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Japanese Names

Japanese Names

Japanese names are Romanized translations of kanji — the characters used in the Japanese language. Japanese names can be written in multiple combinations of kanji —sometimes hundreds — and the meaning of a name changes depending on which characters are used. The name Kenzo, for example, has meanings related to wisdom, health, or humility when written in different kanji permutations.

Along with Kenzo, other Japanese names popular internationally include Amaya, Kane, Raiden, Asa, Kairi, Koda, Hana, Tori, and Kai. Uncommon Japanese names you may want to consider include Hiro, Naoko, Suki, and Ren — a popular name for boys in Japan.

Japanese baby names are only beginning to be used in the West, as the world becomes smaller and international names become more accepted in most countries. Some Japanese names that translate easily to Western culture and language include the following, ordered by their current popularity on Nameberry.

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Japanese Girl Names

Japanese Boy Names

  1. KaiHeart
    • Origin:

      Hawaiian
    • Meaning:

      "sea"
    • Description:

      Kai has many origins and meanings. What does the name Kai mean? That depends on which Kai you're referring to.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. KikiHeart
    • Origin:

      French nickname and Japanese
    • Meaning:

      "double happiness"
    • Description:

      Kiki is one of the Coco-Gigi-Fifi-Lulu bohemian-type French nickname names from the turn of the last century, which have endless energy and sparkle. Artist Kiki Smith is its most well-known contemporary representative, and Kiki was the inspiring heroine of Zadie Smith's On Beauty. Kiki can be a nickname for any name beginning with the K sound, from Katherine to Christina to Kayla.
  5. MikaHeart
    • Origin:

      Japanese
    • Meaning:

      "beautiful fragrance"
    • Description:

      Mika is a Japanese girls' name that translates easily to English. As a male name, it's a short form of Mikael, the Scandinavian and Finnish form of Michael. Both are spelled and pronounced the same.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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."
  9. SukiHeart
    • Origin:

      Japanese
    • Meaning:

      "loved one"
    • Description:

      One of the most familiar and usable Asian names.
  10. RumiHeart
    • Origin:

      Japanese
    • Meaning:

      "beauty, flow, lapis lazuli"
    • Description:

      Rumi is a Japanese girls' name that sounds like a couple of other choices more familiar in the West -- Rumer and Remi -- that is achieving notice because of its choice by two celebrities, including Beyonce and Jay-Z.
  11. AyaHeart
    • Origin:

      Japanese, Hebrew, Arabic
    • Meaning:

      "colorful, bird, sign"
    • Description:

      Aya, barely more than a breath, is an international favorite, with origins in several languages and cultures. Popular throughout Europe, It debuted on the US Top 1000 in 2012.
  12. ZenHeart
    • Origin:

      Japanese
    • Meaning:

      "meditation"
    • Description:

      A spiritual word name used by actor Zoe Saldana for her son.
  13. HiroHeart
    • Origin:

      Japanese
    • Meaning:

      "broad, widespread"
    • Description:

      Hiro is an apt name for a hero of the show Heroes -- and for our times. Widely used in Japan, sometimes also for girls. Hiroshi is a long form.
  14. 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.
  15. KenjiHeart
    • Origin:

      Japanese
    • Meaning:

      "second son"
    • Description:

      One of several Japanese names that refer to a child's place in the family birth order. Kenji has attracted notice in the US as the name of The Food Lab chef, James Kenji López-Alt, know simply as Kenji.
  16. 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.
  17. SoraHeart
    • Origin:

      Japanese or Korean
    • Meaning:

      "sky; conch shell"
    • Description:

      A simple and pretty multicultural name: as a Japanese name, it's unisex and means "sky"; as a Korean name, it's feminine and means "conch shell".
  18. RoninHeart
    • Origin:

      Spelling variation of Ronan
    • Description:

      In the USA, both spellings of this old Celtic name rose significantly. However, Ronan outpaced this version in the lasts, and we, too, prefer the original, though history and movie buffs may appreciate this version's association with renegade samurai in Feudal Japan. Ronin is a character in the Marvel Universe.
  19. SakuraHeart
    • Origin:

      Japanese
    • Meaning:

      "cherry blossom"
    • Description:

      Lovely Japanese name that would certainly be appreciated in Europe and the U.S. It was rarely used in Japan until the 1990s, and draws its current popularity from the fact that it is deeply connected to Japanese traditional culture without sounding frumpy and old-fashioned.
  20. RioHeart
    • Origin:

      Spanish
    • Meaning:

      "river"
    • Description:

      Rio is a reductive ranchero place-name with an attractive Tex-Mex lilt. No Doubt's Tom Dumont has a son named Rio Atticus.