9

My parents are not Japanese but they named my sister and me with Japanese names for the meanings they had: Mariko - Child of Truth Midori - Youthful Immortal.

With these definitions as guidance, can anyone help me to find Kanji for our names? My sister has also named her daughter Emiko - Graceful child - and it would be very special for us to have the Kanji for our names.

I have tried a few searches but not found what I was looking for.

Many thanks in advance for any assistance you can offer - particularly if you know anyone (or are anyone) called Mariko, Midori or Emiko! I am a lady, by the way, not a man :)

9

I'm pretty sure Mariko is [真]{ma}[理]{ri}[子]{ko} ([真理]{shinri}=truth, 子=child). Emiko is probably [恵]{e}[美]{mi}[子]{ko} (恵=blessing, grace, etc. 美=beauty). As for Midori, I have no idea. We have [緑]{midori}, [美]{mi}[登]{do}[里]{ri}, [翠]{midori} etc., but none of them would mean "Youthful immortal".

  • My mother's name is [綠]{midori}. – user1016 Jan 9 '15 at 18:11
8

Since "youthful immortal" is not a common reading for the name "Midori," if you have the opportunity to ask your parents their intended kanji, that would be the easiest route.

The main kanji for Midori is 緑 (meaning greenery, or the color green). There are a few obsolete kanji variations on it that hold the same meaning. Another possible combination that my Japanese grandmother gave is 美+鳥=美鳥 (beautiful bird).

I am a Japanese American with Midori as my middle name. My Japanese grandmother's name was Mitsu but she used Midori as her nickname/stage name. She gave my mother Midori for a middle name, and then my mother gave it to me. My grandmother immigrated to America in an era where most women's names were written in katakana with no kanji (most of the women in our family registry have katakana-only names). When my mother was a child, she asked her mom how to write her name in Japanese. My grandmother wrote it down in katakana (ミドリ), telling her it meant either "green" or "beautiful bird." My mother wrote some letters to Japanese relatives and signed them in katakana. When she went to university, she took a Japanese course for the first time and learned about the existence of kanji; she felt terribly embarrassed, assuming that she had been signing her name incorrectly. She assumed that her mother had intended for her name to have a kanji but that she had simply not bothered to teach her how to write it (since katakana is easier to write). Only when she was about 60 years old she found out that her mother's name had only been in katakana and, therefore, her name is most likely to have been intended to be in only katakana: which was the prevalent custom in Japan at the time that my grandmother emigrated. Since my mother gave me my middle name during those years in which she assumed she had a kanji but just didn't know which one it was, I take it that she wanted me to have a kanji. So when I started studying Japanese I chose 緑 for myself, since my favorite color has always been green. However, after I moved to Japan, the Japanese do not consider my middle name to have a kanji because my American passport does not have kanji in it, so they write my middle name as ミドリ as if it were a foreign word in all legal documents.

All that to say, you could choose to write your name as ミドリ in katakana. It is not a dumbing-down or kiddy way as my mother had thought, but rather a more historical way of writing female names, and if you immigrated to Japan someday, they would most likely not recognize your name as having any kanji.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.