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Japanese baby names

By Jackie, aka CallmeCalliope at namesplash.com

I love Japanese baby names; these names often have lovely nature and virtue-related meanings. However, the Japanese baby naming tradition is complex, particularly due to the thousands of kanji (characters) that can be used to spell names. Many kanji have the same sound but different meanings; thus, names that sound the same could have many possible spellings and meanings. Additionally, a single kanji can have more than one sound. Here are some kanji (spelled out phonetically, of course) commonly used in names:

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posted by: waltzingmorethanmatilda View all posts by this author
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by Anna Otto of Waltzing More Than Matilda

Wacky celebrity baby names are popular gossip-mag fare all over the world, and we love hearing about Audio Science, Moxie Crimefighter, Princess Tiaamii and Phaedra Bloom Forever. But we’ve got some intriguing home-grown celebrity baby names of our own right here in Australia.

twins

NRL footballer Joel Reddy has twin girls named Skeeter Jo and Maple Gray. Skeeter reminds me of the character from The Help, and the twins’ big brother is Rock, making a hip nature-themed sibset.

Retired AFL footballer Brodie Holland has twin boys named Kip and Bowie. I’ve been told Kip‘s name is inspired by actor Kip Pardue, while Bowie is presumably after singer David Bowie. Kip and Bowie‘s older sister is Stevie – another pop reference.

girls

The eldest daughter of TV chef Pete Evans has an appropriately culinary nameChilli. She was born the year after Gwenyth Paltrow’s daughter Apple, which inspired Pete to also use a type of food as a name. Chilli‘s younger sister is Indii.

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Cute-Japanese-Baby-Girl

Guest blogger Sachiko returns with reflections on the complexities of using names from her Japanese heritage.

Growing up, I never thought Japanese names were weird. Most people in my part-Japanese, part-American Mormon family had one. I lived in Japan when I was small, and grew up going to the cherry blossom festivals in the spring, dancing at Obon in the summer and eating mochi on New Year’s Day.

Then I started naming my own children, and two things happened, one good and one bad.

First, I found out how hard it can be to choose a Japanese name. (This is the bad thing.) My Japanese is shamefully rudimentary, and barely a match for the formidable language barrier. I rely on a lot of sources for Japanese naming help, which I’ll go into later.

Second, I found out how popular Japanese names are, in the sense of being well-liked, if not yet well-used. (This is the good thing.) I had thought that nobody would appreciate a Japanese name unless they were Japanese, or maybe because they’d spent considerable time in Japan.

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