Japanese Baby Names: Lovely sounds, lovely meanings

August 24, 2014 Callmecalliope

By Jackie, aka CallmeCalliope at

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:

ai = love
hana = flower
hiro = man/husband/hero
ichi = one
ji = two
ken = healthy
ko = child (common in girls’ names)
mi = beauty
rou = son
you = sun

Next are some Japanese names I find most beautiful in sound and meaning. You will see that several of the names I’ve listed have two-part meanings, representing the kanji commonly combined to create that name. Keep in mind that I have grouped names by gender based on my personal preference or most common usage. Many Japanese names are not considered gender specific.


AmaranteFlower that never fades
Aya– Color
Chiyo– Thousand+Generations (eternal)
Emiko– Smiling child (there are a variety of other meanings but this is my favorite)
Kaede– (“kah-eh-deh”)- Maple
Kaida- Little dragon
Kaori Fragrance
Kazuki– One or Harmony + Radiance or Hope
KohanaLittle flower
Maiko- Dance+Child
Miya– Increasing beauty

Rumi – Beauty+Flow+Lapis Lazuli
Shiori– Weave+Poem


AkioBright+Man OR Bright+Hero
Daichi– Great+Earth OR Great+Wisdom
Hajime– Beginning
Isamu- Courage
Kado– Gateway
Kaemon– Joyful
Kazuo Harmony+Man
Raiden God of thunder (Rai=thunder, Den=Lightning)
Ronin– Samurai without a master
Ryuu– Dragon
Sora(“so-ruh”)- Sky
Taiki– Great+Radiance
Yasuo– Peaceful man
YoiteEvening rain
Yori– Trustworthy

What are your favorite Japanese names? Please add your corrections and knowledge of Japanese baby naming!

Adapted from a blog in namesplash.


About the author


Jackie is a lifelong name nerd and a busy student working to earn a doctorate in biomedical science. In her minimal spare time, she loves to cuddle with her pets, cook, and name things. Check out Jackie’s blog, Namesplash.

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