Why is Son Goku called Son? The Hilarious Truth Revealed!

Why is Goku called Son?

Ah, the eternal question: why is our beloved Goku often referred to as “Son Goku”? Well, let us unravel this mystery for you. In short, the title “Son” traces back to its origins in Chinese mythology and literature.

You see, Goku’s character in the Dragon Ball series is inspired by Sun Wukong, the legendary Monkey King from the renowned 16th-century Chinese classic “Journey to the West.” When adapting the tale for a Japanese audience, they translated “Sun” into “Son” and “Wukong” into “Goku.” That’s how we got the name “Son Goku” as we know it today.

Now, you might ask, what’s the deal with the whole “Son” as a surname thing? Let’s take a look. In Dragon Ball, the Son family name extends to his sons as well, like Son Gohan and Son Goten. So, in this case, it’s not like the word “son” in English but rather a proper surname for their family, which definitely adds an interesting aspect to it.

In the end, it all boils down to a legendary character and a masterful rendering of the story, bridging Chinese and Japanese culture. The fascinating combination of history and creative interpretation has given us the iconic character we all know and love – “Son Goku.” So, the next time someone asks you why Goku is called “Son,” you can share this delightful piece of trivia with them, and just maybe, win yourself a new best friend!

Why is Son Goku called Son

Meet Son Goku

A Brief Character Overview

Ah, Son Goku, where do we even begin? From his humble beginnings as a Saiyan child sent to Earth, to his adventures in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, this guy has been through it all. We’ve grown up with him, and boy, do we have some stories to tell.

First things first, let’s talk about his origins. Born with the name Kakarot on Planet Vegeta, Goku was sent to Earth by his parents as an infant (parents, am I right?). Lucky for us Earthlings, Goku was adopted by Grandpa Gohan, who saw the potential in this little alien baby and decided to keep him. After a head injury at a young age, Goku’s destructive nature was wiped from his memory, allowing him to become the hero we all know and love.

Now, you might be wondering why he’s called “Son Goku” and not just “Goku.” Well, his name is based on the Monkey King from the Chinese novel Journey to the West, known as Sun Wukong or Son Goku in Japanese. This legendary figure was given the title “Son” in respect to his Saiyan roots and as a nod to his adoptive home, Earth.

As for Goku’s character, he’s a bit of a handful. He’s constantly transforming into his Super Saiyan forms, battling the evilest villains the universe can throw at him, and eating enough food to feed a small country. However, at his core, Goku is a kind-hearted, fun-loving dude just trying to protect the Earth and ensure his friends and family are happy.

It’s definitely been a wild ride for Goku and us, so here’s a brief rundown of his most important milestones:

  • Saiyan Origins: Born Kakarot on Planet Vegeta, he was sent to Earth to save him from the planet’s impending destruction.
  • Adopted Earthling: Raised by Grandpa Gohan on Earth, Goku had a head injury that erased his destructive Saiyan nature.
  • Monkey King Roots: Adopted the name “Son Goku” in homage to the Monkey King, Sun Wukong.
  • Super Saiyan Shenanigans: Went Super Saiyan for the first time in the battle against Frieza, then continued to unlock new forms throughout his adventures.
  • Gokus Many Forms: He’s a normal Saiyan, Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan 2, Super Saiyan 3… you get the picture.

So now you’ve met Son Goku, Earth’s mightiest hero, and fellow food enthusiast.

From Monkey King to Goku

Journey to the West Connections

Ah, fellow Dragon Ball enthusiasts, let us embark on an enlightening journey through the origins of our beloved Goku’s name. Prepare to dive into the world of a 16th-century Chinese novel, Journey to the West, which introduced the magical Monkey King, Sun Wukong. Little did we know, Sun Wukong’s Japanese moniker, Son Goku, would eventually find its way into our favorite anime!

In our exploration, we’ve discovered striking parallels between Sun Wukong and Goku. For starters, both characters possess otherworldly strength, capable of earth-shattering power. Moreover, they share a penchant for staff-wielding and, unsurprisingly, an insatiable appetite.

Journey to the West chronicles the tale of the Monkey King who, after gaining miraculous abilities, embarks on a grand adventure with the Buddhist monk Xuanzang. One could say that Sun Wukong’s quest to protect Xuanzang bears a striking resemblance to Goku’s drive to defend Earth and his friends from evil. Talk about similar character motivations!

The connections between Sun Wukong and Goku run deeper than their shared name, Son Goku (Sūn Wùkōng in traditional Chinese). Creator Akira Toriyama fashioned Goku’s iconic hairstyle after Sun Wukong’s fur, and both characters can undergo transformations, such as Goku’s Super Saiyan mode and Sun Wukong’s shape-shifting ability.

Let’s not forget their remarkable ability to fly! Yes, Sun Wukong soars atop a magical cloud, much like our Goku in Dragon Ball, where he zips around on a Flying Nimbus (a nod to the classic Monkey King plot device). It’s safe to say that without Sun Wukong, many defining elements of Goku’s character would not exist.

To sum up this not-so-brief, humor-filled jaunt through the origins of Goku’s name, we can confidently assert that Goku’s “Son” title is an ode to his mythical predecessor, Sun Wukong. And if that doesn’t make you appreciate the depths of Dragon Ball even more, we don’t know what will!

The Naming Shenanigans


Let us dive into the world of translation for a bit. Goku’s full name in the original Japanese version of Dragon Ball is “Son Goku.” This surname “Son” (pronounced more like “sewn”) is derived from the Chinese novel “Journey to the West,” where the Monkey King’s name was written as 孫悟空 (Sun Wukong in Chinese, Son Goku in Japanese). And there you have it, our beloved protagonist got his name from a monkey king!

But wait, there’s more. When translated to English, the fun doesn’t stop there. You see, translators, like creative masterminds, took liberties with his name. So, your favorite, spiky-haired character goes by the simple name of “Goku” in the English dubbed version.


Now that we’ve got the translation part sorted (yeah, really sorted…), it’s time for some cultural context. The Japanese version often uses the name “Son Goku” out of respect for the character’s Saiyan roots and his adoptive home, Earth. Plus, it sounds cool, right?

And you might’ve noticed that some characters in the show call him “Son-Kun,” adding an extra twist. But fear not! We’re here to clarify. The honorific “-kun” is typically used to address males younger than oneself, and it’s been part of Goku’s name since Bulma first met him in the very beginning of Dragon Ball.

As you can see, our legendary Goku has quite the naming shenanigans going on. While we can’t control how the names are translated, at least we can sit back, enjoy the journey with our favorite characters, and chuckle at the linguistic creativity.

So, let’s raise our Kamehameha to the skies and revel in the ever-entertaining world of “Son Goku”!

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