Japanese Girls' Names
Japanese Girls' Names
||Taken from Japanese
Names and Meanings.
Girls' Names A to D · E to I · J to L · M to R · S to Z
Most of the Japanese female names on this list are from an earlier generationall
the -ko, -e, and -yo names that were ragingly popular at the turn
of the century, but that sound slightly dated now. Since 1980, the
popularity of these traditional names has fallen, and names ending
in -ka, -na, and -mi (beautiful) have taken over the top-ten lists
of popular Japanese girls' names.
This dramatic shift is common in Japanese naming practice. Unlike
in the West, where a name may be in constant use for thousands of
years, in Japan names cycle out of use in a matter of generations.
Names from The Tale of Genji have been dead for ages; the
hot names of the 17th and 18th centuries are now used only for actors'
and geishas' stage names;
even names from the late 19th century sound hopelessly dated. One
one hand, that means that there are layers upon layers of fresh
names awaiting onomasts. On the other hand, if you're using this
page to find a name for your Feudal Era heroine, you're out of luck.
Most of these names would sound as out-of-place as a 17th-century
English girl named Keisha.
You may notice that there are very few names starting with B, D, G, J,
or Z. These voiced consonants sound rough and uncivilized; the Japanese
far prefer the refinement of unvoiced consonants like Ch, F, H, K, S,
Sh, and T. This is true not only of personal names, but of all names.
Note that the suffixes don't necessarily have anything to do with the
"stem" of the name. Fujiko, wisteria + child, doesn't mean "child
of the wisteria"; Nishie, west + tree branch, does not mean "tree
branch that points west" or "tree branch from the west."
The suffixes indicate mainly that the word is a name and not a noun, in
much the same way that Romance languages tack -a or -ia onto the end of
women's names. Each suffix presumably has a flavor of its own, but I'll
leave it to a native Japanese onomast to explain them.
Because of this sporadic meaning-blindnesswhich affects all Japanese
naming conventionsthe meanings below contain some brain-busting
combinations. Patterned accordingly? Sound of jewels Nara? Think of these
combinations as individual syllables that sound good together, rather
than a name with a single meaning.
I have included -ko, -e, and -yo names with their stem names, and I'm
in the process of bringing -ka, -ki, -ho, -mi, -na, -ne, -no, -o,
and -ri names together under their stem names as well. Where the
stem doesn't stand alone, I'm listing the cluster of names under
the -ko form.
These names are only the ones I've seen attested to in modern name
lists. There may be variants I haven't run into; for example, the
only variants of Sayo on this list are Sayoko, Sayomi, and Sayori,
but the names Sayoe and Sayona are also possibilities. If you're
using this list to generate character names, feel free to swap suffixes
-e (bay or tree branch), -ko (child), -ki (tree), -mi (beauty),
-na (Nara?), -no (field), -o (generation; also a boy's suffix)
On to the names: Girls' Names A to D · E to I · J to L · M to R · S to Z · Japanese Boys' Names
in Japanese Baby Names - Also includes a comprehensive list of names.
Name Gender Finder - A loooooong list of girls', boys', and
Names - A short list of boys' and girls' names with meanings and kanji.
Japanese Names - A list of common first and last names with
alternate spellings in kanji.
name @ Wikipedia - The history and structure of Japanese names.
options raise the stakes in the "Name that Baby" game
- A Japan Times article about the addition of new kanji to the jinmei
kanji, the list of kanji permitted for use in names.
For more names, or for kanji spellings, go to the Japanese
<-> English Dictionary Server. You may have a hard time picking
out the spelling that corresponds to the name's meaning because the Japanese
play a sort of literary game with names. Any kanji whose reading fits
the sound of the name can be substituted for the original kanji, with
extra points given for piquant new meanings. For example, Shishiwakamaru,
the bloodthirsty swordsman of Yu Yu Hakusho, is named shishi (lion), waka
(young), -maru (a common suffix for samurai boys' names). However, Shishi
is written not with the "lion" kanji, but with a doubled kanji
that means "death" (shi), so his name appears to mean "death-death-young-maru."
Native speakers know that "death-death" is a kanji pun for "lion."
Therefore, when you go to the dictionary server, you'll
find that many names have several, even dozens of, spellings. If
you can't figure out which combination of kanji is the name's original
meaning, just pick the prettiest and go with it.
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