For the longest time, Kani had no name at all. He was someone that Tama met on the beach, but we never saw him again. Then my editor suggested that I name as many of the characters that Tama interacted with. I agreed that it would give them more presence, more relevance.
At that point I had already firmly settled on the name Tamaishi, so I started looking at jisho.org for names. Sometimes, the names just work out. Kani (蟹) literally means “crab”.
Kani is a long time resident of the Great Sea. He doesn’t enjoy the task of coming to the beach to find a new home, but he doesn’t have much choice — the one he has is constantly becoming too small! He makes fast friends with Tama when he gets a little help searching.
Originally, Kani was just too realistic, too crab like — and as such, he was too alien, too unapproachable. I gave him some large, friendly eyes and that pretty much did it.