So you want your baby to be Big in Japan? Well then your first job as a parent is to go on the hunt for the best in Japanese baby names. Lucky for you, we’ve made your search that much easier by putting together our favorites in this list.
Whether you’re drawn to Japanese baby names because you are a descendent of the land of the rising sun, or are looking to honor the culture that has brought us everything from Manga to samurai swords to sushi, Japanese names are as pleasant-sounding as they are meaningful.
If you are coming to Japanese baby names from outside the Japanese culture and language, it’s important to note some key considerations:
- The family name typically comes before the given name—the reverse of western naming processes. While you may want to mix things up a bit and combine first and last names in an east-meets-west sort of strategy, it’s always good to know the rules before breaking them.
- Many Japanese names show heritage. For example, the name Takako means Child of Taka. If you or your partner is a proud owner of one of many exquisite Japanese names, you may want to consider carrying it on in your lineage by naming your child like this.
- Japanese baby names can also indicate your place in the hierarchy of siblings. The name Manzo, for example, means third-born son. Your child may or may not thank you for this constant reminder of their inescapable position in the family.
Constructed from Japanese characters, many Japanese baby names are intrinsically packed with multiple meanings and are often the coming together of different concepts. The result is that many Japanese names are not simply names. They are a story.
Added to this, if you live in a place where the Latin alphabet is the norm, your baby will have two different ways of writing their name and may inspire a life lived in at least two languages.
So what are some cool Japanese names? What is the best name in Japan? Well, in all honesty, the list of inspiring Japanese names and meanings feels somewhat infinite—so much so that we had a hard time narrowing down our favorites.
We’ve compiled a list of our top Japanese names and meanings.
Of course, there are no hard and fast gender rules when it comes to baby naming of any sort. The list we have compiled here is separated into Japanese girl names and Japanese boy names—but it’s important to note that many Japanese names are gender neutral. If you think a particular name is appropriate for your little one, then that’s the name they should have.
Japanese girl names
- Ai: Don’t be fooled by how short this popular name is. It has one of the biggest meanings in the world: love. If all you need is love, then this name is your answer.
- Akasuki: This is a name that brings together two attributes that shine as brightly as one another. It means bright helper. Seriously. What mama wouldn’t want a little Akasuki around?
- Chikako: If you’re looking to raise a daughter who has some insight into what on earth is going on in this crazy world of ours, you might want to call her Chikako (meaning wisdom). It’s high time we had more Chikakos floating around.
- Kikuko: If you’re looking for a nature-themed name that will reflect your child, Kikuko is a magnificent option. It means chrysanthemum—so if this flower has particular relevance to you and your family, it may just be a perfect choice.
- Yuko: Every parent wants a little Yuko in their midst. Why? Because the name means helpful child. While this may indeed come in handy round the house, raising a tiny human that has friendliness and generosity at their core can only be a good thing.
25 more female Japanese names:
- Gin (um… name your baby after what you love the most?)
➡️ Don’t miss our full list of Japanese baby girl names
Japanese boy names
- Akira: Meaning clarity and intelligence, this is the perfect name for the kind of person we need to be added to the world right now. While it’s typically a boy’s name, Akira is used for both genders.
- Haruki: This name is an overlap of two beautiful images: shining brightly and spring child. As a result, it’s a name that is sure to bring much joy into your household. (Of course, the added bonus is that your child will be the namesake of bestselling author Haruki Murakami. That’s a pretty creative start to life.)
- Ichiro: Ichiro is the first prize name for a first baby. That’s because it means firstborn. Firstborns need to get some credit for ruling the sibling roost. It’s only fair.
- Kazuhiko: This name brings together ultimate balance with supreme royalty. It’s meaning? Harmonious prince. Your little prince will undoubtedly get the start he deserves with this regal designation.
- Tatsuo: So, this one’s a goody for lovers of fantasy. It’s also not bad for anyone who wants to instil in their child a sense that they have the strength to do anything. It means masculine dragon. Um, that’s some pretty powerful stuff to bring up in a game of make-believe.
25 more Japanese male names:
- Ringo (double score here if you’re a Beatles fan)
➡️ Don’t miss our full list of Japanese baby boy names
Naming your baby can feel like a bit of a crazy process. You want something meaningful. You want something that sounds beautiful. You want something that they’ll love at all phases of their life. Ease the stress by considering that, in this game, there is seriously no right answer. Gut feeling goes a long way in this process. Like all things mamahood, trust your instincts.
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