Japanese names

I really like Japanese names but have no ties to the culture so I would hesitate to use them but I found some that I think would work without being hard to pronounce or seeming too crazy, what do you think? [name]Do[/name] you have any to add? [name]Feel[/name] free to correct my pronunciations if I’m wrong

Satomi (SAH toh mee) “beauty and wisdom” 'wise beauty" has more meanings according to other sites but they all pertain to beauty.

Manami (MAH nah mee) “love, affection” “beautiful love”

Sayuri (SAH yu ree) “small lily”

*Momoko - (MOH moh koh means "peach child) )I wouldnt use this but I know a Japanese girl with this name, it’s so cute

I love Japanese names. I’m a big fan of [name]Rin[/name] personally.

You do seem to have selected some with a minimum of pronunciation issues: no R, no E ending (which English speakers may not know isn’t silent), no successive vowels (which English speakers may not know are usually not blended, and if they are, paired vowels are often the most problematic to pronounce). I wouldn’t be quite so cautious myself… :wink:

A person with a Japanese name will get two assumptions. If they don’t show visible Asian ancestry, they will get “Japanophile”, which nowadays normally means “otaku”. As an otaku myself, I admit I make those assumptions… though they are statistically supported.

Examination of US naming statistics shows that most Japanese-Americans don’t have Japanese first names; there aren’t nearly enough given to make up for the proportion of the population that’s Japanese. This fits with the names of most Asian-Americans I know of. Even of the number that are given, I have to wonder how many are actually used by Japanese. The obvious outliers aren’t. Raiden - which to my knowledge isn’t used as a personal name in Japan, unlike Thor in Scandinavia - and Amaya are likely being used by parents who don’t know their origin or at least don’t care. (Raiden isn’t even said like Aiden, but like rider with an N!) Akira, used mainly on girls in the US, presumably dates to the movie of that name. I believe Akira is unisex in Japanese, but the US use is odd considering the eponymous hero of Akira is male. Off the top 1000, the relatively strong showing by Sayuri suggests the influence of Memoirs of a Geisha. I have no idea how common Sakura is in its home country - it’s certainly common in fiction, but it looks like the sort of name that might appeal more to writers than parents. Naturally, it does relatively well in English, because it’s Japan’s most familiar flower and thus something one might hope other English speakers could recognize.

Naturally, I have some attraction to Japanese names. Part of it is the sound: vowel-heavy but maintaining strong consonants, and they don’t automatically stress the first syllable.

My first test for a Japanese name is “Do I only think of one person when I hear it?”

I’ll give you girls and boy names. I love the sound of Japanese names too. :slight_smile: These are some I love (though there aren’t as many good ones for boys)


Akemi - bright beautiful
[name]Akira[/name] - bright clear
Asami - morning beauty
Atsuko - kind child
Emiko - beautiful blessing child
[name]Hana[/name] - flower
Haruka - spring flower
[name]Hiro[/name] - generous
Kamiko - superior child
Katsumi - victorious beauty
[name]Kimiko[/name] - empress child
[name]Michiko[/name] - beautiful wise child
[name]Naomi[/name] - honest beautiful
[name]Ren[/name] - lotus
[name]Sakura[/name] - cherry blossom
[name]Tamiko[/name] - child of many beauties


[name]Akira[/name] - bright
Haru - spring
[name]Hiro[/name] - generous
Junichi - obedient
Kenichi - strong, healthy
[name]Ren[/name] - lotus
Riku - land
[name]Sora[/name] - sky (though this is very Kingdom Hearts right now)
Takashi - prosperous
Takeshi - fierce warrior

Sora on a boy? I’ve only seen it on girls.

I looked through SSA data for Japanese names. However, I can’t tell if some names are Japanese or not. Some Hawaiian, Finnish, Nigerian, other African, Hebrew, Russian… etc. names can look Japanese if you don’t know. So, which of these are really Japanese and which aren’t? Many I know are, many I can’t remember seeing on anyone Japanese or in any Japanese source (which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not). I know it’s entirely possible that names that look the same exist in more than one language. Just to show how hard it can be, I left in a few of the definitely non-Japanese ones.

Kaito, Kenzo
(Makari - Russian/Greek)
Takumi, Riku
Yuki - I see Yuki (“snow”) more often on girls, though I have seen it sometimes as a boy’s name. In the US, it seems to be equally common on both.
Hiro - one of the most familiar Japanese names.
Sekou, Takeo, Aki, Akio
Takai - This is one of those cases where I can’t be sure if it’s Japanese or Hawaiian/other Pacific island origin.
Keiji, Ryo, Taiyo, Hiroto, Jiro, Koji, Neiko, Taiki, Kato, Keoki, Makoto, Rei, Sakai
(Tabari - Arabic?)
Akari, Sekai, Keita
Maika - I’ll guess this one isn’t
Takeru, Haruki, Hiroki, Kiyoshi, Ryota, Shinji, Yoshi, Hikaru, Hiroshi, Kaori, Keitaro
Kairi (more common on girls)
Komari, Kumari - These two are suspect.
Nagi, Takeshi
(Kojo - Ghanaian)
Kotaro, Sasuke, Seiji, Taishi, Tomoki, Kaiyu, Kamuri, Keigo, Kosuke, Naoki, Naoto, Shotaro, Sotero, Sourya, Hiroyuki
Ichigo - I’ve seen this as the word for “strawberry”. Sounds slightly odd to an English speaker, particularly as a boy’s name.
(Iniko - Nigerian)
Kenyi - Good chance this isn’t.
Ryusei, Ryuu, Satori, Takari, Taki, Takuto, Tomoya, Yuji

After Akira, Sakura, Sayuri and Yuri, Aiko is the commonest in the US.
Sarayu, Akemi, Sakina - Particularly the second looks Japanese, but I expect none are because I can’t recall seeing what would be some of the commonest Japanese names if they were.
Midori - “green”
Kimi, Kimiko, Saori
Suki - though some may be from its use as a nickname for Susannah, this is definitely a Japanese name
Yuki, Tamika, Sakari, Yui
Momoka - I’ll assume it’s related to Momoko “peach girl”, another of their fruit names.
Takara, Akiya, Haruka
Marika - Yes, this could be a form of Mary. I still suspect it’s Japanese, because I’ve seen Mari and Mariko.
Takia, Aimi, Keiko, Yukari, Akane, Ayame, Asuka
(Maika on this side too - what language is it?)
Shiori, Hikari, Keiri, Minami, Misaki
(I guess Miyani isn’t.)
Sachiko, Saki
(Takoda’s probably Native American.)
Akaya - or is it Hebrew?
Aoi - “blue”
Harumi, Hiromi, Kyomi, Mariko, Mayumi
Mieke - I’ve seen this claimed as Dutch several times, but also at least once as Japanese. It’s possible it’s like Naomi, a coincidentally duplicated name. The pronunciation wouldn’t be the same in Dutch and Japanese.
Miku, Miyoko, Mizuki, Oyuki, Rei, Reika, Rin, Saima, Shiza, Yumiko, Ayo
Kimori, Kumari - again suspect
(Mairi - Scottish, Miiaka - guess Finnish?)
(Shiri - Hebrew)
Yasuri, Yuzuki, Chika, Hanaki, Hidaya, Izumi, Kayori
Kenji - which I only knew of as a male name
Kiyoko, Maka, Michiko, Miyako, Momo, Natori, Rikiya, Riko, Sahori, Sakira, Ayano, Chiyo, Kumiko, Maki, Manami, Miko, Miniya, Miriya, Miu, Miyari, Nanako, Natsumi, Nishika, Nozomi, Sairi, Saiyuri, Sakara, Seiko, Yori
Yujin - I’m sure I’ve seen this name/word in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, so I’m not sure in which case it’s a female given name.
Yori, Aki, Ayako, Haruna
(Kaimi - Finnish. The most deceptively Japanese-looking of Finnish names, to the point I expect it might exist independently in Japanese.)
Kaomi, Koharu, Mako, Reiko, Rui, Rumi, Sumayo, Sumire, Sumiya, Yuriko
Yoshi - Another I only know of on boys. In general, names low on the SSA list show a significant number on the opposite gender, and I don’t know if this data is correct.

I’ve always liked the name Momoko, i think its so cute!!! :slight_smile:

(@triplicate - As far as I know [name]Sora[/name] is unisex, but is far more common for girls.)

Sayuri is so pretty, my favourite from your list, and Momoko is completely adorable. Japanese names always have such lovely meanings.

When you say an “R” it is a strange mixture of the standard English “R” sound, an “L” and a “D”. Kind of like a really light R, or at least a heavy L that sounds kind of like an R, kind of like a D. If you’re interested there are a lot of videos on YouTube that teach you how to make the sound.

Here are some Japanese names I think might work for the English speaker:
Haruna (hah-roo-nah)
Kaori (kah-oo-ree)
Misaki (mee-sah-kee, one of my favourites but very common in Japan)
[name]Rina[/name] (ree-nah)
[name]Takara[/name] (tah-kah-rah)
Akemi (ah-keh-mee, kind of like ahk-[name]Amy[/name])
Airi (ah-ee-ree)
Shiori (shee-oh-ree, one of my absolute favourites because it means “bookmark” :).)

[name]Ryo[/name] or Ryou (kind of like “r’yoh”, or “ree-oh” but smushed into one syllable. Rhymes with [name]Jo[/name])
Sho or Shou (shoh, also rhymes with [name]Jo[/name])
Kenta (kehn-tah. There’s also [name]Ken[/name], “kehn”, but people will probably just think that’s short for [name]Kenneth[/name] or [name]Kennedy[/name])
[name]Akio[/name] (ah-kee-oh)

Some of the names mentioned above appear also in Finnish, as was suspected. They might also be Japanese and coincidentally duplicated, or not .

Riku (boys, variation of Rikhard, [name]Rickard[/name], [name]Grigori[/name], [name]Gregori[/name] or [name]Risto[/name])
[name]Kimi[/name] (boys, from [name]Joachim[/name])
[name]Marika[/name] (girls, a form of [name]Maria[/name])
Airi (girls, I couldn’t find the etymology)
Saima (girls, derived from name of Saimaa lake, originally a name which has come from the [name]Sami[/name] people and the name is actually connected with the name of the people)
Kaimi and Miiaka however are not Finnish names actually, even though not impossible ones. Throughout the history, there have been a handful of children, both boys and girls with name Kaimi, but no Miiakas. Miia on the other hand is fairly popular Finnish name. Aika is Finnish for time, not used as a name.

Here are some Japanese names of some of my family members

I agree with this. I’m actually half-Chinese, and I don’t have a Chinese name. I have a nickname used when we go to Taiwan for my relatives, but not a given one. My mom moved her Chinese name to the middle spot and took on an English first name. It’s to avoid mispronunciation and to assimilate into the new culture. In college, I only met a couple of [name]Asian[/name] girls who actually did not take on an English name. The reasoning for this is usually because they plan on living in [name]China[/name] after college. They have no need to take on an English name.

Being a big fan of anime and mange, though I don’t know if I would consider myself an otaku, I think if you had no Japanese background and used the name, that would make you an otaku. There are just certain borders I wouldn’t cross. I’d save those pretty Japanese names for a pet.

From the Japanese students I used to teach, I loved [name]Naoko[/name] and Kaori for girls, and Keishi for a boy. However, I only love them on kids with some Japanese heritage. I think they’d look fairly bizarre and inappropriate on a Caucasian child.

If you love a name, use it*. [name]Don[/name]'t worry about what other people think :slight_smile:

*provided it’s really a name and isn’t religious/culturally offensive.

I like [name]Sakura[/name], and I also like the meaning. Exotic- ish sounding. I also really like the boy’s name [name]Nori[/name], which is Japanese. I looked it up after I heard it was what [name]Kim[/name] Kardashian and [name]Kanye[/name] [name]West[/name] were nick naming their daughter, [name]North[/name] [name]West[/name].

I don’t think you have to have ties, it’s just like using a french name if your not french. I have a few Japanese name son my list.

I think it depends how big the racial/cultural difference is. For example, I’m a Caucasian Australian. If I had a child, you couldn’t tell by looking at it that it wasn’t French. You could certainly tell that it had no Japanese heritage, though.

I don’t think it’s a big deal, but I think some sensitivity to cultural appropriation is warranted, for the child’s sake if nothing else. I’m a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, six-foot-tall Aussie. I’m glad I’m not named [name]Keiko[/name]. It’s just incongruous.

[name]Just[/name] my opinion.

I’ve always liked Kotomi (Koh-toh-me) and Mirai (Me-RAH-ee) (meaning: future).

I agree with pp, it depends on the size of the racial/cultural difference. For me though, it would be a bit odd to see a fully Caucasian child with an [name]Asian[/name] name.

I like Reika, [name]Reina[/name], and [name]Naomi[/name]. And I would use them without hesitation (well, [name]Naomi[/name] fights my surname, but I WOULD…) - but that is because all of them bear very close resemblance to names from my own culture, which is Jewish.

I like that [name]Reina[/name] has Yiddish, Spanish, and Japanese meanings, and none of them are unpleasant. There’s an appeal to a name that has a broad familiarity or simple sounds. I also don’t think there’s much room for offense there at my kids not looking Japanese.

That said, I do love [name]Midori[/name]. Shame that locally, people would think I named my baby after melon liqueur.

I always liked ‘Hanabi’ for a girl, but it’s a word in Japanese I would be using as a name, I don’t think it’s a Japanese name.

Issues of cultural appropriation are tricky, but for my otaku peeps…many of you have made it your culture, it’s not a whim.

A lot of the people I know of this persuasion have lived and worked in Japan, learnt that language, cook the food…

Manami is also a charming name, but then when you know someone lovely who has a name you tend to love it more :slight_smile: