It is not always so easy to decide a name for someone, it is a complex task because it involves a mixture of influences, and it may not seem like it, but both writing and phonetics are also important methods used when it comes to being sure that the most appropriate name has been given.
In Japan, one of the things that can influence even more than all of this is traditions and culture. In this country, it is believed that the name they choose for their son or daughter can influence the child’s character, as well as their success and performance in their life, and can also determine the physical aspects and their qualities.
Being structurally simple compared to other countries, every Japanese has only a first name and a surname, without the famous middle name that is implemented in many countries. So, if you want to understand a little more and choose a beautiful name for your child, just read this article!
Structure of Proper Names and Some Curiosities
Although there is a Japanese law determined by the country’s Ministry of Justice that demands parents to choose Kanji script when they choose the name, as they are easier to read and write. However, the names can also be written with Hiragana, Katana, or even a combination of Kanji and Kana.
The choice of names by phonetics is also considered an important detail, ignoring even the meanings behind it. Most Japanese names usually end with ko (child), or mi (beauty), with ai (love) being one of the exceptions.
As some kanji have different pronunciations, they end up gaining other interpretations as well. Therefore, there is not only one meaning for Japanese words, but this also applies to names, and there is no literal meaning in Japanese writing or speech.
These changes go beyond writing and can change according to the region of Japan. For example, we can mention the name Sakura, which can be achieved with the combination of flower and goddess, or it can be cherry blossom or sand + eternity + silk, this being one of the most popular female names.
The 6 Most Popular Female and Male Names in Japan
Most of the names that will be cited are already very popular, and generally used in anime and video game’s characters, in addition to the choice of names with two kanji seem to be the most chosen at the moment, especially those with “heart”, “love” and “sakura” between the ideograms. Other names like Kanna or Mio, are already directed by their sonority at the junction of ideograms.
Popular Male Names
Yuri is at the top of the list, having a particular meaning – the “small farmer”, or “the one who works with the land”, or even “the light of God”. The second most famous name, and used many times in anime is Naruto, which means “fish batter served over the ramen”, also being the name of a Japanese city. Another popular name that was also used in the anime and manga, Naruto, the name Sasuke, which means “the one who helps”.
If you want to give the meaning of someone “brilliant or talented”, the perfect choice for your child’s name would be Akira, which could even mean “excellent autumn”, since aki is autumn and laughter is good/excellent. Another famous name can be used in both genders, but is used mostly for men, the name Yuki means “superior hope”, or “enlightened bravery”, also referring to an important character in Japanese mythology.
Last but not the least, there is another character from a world-famous anime, Goku, from Dragon Ball Z, which has a strong meaning – “heavenly enlightenment”, and it has a special day in Japan to celebrate its popularity.
Popular Female Names
Naomi may seem like a non-Japanese name, however, Japanese traditional name, and it has many meanings, such as “my sweetness”, “beautiful honesty”, among others. Also being used around the world, and having popularity in Brazil, the name Ayumi has the meaning of “reason for Asian beauty”, or even “reason for Asia being beautiful”.
A name with more prominence in the geek world is Yumi, which was used in Sega’s game, Yakuza, meaning “abundant beauty” or “extremely beautiful woman” carrying with it the essence of beauty. Reflecting attributes of delicacy and beauty, the name Sayuri has a graceful meaning, being the “little lily” or “lily that is born early”, symbolizing purity and innocence.
Having both Hawaiian and Japanese origins, the name Mahina can mean “moon”, “goddess”, “the enlightened one” or even “young bird”, it has become a fairly common name in French Polynesia. Akemi is a strong female name of Japanese origin, and it can reflect your child’s light since its meaning can be “the one that shines beautifully”, “beautiful light”, or “the beautiful dawn”.
No Matter What Name You’ll Choose, Your Child Was Born Unique
We know that culture and tradition are very important, as well as the name you have, but don’t get carried away only by what it means, make the meaning show, let it all be visible!
Have fun at the time of the choice, be sure that the ideal name will appear for your child, and remember to research a lot if there are still doubts.