Who is Oniko, anyway?
I'm an American by birth... my American name is Garth Haslam. I live in a small town named Penngrove in California, and I work at a High School in a town called Petaluma, fixing computers. I'm trained as an Anthropologist, and study and write about many things; and I write and draw comic books when I can. About three times a year I travel to Japan seeking comics, monsters, and friends. As you may have guessed, I have some very varied interests.
I have several other webpages as well, each based around my other interests. I write about my trips to Japan and Japanese culture in general in Oniko Goes to Japan, and I'm trying to build a page explaining some things about American culture (in English and Japanese) called "Oniko's America" -- I'll let you all know when it's been posted up. Oh, and I have a site built around my studies of supposedly paranormal events often told of in America and Britain at Anomalies.
Penngrove, CA 94951
...or email me at:|
Why the name "Oniko"?
'Oniko' is comprised of two Japanese kanji -- Chinese characters adopted for use by the Japanese -- namely the top two big figures in the title to the left [all the small stuff at the bottom is just the Japanese equivalent to "'s Gallery" tagged onto the name]. The top character is 'Oni', which is a mythical Japanese monster. This word is usually translated to English as 'demon' or 'devil', but this is not an entirely correct description of the beast so named.
This is a difficult question to answer, as there are many reasons for my choosing this name... but I'll try to explain. Let's start with something the Japanese version of this page doesn't require... a brief translation of my chosen Japanese name "Oniko".
In Japanese myths, Oni are very angry characters that often cause humans all sorts of problems; but Oni are also associated with temples dedicated to Kannon, Buddhist goddess of mercy, and Oni were also believed to be the cause of thunder and wind during storms... a pair of Oni living in the clouds -- by the names of Fujin and Raijin, by the way -- are said to beat their drums loudly during storms and release great gusts of air from a huge bag, presumably because they really like the weather. Oni are described as looking like humans, except they have horns and fangs [so you can see why Oni got translated as 'Devil']. Some famous ancient illustrations of Oni show them wearing Tiger skins; and now that Onis have become popular fantasy characters in every style of Japanese comic book, they are almost always drawn wearing a tiger stripe motif. And for those of you who are familiar with the manga/anime series Urusei Yatsura, yes, the lead character named Lum is an Oni.
A generic 'oni'. The
picture is borrowed from
a Japanese monster book.
The second Chinese character in the name above is much simpler to explain. "Ko" -- the second big figure in the title -- simply means "child", and is a popular ending to add to a given name. For example: Ichiko ["First child"] is a popular name for the first born kid, and Momoko ["Peach child"] is a popular girl's name. So 'Oniko' imitates this style of naming by declaring me "Oni child"... though, believe me, I don't know of anyone in Japan who'd be tempted to name their kid Oniko.
So now that you know what the name means, the next thing to explain is why I felt it was a good choice for me.
In Japan there are only a few critters that coincide with all these interests -- Japanese monsters that favor rainy days, and that appear commonly in both ancient myths and modern comic books. Of these creatures -- Oni, Ryuu, and Kappa -- the Oni was the first I really learned about, thanks to the afore-mentioned comic book Urusei Yatsura. Also, the very character attributed to the Oni matches me in one more way in particular, so it was the one I choose. But to find out what that one extra match is, you have to find me and ask!
Reason #1: For the first twenty-six years of my life I had allergies, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. There were only two circumstances under which these allergies went away... rainy days, and the entire time I was in Japan back in 1990. So I got to like rainy days... and Japan.
Reason #2: I like both myths and monsters.
Reason #3: I like comic books.