This phrase of a Japanese song "Ai to iu namae no hoshi de" is translated as "made on the star called love". Now "namae no hoshi de" would be something like "in the star of name..." , but I can't make sense of "ai to iu".

I know ai is love, and iu is "to say", but how exactly "ai to iu" translates?

  • 1
    I could definitely be wrong, but I sense that maybe you're not only unsure about the meaning of "ai to iu", but also unsure why the "no" works the way it works (which none of the answers seem to explain in full).
    – dainichi
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 8:16

3 Answers 3


という is almost a single particle of apposition, that roughly means "called", "named" or "which is". The word has no grammatical equivalent in English, so I can't give the "exact" translation of itself independent from sentence.

lit. at/in/on a planet by/with name of love
"on a planet that has the name 'love'"

Yes, it often disappears in natural English translation (as in the planet Earth, the word impossible etc).

という and という名(前)の also has subtle difference. When you say X という Y you refer to the entity mentioned by the name X, but when X という名前の Y, you're only sure about the name and it could mean "any" Y named X.

オバマという男は大統領だ。 A man known as Obama is president. → true
オバマという名前の男は大統領だ。 A man whose name is Obama (you can pick) is... → false
そのオバマという名前の男は大統領だ。 The man whose name is Obama is... → true
オバマという名前の男大統領だ。 The president is a man whose name is Obama. → true

The spelling is 愛という名前の惑星【ほし】で in the original lyrics OP mentioned, which is a creative ateji.


"Ai to iu (blank)" means "the (blank) called love."

According to definition #2 of "iu" on jisho.org:

  1. to name; to call

"namae" reinforces that "to iu" is giving the name of the star, but it doesn't add much. "Ai to iu hoshi" would still mean "the star called love."

  • yeah, that namae looks redudant
    – Pablo
    Commented May 9, 2017 at 4:16

『欲望{よくぼう}という名{な}の電車{でんしゃ}』 (A Streetcar Named Desire)

According to the Progressive Japanese-English Dictionary:


1 〔…と呼ばれている〕

ジョンという男の子 ====== a boy named John

銀座という繁華街 ======= a shopping area called “the Ginza”

Tricky (ironic) uses are discussed at http://oshiete.goo.ne.jp/qa/3417750.html




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