In Wikipedia, Kamehameha is defined as a species of butterfly.

kamehameha Web definitions The Kamehameha butterfly is one of the two species of butterfly native to Hawaii. The Hawaiian name is pulelehua. ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamehameha_(butterfly)

What does it mean in the Dragon Ball series?

  • 2
    Japanese Wikipedia claims the following: "The name originated from King Kamehameha of Hawaii. When Toriyama was coming with move names, his wife, MIKA Minachi, suggested it, and Toriyama agree, saying 'It was quite silly, and thus suitable for Master Roshi.'" Of course, there is probably also a pun involving "turtle" (亀, kame, cf. Kame-sennin = Master Roshi) and "wave" (波, ha [the second one]).
    – senshin
    Feb 2, 2014 at 8:31

5 Answers 5


According to Dragon Ball Wikia:

Akira Toriyama actually tried a number of poses when he was alone in order to decide the coolest pose for the Kamehameha. After much contemplation, he could not decide on a name for his "Kame" attack, so he asked his wife who came up with the name. She told Akira that it would be easy to remember the name of the attack if he uses the name of the cultural Hawaiian king named Kamehameha (lit. "the very lonely one" or "the one set apart" in Hawaiian language). Also, Kamehameha means "Turtle Destruction Wave" in Japanese.

So, despite the literal translation in Japanese "Turtle Destruction Wave", Kamehameha is also a name of a Hawaiian king:

Kamehameha I (Hawaiian pronunciation: [kəmehəˈmɛhə]; c. 1758 – May 8, 1819), also known as Kamehameha the Great, conquered the Hawaiian Islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi in 1810. By developing alliances with the major Pacific colonial powers, Kamehameha preserved Hawaiʻi's independence under his rule. Kamehameha is remembered for the Kānāwai Māmalahoe, the "Law of the Splintered Paddle", which protects human rights of non-combatants in times of battle. Kamehameha's full Hawaiian name is Kalani Paiʻea Wohi o Kaleikini Kealiʻikui Kamehameha o ʻIolani i Kaiwikapu kauʻi Ka Liholiho Kūnuiākea.


About the best source I can find on the matter indicates that it means "Turtle Destruction Wave". But I can't derive that from the provided hiragana alone.

It makes sense if you break it down:

  • Turtle = Kame = 亀
  • Wave = Ha/Nami = 波

...which is essentially "turtle _ wave", which is a nod to Master Roshi (the Turtle Hermit).

If I fiddle a bit in Google Translate, I get something closer to 亀羽目波, which is literally "turtle wind-up wave" - and that sounds close phonetically.

  • I think that the "Turtle Destruction Wave" explanation is something that somebody on the internet just invented, and everybody just believed that person for whatever reason. There isn't any Japanese I'm aware of that supports hame -> "destruction"
    – senshin
    Feb 2, 2014 at 12:12
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    The best explanation I can find for はめ being translated as "destruction" is that it's a shortening of はめつ. While not completely impossible, I don't find it very convincing since there don't seem to be any official sources backing this and linguistically it's a pretty big stretch.
    – Logan M
    Feb 3, 2014 at 0:11

The term Kamehameha seems to come from the king of Hawaii, King Kamehameha. However this is not the case: Kamehameha is a term for something along the lines of "Turtle Destruction Wave", or のカメの破壊の波 (No kame no hakai no nam). That is as close as I could possibly get it to Kamehameha, which is what Kamehameha stands for: Turtle ____ Wave. But because it destroys anything in its path, I would assume that it would be "Turtle Destruction Wave".

亀     Kame        Turtle
破滅   Hame(tsu)   Destruction, Ruin
波     Ha, Nami    Wave

Turtle for Roshi's Turtle school. (It's the kanji on all their gi) Then hame and ha for what the ability is. (A destruction wave.)


Japanese Wikipedia says it comes from the Hawaiian king, recommended by the creator's wife. The "kame" part is a bit of a pun because it can also mean turtle. "Hame" has no meaning. "Ha" means wave. On the whole, it just sounds a bit silly, which is on purpose. "Turtle destruction wave" is fake news and there is absolutely zero support for that interpretation. 破滅(はめつ)would never in 100 years be abbreviated "hame" in Japanese. Source: Japanese speaker.

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