Kamehameha is the name of a powerful attack widely used by Dragon Ball characters such as Goku. But have you ever stopped to think what it really means
The famous Kamehameha move is a move where the character builds up energy in their hands, palms facing forward, and then releases that energy in the form of a blue energy ray. The attack is usually accompanied by an intense sonic and visual explosion.
The attack's name is a combination of several references and homages, making it an interesting example of how anime and manga creators often draw inspiration from multiple sources to create their works.
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Origin of Kamehameha
The raid is named after the Hawaiian King Kamehameha, who unified the Hawaiian Islands in the late 18th century. Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama visited Hawaii and was impressed by the state's culture and history, which inspired him to name the attack.
King Kamehameha was born in 1758 and became a respected military and political leader in the islands. In 1795, he led a military campaign that unified the Hawaiian Islands under his rule, making him the first monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
During his reign, he implemented many important reforms, including promoting foreign trade and creating a fairer system of law and governance.
Kamehameha died in 1819, and his eponymous son succeeded him as King of Hawaii. The family ruled Hawaii for many years, and Kamehameha's legacy as a leader, warrior and statesman is remembered and honored in the Hawaiian Islands to this day.
Meaning of Kamehameha
The word “Kamehameha” has an interesting etymology in Hawaiian. The word is derived from two Hawaiian words: "kame", which means "the lone one" or "the only one", and "hameha", which means "the blow" or "the hammer". Together, the two words form "Kamehameha", which can be translated as "the lonely one that hits" or "the only blow".
The name “Kamehameha” is believed to have originally been used as a personal name before being associated with the Hawaiian king. In the Hawaiian language, personal names are often created from words or phrases that describe the person's characteristics or qualities.
It is possible that the name "Kamehameha" was given to the king due to his abilities as a strong and lone warrior. Note that even the name of the attack references its strong and unique ability.
turtle in Japanese
The term "Kamehameha" has a connection with the word "kame", which means "turtle" in Japanese. This is because the character who created and popularized the attack, Master Roshi (or Kame Sennin in Japanese), is a martial arts master who lives on an island called Turtle Island.
In the Dragon Ball story, Master Roshi is one of the main martial arts teachers of Goku, the main character. He is an elderly and wise character who lives in a tortoise-shaped house and is known for his martial arts skills and wisdom. He is also the creator of the Kamehameha attack, which he teaches to Goku and other characters in the series.
The connection between the Kamehameha attack and the word “turtle” is related to the fact that the turtle is an animal that is seen as a symbol of wisdom and longevity in Japanese culture. Additionally, the image of a turtle is often used in many forms of Japanese art, including painting, sculpture, and pottery.
In summary, although “Kamehameha” has no meaning in Japanese, its connection to the word “kame” (turtle) is a reference to the character who created the attack, Master Roshi, and his home on Turtle Island.
Other references and meaning
In Japanese the term can be found written as [かめはめ波] where the last ideogram [波] means wave. Often the stroke is translated into English as Great Turtle Wave.
Despite not having any direct connection, it is worth mentioning some other references and Japanese words that we find in Kamehameha. Starting with “Hame” which literally means “to fuck” in Japanese.
The Kamehameha is a strong and powerful attack that ends up f***ing enemies. The word Hame [ハメハメ] can also be an onomatopoeia “Hamehame” [ハメハメ] and both derive from the verb “Hameru” [嵌める] which means to put, stick and fit.
So, if the protagonist repeats “hamehamehamehame” several times indirectly, he is using inappropriate slang. It is also worth mentioning that “Hamehame” also refers to the king of Hawaii.
Below are other Japanese words that remind you of the attack:
- 破滅 – Hametsu – Destruction; doom;
- 波面 – Hamen – Surface of the wave; wave front;
Technique and Movement
Hand movement is an important part of the attack, as it helps focus the energy needed to perform the Kamehameha. The technique is often accompanied by a loud, powerful scream, which also helps to release the character's energy.
While there is no specific origin for the hand movement used to perform the Kamehameha, it is likely that it was inspired by other movements from Japanese martial arts or other media.
Many martial artists, such as Matsutatsu Oyama, tend to focus their energy on a single point in order to deliver a powerful attack. This ability resembles the technique used in the Kamehameha.