Bulma, Goku, Piccolo, Chichi - what's up with the names?

Illustration for article titled Bulma, Goku, Piccolo, Chichi - what's up with the names?

Silly names, usually involving foreign words, are a trademark of Japanese manga for children. It's sometimes easy to forget that Dragon Ball was originally printed in a magazine for junior high students (the average age of Weekly Shônen Jump readers is approximately 12-14). Furthermore, Toriyama had his comedy background to consider. Here's a few of the name references of characters which appear in the movie:


* Goku = a reference to Son Goku, the Monkey King from Saiyûki (very classy)
* Master Roshi = a translation of "Muten Roshi," Japanese for "the invincible old master." Muten Roshi is just one of his titles, however; he's also known as "Kame-Sen'nin", the "turtle hermit," because he uses the kame (turtle) style of martial arts. See the turtle shell on his back for weight training?
* Piccolo = a half-size flute
* Yamcha = Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word for "dim sum"
* Bulma = a phonetic misspelling of "bloomers," i.e., girls' underwear
* Chichi = Japanese slang for "boobs"

Will Dragonball: Evolution turn into an ongoing franchise, so characters with names like Trunks, Vegeta, Raditz, Freeza, Butta and King Cold will make their appearance? The box office will decide!



What about "kamehameha," the word they shout when doing the DB version of a hadouken? I was totally wigged out to learn that Kamehameha I was actually the first king of Hawaii. Any idea why Toriyama stole his name?