‘Money Heist’: Tokyo’s Real Name Has a Mythological Connotation

Who is Tokyo in Netflix’s hit TV show La Casa de Papel? Part of Money Heist’s cleverness lies with its characters: Nairobi, Lisbon, Denver, Berlin, Rio, Tokyo, Stockholm, Manila, Bogotá, Marseille, Moscow, Oslo, and Helsinki. Why? One thing that’s worked in the crew’s favor is using city names as pseudonyms.

Along the way, viewers learned some of their real identities when digging into their backstories. Not much is known about Tokyo’s family, but her real name is kind of poetic.

[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Money Heist Season 5 Volume 1]

'Money Heist' with Ursula Corbero as Tokyo
‘Money Heist’ with Ursula Corbero as Tokyo | Netflix

Tokyo’s real name is Silene

Úrsula Corberó has done a magnificent job playing Tokyo in all five seasons of Money Heist. Introduced as a passionate, tough rebel with an appetite for heists, Tokyo could be calm or furious. When in love, she tended to be intense. Her crew knew that, but did everyone know the real Silene Oliveira?

That’s Tokyo’s real name, and it’s the woman who was on the run from authorities in Madrid when Professor hired her. On one hand, Silene is the name of a flower whose symbolism represents youthful love. However, it’s also connected to an ancient goddess in Greek mythology.

Silene is derived from Selene, a moon goddess

In the Greek pantheon, Selene was a moon deity, specifically a Titan goddess. According to lore, each night, she drove her chariot from the ocean to the sky, lighting it up for its nightly cycle. Selene was the personification of the moon, and Silene is a variation of her name which signifies light, beauty, and brightness.

The goddess was also known for her busy love life. She had dalliances with Zeus, Pan, and there’s a famous myth about her and Endymion, the young human who stole her heart. She spotted him from above and thought he was so beautiful that she fell in love. Because he was human, she called on Zeus to arrange for him to have immortality, but it came at a price.

Endymion has been compared to Sleeping Beauty, as Selene’s own spell locked him in sleeping state where he could only sleep and make to love her in his dreams — forever.

Tokyo’s had life-altering lovers too  

Season 5 of Money Heist showed part of Tokyo’s backstory with René, one of the great loves in her life. They fell in love, went on a crime spree, and parted when he died during a robbery. Heartbroken, she did not expect to find love with the much younger Rio.

Tokyo may not have driven a moon chariot across the night sky, but she brought her light into Rio’s life. Their love affair drove her to break protocol (like Selene) and call on Professor to break him out of prison.

Early in their relationship, they crept around at night to keep their rule-breaking romance a secret. A smitten Rio once promised to buy her a rock so big she’d need a wheelbarrow. Despite their breakup later on, they still had deep feelings for each other.

And in the end, Tokyo looked down through that hole in the floor to make peace with death and to bid Rio adieu. She urged him to create a new life in a way that she’d done multiple times in the past and present. But like Selene and Endymion, Tokyo and Rio have an epic — yet tragic — love story that people will remember.

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