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This trope is about characters whose names are a flagrant mismatch of ethnicities and cultures, like Sakura Mikolajczak or Chandraharam O'Malley. Often, this is seen alongside In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race. Both tropes are indications that the setting is very much a cultural melting pot. In other cases, such names are used to indicate that a character doesn't completely fit in with the culture in which they are living (being a child of the native culture and something else). And sometimes, the author just wanted to mix and match things.

This is much more common in Real Life than it is in fiction. In real life, this often happens for fairly simple reasons. It's fairly common amongst some families who have arrived in a new country. They may give a newly born child a (let's say) English first name, while they retain their (for example) Asian or African last name. Also, in "mixed-culture" couples, their children are often named in a way that represents the cultural mixture. And then there are people naming their kids after famous people, or a name having lost some its cultural ties thanks to the aforementioned famous people.

Examples of Multiethnic Name include:


Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • One of the main characters in the Atari Force mini-comics series (produced by DC Comics) was the Chinese-Irish security chief, Li San O'Rourke.
  • Miguel O'Hara aka Spider-Man 2099. As his name suggests he's half-Hispanic and half-Irish.
  • Appears in several places in Transmetropolitan - most prominently in Spider's assistant, Yelena Rossini.

Literature

  • Luis Wu, one of the heroes of Larry Niven's Known Space series, has a Spanish first name and a Chinese last name. By appearance, however, you'd assume he was a native of Central America. Niven did this to indicate that the world's population in the 31st century had been melding together for a while. Niven did this with Sigmund Ausfaller, who despite his Scandinavian first name and German last name, is a black man.
  • From Prince Roger: Prince Roger Ramius Sergei Chiang McClintock.
  • The hero of Altered Carbon is named Takeshi Kovacs. The series takes place 500 years into the future and he originates on a planet colonized by Japanese and Slavs.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, the author deliberately invokes this trope with the name of the protagonist, Manuel Garcia O'Kelly-Davis. He wanted to show a society totally blind to racial prejudice. Note that the "Davis" on the end represents the family name he married into.
  • In the Wild Cards series, there's the Indio-Irish Elephant Girl, whose real name is Rhada O'Reilly.
  • Just about everyone in the Honor Harrington series once you learn their full name. The title character's mother's full name, for example, is "Allison Benton-Ramirez y Chou Harrington"
  • Common in the works of H. Beam Piper. Uller Uprising had major characters with names like Hideyoshi O'Leary and Themistocles M'zangwe.
  • In Bumped, there are a lot of these. Two such characters are Zen Chen-Chavez and Shoko Weiss.
  • One of the supporting characters in the Mass Effect tie-in novel, Ascension, is an African man with a Swedish first name and a Hindu last name: Hendel Mitra.
  • The Star Trek: New Frontier series had a minor character, Romeo Takahashi, who was a natural blond and of Japanese descent.
  • The Harry Potter books feature Antonin Dolohov; "Antonín" (accent on the 'i') is Czech, but -ov surnames are only really found in Bulgaria and Russia.
  • Alastair Reynolds' works often feature this trope, e. g. Ana Khouri, Xavier Liu, Gillian Sluka, Pauline Sukhoi, etc.
  • Ciaphas Cain had a fencing instructor in school named Miyamoto de Bergerac.

Film

Live Action TV

  • In Firefly, it was mentioned in the commentary for "Shindig" that they gave Asian surnames to characters played by white actors as an indication of Western and Chinese cultural intermingling.
  • On 24, the name of an Asian-American employee at CTU (played by an actor whose name also fits the trope, James Hiroyuki Liao[1]) is "Devon Rosenthal".
  • This happens sometimes on Babylon 5, like ISN reporter Derek Mobotabwe, who is a white guy. Probably because of cultural intermingling, like the Firefly example.
  • Juan Epstein's full name ("Juan Luis Pedro Philippo de Huevos Epstein"), specifically the fact that it mixed a long list of Hispanic names, yet ended in a Jewish surname, was considered a point of humor in the first episode of Welcome Back, Kotter.
  • Star Trek
    • The original pilot features a helmsman named "José Tyler" in a conscious attempt to invoke this trope.
    • While it wasn't her original name, after she got married, Keiko O'Brien definitely counts. Likewise her son, Kirayoshi O'Brien, actually combines three: His Irish father's surname of O'Brien, and a first name which combines both Japanese (-yoshi) from his mother's side and the Bajoran (Kira-) family name of the alien surrogate who carried him to term (which is traditionally put first anyway, giving him two family names, both Kira and O'Brien).
    • Dr Julian Bashir in ST:DS 9; presented as very pukka Brtish, but an {Arab?} name.... and his parents, when they appear in the show, come over as old-time cockney Jews of the Rabbi Lionel Blue variety, his father speaking like a true Yiddisher mensch from Stepney or Bow or one of the lower-rent streets on the monopoly board.
  • Dharma Finkelstein from Dharma and Greg. As she put it, her father is Jewish but wanted to be the Dalai Lama.
  • Agent Graham Tanaka on Dollhouse, played by Mark Sheppard. The part was originally written with an Asian actor in mind, and Sheppard wanted to keep the name. The Word of God explanation is that he took the name of his stepfather.
  • An episode of Veritas: The Quest featured a Neo-Nazi group led by a typical Aryan Ubermench...whose name was "Heinrich Cordova" and spoke with a Latino accent. Heavily lampshaded:

 Bella: You know Heinrich, I can never get used to that accent coming out of that face.

Heinrich: South America was very kind to my German ancestors.

  • One episode of 30Rock featured a news anchor named Carmen Chao. It was a running joke that no one could figure out her ethnicity.

Newspaper Comics

  • Peanuts had José Peterson, a friend of Peppermint Patty, briefly in the 1960s. At one point Patty mentions that she likes his mom's Swedish meatball tacos.

Theater

  • In Avenue Q, a character with the first name of "Christmas Eve" is Japanese. Her husband is also Jewish, though we don't know his surname or whether she took it.

Video Games

  • The Sims 2 random character generator is notorious for producing townies with names like Juan McCullough or Kiyoshi Centowski (when the names it comes up with aren't just plain bizarre, like the infamous Goopy GilsCarbo) and having no relation whatsoever between looks and the ethnic background of a Sim's name. For example, the aforementioned Kiyoshi is a Dark-Skinned Blond with blue eyes.
    • Sports games which used a name generator from in-game players and mixed and matched random fore- and surnames also count. One troper's personal favorite, from MVP Baseball 2003: "Sun-Woo Knoblauch".
  • Soranica Ele gives us Zenobia Adelaide Albert Axelrod and Kaguya Lolotte Omi de la Patelliere.
  • In Escape from Monkey Island, Guybrush has a run-in with the pirate-hating, heavily-armed Admiral Ricardo Luigi Pierre M'Bengu Chang Nehru O'Hara Casaba III.
  • Juan Lebedev in Deus Ex. According to the Deus Ex Bible, at one point in the series' universe the Russian Mafia and the Mexican drug cartels formed a powerful alliance that rivalled each of their countries' respective governments, which may explain his heritage.
  • Grace Nakamura in Gabriel Knight. Her parents were Japanese, but they emigrated to the United States before she was born.
  • Ragnar McRyan in Dragon Quest IV. He's Scottish. Ragnar is a Scandinavian name.

Web Comics

  • The Dragon Doctors has had a few: battle surgeon Goro Delgado (Japanese given name, Spanish surname), who looks like a pale-skinned redhead; Preston Chang; Tomo Wakeman, and so on. Since it takes place over 2,000 years in the future, there's been some melding, too.
  • Questionable Content. Sven Biachi, his parents are Swedish and Italian.

Web Original

  • Zaboo in The Guild. Real name: Sujan Goldberg. As he explains to anyone who asks, he's a "hinjew".

Western Animation

  • Futurama has Father Changstein el-Gamal.
    • Bender Bending Rodriguez may also count.
  • Family Guy: When Peter finds out he's part black and changes his name, Chris decides to call himself Mobutu O'Malley.
  • Isabella Garcia-Shapiro from Phineas and Ferb. Appropriately enough, her mother seems to be an affectionate blend of Yiddish and Hispanic stereotypes.
  • The City Wok in South Park is owned by Tuong Lu Kim, whose name is Vietnamese-Chinese-Korean. However, it is later revealed that he is actually one of the personalities of the insane Dr. Janus.
  • Nigel Uno aka Numbuh One from Codename: Kids Next Door (who is presumably British) has a British first name but a Spanish last name, though admittedly this is Just for Pun.

Real Life

  • Bernardo O'Higgins, the liberator of Chile (part Spanish, part Irish).
  • "Carlos Murphy's" is a famous chain of Irish-Mexican restaurants.
  • One of the more famous examples is former NASA astronaut Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz.
  • Grant Imahara of Mythbusters.
  • African-American slave names.
    • Also found with a number of blacks who were born free or freed slaves who adopted their names by choice.
  • French actor Slimane-Baptiste "Slim" Berhoun (French/Algerian).
  • Japanese immigrants to Brazil often gave their children both a Japanese "family" name and a Portuguese "official" name, resulting in multiethnic first names.
  • Peru has had many Japanese immigrants over the years and it is not rare to encounter mixed Peruvian and Japanese names, like former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori.
  • A subtle example with Benito Mussolini. Although "Benito" sounds like it could be Italian, it is actually Spanish (his parents having named him after Mexican President Benito Juárez).
  • Of interesting note, baseball pitcher Bruce (Scottish) Chen (Chinese). You'd never guess where he's from. Panama.
  • This trope is a lot more common than you might think in the United States, where most people in urban or suburban settings are of mixed descent to some extent. Any matchup of a name like "James" or "John" with an Italian last name counts -- and, technically, unless the guy in question is a "Seamus" or "Sean", the same goes for Irish surnames, too (although since Ireland has been effectively anglicized for centuries, the dissonance is lost on modern listeners. That being said, Celtic given names have been increasingly popular across ethnic lines since The Nineties). For girls, names like "Juanita" and "Yolanda" are relatively common across all ethnic lines.
    • Every once in a while, you can find names in different languages that sound close enough together to be switched out in order to fit in better depending on where you are; Chinese men with the given names of "Zhang" or "Li" can easily go by "John" or "Lee" amongst English-speakers without actually changing their names. Hence The Reveal at the end of Shanghai Noon being Jackie Chan's character having a Punny Name: Zhang Wang.[2]
  • Keanu Reeves' given name is Hawai'ian.
    • Hawaii is a concentrated example of this trope having a very mixed population where "everyone is a minority" meaning no single race or culture comprises more than %50 of the population. This results in elaborate mixing of Japanese, Hawaiian, and American names. Also some random and made-up names just for fun.
  • How about Franklin Delano Roosevelt (English, French, Dutch)? Or Dwight David Eisenhower (English, Hebrew, German)?
  • Australian comedian and TV presenter Shaun Micallef - Irish first name (or rather an Anglicised spelling of an Irish name) and a Maltese surname.
  • NFL linebacker Scott Fujita...son of Rodney Fujita who is Japanese-American.
  • Former Superman actor Dean Cain whose real name is Dean George Tanaka.
  • Almost all Christian names are originally either Hebrew, Latin or Greek and do bear real meanings in those languages.
  • Actress Alanna Ubach has two German names, but is mostly of Puerto Rican descent.

Notes

  1. Anglo-Japanese-Chinese
  2. "John Wayne"
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