The Meaning of Japanese People’s Name

I’ve often heard about the story like what my name means. I might think that it is kind of interesting topic for foreigners especially who are interested in Japanese culture. Therefore, I would like to write about it today.

To tell you to the truth, yesterday one of my online teachers asked me the same question. We discussed about the names all the time, and it was very interesting topic for me. I’ve learned lots of things from our conversations. Therefore, I hope my entry will be interesting for you.

As you know we have three characters; hiragana, katakana and kanji in Japanese. However, most of the case our names are consisted of kanji. Of course we have rare cases whose names are consisted of all hiragana, katakana, mixed hiragana and katakana, mixed hiragana and kanji, mixed katakana and kanji or mixed hiragana, katakana and kanji( I’ve never seen such names, though). In my grandparents days, hiragana was commom for females names. Both my grandmothers had hiragana names. However, I guess after showa era females name changed hiragana to kanji.

Meanwhile, even if we have same sounds name, our names’ meaning come from kanji’s meaning. Each kanji has different meaning, so our names become very complicated.
In my case my kanji name is 由美(I’m sorry this is not my real name perfectly, but I don’t want to show my perfect real name in public.). My first kanji’s meaning is a basic place where people start something, and second kanji points beauty. Therefore, my names mean the basic place where beauty is started. Yumi has lots of different kanji. Although my name’s meaning is like that, other kanji’s Yumi has a different meaning.

In my case, my father named me as Yumi. When he chose the name, he hoped that I would grow up as a beautiful girl. I can’t tell you that I grew up as a beautiful girl, but I think that I grew up as a beautiful girl in my inside.

In addition to that, when parents chose kanji for their children name, they consider about their family name’s kanji. If their family name’s kanji is very hard to write, they tend to chose easy kanji for their children. That’s because after they start to go to school, if they have very complicated and hard name to write, it is tough for them.

We don’t have middle names. I think that names show our characters, and distinguish us from other people. Our names have fashions. When I was born, the name whose has ko(こー子) at the end of their names were very common for girls. Therefore, there are lots of females whose name has ko at the end of their names in Japan. My daughter’s generations are different from us. Most of girls don’t have ko at the end of their names. Right now people name boys’ name for girls. Opposite thing happens to boys as well.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mikotoneko
    May 04, 2010 @ 12:27:01

    由美子ちゃん!元気ですか?I love your article! I didn’t know you had a blog here so I will check it out now 🙂 I’ve made one here as well, mikotoneko.wordpress.com. I find your name to be very beautiful to write. The second kanji is one of my favorites along side of 思. I am not sure why, to me they just look good hehe. Hope to see more of your posts.

    Reply

    • yumi
      May 04, 2010 @ 16:05:19

      Hi, Miko-chan! Thank you so much for the comment!!! I’m very glad to know that you find me!!!! I hope my blog helps your studying Japanese. If you have friends who have been studying Japanese, please let them know my blog. I also look forward to reading your next comment! I will check your blog as well and wanna comment on yours! See ya later!!!!

      Reply

  2. dvorask
    May 06, 2010 @ 02:49:50

    I haven’t listened to Obama’s victory speech yet. And I don’t plan to. (笑)

    Reply

    • yumi
      May 06, 2010 @ 02:53:08

      オバマ大統領の勝利演説をまだ聞いたことがない。でも、聴くつもりもない。
      Thank you so much for such a strange comment on me, Zac! Haha, Yesterday when I discussed about the names, it was very fun. I also want to write again about this theme next time. That’s because I realized there are some people who get confused about our names.

      Reply

    • Sashasimba123
      Aug 28, 2010 @ 17:54:20

      Haha zac!!!

      Reply

  3. yumi
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 22:26:46

    Hi, Brandon. Thanks for the comment.

    Reply

  4. Trackback: 2010 in review « The Spirit of Japan

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