Besides the obvious 'snow', someone listed the name Yuki on a name website as also meaning happiness, blessing, or good fortune using the characters 幸き. Dictionaries list that 幸 can become こ / さき / さし / さっ / とも / ひろ / みゆき / ゆ / ゆき / よし. Yu and Yuki are listed at the end, but is it accurate to say that this name means happiness?

  • 1
    I think that the most common word to happiness is 「幸せ」 which share the same kanji with 「幸き」. I'm not exactly sure, but it seems likely! Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 15:09
  • 1
    This is a case of nanori where a kanji can have specialized readings in Japanese names. For example, 元渕 幸(Yuki Motobuchi)
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 19:46
  • @AndrewT. In your example, Yuki did not need the き character. Can it be spelled either way as 幸き or just 幸 with more or less the same idea, depending on what the person wants?
    – Enwater
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 14:08
  • 1
    AFAIK, it's rare (but possible) to mix kanji with hiragana/katakana in someone's name; usually, they just use either kanji 幸, or hiragana/katakana ゆき/ユキ, but not 幸き. So, to answer your question directly: yes, it's possible to use either (though the former looks weird to me, but I'm not a native speaker). On the other hand, all the readings stated in the question can be represented by a single character 幸 if it's used in a name.
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 14:35

3 Answers 3


Does 'yuki' really mean happiness?

I feel like this is a loaded question, so let's break it down.

  • The character 幸 means "happiness".

  • If the name ゆき is written using this kanji, then it also means "happiness".

  • ゆき by itself does not necessarily mean anything—ゆ and き simply represent sounds.

    • However, context could easily provide a meaning to those sounds, and ゆき as a word has several different meanings.
    • If you knew someone named 'Yuki' who spelled it simply ゆき (or possibly ユキ), it might not have any meaning.
  • If you see someone's name written as 幸, you'd be wise not to assume it's read as ゆき (or anything else).


The question is asking about the word yuki and its relation to the meaning happiness. Kanji spellings do not always reflect the meaning of a word.

Looking up yuki in several monolingual dictionaries, we find other words pronounced yuki, such as 裄 (some part of a kimono) or 斎木 (some tree used in rituals), but these do not seem to be related.

The word 幸 with the reading saki or sachi means happiness, fortune, luck (or products of the sea). This reading is closer to yuki, but offers no explanation how we would get from saki to yuki.

Now, checking a kanji dictionary for 幸, it lists the reading miyuki as a kunyomi (Japanese) reading for the kanji; and elaborates on its meaning:

みゆき。天子が出かけることをいう敬語。▽思いがけないさいわいの意から。 (学研漢和大字典)

That is, miyuki is a respectful expression referring to the emperor going outside or taking a trip. Furthermore, the dictionary attributes the kanji spelling to it being a metaphor for likening the emperor showing himself in public as an unexpected ― but fortunate ― happening.

The word miyuki seems to me to be a combination of the honoric prefix 御【mi】 and 行【yu】き (noun form of yuku, to go). Checking a dictionary such as the 大辞泉, they seem to agree.

This also nicely separates the word into the two parts mi and yuki. So my assumption is that the reading yuki derives from a shortening of miyuki. In this case, I'd say it is related to happiness, but does not mean that.

As for personal names, if the parents give their child a name that is read with yuki and spelled with , there is a good chance they intend the meaning of happiness and I guess in that sense it could be said to mean happiness.

  • This answer is the most accurate and complete one IMO. Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 22:35

I have found that sometimes parents are very creative with their use of kanji when naming children. You see a similar thing happen in the United States when people start getting creative with the spelling of names (like Aleks instead of Alex).

Jisho.org says the kanji means the following: happiness, blessing, fortune.

You ask:

Yu and Yuki are listed at the end, but is it accurate to say that this name means happiness?

I say that you are quite possibly right, but it may be difficult to know for sure without having talked to the parents. I would imagine that your understanding is correct though.

You must log in to answer this question.

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