Can I create poetic readings for invented Japanese names? Based on [小鳥遊]{たかなし}, I would like to create the name [冷]{つめたい} with this special reading, referencing the adjective 冷たい. If I am doing something considered incorrect, I kindly ask you to teach me how to create these poetic readings more accurately. Thank you in advance for your response.

  • 1
    It's difficult to explain why to someone who didn't grow up speaking Japanese but つめたい sounds very weird as a name. It's not even about how to read the kanji. If 冷 had to be read in some form of the adjective, it would be its old form つめたし. In fact, 温 can be read あつし as a name. つめたし sounds like it's meant as a parody of it.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 14 at 20:20
  • I understand, but could I create unconventional readings for names? For example, could I create a name that means 'gentle' and the reading could be something like 'truth' to symbolize two meanings, 'gentle' and 'genuine'? Feb 14 at 20:29
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    That's like reading 誠 as まこと, which is rather conventional as a name. Being unconventional is fine but some words simply don't sound like names.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 14 at 20:41
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    And there's nothing poetic about つめたい.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 14 at 20:45
  • In fact, I misinterpreted myself. In reality, this reading was the name of a character I had when I was a child, and I thank you for clarifying the readings for me. You have helped me a lot. Feb 14 at 20:50

1 Answer 1


Technically and legally speaking, assigning an arbitrary unusual reading to a kanji name is possible. You can sometimes find such unique names in manga/anime, and a few Japanese parents choose such names for their real children. You can see examples in this question: Was the Japanese reading "raito" for moon, ever been used before Death Note came to existence?

However, they can do this because they have grown up with Japanese for decades and understand the subtleties of the language. While both おおいし and おいしい are romanized as Oishi, Japanese people can intuitively tell which one is a natural name and which one is out of the question. Unfortunately, there is no quick guide to coin a natural-sounding Japanese name, and it may still be impossible to acquire this sense even after studying Japanese seriously for hundreds of hours.

Frankly, つめたい is out of the question as a name. Before even considering whether it has poetic quality, it doesn't look like a name to begin with. 小鳥遊 is a surname that was invented by someone long ago, and Japanese people have already accepted it as it is, but modern Japanese speakers would hardly do the same thing when naming their baby.

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