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?

  • wouldn't adding the culture tag be right? – debal Apr 3 '14 at 16:17
  • @debal Dunno, well ill add it. If its not ment to be there it will be removed ^^. – Dimitri mx Apr 3 '14 at 16:19
  • will make a question out of it.. but first will get some proper data samples. :) – debal Apr 3 '14 at 16:20
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    @debal I believe the White dragon legend from the UK might be related to that ;) but yeah thats a whole other question ^^ – Dimitri mx Apr 3 '14 at 16:44

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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