My mother's name is Colombia (like the country) and I'm trying to give her a gift because she loves the Japanese landscapes (like trees or combinations of red, black and white). I want to write her name in a correct way and explain to her in a simple words. On the Internet I found 哥倫比亜. (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%93%A5%E5%80%AB%E6%AF%94%E4%BA%9C#Japanese) But reading books and trying to understand the correct way is hard and maybe this web page could help me.
I ask a person in a congress and she wrote this on paper and its very different. I tried to search for information but maybe I don't have the correct path or sites for this information.

  • Is there any reason you think Wikitionary is wrong?
    – paullb
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 4:50
  • You could use Katakana.
    – user19285
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 6:37

2 Answers 2


哥倫比亜 is an ateji country name for Columbia. It was created many years ago to write Columbia in kanji, but ordinary Japanese people today do not use nor understand 哥倫比亜. Well, each kanji is not so difficult, so it makes sense as a quiz (i.e., "Which country does this refer to?").

By nature, there are theoretically thousands of possible ways to write Columbia using ateji. The image you pasted reads 古呂ン美阿 written vertically. That's another possible way to write Columbia using ateji, but I don't think it's an orthodox one. I got nothing related to Columbia by googling with 古呂ン美阿. (Artistically speaking, it's well written, though.)

If your mother loves kanji and you really need to use kanji for Columbia, perhaps 哥倫比亜 would be the normal choice.


Country names are nowadays usually written in katakana although the ateji do feature in abbreviations, where usually the first character of the ateji is used. (A well-known exception being 米 from 亜利加 because 亜 had already been used for 亜細亜【アジア】.)

In case of Colombia, Wikipedia actually lists many ateji:

  • 哥倫比亜
  • 哥倫比
  • 可倫比亜
  • 哥倫米阿
  • 閣龍比亜
  • 古倫比亜
  • 可侖比亜
  • 古論備亜
  • 戈攬弥阿
  • 古論備屋
  • 科倫比亜

However, of these only the first one appears in most of the sources.

If you are not going to write the country's name, then you're not expected to use the most common ateji for the country.

There are names whose kanji are chosen like ateji. But none of the above candidates look like a woman's name (which is not surprising!).

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