Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why The School's Name In My Hero Academia Means More Than You Think

East meets West, so to speak, is the very premise of hit media property My Hero Academia. Whereas its world is populated by superheroes in the mold established by American comic books, its story is much more akin to Japanese shonen predecessors like Naruto or Hunter x Hunter.

Also like many shonen series before it, My Hero Academia surrounds its protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, with a large supporting cast of superpowered heroes (or in the case of Midoriya and his classmates, heroes-in-training). My Hero Academia's version of a superhero is unlike those featured in the majority of American comics because, in My Hero Academia, superheroes are commonplace. As Midoriya explains in the opening credits of some episodes, in the series, around 80 percent of the population of the Earth was born with a genetic mutation called a quirk. These are special abilities of varying strength. Some quirk users, generally with stronger abilities, ultimately end up applying them to fighting crime. To do so in an official capacity, however, requires extensive schooling.

The central location in My Hero Academia is U.A. High School, where Midoriya and the rest of the series' main characters study how to fight crime with their unique abilities. Despite its importance to the series, the in-fiction origin of "U.A." is never explained, nor is the acronym even unpacked. That said, the name becomes significant when written in full in its original Japanese spelling.

My eiyuu academia

In Japanese, the high school Midoriya and his friends attend is called 雄英高校, which can be written in English letters as yuuei koukou. The latter two characters of the school's Japanese name, romanized as koukou, mean high school. The first two characters, romanized as yuuei, have no inherent meaning when combined with one another in that order. Individually, 雄 denotes "masculinity," and 英 signifies "England." So, 雄英 could be understood to mean something to the effect of "English masculinity."

However, more important to the school's name is that reversing those two characters results in the Japanese word for superhero — 英雄 or eiyuu (though ヒーロー, or hiirou, is used more frequently to refer to superheroes throughout the series). The school's full Japanese name, therefore, is something of a pun that nevertheless approximates a name that a real-life Japanese high school would be given.

Transliterating the invented word in the school's name into U.A. in the English versions of My Hero Academia is no error. Its English name comes from the fact that yuuei phonetically sounds like "U.A." This is denoted even in the Japanese version of the series, appearing in the design of its students' combat uniforms (blue with a white U.A. design) and even the shape of the school's main building. Thus, since the original Japanese pun is essentially untranslatable, virtually all English-language versions of My Hero Academia simply stick with U.A., which, while nonsense without its Japanese metacontext, still sounds believably like the name of a fictional high school.