My Hero Academia: What Does Dabi Mean in Japanese?

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One of the My Hero Academia characters that we know is quite popular is Dabi, who is one of the top members of the League of Villains and is second only to Tomura Shigaraki in terms of his power. Of course, we know that Dabi has become the talk of the town recently because of his involvement with the Todoroki family. But while we know a lot about Dabi and his actual name, we don’t know much about why he chose the “Dabi” name as his villain name. So, what does Dabi mean in Japanese?

The word “dabi” literally translates to “cremation” in English. The reason why Dabi is named as such is due to the fact that his Quirk is flame-related and is capable of cremating people right down to the bones in a very quick manner due to how powerful and hot his Blueflame Quirk is.

While Dabi’s name might sound quite literal due to the fact that his Quirk is flame-related, the thing is that there is a deeper relevance between his name and his entire identity as a complex character in My Hero Academia. So, with that said, let’s talk more about the meaning of Dabi’s name and how significant it is to his story.

What Does “Dabi” Mean In Japanese?

We already know that Dabi is one of the most complex characters in the storyline of My Hero Academia due to his sad past. Of course, while we aren’t giving Dabi any excuses for being a murderous villain, we know for a fact that he was a product of the mentally, emotionally, and physically traumatizing childhood that he had. And that was what led the child named Toya Todoroki to take on the name of the villain called Dabi.

It also isn’t a secret that the characters, heroes and villains alike, of My Hero Academia take on hero/villain names that are related to their Quirks. Dabi, being a Todoroki, has a Quirk called Blueflame, which allows him to create intensely hot blue flames that are capable of reducing people to ashes in mere seconds. And his flames are a lot hotter than the ones that Endeavor and Shoto can produce.

We also know that Dabi is one of the members of the League of Villains that uses a villain name instead of his actual name. Of course, like most of the characters in the series, his villain name is related to his Quirk. So, what is the meaning of “dabi” in Japanese?

In English, “dabi” can be used to refer to cremation. However, there is another Japanese word that can be used for cremation, and that is the word “kaso.” While they may mean similar things, they are often used in different contexts.

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“Dabi” was actually taken from the Buddhist way of referring to cremation, as this practice is actually sacred in Buddhism. It refers to the way that fire cleanses the soul. However, the word “dabi” can also mean saving a person from suffering as the kanji Da (荼) is “suffering,” and the kanji bi (毘) can mean “help or save.” So, in a sense, the word “dabi” can also mean saving a suffering person.

Meanwhile, the word “kaso” is literally the combination of two Japanese words that mean fire burial. That means that “kaso” is a way for the Japanese to directly refer to burial through cremation. And because the Japanese people tend to avoid being too direct when it comes to sensitive matters, they tend to use “dabi” when referring to cremation because it doesn’t usually involve death as it isn’t related to the act of burying someone through fire but simply means cremating something.

How Are Cremation And Death Significant To Dabi?

Now that you know what “dabi” means in Japanese, let’s look at how significant the word is to My Hero Academia’s Dabi. And you’ll be surprised to see that there is a deeper meaning as to why he uses this word as his villain name.

Of course, we all know that Dabi’s Quirk is Blueflame, which is powerful enough to kill a person almost instantly. Some people would think that his name is Dabi due to the fact that he can cremate people with his Quirk. But there is a possibility that there is something deeper behind his name.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jApnU-tsjNE

As mentioned, the usual Japanese word to describe cremation in the more formal sense when relating to death and funerals is “kaso.” Considering that the Japanese tend to be not as straightforward when it comes to the topic of death, the word “dabi” is preferred when talking about cremation. And that is probably the reason why Dabi carries that name instead.

We know that Dabi used to be Toya Todoroki, the eldest son of Endeavor. Toya’s supposed death is something that the entire Todoroki family tried to avoid talking about due to how traumatic it is and how it caused the entire family to fall apart. This is similar to how the Japanese tend to avoid using “kaso” when referring to cremation, as they don’t want to talk about death in such an informal way.

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As such, Toya probably chose the Dabi name instead of using Kaso because how his family avoids talking about his death. Toya, of course, originally thought that the Todoroki family avoided talking about his death due to how he saw himself as someone insignificant. But the truth was that his death had a profound effect on how dysfunctional the entire family became. 

There’s also the fact that the kanji used for “dabi” can be translated to saving someone who is suffering. While we know that the goal of Shoto is to stop his older brother, there is good reason to believe that Dabi is suffering deep inside due to the trauma he experienced during his childhood years. As such, his name can carry a double meaning in the sense that he is someone who can cremate but is also someone deeply suffering from the wounds of his past.

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