Wednesday, October 7, 2015

10 Japanese Names You Never Thought of Using: Boys

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Japanese names are super fun. They are lively, cheerful names with fabulous meanings. If you're looking for dapper Japanese names that you won't hear in the U.S., check out the following list.

Fuji- Ever since the renaming of Mt. McKinley to Denali, mountain names have been on my mind. Fuji is one of the most distinctive of the bunch. He is strong yet gentle--a tough balance to strike.

Haruki- Many people will instantly recognize Haruki as the first name of Murakami, author of famous books such as 1Q84. Fans of his writing might be instantly motivated to use Haruki, but even if you're not a literature fan, he's still a great choice. Haruki means "born in the spring," so he'd be an extra special name for an April, May, or June baby.

Iku- It's not often that I find and "I" name that I'm excited about, but I was thrilled to learn about Iku. He's simple, stylish, and not too difficult for English speakers. Iku means "nourishing," which I find quite endearing.

Issey- On the same note, Issey is also a wonderful "I" name. He has a slighly feminine feel, but it's not too concerning, considering plenty of boys respond to Izzy. Issey is traditionally used for the first born child in a family.

Jiro- Jiro is a nice, upbeat name that means (but is not reserved to) "second born son." Jiro Ono is the Japanese sushi chef that is featured in the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and might be a good namesake.

Kenji- Like Jiro, Kenji is also a name that means "second born son." He's part Benji, part Ken, a useful combination when it comes to honoring people fashionably. There are many famous Japanese Kenjis, ranging from professional athletes to musicians. Kenji was briefly in the United States top 1000 from 1978-1979.

Ren- Ren is a popular unisex name in Japan, though more often than not, he's used for boys. Americans have mostly male associations with the name as well, from Ren & Stimpy to the protagonist in Footloose. Ren doesn't have an overwhelming Japanese sound. He'd fit in with many names, from most (if not all) cultures.

Sanjiro- If Jiro was just a little bit slight for you, Sanjiro might be a better option. The two are completely unrelated. Sanjiro even has a different meaning--"admired." Of course, Jiro would still work as a nickname, but I think Sanji is pretty cute as well.

Seiji- Seiji (SAY-jee) comes from the Kanji characters meaning "truth" and "just," making him a virtue name of sorts. He shares a lot of sounds with Sage--a name rising for both girls and boys--but is a bit more masculine.

Yukio- Depending on how you translate it, Yukio can mean "happy man," or "snow boy." Either one is fantastic--it's a win-win situation. Yukio is considered strictly masculine in Japan (the -o ending makes it so), although there is a female Marvel character with the name. There also appear to be other Yukios in comic series who are male, though none as prolific as Marvel's Yukio Okumura.


  1. How awesome is Iku?! I'm actively looking for someone to recommend it to now. Solid job again, Sophie!