22

I am hoping that there may be some indicators in determining if a name is male or female.

34

There are a number of common suffixes you can use to try to guess. Here is an incomplete list of common suffixes which are a pretty safe bet:

Female

  • ko
  • mi
  • ka 花・華
  • e 江・恵
  • na 奈・菜
  • no
  • ri

Male

  • ta
  • suke 介・助・祐
  • o 男・夫・雄・生
  • ya 哉・也
  • kichi
  • hiko
  • nobu

Also, "girly" kanji—like 愛 "love", 幸 "happiness", 華 "flower", 美 "beauty" etc.—or hiragana will usually indicate a girl's name.

Similarly, "boyish" kanji—like 正 "righteous", 健 "health/strength", 勝 "win", 信 "honesty", etc., will usually indicate a boy's name.

  • 6
    It should be added that girls names among the elderly today, born before the war, often is written with katakana, whereas men of that age usually used kanji. The reason for this is that katakana was the default kana in that time, whereas now hiragana has the default role and katakana special uses. – bjorn Mar 18 '17 at 8:07
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    @bjorn Right, there are many more hints I haven't mentioned. However, if you see an all-katakana name, "probably a woman born before the war" is maybe not a good rule of thumb. – Earthliŋ Mar 18 '17 at 9:44
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    @l'électeur You forgot to mention that the men you mention all died over 1000 years ago! The exception proves the rule. – Earthliŋ Jul 16 '18 at 10:01
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    @l'électeur I really think it's ridiculous to downvote this answer, because you found exceptions to a rule of thumb ("a pretty safe bet") from people living in the 8th century or earlier... (Of course everyone's free to vote however they like.) – Earthliŋ Jul 16 '18 at 10:09
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    @FelipeOliveira 'Shinobu' 忍 does not have the -nobu ending 信. – Aeon Akechi Nov 19 '18 at 10:18
5

There are many examples where it can be absolutely impossible.

Here are two examples:

雅 - Masa (male name) or Miyabi (female name)

幸 - Kou (male name) or Miyuki (female name)

  • 2
    Makoto is an androgynous name not just in writing but in speech. – Casey Mar 18 '17 at 18:11
1

Outside of the name indicating itself whether it's male or female, I find the easiest way to work it out is doing a Google Image search for that name.

However, I'd advise caution about doing this at work. I have a recollection that sometimes the top results for female names involve women who aren't naked, but aren't wearing much more than their underwear. For an example, try doing "Hitomi" in romaji, even with safe search on.

Some online dictionaries indicate whether a name is male or female, such as jisho.org, though you have to tell it you're specifically after names.

1

There is a webservice for determine the gender of a name.

https://genderize.io/

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