And kanji with manga
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

tangan 単眼

In Japanese, tangan 単眼 means "one-eyed," like a cyclops.

See sekigan 隻眼 for "one-eyed" in the sense of having lost one eye.

Manako マナコ, example of one-eyed monster girl.
Character: Manako マナコ
Anime: Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou: Hobo Mainichi ____! Namappoi Douga, 「モンスター娘のいる日常」ほぼ毎日○○!生っぽい動画 (ONA)

Meaning

The word tangan 単眼 is formed by two morphemes:
  • tan

    Simple. (as opposed to complex.)
    Singular. (as opposed to plural.)
  • gan

    Eye.

The term is used to refer to something that only has one eye. It's synonymous with:
  • hitotsu-me
    一つ目
    One eye.
  • monoai
    モノアイ
    Mono-eye.

These terms can refer to four different things:
  1. Animals that only have one eye.
  2. Simple eye, or pigment pit, a kind of arthropod eye.
  3. A birth defect.
  4. Fantasy characters that only have one eye.

Now, here comes a public service announcement:

DO NOT GOOGLE tanganshou 単眼症, "cyclopia," which is the term for a fatal birth defect in which you're born with just one eye in the middle of your head so your cranial structure is all messed up and you probably can't survive that way. I'm not actually sure, to be honest, because I noped out of the Wikipedia page as the images started loading.

In fact, do not even google tangan 単眼 either. That looks dangerous, so I wouldn't recommend it.

You can search for tangan 単眼 on Pixiv, where it's all illustrations of fantasy characters, but on google, where there are photos of real life imagery, you don't want to do it.

The cyclops is one of the most well-known one-eyed fantasy character. There are two ways to say "cyclops" in Japanese:
  • saikuropusu
    サイクロプス
    A katakanization of cyclops, the English word.
  • kyukuropusu
    キュクロプス
    A katakanization of κύκλωψ, the Greek word for cyclops.

Of course, Greece isn't the only culture with one-eyed mythical characters. Some Japanese youkai 妖怪 are also one-eyed. Not to mention there are one-eyed characters based on other things. For example:

Bill Cipher, example of one-eyed character.
Character: Bill Cipher
Anime: Gravity Falls (Episode 19)
  • purobindensu no me
    プロビデンスの目
    Eye of Providence, also known as the Illuminati all-seeing eye of God, is a triangle with a single eye on it, and the basis for the design of Bill Cipher.

In Arthropods

In arthropods, insects, and so on, tangan refers to a "simple eye." The opposite term is fukugan 複眼, "compound eye."

前翅, 後翅, 触覚, 単眼, 複眼
Manga: Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou, モンスター娘のいる日常 (Volume 11)
  • The design for Killa キーラ, a killer bee monster girl, includes:
  • zenshi
    前翅
    Forewing. (of an insect.)
  • koushi
    後翅
    Hindwing. (of an insect.)
  • shokkaku
    触覚
    Antennae. (not to be confused with ahoge アホ毛.)
  • tangan
    単眼
    Simple eyes.
  • fukugan
    複眼
    Compound eyes.

Consequently, you can end up in a situation where a character that has multiple eyes technically has tangan 単眼, because those eyes are "simple eyes."

Rachnera Arachnera ラクネラ・アラクネラ, example of six-eyed character.
Character: Rachnera Arachnera ラクネラ・アラクネラ
Anime: Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou: Hobo Mainichi ____! Namappoi Douga, 「モンスター娘のいる日常」ほぼ毎日○○!生っぽい動画 (ONA)

Naturally, when talking about anime characters, illustrations, tangan 単眼 means "single eye," not "simple eye," so a multi-eyed spider wouldn't count. See tagan 多眼 for characters with more than two eyes.

Monster Girls

Common Japanese terms for one-eyed monster girls are:
  • tangan-musume
    単眼娘
    One-eyed girl.
    Monoeye girl.
    Cyclops girl.
  • tangan-shoujo
    単眼少女
    (same meaning.)

Roku 六, Nana 七, and their wife, Tsuchikiyose Tetsuji 土清世徹司.
Top: Tsuchikiyose Tetsuji 土清世徹司
Left: Roku
Right: Nana
Anime: Jingai-san no Yome 人外さんの嫁 (Episode 7)
  • Roku, Nana, and their wife, Tsuchikiyose, part of an inter-species, role-reversed, polygamous marriage.
    • jingai-san no yome
      人外さんの嫁
      A wife [that] {is non-human}. (no.)
      A wife of a non-human. (yes.)
    • See also: no-adjectives.

Examples

For reference, some examples of one-eyed characters.

Fantasy Races

One-eyed monster girls are often just some a kind of fantasy race or monstrous species.
  • Manako's race is called "monoeye," monoai モノアイ, as gikun for tanganshu 単眼種, "single-eye species."
Megalo メガロ, example of one-eyed monster girl.
Left: Megalo メガロ
Right: unnamed receptionist
Anime: Ishuzoku Reviewers, 異種族レビュアーズ (Episode 5)
  • Megalo, who works in a brothel specialized in cyclops girls, tangan-musume 単眼娘, being introduced by the receptionist.
  • In the series, the one-eyed race finds eyeballs of larger sizes attractive.
  • The terms kyogan 巨眼 and hingan 貧眼, literally "giant eye" and "poor eye," are used to refer to larger and smaller eyes, respectively.
  • Although kyogan is a word in Japanese, hingan is not. These terms were made up from two common terms for breast sizes: kyonyuu 巨乳 and hin'nyuu 貧乳, which refer to large and small breasts, respectively.

Aliens

Some one-eyed characters are one-eyed because they're aliens coming from outer space, other galaxies, and that sort of stuff.

Boros ボロス, example of one-eyed character.
Character: Boros ボロス
Anime: One Punch Man, ワンパンマン (Episode 11)
  • Boros is an alien, hence why he has a single eye, and blue skin, and elf ears.

Aiwarn アイワーン, example of one-eyed monster girl.
Character: Aiwarn アイワーン
Anime: Star☆Twinkle Precure, スター☆トゥインクルプリキュア (Episode 16)
  • Aiwarn is an alien, hence why she has a single eye, and purple skin, and elf ears.

Turanga Leela, example of one-eyed monster girl.
Character: Turanga Leela
Anime: Futurama (Episode 2)

  • Leela is an alien, hence why she has a single eye, and skin-colored skin, and ears.

Apparitions

Some one-eyed youkai 妖怪:

Hitotsume-kozou 一つ目小僧, an one-eyed youkai 妖怪.
Character: Hitotsume-kozou 一つ目小僧
Anime: Gegege no Kitarou ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 (2007) (Episode 91)

Hitotsume Nyuudou 一ツ目入道, example of one-eyed character.
Character: Hitotsume Nyuudou 一ツ目入道
Anime: Nurarihyon no Mago ぬらりひょんの孫 (Episode 1)
  • hitotsume-nyuudou 一つ目入道 is part of the Japanese folklore.
  • He has his own Wikipedia page, too.

Miage Nyuudou 見上げ入道, example of one-eyed youkai 妖怪.
Character: Miage Nyuudou 見上げ入道
Anime: Gegege no Kitarou ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 (2018) (Episode 2)
  • miage-nyuudou 見上げ入道 is part of the Japanese folklore.
  • He also has his own Wikipedia page.

Fuumin フゥミン, example of one-eyed monster girl.
Character: Fuumin フゥミン
Anime: Youkai Watch, 妖怪ウォッチ (Episode 21)
  • A monster girl whose eye has the power to cause "insomnia," fumin 不眠.
  • She doesn't have her own Wikipedia page, because she's not part of the Japanese folklore, she's just a character Youkai Watch made up.

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