Japanese girls names?

(79 Posts)
AmandaHE Sat 08-Feb-14 22:45:57

Hello... been really struggling to make the short list for our girl due in a few weeks. With a few ideas I've been worried are either too overused or a couple that are really rare (dad was born in Kenya so we have a few African names we're considering) we've just had an odd twist to the day. My husband has been sat at his nanas death bed this weekend - she was adopted and we've never known where she was from...but have known she didn't look totally English. The family have managed to dig out info while she's been so poorly and we have found out today that her father was a Jananese man. Its amazing to finally know what that streak of heritage is that we couldn't ever place and I'm really keen to see if there are any pretty names that we could use knowing this... but I'm unfamiliar with most of the names I've just googled and don't know how to say them properly! (after 5 mins of research!) Like Emiko a lot (but I once met a really nice one so dont have any other association other than that)

Mama1980 Sat 08-Feb-14 22:49:12

I know a Japanese woman called Hiromi, she's absolutely lovely.
Also know a equally lovely Suki but I'm not sure if that's short for something maybe? She once said she anglicised her name slightly.

libertychick Sat 08-Feb-14 22:51:30

I have some Japanese family members and they called their daughter Amy. They wanted a name that was easily pronounced both in English and Japanese and the Japanese sounds that make up the name mean prosperous beauty - see here

exexpat Sat 08-Feb-14 22:56:49

There are quite a few names that work well in both English and Japanese, eg Hana (pronounced same as Hannah), which means flower, Emi (Emmy), Naomi, Ria, Rina etc.

Names ending in -ko are now seen as rather old-fashioned in Japan: nearly every woman my age (40s) or older has a name ending in -ko (Emiko, Sachiko, Yuko etc) , but very few women in their 20s or younger do.

DramaAlpaca Sat 08-Feb-14 23:00:34

I know a girl who is half Japanese called Shona. It works both in English & Japanese.

RubySparks Sat 08-Feb-14 23:02:14

Megume, who is called Meg for short.

HectorVector Sat 08-Feb-14 23:07:46

Kumiko, Emiko, Saori, Noriko, Tomoko, Ai, Mari, Shiho, Megumi, Kiyo, Kyoko, Keiko, Mayuko, Yumiko, Akari, Ayako, Yukiko, Misao, Mariko, Yoshiko, Kazuko.

That's all from my Facebook. So all female around 25-45 years old. Can't tell you if they're fashionable/popular or not though.

BigfootFiles Sat 08-Feb-14 23:08:06


BigfootFiles Sat 08-Feb-14 23:08:27

x-post sorry!

exexpat Sat 08-Feb-14 23:11:43

That would almost certainly be Megumi not Megume (though the -mi is pronounced 'me').

Innogen Sat 08-Feb-14 23:23:39

I like Suki!

anothernumberone Sat 08-Feb-14 23:28:41

Suki Aibu comes up every time you type aibu into google, it might be nice to have a Mumsnet input. I like Emily and Naomi which were names of Japanese friends but Emily may have been anglicised a bit.

AmandaHE Sat 08-Feb-14 23:39:12

ooh there are some pretty ones here. Interesting about the ko endings - I wouldnt have even thought of popularity and age association but glad you said. I don't mind having something that doesnt work in English at all... I think I really want a name I don't know anyone else with - and as i work with teenage girls in high schools all over he place its hard to think of a name I dont know one of! Emi has always been a favourite (my african favorite is Niema which I was considering shortening to Emi as well) and Suki is lovely. Love Amy and Emily as english names but have both in family.

shootingstar1234 Sat 08-Feb-14 23:50:57

Sakura, I think that's a Japanese name. It's very pretty either way!

Loueytb3 Sat 08-Feb-14 23:53:54

I went to school with a Mayumi, Keiko and Kanako.

Mitchell2 Sat 08-Feb-14 23:58:28

I like Aoki which I think is actually a surname but have heard it for a girl.

Loueytb3 Sun 09-Feb-14 00:06:32

Oh and DS has a girl in his class called Megumi. She's very sweet!

sonlypuppyfat Sun 09-Feb-14 00:11:38

My Japanese penpal is called Mai.

Shootingstar Yes it definitely is! It means 'cherry blossom'.

I am jealous OP, Japanese girls names are gorgeous! Wish I had an excuse to use one. grin

Sunnysummer Sun 09-Feb-14 01:00:28

Here is a list of currently popular names - as said above, not many -ko babies around these days, except for Aiko, after the daughter of the emperor.

We love Aiko, actually (it literally means love child, though not in the English sense!), Mio, Airi and Rina are fairly fashionable but not totally overused and we also think they sound quite feminine in English, won't be a pain to spell, and are easily pronounced even by people who may not know the name. Finally we love Satsuki and Noemi also has the 'emi' plus has a French touch too smile Now I just need a DD next time..

MummyPig24 Sun 09-Feb-14 06:19:11

I know a Miyuki and a Momoka

bakingtins Sun 09-Feb-14 06:29:10

It's a very tenuous connection - babies great-granny was half Japanese ....

My BIL is Japanese and they chose names that work in either culture - English names that can be written in Japanese characters for first names and Japanese middle names, but then her children do look Japanese and have a Japanese surname.
"Kakuro Smith" is going to sound odd.

BikeRunSki Sun 09-Feb-14 06:44:11

I have distant Japanese relatives by marriage called Momo ad Aiko.

As for Japanese first names and British surnames - my dad had a Japanese/Scottish friend by the name of Yakimoto Hamilton. I thought that was a great name, love the contrast!

snowqu33n Sun 09-Feb-14 06:44:42

I was teaching girls 12-17 years old last year. Popular names were Nana, Nanako (prob cos of a popular girls manga), those beginning with Momo which means 'peach' so Momo, Momoko, Momoka, Momona etc. and there were quite a few Fuka and Fuko (which wouldnt work in English, as well as Wako, Yuho and so on. If we had a girl we were going to go for Emi or Karen cos they work in English too. The most popular names in our area for girls start with Yuki which means 'snow' cos we get a lot of snowy weather. Yuki, Yukiko, Yukina, Yukino, Yukika. Seasonal names are popular too - Haruka, Haruko etc. for spring, Natsuko etc. for summer, Akiko for autumn. According to when the kid was born.

SomewhatSilly Sun 09-Feb-14 06:46:59

Marina with English nn Marnie and Japanese nn Marimo-chan was our first choice.

Also like Rina and Rinka, and DH liked Karin.

We are totally only ever having a boy if we go for number 3 though - don't think we can have girls grin

SomewhatSilly Sun 09-Feb-14 06:48:23

Love Yuho, don't think it would really work in English though!

Mogz Sun 09-Feb-14 07:00:34

Japanese names are gorgeous, I had a few on my shortlist for dd and we don't even have any Japanese connection other than DH and I love manga and anime! Ive used Japanese words as names for my bunnies in the past smile
I like Mae, Suki, Satski, Kiko, Fumie, Chihiro, Hiro, Sara.
The general rule of pronunciation it to group the letters in to 2s or 3s for each syllable.

SomewhatSilly Sun 09-Feb-14 07:18:13

Chihiro is an amazing name, as is Chitose. But can anyone pronounce them?

SomewhatSilly Sun 09-Feb-14 07:19:00

I mean, most people can't even get the vowels in sudoku the right way round, let alone the emphasis!

Batbear Sun 09-Feb-14 07:20:25

I like lots of these - also adding Mei to the mix!

snowqu33n Sun 09-Feb-14 07:23:21

Japanese people are usually thinking about how they will write the name, and each syllable will have a meaning. Aiko for example - Ai= love ko=child. Haruka - Haru= spring ka= flower.
The meaning and written appearance of each part of the name is far more important than in the UK.
The same name could sometimes be written with different combinations of kanji characters to give it a different meaning for the same pronunciation.
There is a bit of superstition associated with the number of pen-strokes when you write the name either on its own or in combination with the surname so it can be difficult. Some couples even ask a priest at the shrine to choose a lucky name for their child.
Usually they wouldn't give a child born in summer a wintry-sounding name. Some names are only suitable for first-born kids (this mostly applies to boys tho) and some names indicate the month the kid was born. How important this is to you depends on whether your child will have much interaction with Japanese people or not.

zipzap Sun 09-Feb-14 07:30:09

I was at school with a Yumiko which I always thought was a very pretty name - Yumi for short (pronounced more like yoo mee then yummy as some teachers thought!)

She was also a very nice person.

snowqu33n Sun 09-Feb-14 07:43:59

Lots of names start with Yu because it sounds like the word for 'winner' or 'prize'. Yumena, Yumeno are nice and a friend of mine dated a girl called Yurika and then when they split he dated a girl called Yukari who I was never able to directly address by name because I kept thinking I had got it the wrong way around. My other friend just named her little boy Yuuma and writes it with characters meaning 'Winning horse'. His father is a big fan of horse-racing...

SomewhatSilly Sun 09-Feb-14 08:59:14

Are you a J/British family snowqu33n?

TheGonnagle Sun 09-Feb-14 09:10:09

Masayo, Misaki, Mei, Chihiro, Yumiko, Hiroko, Tamayo, Ayako, Sachiyo, Saori, Yuriko, Kanako, Satsuki.

Mogz Sun 09-Feb-14 09:18:54

Snow that's all really interesting, I'll have to ask my Japanese friends a bit more about all this naming stuff as it sounds like there is a lot to it.

Abc000 Sun 09-Feb-14 09:25:28


Hulababy Sun 09-Feb-14 09:34:48

I taught a little girl who was Japanese. She was called Mei (May)

mirai Sun 09-Feb-14 12:38:03

Itsuki / Suki

<waves to SnowQueen, hisashiburi desu ne?!>

badtime Sun 09-Feb-14 14:35:37

SomewhatSilly, of all the names here, many people would make a better stab at pronouncing Chihiro because of the film 'Spirited Away'. (I was wondering more about what most people would make of 'Aoki' - I have heard people say 'ay-oak-ee' when talking about the model/actress Devon Aoki!)

Artandco Sun 09-Feb-14 15:10:39

Ayano, known as aya

sleepdodger Sun 09-Feb-14 16:12:12

I know a uk/ Japanese thida pronounced teeda

Leeds2 Sun 09-Feb-14 16:29:34

Japanese girls at the school where I volunteer have been Eriko, Natsuho, Karen, Lisa, Akari and Chihiro.

I think Akari is lovely.

rusmum Sun 09-Feb-14 17:53:10


Mai-ling is the only Chinese lady I know

Sorry, I meant Japanese,

SomewhatSilly Sun 09-Feb-14 18:04:12

Honey hmm

NationMcKinley Sun 09-Feb-14 18:12:10

I was at school with a lovely Japanese girl called Kei (pro Kay) and have three Japanese friends called Yumiko, nn Yumi (pro Yoomi) and Aika (pro I-Ka with emphasis on the long I) and Mayumi. I think they're all lovely names smile and flowers for your husband's Nana, I hope she's comfortable

snowqu33n Sun 09-Feb-14 22:39:16

Aoki tends to be a boys name in my experience but some names are unisex, like Hiromi for instance.

AmandaHE Sun 09-Feb-14 23:14:36

Thanks all - some truly beautiful names in these suggestions and good bits of advice about how they're used. I love the contrast between some of these names and an English surname as well - not that our surname is at all typical though! Going to somehow try to narrow the list down to 5 before we pack the hospital bag!! And thank you NationMcKinley... she went so peacefully. Her name was Ivy, which I think is quite lovely...but we have a Holly already and although I love Christmas I think that's a step too far!

I know two people called Ayaka and Satsuki. I love both of them and their names.

MauriceMinor Mon 10-Feb-14 05:43:18

I met a Japanese baby recently - she was called Miley.

RalphRecklessCardew Mon 10-Feb-14 08:36:39


Nocturne123 Mon 10-Feb-14 16:33:38

I met the most beautiful little Japanese girl called sakiko recently . I fell in love with the name !

squoosh Mon 10-Feb-14 17:30:32

I love Suki and Kiko.

telsa Mon 10-Feb-14 22:54:13

Honami is lovely.

CocktailQueen Mon 10-Feb-14 22:58:35

Amika - dd's best friend, age 10

MissYamabuki Mon 10-Feb-14 23:03:55


Lottiedoubtie Mon 10-Feb-14 23:04:57


canyourearme Mon 10-Feb-14 23:08:49

Love Suki and goes well with Holly ie put the kettle on. I know its polly but we adapt as biast.

tigrou Tue 11-Feb-14 08:22:08

Here's are some of the Japanese girl's names at my DD's school:

and some of the mums :

tigrou Tue 11-Feb-14 08:22:41

Also love Mei

truthvoyager Tue 11-Feb-14 14:18:33

Luna (Runa)

truthvoyager Tue 11-Feb-14 14:46:31



bigbadbarry Tue 11-Feb-14 14:49:56

My DD's middle name is Sakura (cherry blossom) because she was born in Japan when the cherry blossom was in full bloom smile If you can hang on another month you might time it right...

lambinapram Tue 11-Feb-14 14:55:34

Tamiko - easy to pronounce

evertonmint Tue 11-Feb-14 16:14:17

DH and I love Suki and has the advantage of working in English due to Sukey (which I think is a pet name for Susan).

I worked with a Kyoko which I always thought was lovely. She was about 40 though so fits with the idea that -ko names are a bit old fashioned.

NannyPeach Tue 11-Feb-14 22:44:40


Nataleejah Wed 12-Feb-14 20:16:21

Acouple i know -- Japanese-American, have a baby girl Ayaka. Very beautiful girl

StarsAbove Thu 13-Feb-14 13:46:45

Sakura is lovely!

Zermatt Thu 13-Feb-14 13:52:16


Floggingmolly Thu 13-Feb-14 13:56:24

A Japanese couple I know (neighbours) called their daughter Caroline!

dimdommilpot Thu 13-Feb-14 23:21:24

OH has randomly suggested Ishigo for DD2. Apparently it means strawberry in japanese... I have no idea how true this is or why he has suggested we name our dayghter this!

exexpat Fri 14-Feb-14 00:03:31

Strawberry is ichigo not ishigo. It's pronounced Itchy-go (go with a short o like the start of goth). Cute, but in the UK would stand the risk of being called Itchy as a nickname, I suspect.

Mutteroo Fri 14-Feb-14 02:06:37

We had a delightful 2 Japanese students stay years ago named Satomi & Yuki. Thanks OP for the thread as its been lovely reminiscing about those times & the delightful students we had live with us. Good luck with the right name for your DC.

olidusUrsus Fri 14-Feb-14 02:26:53

Amanda I would put some proper research into how Japanese naming convention works - it's all very well picking some beautiful sounding syllables but truth is there's a lot more to it than that - and as a westerner you simply won't be able to tell what names won't suit unless you do some research.

I think it would be foolish to pick a name from another culture without considering the culture itself, especially which character form you choose to write the name in (eg, will you use kanji or kana).

Of course, if you're simply using a Japanese-esque name as a homage to your late family member and not actually planning to be immersed in Japanese culture, I doubt it really matters.

Best of luck with name picking & the birth!

volvocowgirl Fri 14-Feb-14 02:55:27

Hena is pretty.

CommunistLegoBloc Fri 14-Feb-14 09:59:15

So you'll have a Holly and another girl with a Japanese name? Because their great grandmother was half Japanese, which makes them at best 1/16th Japanese? Sorry but I think you need to consider this very carefully. She'll be answering questions for the rest of her life. I say this as someone with a very unusual name (foreign parents) but who looks and sounds very English. The juxtaposition between having your DD1 with a very English name and then one with a Japanese one may just look odd. Maybe honour the heritage with a middle name?

AmandaHE Tue 18-Feb-14 16:05:10

Thank you - and it is all just research and food for thought at the moment. We're not a 'typically english' family, by looks, and there are other siblings with meanings and stories behind their names too... so she wouldn't be alone- not that I would choose something totally impossible to pronounce and not phonetic in english (I don't think!) For us, its the significance of finding this out just before she was born - as oppose to it making up a huge part of her heritage... as the others have reasons for their name relating to things going on in our lives when we were expecting them... and they've always enjoyed those reasons and stories. But the use of the syllables and not wanting to make a huge mistake if it were to be used in symbols is certainly something I would be really careful with! I've not studied Japanese but worked a bit with ancient Hebrew and know you can make a big mistake very easily when you don't know what you're doing!

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