I really like Japanese names but have no ties to the culture so I would hesitate to use them but I found some that I think would work without being hard to pronounce or seeming too crazy, what do you think? Do you have any to add? Feel free to correct my pronunciations if I'm wrong
Satomi (SAH toh mee) "beauty and wisdom" 'wise beauty" has more meanings according to other sites but they all pertain to beauty.
Manami (MAH nah mee) "love, affection" "beautiful love"
Sayuri (SAH yu ree) "small lily"
*Momoko - (MOH moh koh means "peach child) )I wouldnt use this but I know a Japanese girl with this name, it's so cute
I love Japanese names. I'm a big fan of Rin personally.
You do seem to have selected some with a minimum of pronunciation issues: no R, no E ending (which English speakers may not know isn't silent), no successive vowels (which English speakers may not know are usually not blended, and if they are, paired vowels are often the most problematic to pronounce). I wouldn't be quite so cautious myself... ;)
A person with a Japanese name will get two assumptions. If they don't show visible Asian ancestry, they will get "Japanophile", which nowadays normally means "otaku". As an otaku myself, I admit I make those assumptions... though they are statistically supported.
Examination of US naming statistics shows that most Japanese-Americans don't have Japanese first names; there aren't nearly enough given to make up for the proportion of the population that's Japanese. This fits with the names of most Asian-Americans I know of. Even of the number that are given, I have to wonder how many are actually used by Japanese. The obvious outliers aren't. Raiden - which to my knowledge isn't used as a personal name in Japan, unlike Thor in Scandinavia - and Amaya are likely being used by parents who don't know their origin or at least don't care. (Raiden isn't even said like Aiden, but like rider with an N!) Akira, used mainly on girls in the US, presumably dates to the movie of that name. I believe Akira is unisex in Japanese, but the US use is odd considering the eponymous hero of Akira is male. Off the top 1000, the relatively strong showing by Sayuri suggests the influence of Memoirs of a Geisha. I have no idea how common Sakura is in its home country - it's certainly common in fiction, but it looks like the sort of name that might appeal more to writers than parents. Naturally, it does relatively well in English, because it's Japan's most familiar flower and thus something one might hope other English speakers could recognize.
Naturally, I have some attraction to Japanese names. Part of it is the sound: vowel-heavy but maintaining strong consonants, and they don't automatically stress the first syllable.
My first test for a Japanese name is "Do I only think of one person when I hear it?"
I'll give you girls and boy names. I love the sound of Japanese names too. ^_^ These are some I love (though there aren't as many good ones for boys)
Akemi - bright beautiful
Akira - bright clear
Asami - morning beauty
Atsuko - kind child
Emiko - beautiful blessing child
Hana - flower
Haruka - spring flower
Hiro - generous
Kamiko - superior child
Katsumi - victorious beauty
Kimiko - empress child
Michiko - beautiful wise child
Naomi - honest beautiful
Ren - lotus
Sakura - cherry blossom
Tamiko - child of many beauties
Akira - bright
Haru - spring
Hiro - generous
Junichi - obedient
Kenichi - strong, healthy
Ren - lotus
Riku - land
Sora - sky (though this is very Kingdom Hearts right now)
Takashi - prosperous
Takeshi - fierce warrior
Sora on a boy? I've only seen it on girls.
I looked through SSA data for Japanese names. However, I can't tell if some names are Japanese or not. Some Hawaiian, Finnish, Nigerian, other African, Hebrew, Russian... etc. names can look Japanese if you don't know. So, which of these are really Japanese and which aren't? Many I know are, many I can't remember seeing on anyone Japanese or in any Japanese source (which doesn't necessarily mean they're not). I know it's entirely possible that names that look the same exist in more than one language. Just to show how hard it can be, I left in a few of the definitely non-Japanese ones.
(Makari - Russian/Greek)
Yuki - I see Yuki ("snow") more often on girls, though I have seen it sometimes as a boy's name. In the US, it seems to be equally common on both.
Hiro - one of the most familiar Japanese names.
Sekou, Takeo, Aki, Akio
Takai - This is one of those cases where I can't be sure if it's Japanese or Hawaiian/other Pacific island origin.
Keiji, Ryo, Taiyo, Hiroto, Jiro, Koji, Neiko, Taiki, Kato, Keoki, Makoto, Rei, Sakai
(Tabari - Arabic?)
Akari, Sekai, Keita
Maika - I'll guess this one isn't
Takeru, Haruki, Hiroki, Kiyoshi, Ryota, Shinji, Yoshi, Hikaru, Hiroshi, Kaori, Keitaro
Kairi (more common on girls)
Komari, Kumari - These two are suspect.
(Kojo - Ghanaian)
Kotaro, Sasuke, Seiji, Taishi, Tomoki, Kaiyu, Kamuri, Keigo, Kosuke, Naoki, Naoto, Shotaro, Sotero, Sourya, Hiroyuki
Ichigo - I've seen this as the word for "strawberry". Sounds slightly odd to an English speaker, particularly as a boy's name.
(Iniko - Nigerian)
Kenyi - Good chance this isn't.
Ryusei, Ryuu, Satori, Takari, Taki, Takuto, Tomoya, Yuji
After Akira, Sakura, Sayuri and Yuri, Aiko is the commonest in the US.
Sarayu, Akemi, Sakina - Particularly the second looks Japanese, but I expect none are because I can't recall seeing what would be some of the commonest Japanese names if they were.
Midori - "green"
Kimi, Kimiko, Saori
Suki - though some may be from its use as a nickname for Susannah, this is definitely a Japanese name
Yuki, Tamika, Sakari, Yui
Momoka - I'll assume it's related to Momoko "peach girl", another of their fruit names.
Takara, Akiya, Haruka
Marika - Yes, this could be a form of Mary. I still suspect it's Japanese, because I've seen Mari and Mariko.
Takia, Aimi, Keiko, Yukari, Akane, Ayame, Asuka
(Maika on this side too - what language is it?)
Shiori, Hikari, Keiri, Minami, Misaki
(I guess Miyani isn't.)
(Takoda's probably Native American.)
Akaya - or is it Hebrew?
Aoi - "blue"
Harumi, Hiromi, Kyomi, Mariko, Mayumi
Mieke - I've seen this claimed as Dutch several times, but also at least once as Japanese. It's possible it's like Naomi, a coincidentally duplicated name. The pronunciation wouldn't be the same in Dutch and Japanese.
Miku, Miyoko, Mizuki, Oyuki, Rei, Reika, Rin, Saima, Shiza, Yumiko, Ayo
Kimori, Kumari - again suspect
(Mairi - Scottish, Miiaka - guess Finnish?)
(Shiri - Hebrew)
Yasuri, Yuzuki, Chika, Hanaki, Hidaya, Izumi, Kayori
Kenji - which I only knew of as a male name
Kiyoko, Maka, Michiko, Miyako, Momo, Natori, Rikiya, Riko, Sahori, Sakira, Ayano, Chiyo, Kumiko, Maki, Manami, Miko, Miniya, Miriya, Miu, Miyari, Nanako, Natsumi, Nishika, Nozomi, Sairi, Saiyuri, Sakara, Seiko, Yori
Yujin - I'm sure I've seen this name/word in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, so I'm not sure in which case it's a female given name.
Yori, Aki, Ayako, Haruna
(Kaimi - Finnish. The most deceptively Japanese-looking of Finnish names, to the point I expect it might exist independently in Japanese.)
Kaomi, Koharu, Mako, Reiko, Rui, Rumi, Sumayo, Sumire, Sumiya, Yuriko
Yoshi - Another I only know of on boys. In general, names low on the SSA list show a significant number on the opposite gender, and I don't know if this data is correct.
I've always liked the name Momoko, i think its so cute!!! ^_^
(@triplicate - As far as I know Sora is unisex, but is far more common for girls.)
Sayuri is so pretty, my favourite from your list, and Momoko is completely adorable. Japanese names always have such lovely meanings.
When you say an "R" it is a strange mixture of the standard English "R" sound, an "L" and a "D". Kind of like a really light R, or at least a heavy L that sounds kind of like an R, kind of like a D. If you're interested there are a lot of videos on YouTube that teach you how to make the sound.
Here are some Japanese names I think might work for the English speaker:
Misaki (mee-sah-kee, one of my favourites but very common in Japan)
Akemi (ah-keh-mee, kind of like ahk-Amy)
Shiori (shee-oh-ree, one of my absolute favourites because it means "bookmark" :).)
Ryo or Ryou (kind of like "r'yoh", or "ree-oh" but smushed into one syllable. Rhymes with Jo)
Sho or Shou (shoh, also rhymes with Jo)
Kenta (kehn-tah. There's also Ken, "kehn", but people will probably just think that's short for Kenneth or Kennedy)
Some of the names mentioned above appear also in Finnish, as was suspected. They might also be Japanese and coincidentally duplicated, or not .
Riku (boys, variation of Rikhard, Rickard, Grigori, Gregori or Risto)
Kimi (boys, from Joachim)
Marika (girls, a form of Maria)
Airi (girls, I couldn't find the etymology)
Saima (girls, derived from name of Saimaa lake, originally a name which has come from the Sami people and the name is actually connected with the name of the people)
Kaimi and Miiaka however are not Finnish names actually, even though not impossible ones. Throughout the history, there have been a handful of children, both boys and girls with name Kaimi, but no Miiakas. Miia on the other hand is fairly popular Finnish name. Aika is Finnish for time, not used as a name.
Here are some Japanese names of some of my family members
Originally Posted by triplicate
I agree with this. I'm actually half-Chinese, and I don't have a Chinese name. I have a nickname used when we go to Taiwan for my relatives, but not a given one. My mom moved her Chinese name to the middle spot and took on an English first name. It's to avoid mispronunciation and to assimilate into the new culture. In college, I only met a couple of Asian girls who actually did not take on an English name. The reasoning for this is usually because they plan on living in China after college. They have no need to take on an English name.
Being a big fan of anime and mange, though I don't know if I would consider myself an otaku, I think if you had no Japanese background and used the name, that would make you an otaku. There are just certain borders I wouldn't cross. I'd save those pretty Japanese names for a pet.