SoraNews24 -Japan News-

Naruto’s author Kishimoto reveals what characters’ names would’ve been if editor didn’t intervene

Sep 29, 2019

As well as several other incredible saves made by the editor.

The manga/anime Naruto may have ended years ago, but its legacy still lives on strong. The “sequel” manga Boruto is popular, Naruto’s author Masashi Kishimoto has been putting out a new manga Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, and Japanese people are still naming their kids after Naruto characters.

And Naruto trivia still gets people’s attention online.

Japanese Twitter user @raika_kurume recently posted some information revealed on TV about the the early interactions Naruto’s author had with his characters and story. While some of it is not too surprising, other facts will make fans of the series laugh out loud.

▼ Here’s the tweet with screenshots from the broadcast, and notes on the information revealed.
(Translation below)

“Naruto’s Creator: ‘I’m going to give this badass character the name… Momotaro!’
Editor: ‘Let’s go with Zabuza instead.’

Naruto’s Creator: ‘I’m going to give this cool character the name… Kotaro!
Editor: ‘Let’s go with Gaara instead. Also, stop making Kakashi talk like an old man.

He’s a demon of foresight.

Yup, that’s right. Kishimoto originally wanted to name Zabuza, the Demon of the Hidden Mist with a huge sword, Momotaro. For those who don’t know, Momotaro is the name of the protagonist in the classic Japanese story Peach Boy, about a little boy named Momotaro who hatches from a peach and leaves home to beat up demons. It’s essentially a little kids’ story, so it’d be kind of like naming Zabuza “Paul Bunyan” or “Rumpelstiltskin.”

Similarly, Gaara’s original name of “Kotaro” comes from the Legend of Kotaro Koizumi, a tale of a child born from a human man and snake woman. That one at least has a bit more of an edge to it, but it’s still seen today as a children’s tale with a little boy protagonist.

▼ Kotaro, seen here in statue form, is not the most intimidating of characters.

Of course, to be fair, a lot of other names in Naruto come from old Japanese legends and tales: Orochimaru, Jiraiya, and Tsunade all originate from the same story of Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari, and Sarutobi Sasuke (giving the names for Sarutobi the Hokage and of course Sasuke) was the name of a ninja that appeared in stories during the late 19th/early 20th century.

The difference is that those names sound cool. Kotaro and Momotaro, unfortunately, are at best generic and at worst chuckle-worthy.

Here’s the other changes suggested by the editor that were listed in the tweet:

“Cutting out a ton of exposition.
Putting in Sasuke.
Making the Wave Country arc (with Zabuza/Haku).
Stopping him from making the hokage and teachers animals.
Having all the characters take the Chunin Exam all at once.
The models for Rock Lee and the other Chunin Exam characters.
Turning Naruto from a fox into a human.
Changing Zabuza’s partner Haku from a bear into a human.
Giving the protagonist narrow eyes and the rival wider eyes.
Having him make the names of jutsu consistent for worlbuilding’s sake, rather than random and all over the place.”

Phew, that’s a ton of things in the series that we’ve taken for granted, all of which were suggested by the editor. It goes to show that while an author/artist may have the passion and skill to create something awesome, it’s always good for them to be reigned in and tempered by a separate, critical eye.

Although we do have one last question: will this information be on the Naruto certification exam?

Source: Twitter/@raika_kurume via Hachima Kiko
Top image: SoraNews24
Insert image: Wikipedia/Qurren
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!