Uncle Neji

I’m not entirely sure how I started feeling nostalgic about Naruto again today, however I found myself looking up Hyuuga Neji again. He was one of my favourite characters in the series - stoic, powerful with a vulnerable side, but also the ability to soldier on, and protective of his companions where it counted. That he was really cute didn’t hurt as well.. I have a thing for long haired men it seems.

Anyway, the Trivia section of Neji’s page was what caught my eye, as it described his relationships with some of the other characters.

Neji shares his relation as first cousin once-removed with Boruto and Himawari. Despite being a cousin to Himawari, she calls him uncle out of respect just as Hinata calls him her brother, in view of genetics in some regions, Neji might be considered as uncle, since Hinata and Neji fathers' are identical twins, Neji and Hinata could be considered as half-siblings, but they are indeed first cousin in relation to each other.

While I’m not sure about the particulars of why Hinata calls Neji her ‘brother’, it is true that if there is someone elder than you that you look up to and respect, it’s likely you would address them with ‘older brother’ or ‘older sister’. But calling one’s elders ‘uncle’ or ‘aunty’ regardless of the relationship is not an uncommon thing to do in Asian culture and I would think Japanese as well, which is clearly what Naruto is modelled on in many ways (and not in some).

In this sense I can’t help but feel like Western readers of the series are reading into this more than is really necessary.

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