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What are the most popular names in Japan?


Japan is a unique and fascinating country with its own distinct culture, language, and traditions. One of the most interesting aspects of Japanese culture is its naming conventions. Japanese names have a rich history and are often deeply meaningful. In this article, we’ll explore the most popular names in Japan and what they mean.

Traditional Japanese Names

Traditional Japanese names are usually composed of two or three characters, known as kanji. These characters have specific meanings and are chosen carefully to reflect the child’s personality or family values. Some popular traditional names for boys include Hiroto, meaning “abundant person,” and Yuto, meaning “gentle person.” For girls, popular traditional names include Sakura, meaning “cherry blossom,” and Ayumi, meaning “walk with purpose.”

Japanese Snack Box

Modern Japanese Names

In recent years, modern Japanese names have become more popular among parents. These names often combine traditional kanji with more modern or Western elements. For example, the name Haruto combines the traditional kanji for “sun” and “flying” with a more modern sound. Other popular modern names for boys include Ren, meaning “lotus,” and Sora, meaning “sky.” For girls, popular modern names include Riko, meaning “jasmine child,” and Hina, meaning “sunshine vegetables.”

Celebrity-Inspired Names

Like in many countries around the world, celebrity culture has a big impact on baby names in Japan. Popular Japanese celebrities often inspire parents to choose unique or trendy names for their children. For example, the name Yuzu has become popular in recent years thanks to the success of the Japanese pop duo of the same name. Other celebrity-inspired names include Mio, after actress Mio Yuki, and Mitsuki, after model Mitsuki Kimura.

Naming Trends

Naming trends in Japan are constantly evolving. In recent years, there has been a trend towards gender-neutral names that can be used for both boys and girls. Some examples of gender-neutral names include Haruka, meaning “distant,” and Akira, meaning “bright.” Another trend is the use of English words or phrases as part of a name. For example, the name Rina can mean both “jasmine” and “smiling face.”

Famous Historical Figures

Japanese history is full of famous figures whose names continue to inspire parents today. For example, the name Masamune is inspired by legendary swordsmith Masamune Okazaki. Other historical figures whose names remain popular include samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi and poet Matsuo Basho.

Meanings Behind Names

In Japan, the meanings behind names are often just as important as their sound or appearance. Parents carefully choose kanji characters that reflect their hopes and aspirations for their child’s future. For example, the name Aiko means “love child,” while Hikaru means “shining.” By choosing a name with a positive meaning, parents hope to give their child a strong foundation for a successful life.

Naming Customs

In Japan, there are certain customs and traditions associated with naming a baby. For example, it is common for babies to be given a nickname or informal name until they are old enough to choose their own formal name. Additionally, some families choose to give their children middle names as well as first names.

Popularity Rankings

Each year, the Japanese government releases a list of the most popular baby names in the country. These rankings are based on the number of babies registered with each name. In recent years, popular boy’s names have included Haruto and Yuto, while popular girl’s names have included Sakura and Himari.

Unusual Names

While traditional and popular names dominate in Japan, there are also plenty of unusual or unique options available. Some parents choose to give their children rare or obscure kanji characters as part of their name. Others opt for foreign or made-up names that don’t have any established meaning in Japanese culture.

Naming Laws

In Japan, there are strict laws governing what parents can and cannot name their children. Names must be made up of characters that are recognized by the government’s official list of approved kanji characters. Additionally, parents cannot choose a name that is offensive or disrespectful to others.


Japanese naming conventions offer a fascinating glimpse into this unique culture. Whether you’re looking for a traditional name with deep roots in Japanese history or a modern name that reflects current trends, there are plenty of options available to suit every taste and style. By carefully choosing a meaningful and positive name for their child, parents hope to set them on a path towards success and happiness in life.

What is the most common Japanese name?

In 2020, the most popular Japanese baby names written in Kanji were “蓮” for boys and “陽葵” for girls. Other popular names included “陽翔” for boys and “芽依” for girls. This information was released on December 8, 2020.

What is the #1 name in the world?

The top baby names for boys and girls over the past century have been James, Robert, John, Mary, Patricia, and Jennifer, among others, according to recent data.

Is hugging OK in Japan?

Showing physical affection such as hugging or kissing is considered impolite in Japan, even when it comes to friends or family members. Such gestures are typically reserved for romantic partners. One editor, Kanako, shared that she has never hugged any members of her family as an adult, although she is more comfortable hugging her foreign friends rather than those from Japan.

What is the #1 female name?

The top five most popular female names in each of the last 100 years have been compiled, with Olivia and Sophia currently ranking as the most popular names in 2020. Isabella was the second most popular name in 2019, while Emma and Sophia were the top two names in 2018.

What is a strong Japanese name?

The name Kenji (賢司) is derived from Japanese and means “strong.”

What is a normal Japanese first name?

When it comes to traditional first names, some examples include Isao (which means “virtue”), Kazuo (meaning “first-born”), Ken or Kenji (which means “to be in good health” and is often given to the youngest child), Yori (which means “worthy of trust”), Hiro (meaning “big”), Akira (which means “very intelligent”), and Akemi (which means “natural beauty”).

It’s worth noting that in Japan, surnames come before given names. This is the opposite of Western naming conventions, where given names come first followed by surnames. In Japan, surnames are usually inherited from the father’s side of the family and can indicate a person’s lineage or occupation. For example, the surname Yamamoto means “mountain origin,” while the surname Tanaka means “rice field middle.”

Another interesting aspect of Japanese naming conventions is the use of honorifics or suffixes to address others. These suffixes are added to a person’s name and indicate their relationship to the speaker. For example, the suffix -san is a polite way to address someone and can be used for anyone regardless of age or gender. The suffix -chan is often used for children or close friends, while -sensei is used to address teachers or other professionals.

Finally, it’s worth noting that while Japanese names have specific meanings, they are not always translated literally into English. For example, the name Haruka may be translated as “distant,” but it can also have connotations of elegance or grace. Similarly, the name Kenji may be translated as “intelligent second son,” but it can also convey a sense of strength or bravery. As with any culture, understanding the nuances and context behind a name is key to fully appreciating its meaning and significance.

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