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List of Japanese given names
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List of Japanese given names

Main article: Japanese name

This list includes any Japanese name that is used as a personal name. If the gender of the name is not listed, it is of (as yet) undetermined gender.

There are two main varieties of Japanese names: those written using kanji (Chinese characters), and those using kana (either hiragana or katakana), the two phonetic syllabaries (note that in rare cases names will combine both kanji and kana).

Female names often end in the syllable ko, written with the kanji meaning "child" (子). This was much more common up to about twenty years ago, but the practice continues. Male names occasionally end with the syllable ko, but very rarely using the kanji 子. Common male name endings are -shi and -o.

Names, like other Japanese words, cannot begin with the syllable n (ん、ン). A final ending n is theoretically possible, is rather rare except in nicknames (the boy's name Shinichirō, for example, is often shortened to Shin).

Table of contents
1 Adding to the list
2 Name order and other considerations
3 Kanji names
4 Kana names
5 List of names
6 A
7 Ka
8 Sa
9 Ta
10 Na
11 Ha
12 Ma
13 Ya
14 Ra
15 Wa

Adding to the list

Please list names in 五十音 (gojūon) order. See the hiragana page for a chart. List the English (romaji) reading first, followed by kanji and kana (if applicable), meaning (if applicable), then gender (F for female, M for male. Leave blank if unknown).

Name order and other considerations

In Japanese the surname always precedes the given name, in other words, it is the reverse of traditional English language order (Given > Name Surname). The given name in Japanese is called the "lower name" (下の名前 shita no namae) or simply the name. The surname is called myōji (苗字 or 名字).

Addressing someone by name requires the use of the suffix -san (さん), meaning roughly "Mrs., Mr., Ms., Master, Miss, Mistress." This suffix is used with both surnames and given names, and failure to use it is called 呼び捨て (yobisute, literally "throwing away the name") and is considered exceedingly rude. The respectful equivalent of -san is -様 (-sama), and the fond diminutive equivalent is -chan (-ちゃん). Young boys and younger men are often addressed as -kun (-くん、君).

While family members, spouses and lovers sometimes call each other by their given names, given names are otherwise used only rarely, even among close friends; most people call each other by the surname plus the suffix -san (Tanaka-san). An exception is schoolgirls, who often call eachother by first name plus the fond diminutive suffix -chan. Even within the family, there is a marked tendency to avoid the use of names in favour of titles like "older brother," "younger sister" and so on. It is not uncommon for people, particularly older people, to be unsure of their friends' given names.

Kanji names

Kanji names in Japan are governed by the government's rules on kanji use. There are currently 2232 "name kanji" (the jinmeiyō kanji 人名用漢字) used in personal names, and the government plans to increase this list by 578 kanji in the near future. This would be the largest increase since World War II. Only kanji which appear on the official list may be used in given names. This is to ensure that names can be written and read by those literate in Japanese. Rules also govern names considered to be inapproriate; for example, in 1993 two parents who tried to name their child "Akuma" (devil) were prohibited from doing so.

The plan to increase the number of name kanji has been controversial, largely because Chinese characters for "cancer," "hemorrhoids," "corpse" and "excrement," as well as parts of compound words (words created from two or more Chinese characters) meaning "curse," "prostitute," and "rape," are among the proposed additions to the list. This is because no measures were taken to determine the appropriateness of the kanji proposed. However, the government will seek input from the public before approving the list.

Most Japanese support expanding the list of name kanji. There has been an incresing trend recently for parents to create new names, or to write existing names in new ways, by using unusual or heretofore unused combinations of characters which are extremely difficult to read. Others see the inevitable increase in learning of characters as a positive thing.

Most "traditional" names use kunyomi (Japanese) readings, but a large number of given names use onyomi (Chinese) readings. Many others, such as the female name 希 (Nozomi) use readings which are only used in names. These are called nanori.

A name written in kanji may have more than one common or correct pronunciation, only one of which is of course correct for a given individual. The male name 靖仁, for instance, can be read as either Seijin or Yasuhito. This makes the collation and romanization of Japanese names a very difficult problem, and is one of the main reasons for the restrictions discussed above.

Writing names normally written in kanji in kana instead is acceptable for young children who are still learning kanji, but is usually seen as a disgrace otherwise. However, since many names can be written with dozens of potential combinations of kanji it is common practice to write names for which one does not know the correct kanji in kana (usually katakana). This is frequently seen in news media.

Kana names

In the past (pre-World War II), katakana names were common for women. This trend seems to have lost favour, but hiragana names for women are not unusual. Kana names for boys, particularly those written in hiragana, have historically been very rare. This may be in part because hiragana, which is more cursive (and is also said to have been created by women), is seen as feminine.

List of names

A

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Romaji Kanji Kana Meaning Gender
Akiko 明子 あきこ bright child F
Akira あきら、アキラ bright M

Ka

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Romaji Kanji Kana Meaning Gender
Kaori かおり insence, perfume F

Sa

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Romaji Kanji Kana Meaning Gender
Sachiko 幸子 さちこ happy child F

Ta

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Romaji Kanji Kana Meaning Gender
Takahiro 隆弘 たかひろ M

Na

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Romaji Kanji Kana Meaning Gender
Naoko 直子 なおこ honest child F

Ha

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Romaji Kanji Kana Meaning Gender
Hanako 花子 はなこ flower child F

Ma

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Romaji Kanji Kana Meaning Gender
Mami 麻美 まみ F

Ya

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Romaji Kanji Kana Meaning Gender
Yukiko 雪子 ゆきこ snow child F

Ra

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Romaji Kanji Kana Meaning Gender
Ryūnosuke 龍之介 りゅうのすけ M

Wa

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Romaji Kanji Kana Meaning Gender