For personal names, is it right to use kanji to describe its meaning?

For example: one of the meanings of the name Vincent is "defeat the evil".

Instead of using Katakana for Vincent, is it the right way to consider the two words "defeat" and "bad" and consider respectively their kanji, like this? : 負悪

So we obtain a equivalent Japanese name (and not a foreign name) for Vincent.

Can you tell me anything about it? Thanks!


Rendering foreign names into Japanese kana or kanji is usually done with the express purpose of reproducing the SOUND of the foreign name as accurately as is possible given the limits of Japanese phonetic components.

Using kanji to show Japanese people one of the underlying "meanings" of a foreign name isn't really helpful in one's personal life or for legal requirements, so it isn't really done. That said, I have met foreigners who chose to give themselves Japanese kanji nicknames based on the overt meanings of their names or the symbolic meanings of their names. But those nicknames were usually "chat handles" or just jokes.

If you simply want to convey to a Japanese friend one of the symbolic meanings of your name, it's far more common and much less confusing just to actually tell them which English words or concepts are associated with your name.

  • 3
    @JB-Franco (adding to ericfromabeno's answer) This, or, use a phrase. It can be in Japanese, but it's much more useful to say, for example: 僕はヴィンセントと申します。英語で、「悪を負かす」の意味があります。(assuming the meaning is originally from English), than a Kanji rendition as Japanese people would. Japanese people do this for the sake of describing how to write a name, not necessarily for conveying a meaning. Since Vincent is not in Kanji, it's not a good idea to give Kanji to spell it... – psosuna Oct 19 '18 at 23:47
  • yeah, you hear that in anime a lot, like "Misora, written with the kanji for 'heart', and the kanji for 'heaven', not 'beautiful sky'." – ericfromabeno Oct 20 '18 at 10:53

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