Characters in Japanese Names

Japanese names are usually written in kanji (Chinese characters), although some names use hiragana or even katakana, or a mixture of kanji and kana. While most “traditional” names use kanji readings kun’yomi (native Japanese), a series of names and surnames use on’yomi reading kanji (Chinese). Many others use readings that are used only in names (nanori), such as the female name Nozomi (希). The majority of family names includes one, two or three kanji characters. There is also a small number of four or five names of kanji as Teshigawara (勅使 河 原), Kutaragi (久 多 良 木) and Kadenokōji (勘 解 由 小路), but these are extremely rare. (As the apostrophe in English), and corresponding to の character, it is often included in the names, but not written as a separate character, as is the common name 井上 (i-no-ue, good (possessive) -Top / above , top of the well), or historical figures such as Sen no Rikyu. The majority of personal names use one, two or three kanji. Four syllable names are common, especially among older son.

As mentioned above, female names often end with the syllable ko, written with the kanji meaning “child” (子), or me, written with the kanji meaning “beautiful” (美).
Using -k (子) has changed considerably over the years: before the Meiji Restoration (1868), was reserved for members of the imperial family. After restoration, it became popular and was common écrasantement in the Taisho and early Showa era of. The suffix -k or increased in popularity after the mid-20th century. Around 2006, on grounds of nationality of popular artists imitating habits name, the -k suffix is ​​declining in popularity. At the same time, the Western origin names, written in kana, has become increasingly popular for naming girls. In 2004, there was a tendency to use hiragana instead of the kanji in the name of the girls. Molly Hakes, author of the book Everything Conversational Japanese: basic instructions to talk about this fascinating language in any context, said this may have to do with the use of Hiragana of cultural pride, as well as the form of native Japanese hiragana script, or do not assign a meaning to the name of a girl so that others do not have a particular expectation of it.

The names ending in -k dropped significantly in popularity in the mid-1980s, but they are always given, although much less than in the past. sometimes male names end with the syllable ko, but very rarely by the kanji 子 (usually, if a noun ends in -ko ends in -hiko, using 彦 kanji meaning “boy”). The common male name endings are shi and -o; The names ending with -shi are often adjectives, eg, Atsushi which might mean, for example, “(be) faithful.” In the past (before World War II), the names written with katakana were common for women, but this trend seems to have lost favor. The Hiragana names for women are not unusual. The Kana names for boys, particularly those written in hiragana, have historically been very rare. This may be in part because the hiragana script is considered female; In medieval Japan, women are generally not taught kanji and wrote exclusively in hiragana.

Names can not begin with the syllable n (ん, ン); This is in common with other appropriate Japanese words, even if colloquial words begin with ん, as ん ま い (NMAI, う ま い variant umai, delicious). Some names end in n: the male names Ken, Shin and Jun are examples. The syllable n should not be confused with the consonant n, whose names can begin; For example, the female name Naoko (尚 子) or Naoya male (直 哉). (The consonant n must be combined with a vowel to form a syllable.)

A large family of category names can be classified as “-for” names. The kanji 藤, meaning wisteria, has the TO on’yomi (or, with rendaku, do). Many Japanese have nicknames that include this kanji as the second character. This is because the Fujiwara clan (藤原 家) gave their names Samurai (myoji) ends with the first character of their names to indicate their status at a time when ordinary people were not allowed surnames. Examples include ATO, Ando, ​​Ito (although a different final kanji is also common), Udo, ETO Endo, Goto, Jitō, Katou, Kito, Kudo, Kondo, Saito, Sato, Shindo, sudo, Naito, Bitonto and Mute. . As we have already mentioned, some of the most common surnames in this list. The Japanese usually names include characters that refer to places and geographic features.

Structure of Japanese Names

Most Japanese have a name and a last name, no other names, with the exception of the Japanese imperial family, whose members have no name. The family name – myoji (苗 字 or 名字), Uji (氏) or six (姓) – precedes the given name, called “Name” – (mei 名) or “less name” (下 の 名 前 shita no namae ). The name given may be called “lower name” because in Japanese vertical writing, the name given appears under the name. People with Japanese and foreign mixed descent may have names.

Historically, myoji, Uji and six had different meanings. Six was originally the name patrilineal, which is the reason why until now has just granted by the emperor as a title for the row of men. The lowest form of the name is TEI six which is a common name among Japanese men. Although there was a male ancestor in ancient Japan, where the name of ‘Six’ came originally. There have been relatively few are, and most of the medieval noble clans trace their lineage directly to these six or courtiers of these six. Uji was another name used to refer to patrilineal descent, but later merged with myoji around the same time. Myoji was simply what a family chooses to name as opposed to the six granted by the Emperor. Although it was broadcast patrilineally male ancestors, including in male ancestors called Haku (uncles), there was a certain degree of freedom to change myoji. See also Kabane.

Several Japanese characters have similar pronunciations, so many Japanese names have different meanings. A particular kanji itself can have different meanings and pronunciations. In some names, the Japanese characters phonetically “spell” name and have no intended meaning behind them. Many Japanese people names use puns.

Very few names can be used as family names or names (eg Mayumi 真弓, Kaneko 金子, Masuko 益 子 新 or Arata). Therefore, those who know the Japanese names, which name is the surname and which is the name given is usually obvious, it does not matter in which order the names are presented po This makes it unlikely that the two names will be confused, when you write in English while using the family name. However, because of the variety of pronunciations and language differences, some names and common names can coincide when Romanized (? 昌 司, 昭 次 or 正 二), for example, Shoji (Name) and Shoji (庄 司, 庄子, 東海林 or 小路?) (Surname).

Japanese names have distinct differences from the Chinese names through the selection of characters in a name and pronunciation. A Japanese person can distinguish a Japanese name of a Chinese name him. Akie Tomozawa, author of “The Hidden Bible languages ​​of Japan: the languages ​​of the” war orphans “and their families after China’s repatriation,” said that this amounts to “how Europeans can easily say that the name Smith Schmidt is English and “East German or” Victor “is English or French, and” Vittorio “is Italian.”

Japanese Names

Japanese names (日本人 の 氏 名 Nihonjin Simei not?) in modern times usually consist of a family name (surname), followed by a name. Over a name it is not usually used. Japanese names are usually written in kanji, which are Chinese characters in general, but in the Japanese pronunciation. The kanji for a name may have a variety of possible Japanese pronunciations, where parents could use hiragana or katakana name giving birth to their baby. The names written in hiragana or katakana are phonetic rendering, and therefore do not have the visual sense of names expressed in the logographic kanji.

The Japanese names are extremely varied: according to estimates, there are over 100,000 different surnames in use today in Japan. The three most common surnames in Japan are Sato (佐藤), Suzuki (鈴木) and Takahashi (高橋). This diversity contrasts sharply with the situation in other countries in the East Asian cultural sphere, reflecting a different story: while the Chinese family names have been used for thousands of years and were often a reflection of an entire clan or adopted noble (with or without any genetic relationship) and were then transferred to Korea and Vietnam with noble names, the vast majority of modern Japanese family names dating only back to the 19th century, following the Meiji restoration, and were chosen to taste. The recent introduction of surnames has two additional effects: Japanese names have become prevalent when the country had a very large population (over 30 million at the beginning of the Meiji era – see Demographics of Imperial Japan) instead of dating from Eastern antiquity 300 000, for example – see Demographics of Japan before the Meiji Restoration), and for a short period of time, the Japanese names have not suffered a loss so important that the much longer history China.

The names appear with frequency varies in different regions; For example, the names Chinen (知 念), Higa (比 嘉), and Shimabukuro (島 袋) are common in Okinawa but not in other parts of Japan; This is mainly due to differences in language and culture of the people and Yamato Okinawa. Many Japanese family names derive from the characteristics of the campaign; For example, Ishikawa (石川) means “stone river”, Yamamoto (山 本) means “the base of the mountain”, and Inoue (井上) means “above the well.”

While last names follow relatively consistent rules, the data names are much more diverse in pronunciation and the use of characters. Although many common names can be easily written or spoken, many parents choose names with unusual characters or pronunciations and such names can not be written or uttered unless no data spelling and pronunciation. pronunciations unusual especially become common, this trend has increased significantly since 1990, for example, the popular name 大 翔 is traditionally pronounced “Hiroto” but in recent years, alternative pronunciations “Haruto”, “Yamato” “Taiga”, “Sora “,” Taito “,” Daito “and” Masato “it all came into use.

male names often end -r (郎 “son”, but also 朗 “clear, bright”, for example “Ichirō”) or -ta (太 “great depth,” as “Kenta”) or Ichi (Ki), Kazu ( also written with 一 “first [her]”, along with several other possible characters, eg, “Kazuhiro”), ji (二 “according to [his]” or 次 “next”, for example, “Jiro”) or (大 “great, great”, eg “Daiichi”) while female names often end -ko (子 “child”, such as “Keiko”) or -I (次 “Beauty”, for example “Yumi”). Other popular endings for female names are -ka (香 “perfume” or 花 “flower”, for example “Reika”) and -na (奈, or 菜, meaning greens, such as “Haruna”).