Do You Know the Most Popular Female First Names in Japan??

Feb 9, 2019


 

Do you have Japanese friends in Japan? Even you still haven’t, many of you may have many situations meeting Japanese people such as at work, neighbors, meeting new people at the home parties, etc. When you have first time meeting with several different Japanese people especially women, have you ever experienced meeting Japanese women with the same first name quite often?

 

For example;

“Hi, my name is Yukiko Tanaka. Nice to meet you!” when you meet with a client from the other day.

“Hi, my name is Yukiko Sato. Welcome to my neighborhood!” when you bump into your neighbors after you first move in.

“Hi, my name is Yukiko Takahashi. Have we met somewhere before?” When you meet a stranger at the bar.

Even when you’re meeting with different Japanese people, it’s not so rare to meet Japanese women with the same first name in Japan. This article will introduce you to the most popular first names for women in Japan.

 

What Do You Think the Popular Women’s First Names in Japan Are??

 

Before we start talking about he most popular first names in Japan, let’s begin from why people have first names anyway.

People say it all started around 2,500 B.C in China when the Chinese started to make their names to distinguish people from different social classes. Originally, people were using their names just to differentiate between “other people and me” or “enemy or ally”, but as the population increased, general names to distinguish others was not enough.

Regarding the popular first names in Japan, the trends have changed depending on the era and have changed as follows:

 

1. During Taisho Period (1912-1926): popular first names were mainly “Fumiko”, “Chiyo”

2. During early Showa Period (1927-): popular first names were mainly “Kazuko”, “Sachiko”

3. During middle Showa Period (1958-): popular first names were mainly “Kumiko”, “Yumiko”, “Keiko”

4. During middle Showa Period (1965-): popular first names were mainly ”Mayumi”, “Naomi”, “Akemi”

5. During middle Showa Period (1980-): popular first names were mainly “Ai”

6. During Heisei Period (1989-): popular first names were mainly “Narumi”, “Noriko”, “Saki”

7. During middle Heisei Period (2000-): popular first names were mainly “Sakura”, “Haruna”

8. During middle Heisei Period (2008-): popular first names were mainly “Yuzuki”

 

From above each period, you can see what kind of first names were popular in each period. The names were chosen by popular musicians, artists, sports players, famous celebrities, etc. There are trends during each period, there are still stable popular first names exist in Japan and let’s see those popular first names in the next chapter.

 

Yukiko

 

How many of you have met a Japanese women have the first name “Yukiko”?

Yukiko is one of the most popular first names in Japan with the following meanings in many cases:

The Chinese characters for Yukiko are: “雪子”, “由紀子”, “由希子”, “有希子”

Most Japanese people think of “snow” from this first name since “Yuki” means “snow” in Japanese.

Japanese parents name their babies wih the name “Yukiko” due to the following reasons:

 

1. Hoping the girl will grow up healthy and strong, even through the harsh winter season.

2. The baby was born in winter (particularly a cold and snowy winter season).

3. Her parents have a name with the same character.

4. They wish the baby to become a polite, independent, hard worker, sincere person.

 

Even though there are several different ways of writing this name in Chinese characters, the pronunciation of “Yukiko” indicates above personalities or backgrounds in Japan.

How popular is this name “Yukiko” if we compared from other countries? “Yukiko” is as popular as names such as:

 

England: Olivia

France: Louise

Italy: Sofia

United States: Sarah

Many Japanese women called “Yukiko” have nicknames like “Yuki” or “Yuki-chan”

 

Yoko

 

How many of you have met Japanese women with the first name “Yoko”?

Yoko is one of the most popular first names in Japan with the following meanings:

We mainly write in Chinese character for Yoko: “陽子”, “洋子”, “葉子”, “容子”

Most Japanese people think of “sunshine” from this name since the Chinese character of “陽” means “sunshine” in Japanese which we pronounce as “yo” in Japanese.

Japanese parents name their babies “Yoko” due to the following reasons in general:

 

1. Hoping the girl will become a bright and cheerful person.

2. The baby was born in the summer season (particularly in August, which reminds people sunflowers)

3. Her parents have a name with the same character.

4. Hoping the baby will live energetically and filled with happiness throughout her life like sunshine.

 

Eventhough there are several different ways of writing as Chinese characters, the pronunciation of “Yoko” indicates above personalities or backgrounds in Japan.

How popular is this name “Yoko” if we compared from other countries? “Yoko”  is as popular as names such as:

 

England: Emily

France: Alice

Italy: Giulia

United States: Jessica

 

Kaori

 

How many of you have met Japanese women with the first name “Kaori”?

Kaori is one of the most popular first names in Japan with the following meanings:

We mainly write Chinese character for Kaori: “香織”, “香里”

Most Japanese people think of “fragrance” from this name since the Chinese character of “香” means “smells sweet” in Japanese which we pronounce as “kaori” in Japanese.

Japanese parents name their babies “Kaori” due to the following reasons:

 

1. Hoping the girl will grow up to be a strong person.

2. The baby was born in Autumn season (especially in November which reminds people chrysanthemum, a seasonal flower. People say this flower has a very strong sweet smell).

3. Her parents have a name with the same character.

4. Hoping the baby to live energetically throughout her life independently.

Even though there are several different ways of writing as Chinese characters, the pronunciation of “Kaori” indicates above personalities or backgrounds in Japan.

How popular is this name “Kaori” if we compared from other countries? “Kaori” is popular names as much as following first names:

 

England: Lily

France: Emma

Italy: Greta

United States: Charlotte

 

Many Japanese women called “Kaori” have their nicknames like “Kao-chan”.

 

Ai

 

How many of you have met Japanese women with the first name “Ai”?

Ai is one of the most popular first names in Japan with the following meanings:

We mainly write in Chinese character for Ai: “愛”

Most Japanese people are reminded of “love” from this name since the Chinese character of “愛” means “love” in Japanese which is pronounced as “ai” in Japanese.

Japanese parents name their babies “Ai” due to the following reasons:

 

1. Hoping the girl will grow up full of love, kind, and give a lot of love to other people.

2. Her parents have a name with the same character.

3. They wish the baby will live with circumstances full of love from all the people surrounding her.

 

If you meet the Japanese women called “Ai” in Japan, most of them use the same Chinese character as “愛” and some of them have a similar first name like “Aiko” with “愛子” in Japanese. The meaning is the same as love.

 

Many Japanese women called “Ai” don’t have nicknames in general since it’s already a short name. If I had to choose, I’d say Japanese women are sometimes called “Ai-chan” to portray a more sweet and feminine way.

 

Sayaka

 

How many of you have met Japanese women with the first name “Sayaka”?

Sayaka is one of the most popular first names in Japan with the following meanings:

We mainly write in Chinese character for Sayaka: “清華”, or just with hiragana as ”さやか”

Most Japanese people assosiate this name with “pure flower” since the Chinese character of “清” means “fresh and pure” in Japanese which we pronounce as “sawayaka”.

Japanese parents call their baby “Sayaka” due to the following reasons:

 

1. With the intention for the girl to grow up ladylike and pure.

2. Her parents have a name with the same character.

3. Hoping the baby to live to be the person who is cheerful, honest, reliable, and decisive.

How popular is this name “Sayaka” if we compared from other countries? “Sayaka” is  as popular names as such as:

 

England: Claire

France: Kristina

Italy: Maria

United States: Mia

 

Many Japanese women called “Sayaka” use nicknames such as “Saya-chan” or “Sattchan”

 

Yukari

 

How many of you know a Japanese women with the first name “Yukari”?

Yukari is one of the most popular first names in Japan with the following meanings:

We mainly write in Chinese character for Yukari: “ 由香里”, ”由花”

Most Japanese people think of “connection with people” from this name since “yukari” means directly “connection with people” in Japanese.

Japanese parents name their babies “Yukari” due to the following reasons:

 

1. Hoping the girl will grow up while meeting many good friends or connections in her life.

2. Her parents have a name with the same character.

3. Wishing the baby to be a kind person by meeting new people everywhere.

 

How popular is this name “Yukari” if we compared from other countries? “Yukari” is popular names as much as following first names:

 

England: Betty

France: Lucile

Italy: Gina

United States: Katie

 

Many Japanese women called “Yukari” have their nicknames such as “Yuka-chan” or just saying directly as “Yukari-chan” As you may have noticed, many Japanese people like calling girls names with “chan” after the first names.

 

Kira Kira Names (Bizarre Names)?

 

Besides the popular first names, many Japanese people also have unusual names which people can’t read even with Japanese. Not followed by tradition but following with stylish, cute, adorable and to be the “ONE and ONLY”. Here are some popular “kirakira” first names in Japan such as follows:

 

1. 希星=きらら (pronounced as “kirara” in Japanese)

→Most people cannot read this word. The Chinese character “希” means “hope” and “星” means “star”

2. 姫星=キティ (pronounce as “kitty” in Japanese)

→Can you read it? The Chinese character “姫” means “princess” and “星“ means “star”

3. 夢希=ナイキ (pronounce as “NIKE” in Japanese)

→Yes, it’s pronounced exactly the same as the popular shoe brand, NIKE. The Chinese character “夢” means “dream” and “希” means “hope”

 

Do you know anyone in Japan with any of these popular female first names??

 

How many popular first names did you find out by this article? Do you know some of them already?

For those who have heard so many times with the same first names in Japan, you can see they’re popular all over in Japan. Even there are trends in each period, you can see “Yukiko”, “Yoko”, “Kaori”, “Ai”, “Sayaka” and “Yukari” are enduring popular first names in Japan.

Do you have any Japanese friends with these first names?

YAE

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