If you are a fan of the popular manga and anime series Dragon Ball, then you have probably wondered at one point what does Goku means? What is the meaning of Goku? Why was he named Goku in the first place? What does Vegeta mean in Japanese? Is Goku’s name real-life or fictional? Who named him Goku anyway?! Well, wonder no more because we will answer all your questions right here!
In this blog post, we will be discussing what a “Goku” is. We’ll talk about where his name comes from and some fun facts about it too! So read on to find out everything you need to know about this famous character and his namesake.
Goku is the protagonist of both Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. He was named for Goku, a monkey king from Journey to the West who had similar characteristics: an innocent young boy with incredible strength whose tail could change into any type of object. The kanji used in his Japanese name can also be read as “Kakarot”. Bulma describes him as basically being a clumsy child, or “strong like a gorilla.” His mightiest technique is called the Kamehameha Wave (a wave of ki energy released by drawing one’s hands back to their side and shouting), which he learned from Master Roshi. It takes its name from two sources – it first appeared in Toriyama’s 1972 manga series Dr. Slump, which used the phrase “ka-me-ha” to represent a type of wave energy emitted from one’s palms while shouting. He originally designed it as an analog to Akira Toriyama and his namesake.
In Dragon Ball Z, Goku is revealed to have been born on Earth in the year Age 737 (April 18th), son of Bardock and Gine; he was sent by them into outer space shortly before Planet Vegeta with their two fellow Saiyans – Raditz and Kakarot – were destroyed by Frieza. The young Saiyan spent several years drifting through space alone until he crash-landed onto planet Earth around age 12 whereupon meeting Bulma who repaired his ship so that he could return home when he wanted but decided to remain on Earth as he found its inhabitants to be good company.
In the English dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai, his birthdate is given as May 11th, Age 737 (May 11th). In an interview with Shonen Jump in 1995, Toriyama said that Goku was originally meant to represent himself: a short and chubby boy who transforms into a tall thin adult male through hard training. This early design has been retained for all North American/non-Japanese releases of the manga save for VIZ Media’s recent reissue which features redesigned cover art by Akira Toriyama’s son Takao Koyamada. However, some Japanese sources such as Weekly Shōnen Jump have maintained “Son Gokū” or the Japanese reading of “Goku” (in Kanji) as his name.
Is Goku’s name real-life or fictional?
In the original Dragon Ball manga, Goku’s Saiyan birth name is never mentioned in full length; he only introduces himself to others by a shortened version of it: Kakarot. His father Bardock tells Raditz that his son was originally named ‘Kakarot’, and when Raditz asks what the nickname means, Bardock replies that Kakarot has no meaning but reminds him about how Vegeta said he had been called Kakarrott before they were born (‘kakaru’ being an archaic word for crying). Toriyama later comments on this revelation during a 2007 interview with NTV reporters at Tokyo Tower saying “[Goku] doesn’t have a meaning (in Japanese).”
U.S. Shonen Jump editor Jason Thompson might be the one who translated Kakarot as “Goku” in his English translation of Weekly Shōnen Jump, but there are other possible explanations for how that could happen: Toriyama may have been given this name by an American acquaintance or it was an arbitrary decision on Thompson’s part to make Goku sound more like a typical Western child’s name and less like someone from Asia.
When asked about what her son named himself when he first started writing Dragon Ball manga, Dr. Briefs tells Bulma that she thinks Goku chose it because they liked gokusoba which is buckwheat noodles with vegetables and meat sauce – or as the English translation of Dragon Ball would have it “spaghetti.”
“Goku” is a real-life name and its meaning in Japanese can vary depending on which kanji character you use. It’s also not uncommon for people to change their names when they’re adopted, remarry, or have children if there are some negative associations with them from birth that might make those individuals uncomfortable – like being teased about having an unfortunate sounding first or last name.