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Lately, I can't help but notice that a lot of the names of characters and techniques used in Naruto seem to be derived from folklore and/or based on gods and the likes. Some samples would be:

  • Izanagi - a deity born of the seven divine generations in Japanese mythology and Shinto
  • Jiraiya - originally known as Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki, is the title character of the Japanese folk tale Jiraiya Gōketsu Monogatari

So, why are so many of the names used in Naruto derived from such things? And is this only common in Naruto, or does it happen in other series as well?

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Kishimoto is just a fan of Japanese culture and mythology. He's used loads of references, from Amaterasu, Tsukuyomi and Susano'o, to Izanami, Izanagi and Kotoamatsukami, to the trio of Jiraiya, Tsunade and Orochimaru, to the Sword of Totsuka and the Mirror of Yata, among many others.

Many other mangaka have inspirations as well, not necessarily from Japanese culture, but from various other sources. A good example is One Piece, with many references. An example would be Usopp - taken from the Japanese word for lie (uso), Aesop (whose fable about the Boy who cried Wolf is the exact situation he's in when he's first introduced), and Pincocchio, as Usopp has a very long nose, like Pinocchio's, which grows longer whenever he tells a lie.

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