
Why? First of all, that "u" is important in the Japanese language and it's there for a reason. Yes, it's not spelled with a "u" for the hell of it. In fact, the hiragana or kanji could even be written differently. Take Shippo vs. Shippou- his name actually has the hiragana "u" next to the kanji as a pronounciation guide but Cartoon Network stripped the "u" away as with Kikyou, Sesshoumaru, and whoever else that's supposed to have that "u" in their names. So what exactly is the purpose of the appearance of the "u" in a name? It's there to emphasize the last vowel so there would be a difference in the way a name is pronounced with and without the "u". In Sesshoumaru, we would place the emphasis on the "o" making his name pronounced like Sessh-OH-maru. So with this explanation, please do not email me to tell me that I'm spelling his name wrong.
And finally- there's this other spelling that's been floating around. Sessho(u) Maru or Sessho(u)-Maru with the space or a dash in between his name. I honestly don't get how that happened and why some people are spelling it that way. What's the space/dash for? They make it look as though his name is chopped up, which it shouldn't be. And it also makes it seem as though "Maru" is his last name- which is most definitely not the case. "Maru" is a common suffix used for a male's name, especially back in the old days. It's also said that it often signifies a certain fondness for the son. But anyway- my point is it's written as one in the Japanese language and it's part of the name so why is there suddenly a space when written in the English alphabet? There's no reason for the space or the dash to be there and it's deceiving.
His Name's Definition & Translation:
I know it as "Killing Perfection" only because that's what a Japanese friend once told me, but other meanings I've seen floating around are "The Killing Blade," "Sir Killing," "Killing Beauty," and "Pure Heritage/Blood." ("The Killing Blade" was also how the Inuyasha manga translation site, Sengoku o-Togi Zoushi translated it in the volume that Sesshoumaru made his first appearance in.) Not entirely positive which one the true true definition is...but I like the sound of "The Killing Perfection" just because he's exactly that. :3 However, the kanji characters of his name when read in Chinese directly translates as the "Killing Pill." I don't think that's what it's supposed to mean in the original Japanese language though...
More translations of his name has been analyzed by some people ever since those early definitions I've listed above came about, and it's starting to spread that his name actually means "Destruction of the Circle of Life" or "The End of the Circle of Life"- both of which basically almost mean the same thing. Recently, I'm beginning to see this translation as the accepted one by many people and others are also starting to lean towards it. Since I've received several emails just about this definition alone, I figured I'd stick this in here as well.
The reasoning behind this particular meaning basically comes from the breakdown of Sesshoumaru's name. The kanji of "Sesshou" apparently means "To kill or destroy." (Now we know why pretty much all the different takes on his name contains the word "killing.") The last part of his name, "Maru" is usually a suffix that is often added at the end of a Japanese name for males. However, it is said that "Maru" can also translate as the word "Circle." So in conclusion, when you combine all three together, you sort of end up with something like killing or destroying the circle (of life) - which basically means "The Destroyer of Life" or something along that line. I was also told by one of the shrine's visitors that on the fansubbed anime, his name was translated as "Destruction of the Circle of Life" so for those who watch the fansubbed versions, you may have come across that definition before. Seems about right, ne? I'm guessing that this will soon be a universally accepted definition until proven otherwise.
Name Analysis & Symbolism:
"Your name of Sesshoumaru gives you a very responsible, stable nature. Your calmness of mind enables you to analyze objectively, and to make decisions quickly, making it possible for you to do well in business or in any professional capacity. Because of your serious, self-possessed nature you can appear domineering and forceful to others. You have a strong humanitarian nature and many times you are called upon to assist others with their problems. Your desire to help sometimes is not appreciated, however, because they feel you are interfering. You are fond of home and children and desire a settled environment. You have an appreciation for music and art, and could express along these lines. Mental tension could result through worrying too much over your problems or the problems of others, with an adverse effect on your nervous system."
[The above analysis was quoted from Kabalarians for additional insight and fun. They have a whole big list of Japanese names with brief analysis like the one I've included here. Great for looking up names you want to use in fanfics actually. I decided to see if there was an entry for Sesshoumaru and what do you know..there really was. Interesting tidbit.]
-Content Last Updated: September 26, 2004