What Does Denji Mean in Japanese? 2 Clues to a Unique Name

As part of our dive into the Chainsaw Man universe, we will be talking about the name of its titular protagonist. What does Denji mean in Japanese? The name “Denji” is quite rare among anime protagonists. If you search on Google, only the heroic Chainsaw Man appears on the images and search links. This places him in a unique position where he can monopolize his name. Knowing Fujimoto Tatsuki though, he probably has a reason why this character is named this way. What does the name mean? What other implications does his name bring? All these will be answered for you.

What Does Denji Mean in Japanese?

Whichever the literary work, names have power. A character’s name is often correlated to a major story point or the entire plot. One great example is the character, Ichigo Kurosaki. The latter’s name means “To Protect One Thing” or “Great Guardian”. Ichigo lives up to his name during his series as he always took up his sword if it meant protecting his friends. Coincidentally, each time he did so, he always had a specific person to save each time. The author of Chainsaw Man also uses this writing device for the series.

The Meaning of Denji According to Its Kanji

Let us assume that the author didn’t conceive the name with other methods. In Japanese or Nihongo, DENJI can mean a lot of things depending on how it is written in Kanji. For the sake of simplifying this article, let us take its most “popular” meaning. For most, Denji means electromagnetic. This comes from two Kanji words. “Den” stands for electricity and “Ji” for magnet.

If we use this meaning to connect to his character, then it makes little sense. Sure, Denji can be chaotic and attracts trouble by existing. You can take these two traits to represent the “electricity” and “magnetic” definitions. Yet, even I admit that’s a bit of a stretch. From here we can tell that the author intended something else.

The Meaning of Denji According to the Author

In a Twitter post back in December 2020, the origin of the names of Chainsaw Man characters was revealed. Thanks to Twitter user kylescouter, they shared some information from a short interview-slash-documentary. While they didn’t post the video, they provided some screenshots. It appeared that the author was discussing the series in-depth.

According to Tatsuki Fujimoto, the name Denji actually comes from the word Tenshi. In Nihonggo, the term “Tenshi” means “Angel”. Since the author didn’t want to just name his character Tenshi, he took the words and voiced them in Japanese. According to other sources, the Japanese word for angel sounded similar to Denchi. The latter meant “battery”. Afterward, the author put two and two together to create the name “Denji”.

This meaning makes more sense compared to the previous one. With Denji’s name meaning Angel, it puts a greater thematic purpose to his life. As a Devil Hunter, he always stands opposed to the Devils in the series. Although, he does kill them for self-interest at first. Eventually, he does it for the sake of innocents. At later points in the series, he is even worshipped as a hero. The people see him as this virtuous force who can’t do anything wrong.