Nowadays, Japanese people usually keep their names as is, except using the Latin alphabet, and having their given name before their surname, when they're in English-speaking countries.

By contrast, many immigrants into English-speaking countries, even those from countries with European languages, had their names Anglicised, and it still goes on today, at least with native speakers of Chinese.

Did Japanese people, or their descendants, use to anglicise their names, especially before, during or soon after WWII?

  • If this is more suitable for english.SE, feel free to migrate it there.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 2:04
  • 2
    It makes things a little more difficult than with Europeans in that English doesn't have related names (eg Wilhelm > William), but I suppose they could do the Chinese thing and either pick a name that sounds a bit like theirs or pick a name that's totally unrelated to their real name.
    – Sjiveru
    Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 2:28
  • 1
    Besides, this comment about Fred Korematsu - how does it relate to the question? Do other people named Toyosaburo use Fred now? Like many Dimitroses choosing Jimmy? Which aspect of Anglicisation are you asking about? Many Japanese names are written in a spelling that is easier for English-speaking people just by using Hepburn romanization. But leaving aside "fu" or "hu", there are other types of romanization like "Ohta" for 太田 which are aimed at English speakers. I don't think any other European language user would pronounce it similarly to Japanese applying their native language rules.
    – macraf
    Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 11:06
  • 1
    Some more strange examples in the Anglosphere: Toyoda -> Toyota. Matsuda -> Mazda. Matsumoto Yukihiro (originator of Ruby) -> Matz. Suda Gouichi -> Suda 51. Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 20:10
  • 1
    @bright-star, in German, ⟨z⟩ is pronounced //t͡s//, so MatsudaMazda works in that context. Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 1:35

1 Answer 1


According to this list, yes (but not uniformly. And obviously, it can't be reliably said to represent a proportional sampling). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Japanese_Americans

But it is worth noting that a lot of the non-Japanese name holders were alive during/after WWII.

Anecdotally, some of my friends (2nd & 3rd-generation Canadians of Japanese descent) have Japanese names, but with an English middle name. I don't know how wide-spread that naming practice is, but in my experience, it's not uncommon.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .