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Top Japanese Names

Japanese baby names are rarely used in the English-speaking world, as English names are rarely used in Japan. In other Asian countries, people often take on English names to ease pronunciation and spelling confusion when going to school or working internationally, but Japanese names are spelled and pronounced in a way that translates across tongues. Unlike other Asian cultures where English study has long been mandatory in school, Japanese students only began compulsory English classes in 2011.

Japanese names in the US Top 1000 for girls include Amaya, Kairi, Reina, Sara, and Tori. For boys, Japanese names in the US Top 1000 include Asa, Kane, Kai, Raiden, and Ren. In Japan, popular names include Sakura, Yuna, Haruki, and Riku.

Not many Americans or British are able to speak Japanese either, making for less fluid travel of names between cultures. Japanese baby names that work best in the West are those that are familiar via celebrities, pop culture, or similarity to more familiar Western names such as Hana, Kai, or Zen. But there are many other lovely Japanese names for girls or boys worth browsing here is you’re looking for an unusual international name for your baby son or daughter.

Our full roster of Japanese baby names follows. The top names below rank among the current US Top 1000 Baby Names and are ordered by popularity. Unique names rank below the Top 1000 and are listed alphabetically.
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AmayaHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish version of Amaia or Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "mother city; the end; night rain"
  • Description:

    The Spanish form of Amaya is both a given name and a surname, originating from the Spanish mountain and village of Amaya. In this context it means "mother city" or "the capital." Amaya can also be considered a derivation of Amaia, a Basque name meaning "the end." In Japan, Amaya is a surname.

KaneHeart

  • Origin:

    Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "warrior"
  • Description:

    A name of multiple identities: a somewhat soap-operatic single-syllable surname, a homonym for the biblical bad boy Cain, and, when found in Japan and Hawaii, it transforms into the two syllable KA-neh. Kane also has multiple meanings: in Welsh, it's "beautiful"; in Japanese, "golden"; and in Hawaiian, "man of the Eastern sky."

RaidenHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "thunder and lightning"
  • Description:

    The name of the Japanese god of thunder makes an assertive choice, very much at home in the Western world. Because of the name's similarity to popular baby names Aiden and Jayden, most people will pronounce it RAY-den, but it's more properly RYE-den.

AsaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew; Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "healer; born in the morning"
  • Description:

    A short but strong biblical name with multicultural appeal, Asa is enjoying new visibility thanks to hot young actor Asa Butterfield of Hugo fame.

KenzoHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "strong and healthy"
  • Description:

    Kenzo is a common Japanese name with several creative bearers: the single-named fashion designer, prizewinning architect Kenzo Takada, and painter Kenzo Okada, which makes it internationally recognizable.
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KodaHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese, Sioux
  • Meaning:

    "friend"
  • Description:

    A word in the Yankton-Yanktonai and Santee dialects of the Lakota Sioux language, meaning "friend" or "ally", used for one of the main characters in the movie Brother Bear. Also a common Japanese surname or a respelling of the musical name Coda.

HanaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew, Hawaiian, Maori, Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "grace, work, glow, flower"
  • Description:

    Many things to many peoples: a flower name, also spelled Hanae, to the Japanese; a Czech and Polish short form of Johana; and an alternate form of the biblical name Hannah in the US. It also means "craft, work" in Hawaiian and "glow" in Maori.

KaiHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "sea"
  • Description:

    This appealing multi-cultural name, pronounced KYE, is beginning to be used for girls as well as boys. Among its many derivations and meanings: "sea" in Hawaiian, "forgiveness" in Japanese, "willow tree" in Navajo, "food" in Maori, and "earth" in Scandinavian. For girls, it debuted on the US Top 1000 in 2010.

KairiHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "sea"
  • Description:

    Kairi is the name of the main female character in the popular role-playing video game series, Kingdom Hearts. Voiced by Hayden Panettiere in the main series, Kairi is one of the seven Princesses of the Heart. Kairi entered the US Top 1000 in 2010 and was given to over 400 baby girls in one recent year.

ToriHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Victoria or Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "bird"
  • Description:

    A more modern nickname for Victoria than Vicky, Tori is used fairly frequently on its own, kept in the public eye by singer Tori Amos and actress Tori Spelling. Still, it's far from fashionable, sinking in the polls significantly since reaching a peak of Number 142 in 1994.
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KenjiHeart

  • Origin:

    Japanese
  • Meaning:

    "second son"
  • Description:

    One of several Japanese names that refer to a child's place in the family birth order.