Questions about names in Japanese, including how to use them and how to write them.

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95 views

Intentional hiragana transcription for foreign names

Is it possible and acceptable to transcript foreign names into hiragana instead of katakana for aesthetic or other personal purposes? How would Japanese people judge this choice? Would they perceive ...
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1answer
71 views

Could ルフレ be considered a gender-neutral name?

In the Fire Emblem: Awakening game, the avatar character — that is, the main character whose name and gender you pick — has a default name. In English, the default name is Robin, because the character ...
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4answers
321 views

How to write “yi” in katakana

I'm trying to write the name of a Chinese friend, Ying. I know that the sounds "yi" and "ye" don't exist any more except for the deprecated hiragana characters, and katakana doesn't have either of ...
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1answer
143 views

Why is Danny written & pronounced ダニー and not ダニ?

In Japanese, using Katakana, why is the name Danny written and pronounced ダニー. Why not just ダニ? I'm not sure why the i is being extended when this doesn't really happen in english. Thx.
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2answers
347 views

Are katakana names pronounced as they are written?

My name is Laurence. I would write this in Japanese as ロレンス (rorensu). My question is, when I introduce myself, do I pronounce my name as it is in katakana, or as it is in English?: That is, would I ...
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2answers
204 views

Why do Japanese businessmen use 「さん」 even with うち names in meetings with foreigners

I noticed that many Japanese businessmen tend to address the colleagues they are traveling with, or even introduce themselves as ◯◯◯さん. This would clearly be a faux-pas in a Japanese-only meeting, yet ...
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1answer
100 views

Prefix お for names - how is it used?

I recently watched a Japanese drama titled 「おせん」. The title comes from the first name of the main character - the character's name is 半田{はんだ}仙{せん} who is a young お上{かみ} of a traditional restaurant. ...
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1answer
192 views

Help identifying low-res kanji (and perhaps words) on a low-res album cover

Listening to an ancient rip of Escaflowne soundtrack, I wanted to add artist information to one file. I managed to identify some things from context and matching guesses to dictionary entries, but not ...
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1answer
111 views

「かみなりもん」 vs. 「らいもん」

So I was watching something last year that involved a visit to 浅草神社. Along the way there were conversations over where was the preferred way to read the name for the temple—either using the kun ...
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1answer
228 views

How to read single stand-alone language-name kanji?

So we all know that most (all?) countries' names can be written in kanji as well as kana. And occasionally kanji from these names are used to represent the language of those countries. For example, we ...
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0answers
266 views

What does the name Chacha (チャチャ) mean?

I always wondered about the meaning of this name in Japanese, but couldn't find much on google. Can someone tell me what it means? UPDATE: Cha-cha (茶々) was a concubine to Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the ...
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0answers
143 views

How are Japanese company division, section or department names translated?

How are Japanese company division, section or department names usually translated to English e.g. 「システム開発1部ソリューション1課」? Does it translate it to System Development Department 1 Solution Section 1?
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1answer
383 views

How is となりのトトロ supposed to be perceived in Japanese?

How is the title of the well-known cartoon となりのトトロ supposed to be perceived in Japanese? What is the device behind the トトロ? Is it alliteration, word-play or something else?
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3answers
1k views

Writing the name Harriet in Japanese

Sorry for the trivial question, but I've just started learning Japanese and thought that I should know how to write my name in hiragana. My name is Harriet. My first guesses were はリえた or はリえと. I ...
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1answer
1k views

How to write the name !xobile in Katakana?

So I have been wondering from this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiWiYjW1Xrc How would one write the Katakana for this name that has an exclamation mark? And how would we pronounce it? ...
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1answer
315 views

Is ありす a traditional girl's name?

Is ありす, or a name pronounced the same as "ありす", a traditional feminine given name? (If I have to define traditional, then pre-dating the end of the Sakoku policy) I've heard about parents naming ...
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1answer
224 views

Why is 対馬 pronounced つしま?

The island of Tsushima is written 対馬{つしま}. Why? No reading of 対 and 馬 can produce つしま, and clearly つしま has something to do with 島{しま}. There seems to also be no gikun-type motivation in meaning to ...
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1answer
140 views

Are people named after prefectures, or are prefectures named after people?

In Japanese, some names exist in both people and prefectures or cities. For example, Fukushima Industries Corporation is not named after the prefecture of Fukushima (福島県) or the city, but after Nobuo ...
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2answers
136 views

How would you write the name Anibal in Japanese?

So my name is written Anibal, I'm from Brazil, just so you know. I'd like to know how would you write it in japanese, I'm in doubt between A-ni-ba-ru and A-ni-ba-e-ru. Any further explanation would be ...
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1answer
624 views

Legal characters for first names include: hiragana, katakana, jinmeiyo and joyo kanji. What about latin letters?

Is it legal for parents to give to their child a first name with latin letters (romaji, I guess), instead of using katakana, hiragana, or kanji? For example, if Japanese parents want to give their ...
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2answers
339 views

Is there some way that a Japanese (sur)name must be written for it to make sense?

I understand surnames and given names usually have some reason for existing, and have existed for several years. My question, I guess, really is: if someone were making up a completely different name ...
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3answers
543 views

Can Japanese names be anything?

I've read lots of mangas and seen many animes, and it seems a Japanese person can have virtually any kind of name (the meaning of a name can be something completely ridiculous). Is it true in real ...
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1answer
365 views

What is the significance of number of Kanji in a name?

There are several one-character surnames: [林]{はやし}  [森]{もり}  [堤]{つつみ} Most surnames have two-characters: [鈴木]{すずき} [山田]{やまだ} [藤井]{ふじい} [酒井]{さかい} [松村]{まつむら} A few surnames have ...
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0answers
356 views

Help with name for boy (British and Japanese) [closed]

My wife will give birth to our son soon and I am trying to come up with a name for him. Does anyone have any suggestions for a name which can be written and pronounced in both English and Japanese? I ...
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1answer
500 views

Is “豪斯多拉利” an ateji way to write “Australia”?

Several years ago I invested some time and energy digging up more ways to write "Australia" in Japanese than I ever expected would exist: オーストラリア is the usual spelling these days 濠太剌利 is a rare old ...
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2answers
299 views

The surname 粂 【くめ】

The kokuji 粂 【くめ】 exists, defined only as a name. The character is clearly an amalgam of 久 and 米 used in a man'yogana-like manner, but: Why did this particular surname get a designated character? ...
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2answers
259 views

Using appropriate old characters with people's names

What is the general etiquette about about using the newer characters (新字体) or even a more modern version of the old character (旧字体) when used in names? Is it generally considered rude? For example, ...
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2answers
2k views

Which writing system (hiragana, katakana, or kanji) should we use when writing out someone's name?

I know how to read hiragana and katakana, but know nothing else. A lot of people I know want me to write their names in Japanese. Is it right to write them in any system, or are there specific rules?
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594 views

Is -さん used when referring to a celebrity or historical figures?

When referring to a celebrity or historical figure, do you use -さん? I am listening to Yoko Shimomura. Would it be:"下村陽子さんを聞いている。"? Abraham Lincoln is my favorite president. Would it ...
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1answer
208 views

Is one transcription of “Andrew” more standard than another?

I recently looked at the disambiguation page for Andrew on the Japanese Wikipedia, and found that there were several "アンドルー"s, and several "アンドリュー"s. I couldn't discern any trend that one form ...
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3answers
422 views

Describing aptronyms (names that fit their owner)

I thought of this after seeing a news article about 星出{ほしで}彰彦{あきひこ}, who is an astronaut. Aptronym is a term for a name (often the surname) that fits a person's occupation or personality. A classic ...
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2answers
2k views

Why is there a “tsu” in Nippon (にっぽん)? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How did “little tsu” become a lengthener? On Wikipedia and elsewhere, Japan is written like so: Nippon ( にっぽん ). What is that tsu doing in there? Why isn't ...
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1answer
498 views

Change of kanji like 大坂 to 大阪

Wikipedia says that Osaka used to be spelt 大坂, and is now spelt 大阪. Is there a term for what happened, and does it happen often? Related question: On the replacing of kanji obsoleted in the 1946 ...
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1answer
697 views

Why is the Japanese government considering adding kanji such as “cancer” to the jinmeiyō kanji?

The wikipedia article on jinmeiyō kanji states: Before September 27, 2004, there were 2232 government-designated jinmeiyō kanji used in personal and geographical names, with plans to increase ...
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3answers
621 views

Correct kana for foreign name

I am Portuguese, and my name is João, which has a peculiar pronunciation that is very difficult for foreign people. It is the Portuguese equivalent to the English John, but the pronunciations are very ...
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0answers
179 views

What would be the Japanese name of a person with a native Chinese name? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When Chinese personal names are written in Japanese in kanji is there always an obvious reading? What would be the common ways to convert a Chinese name for a person to ...
7
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1answer
286 views

Why is the affixal 子 treated specially when abbreviating people’s names?

Often, names are abbreviated using the initial letter in romanization, or some random letter, like "A". However, when the name has an affixal 子, that part is often left, like "A子". I have not seen any ...
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1answer
317 views

Why do Japanese titles often start with titles/appositions?

Sort of hinted by a recent question How would one express an opinion from the perspective of an inclusive group? . Japanese titles in books, songs, shows, etc. are accompanied with a title (status) ...
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1answer
648 views

When is it appropriate to refer to yourself using your name, rather than 私 (or others)?

I have heard—though not often—people refer to themselves using their first name, not by using a pronoun for "I." Does this have special connotation in Japanese? Nothing about the usage (to me) seemed ...
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3answers
7k views

Address someone by their first name, or their last name?

When addressing John Doe, would you say "John-さん", or "Doe-さん"? Does it depend on how polite or formal you're being? Does it also depend on whether the person is a nihonjin, a kankokujin (who have ...
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2answers
2k views

How do you write someone's name if you don't know what kanji to use?

Since kanji can have multiple pronunciations, how would you know how to write someone's name if you've only heard it spoken? What's the convention? Would you just guess, or maybe write it out in ...
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3answers
501 views

Alignment of people's names

When people's names are listed with both sides aligned (either in horizontal or vertical writing), for example, in the ending scroll of a movie, there is a seemingly complicated rule (to me). When ...
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4answers
2k views

When Chinese personal names are written in Japanese in kanji is there always an obvious reading?

In their comment to an answer on the question "Are foreign personal names usually written in katakana rather than Romaji?", user sawa says: ... Chinese names should be written in kanji rather than ...
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3answers
3k views

Can I write Japanese name “Midori” this way - 緑?

There is female Japanese name "Midori," and I want to know the ways I can write it. I know it means "green," but maybe the name and "green" are different words sometimes. I used google-translator to ...
8
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3answers
481 views

What honorifics are used with nicknames?

What honorifics, if any, are used with nicknames? For example, would Matz-san (for Yukihiro Matsumoto) make sense (at least coming from someone new to Japanese), or would the mixture of the slightly ...
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5answers
918 views

Using Japanese honorifics with non-kana names

Some Japanese websites have no problem addressing me as Amandaさん, but how common is this in human-produced Japanese? Under what circumstances would someone refer to someone else as Amandaさん, בועזくん, ...
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4answers
228 views

Is the use of 先生 and similar titles context sensitive?

While it is generally safe to use -さん when taking to someone and the use of -先生 is appropriate for use in a school environment when talking to a teacher, would the use of -先生 carry over outside of the ...
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7answers
2k views

When should one add さん at the end of a name?

I've heard some names pronounced with 〜さん added to them (such as 佐々木さん) and some without it. I believe it is related to respect or the age of the person named. What would be the guidelines or general ...