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 get variants. I want to know if all of those variants are used to write the name Midori. Otherwise I am interested in what they mean.

As far as I can understand, the first variants are kanji and next ones are hiragana:

  • ミドリ
  • みどり and みどりの

What is the difference between these? What does the "no" mean?

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    Japanese law states that there is no restriction on how a kanji name is read. You can write any Japanese name in any kanji (combination). "Midori" can be written as "田中", "佐藤", etc. The answer to your question will be an infinite list, and does not make sense. It is possible to ask "what are the typical/popular ways to write midori"? Or "how is this name in ka nji likely to be read?" but you can never be sure without asking how a particular name is written in kanji or how a kanji name is read.
    – user458
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 13:58
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    @sawa: “Japanese law states that there is no restriction on how a kanji name is read.” I have heard that Japanese law does not state any restriction on how a kanji name is read, but does it state that there is no restriction? Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 16:52
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    @Tsuyoshi_Ito Your way of phrasing it is more accurate. Lack of restriction on the law that states the way names are written passively states that there is not restriction.
    – user458
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 16:57
  • you could also use Rikai-chan. It can give you name translations for kanjis. Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 0:57
  • Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/6744/… Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 0:55

3 Answers 3


Searching on a name dictionary you'll get a long long list (93) of "midori" as a girl's given name. This excludes "midori" being used as a family name or a place name.

"Midori" is not limited to the kanji for green though. It can be made up of other kanji having 名乗り (nanori - name reading) of "mi", "do", "ri", "mido", "dori" compounded to form "midori".

And yes you can use or as a standalone kanji for the name Midori.

For brevity I will not list all 93:

Kana and Kanji mix:






3 Kanji compounds:






2 Kanji compounds:






There is also the possibility that a name is spelled purely in Hiragana:


In this case, writing that person's name using Kanji would be wrong.

For Midorino:

緑野 [みどりの] (Don't worry about the meaning of "no" it's just the way the name sounds) it can be both a girl's name and a family name.

緑埜 [みどりの] is a family name instead of a girl's name.

Alternatively it could be Midori + Genitive case marker の.

i.e. みどりの本 to mean "Midori's book"

or 緑の本 to mean "a green (coloured) book"

  • What is so unusual about みどり? It is much more common than the other "possibilities" you listed --- perhaps except for 緑.
    – user4032
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 0:13

I'm sorry to inform you that there are many, many different ways to write the Japanese name Midori, as you can see from this search of a name dictionary. If you need to know how to write a specific woman's name, you probably need to ask her.

As for your other question about みどりの, the の is a word that comes between a word and the word it's describing. みどりの湯飲み (midori no yunomi), for instance, means "a green teacup" (or "Midori's teacup").


緑 just means 'the color green'.

翠, imagine a bird has green, beautiful wings. It's like the 'clean, beautiful, incredible color green'. So, this kanji is often used for a given name. You can find かわせみ, which is a bird that lives around the river. It has beautiful wings. The kanji 翠 is read せみ or in 翡翠. Not really sure which.... But it means 'that lovely green color'. 翡's first kanji also means 'beautiful green', but it's for male birds. 翠 means 'that lovely green color', but it's for female birds.

ミドリ is for anime/manga, if someone is being emotional, you use katakana to express emotion. 緑の is a の-adjective, like The green (something).. 緑 is a noun, as in 緑が好きです。.

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    Interesting answer, but I think you completely missed the point of the question…
    – Axioplase
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 6:14
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    Maybe, but wouldn't the answerer know best? Maybe this is more specific: 翠 is used for female names. 緑 is sometimes, but less often, used for female names. If the person is Japanese, you would use みどり, hiragana, to write her name if you didn't know which kanji, or how to write the kanji. If the person were not Japanese, you would use katakana, ミドリ, because katakana is used for foreign names. And みどりの, with a name, would mean Midori's. You would hear みどりさんの, though. 緑の is an adjective form of the word green. Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 6:22
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    @nCdy Be careful--a specific person's name is almost always written only one way. To write the name of a person named 「緑」 as 「翠」would be incorrect, like misspelling your username as "enCdi" or something like that.
    – Amanda S
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 6:34
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    @nCdy: Parents choose the spelling. If her name is spelt 妙登利 then you have to use, you can not use 翠, even though it might look more beautiful. But you can always use みどり if you just know the pronunciation but you don't know the spelling. Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 6:35
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    The one I linked you to only has three readings for みどり, which are the only three I happen to have seen: 翠 (Incredible Green) 美鳥 (Beautiful Bird) 翠里 (Incredible Green Village). It's only really the rough translation based on the kanji meanings, though. Actually, interactions between words make it hard to translate true meaning. For example, many names end in 子, and we say 'child'. It's actually a kanji that older generations used in their name. It's not supposed to mean that, but Japanese people accept that people want it to mean that because the kanji means that. Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 2:17

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