Komi Can’t Communicate: The Best Puns Behind the Character Names

When naming characters, Japanese storytellers tend to pick names and kanji spellings that say something about the characters. In many cases, their names are often a source of the story's inside jokes, and other times, they reveal "hidden truths" about the characters no one else in the story is aware of. Sometimes these inside jokes and hidden truths are worked into in the titles of the stories themselves.

In the case of Komi Can't Communicate, series creator Tomohito Oda went all out on the wordplay. Not only does the Japanese title of Komi-san wa Komyu Shou Desu (古見さんは、コミュ症です) literally translate to "Komi-san Has a Communication Disorder," but the character's name even references that fact. The same is true of the other characters of Komi Can't Communicate, and in many cases, their names tend to take on a double meaning.

Komi Shoko (古見硝子) & Komi Shosuke (古見笑介)

The kanji spelling of the Komi family name (古見)  translates to "old ideas," which conveys that the family is old-fashioned -- something that's confirmed in the episode where they visit extended family. Shoko's name (硝子) means "glass child," while her brother Shosuke's name (笑介) means "laughing shellfish." Shoko's name easily conveys the fact that she's sensitive, which is a reference to her anxiety. Shosuke's name is ironic because he's not an outgoing person, but he does keep to himself, as the other half of his given name implies. Both of their names are also puns on "komyu shou" (コミュ症), meaning "communication disorder."

Tadano Hitohito (只野仁人) & Tadano Hitomi (只野瞳)

The kanji spelling for the Tadano family name (只野) means "ordinary field," which speaks to how Tadano thinks of himself. The kanji spelling for Hitohito's name (仁人) literally means "virtuous man" or "humanitarian," which definitely speaks to Tadano's penchant for helping other people. His sister Hitomi's name (瞳) means "eye pupil," which speaks to her ability to "read the room" like her brother. Like the Komi siblings, both of their names are also puns on the phrase "tada no hito" (只の人), which means "ordinary person" or "average person."

Osana Najimi (長名なじみ)

The kanji spelling for Najimi's last name, Osana (長名), means "reputed leader," which speaks to Najimi's impeccable communication skills and especially their ability to make friends easily. As such, they have a strong reputation for being a good leader. Their full name is also a pun on "osananajimi" (幼馴染), which means "childhood friend." This also speaks to the fact Najimi is literally everyone's childhood friend in the series.

Onemine Nene (尾根峰ねね)

The kanji spelling for Onemine (尾根峰) means "mountain top," which speaks to her ability to function like a senpai to other students. Since Japanese kids often shorten their friends' names into nicknames followed by an honorific like -chan or -kun, both Onemine's first and last names are puns on "onee-chan" (お姉ちゃん) and its variant "nee-chan" (姉ちゃん). Both mean "big sister," which again speaks to Onemine's ability to act like an older sister to her classmates. Additionally, her given name of Nene (ねね) sounds like "Ne! Ne!", which is often used to get someone's attention, similar to saying "Hey! Hey!" in English.

Inaka Nokoko (井中のこ子)

The kanji spelling for Inaka's last name (井中) means “inner community.” Additionally, the "no" (の) portion of her first name is a particle that marks a possessive, and the last kanji in her first name, “ko” (子), means “child.” As such, her name comes to mean “child of her community.” Her full name is also a pun on the phrase "inaka no ko" (田舎の子), meaning "countryside child." Both speak to the fact Inaka is from the countryside and that she's led a very sheltered life.

Yadano Makeru (矢田野まける)

Yadano Makeru smiles in Komi Can't Communicate.

The kanji spelling for Yadano's last name (矢田野) means “arrow ricefield,” which speaks to her athletic prowess and competitive nature. The first part of her last name is also a pun on  “yada” (やだ) which -- depending on the context -- can mean “no!”, “oh no!”, “yuck!”, “no way!”, “not a chance!” or “not likely!”, all of which also speaks to the character's competitive nature. Additionally, her first name has the same pronunciation as the word “makeru” (負ける), which means “to lose.” Put together, her name is a pun on “not likely to lose.”

Yamai Ren (山井恋)

The kanji spelling of Yamai's last name (山井) means "mountain well" and her first name of Ren is the on’yomi reading of the kanji for “koi” (恋), which means “erotic love.” Her last name is also a pun on the word "yamai" (病), which means "illness." Put together and her name is a pun on “lovesickness,” which speaks to the character's yandere tendencies.

Nakanaka Omoharu (中々思春)

Omoharu Nakanaka laughs theatrically in Komi Can't Communicate.

The kanji spelling of Nakanaka's last name (中々) means “very.” Her first name, Omoharu (思春), is the kun’yomi reading of the first two kanji from the word “shishunki” (思春期), which means “puberty.” Put together and her name is a pun for “very immature,” which speaks to the character's age-inappropriate behavior.

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