While watching a speedrun, I've come across something weird between versions of Breath of the Wild. Between languages, it seems the shrine names change. Not completely, but to me it is a weird change.

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On the left is the GameGrumps playthrough, in English. The first shrine in the game is named 'Oman Au'.

On the right, is a speedrun, using the French version. The first shrine in the game is named 'Ma'Ohno'.

It would be a weird thing to change in localisation, letting me think that Shrine names might mean more than just names.

So is it just a localisation thing, or is there more meaning to the shrine names I'm not seeing?

  • 7
    Is your claim that "Names never change during Localization?" because all of the 700+ pokémon beg to differ... Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 2:06
  • I would assume it's localized translations from Hylian. Since Shrine and Sanctuary are the English/French portion of the name. 'Oman Au' isn't English, uses English Characters, puts its likely a Hylian name translated to English since the English to French translation doesn't come out to Ma'Ohno
    – Ramhound
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 2:11
  • @RavenDreamer This assumtion is false. I realized this summer after opening Pokemon Go in french that most pokemon are a combination of a few words, and those words are translated to give the name in French. Ex: Blastoise -> Blast + Tortoise in french is Tortank -> Tortue (Tortoise) + Tank (Tank). I don't see such a comparison that can be done with the shrine names.
    – Fredy31
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 14:59
  • When translating names from a non-roman alphabet to a roman alphabet the localization team often change the name a bit to match the original sound it has while also making it a little more "usual" to the language. Take, for instance, the name Link. Originally (in japanese) it literally translates to Rinku (zelda.wikia.com/wiki/Link). By pronouncing it in japanese (Rinku), the sound is very close to it's name adapted in english (Link). Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 16:09
  • @Ramhound Breath of the Wild uses 6th Hylian IIRC, which translates to English. And so does Ancient Shiekah; the letters map to Latin and give English words when translated (e.g. the platform in front of the monk has "GOAL" written on it).
    – Egor Hans
    Commented Apr 13, 2019 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


Shrines (and their corresponding monks) can be linked to Zelda staff members.

According to this wiki page on gamepedia:

Oman Au is an anagram of Aonuma.
Eiji Aonuma is the lead producer for The Legend of Zelda series.

The Japanese name of the shrine is マ・オーヌの祠 (Ma Ōnu no Hokora), meaning Ma Ōnu Shrine
The Italian name of the shrine is Sacrario di Mau Ona, meaning Mau Ona Shrine.
The French name of the shrine is Sactuaire de Ma'Ohnu, meaning Ma Ohnu Shrine.

These are all anagrams of different translations / romanizations of the name Aonuma.

Quoting from this video of DidYouKnowGaming:

Aonuma is not the only developer that was referenced in this way:
Other monks and shrines are also named after zelda staff:

Zalta Wa Shrine -> Satoru Takizawa ( Art Director )
Sasa Kai Shrine -> Hiroshi Sakasai ( Designer )
Katosa Aug Shrine -> Katsuhisa Sato ( Physics Programmer )

Naming each shrine and monk after a member of the staff was actually suggested by Satoru Takizawa himself.

Based on these examples, not all shrine names are direct anagrams of staff member names, which might make correlating more names to staff members a bit more difficult.

It is still unclear to me whether such a link does indeed exist for every shrine/monk, or that this was only suggested but never fully realized.

Following the sources in the description of the DidYouKnowGaming video, I came back to gamepedia, which has a page with namesakes for many more monks.

Interesting to note is that on the same day I originally posted this answer, a user named TriforceTony added a lot more names to this list!

  • They probably are, or partners and/or children. Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 22:02
  • Not 100% sure, but I seem to recall someone, when mentioning the Aonuma anagram on Reddit, also saying that at least one other shrine is a developer anagram as well.
    – Egor Hans
    Commented Apr 13, 2019 at 16:20

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