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  1. #1

    Japanese or English? Naming a biracial baby

    I'm pregnant with my first baby (yay!) and my husband and I are having some trouble deciding what our baby's name will be. He is Japanese and I'm Canadian of English descent, and we are on the fence about whether to give our son a Japanese first name or an English first name. We'll be living in Japan, so I don't want to make his name totally odd when he goes to school, but I also love a whole bunch of really North American names. We have choices picked out for both languages (Hiroshi or Ren in Japanese, and Flynn or Sullivan in English). Any opinions? What do you think is the best course of action?

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    I would personally go with a Japanese name if you are living in Japan, or at least one that can easily be said in either culture (Ren and Hiroshi are perfect in this regard). If you were to go with a Western style name, I would probably avoid names containing 'l'. Japanese people as a whole (this isn't being racist- I have Japanese heritage via my beloved grandmother and it is just an observation) tend to have a lot of trouble with the 'l' sound, making it more an 'r' sound (in general), a bit like how the French have trouble with 'h' sounds- it just isn't common in their native language, much like the 'ts' combination (or 'uu' / 'aa' etc.) at the beginning of a word (e.g: tsubaki) isn't common in English.

    Hope that helps, and congratulations!
    Last edited by nooshi; November 24th, 2014 at 05:29 AM.
    Momo Flora
    Dossie Roland

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  3. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    I think the country where you currently live, or are likely to live for the majority/entirety of your child's upbringing should take precedence. Since you live in Japan, I think you ought to choose a Japanese name. You could then perhaps consider using an English name in the middle spot, so that the kid has a full name that reflects both sides of their heritage.

    However, if I were you, I would also take into account the future bicultural identity of your child and try to give them a name that at the least can be pronounced easily by native speakers of English (who do not speak Japanese).

    I'm working with two European languages, so it's not as tricky for me, but this is basically the approach that we are taking - choosing a name from the country in which we live, but which can also be pronounced by people from my home country. I want to a) avoid marking my child as a foreigner in their own home country and b) avoid alienating them from my own family, language and culture. It can be quite limiting and hard to strike the balance, but the challenge is fun. Good luck!

    P.S. Maybe this thread should be moved elsewhere, it's not likely to get many views here?
    Last edited by jackal; November 24th, 2014 at 07:15 AM.
    Baby #1 due May/June 2015
    Emil - Ingimar - Kjartan - Matthías - Óskar - Róbert

    Elísabet - Elva - Rósa - Sólveig - Svala - Ylfa

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    In your case, I would choose a Japanese name that is easily pronounceable in English.
    Emily • Nineteen • United States
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  5. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    With living in Japan I would give him a Japanese name that is easily said by English speakers and an English middle name.

    I agree with the pp who said you don't want the child to feel alienated in either place. And if you're raising your child in Japan I would stick with a Japanese first name.

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