Breath of the Wild: How do the “-son”‘s work in Japanese? [JPN vs ENG]

This is part of a series of comparing the Japanese and English versions of the game. Read more about that here! And feel free to leave a request or curiosity on the comments here or on that page.

This is the question a few people have asked me:

“How do the -son names (Bolson, Hudson, etc) work in Japanese?”

Well, let’s take a quick look!  Quick context: There’s a group of characters with names that end in “-son” in the game as part of a side quest. I was curious about this one myself so was glad someone asked!

Localization Japanese Reading
Tarrey Town イチカラ村 Ichikara Mura
Bolson サクラダ Sakurada
Karson カツラダ Katsurada
Hudson エノキダ Enokida
Rhondson パウダ Pauda
Pelison ププンダ Pupunda
Greyson グレーダ Gureida
Fyson ペーダ Peida

These aren’t all the names (I have yet to complete the quest so need to find some others), but enough to show you what pattern the Japanese follows.

As you can see, every name ends with “-da.”

Names like “-son” seem rather typical for an ending, as does “-da” in Japanese (Yamada and Matsuda, for example). It is often seen with the character for “field” 田 in it.

A potential for puns comes along, too, as a phrase ending with “だ” (da) is stating that something “is.” It is an informal version of the term です (desu) which many may have heard before. So in Sakurada‘s (Bolson)’s case, for instance, it can be Sakura-da, or 桜だ (is a cherry blossom).

In fact, the three original members (Bolson, Hudson, and Karson) are all named after trees found in Japan. Bolson, or Sakurada (桜 sakura, or cherry blossoms), Karson, or Katsurada (桂 katsura, or Cercidiphyllum japonicum  for the fancy scientific name), and Hudson, or Enokida (榎 Enoki, a Japanese hackberry tree). That explains why they ask for so much wood in this sidequest, I suppose…

In Hudson/Enokida’s case though, it is also a type of mushroom which goes well with him considering his hairstyle.

I’m not sure if Bolson, Karson, and Hudson share the same relation to trees or not, however, or to some other piece of nature. I was thinking of rivers due to Hudson’s name, but it was vague as to whether this was just coincidence or not.

After the original three I don’t see a connection in the names aside from the ending. The Gerudo Pauda can be taken to mean Powder for instance, but does not relate to the others directly.

Interestingly, Gureida was changed to Greyson, retaining the Grey (gurei is often translated to grey) in the name, so the color must have some significance there. Considering he’s always pounding away at rocks, perhaps that has to do with it.

Lastly, the name of Tarrey Town in Japanese is “Ichikara Mura,” or “Town from Scratch.” That’s straightforward enough!

Sorry I’ve been so busy lately! But comparisons and translations remains my greatest passion, so you can bet I’ll post when I can!

So thank you for this request, it was fun to look into. Of course if you have more insight on the English side of things here I’d love to hear what possible meanings Bolson and crew have in their names!

Please feel free to leave comments/suggestions below! See you next article!


7 thoughts on “Breath of the Wild: How do the “-son”‘s work in Japanese? [JPN vs ENG]

  1. Quite late to the party here, but now that you mentioned the tree related names, Bolson reminds me of balsa wood or balsa tree, but probably innintentionally

  2. Hi, I’m Japanese and came here looking for how Sakurada is translated in the English version.
    Actually when サクラダ is written in katakana as it is in the game, most Japanese would probably think of Sagrada Familia (the famous building in Spain) so I thought his English name would be Sagrada or something but then, wow! I didn’t know “son” was used for them. It was very interesting to read. Thank you!

    • Thank you for your comment! That is very interesting, I did not know the Sagrada Familia would be the first thing to come to mind. Very cool!

  3. So Karson’s Japanese was not Zura, but Katsura da.
    Cool. I wonder if that was intentional.

    On a side note, I like the bigger Japanese font for the ancient place names better.

    • Yes, often I like to think things are intentional but sometimes they do just happen to work out!

      And indeed! Some fun differences in font sizes can go a long way!

      (I also thought I replied to this comment but apparently not…)

    • Yes… it makes me wonder if they did anything beyond the simple -son naming. But I’m pretty bad with researching possible meanings behind western names! xD

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