During my studying via Kanji Study app I came across the kanji for the word, pardon my French, vagina. Of course, I was curious whether the names with the kanji existed. "Nah," I thought. "There is no way it could exist." I proved to be wrong.

Apparently, there is a name 膣子{ちつこ} (vagina + child).

The same thing with 醜子{しゅうこ} (ugly + child).

Maybe the latter serves as "break a leg" shout in theatres since it was widely considered that if you voice something it'll definitely not happen? Anyway, I don't understand how they came up with those and why.

  • 1
    Where did you find the names? I don't think they are real. Someone may name herself as a joke on the internet; other than that, I have never ever heard of any name using these kanji in real life. – Tweety May 4 '19 at 21:13
  • 5
    Ummm. I googled but I only found the names for user names on the internet. They can be used for a name in a comic book or movie, but in my opinion, not a real one. I am Japanese and I highly doubt that these kanji are used for real names. I remember that once there were parents who named their child 悪魔 and the government didn't allow it because the name would harm the welfare of the child. I think if any parents ever want to give their child an offensive name, it would not be accepted. The names you saw should be name but not a real name I guess. – Tweety May 4 '19 at 22:25
  • 7
    Well, even if you find it on jisho.org, it doesn't mean it is a "real name" given by a parent. People can give themselves a name in any occasion and they are still a name. So, as a Japanese who was born and raised in Japan, MY answer to your question "Why would parents ever want to name their daughters with the following names?" is that "I don't think any parents ever wants to name their daughters such a name". However anyone can name themselves with such names. Well, it is just my personal opinion. I don't know about Medieval times! :) – Tweety May 4 '19 at 22:45
  • 1
    The question is certainly prone to opinion-based answers, as it asks about why someone would want to do something. – jarmanso7 May 5 '19 at 22:32
  • 2
    @exulansis I hope you know tangorin and jisho both use JMnedict for names. I think it's highly highly probably that kanshudo does as well. So if JMnedict were to be mistaken, all those sites would also be wrong. I can't speak to the accuracy of the example from Weblio though. Still, I would think that if these names existed they would certainly be in databases of embarrassing/weird names like dqname.jp – Ringil May 6 '19 at 19:26

Setting aside the initial question of "why would parents ever want to name their daughters with the following names".

Lexicography, and when a given string can be considered an official "word" or "name"

Let's start at the top:

What is a "word"?

In functional terms, a "word" could be defined as any specific combination of sounds that can be used to convey a specific range of meaning. When it comes to the written form, we then also talk about how this "word" is spelled. Usually, a "word" must be limited in size -- in written forms, for alphabetic languages, it's usually that set of characters between spaces.

Note that this "word" must convey meaning. I can decide that adsf8799zyih means "I'm going to the bathroom on Tuesday", but if no one else understands this, it's not functionally a word. If, however, a bunch of my friends and I start using adsf8799zyih with this meaning, then (at least for us) it takes on a quality of "word-ness".

What is a "real" word?

This word adsf8799zyih is made up. No dictionary will include this, not now.

Whether or not a word is "real" and worthy of inclusion in a dictionary is, honestly, a bit arbitrary. However, if enough people all agree that adsf8799zyih has a meaning that everyone can agree on, then it starts to take on social significance on a bigger scale. If enough people use this word, with the agreed-upon meaning, for a long enough time, dictionary editors might consider adding it to their next edition.

Now for the next part.

What is a "name"?

A "name" is basically a specific kind of "word", whereby the meaning of the "word" is a specific person.

What is a "real" name?

Much like for "real" words, whether or not a given name is considered "real" can be a bit arbitrary. Broadly speaking, it must be used by enough people as a name (to refer to a specific person), in an agreed-upon fashion (as in, "yes, this is the name of a person or other living thing, and it does not refer to furniture, or vegetables, or planets, or...").

In addition, the "name-ness" of a given label may depend on other factors. For Japanese, one of those factors is the Japanese government, which actually does impose certain restrictions on what kind of label can be used as an official "name".

→ This is where you're finding some of the resistance to your queries -- the Japanese government hasn't ever allowed, and likely never will allow, either 膣子 or 醜子 as official names.

→ Consequently, the effective answer to your initial question is "parents cannot name their children either 膣子 or 醜子 (and therefore the 'why' question is moot)".

Data-gathering: Provenance

As you've discovered, 膣子 does actually show up online as a "name" of sorts.

However, before we can take this as proof that 膣子 exists as an official name, we must investigate the provenance of this data: who gathered it, and where did this information come from, and what other details can we discover?

As others have noted above, the dictionaries that include 膣子 seem to all trace back to one or two apparently tainted sources, and thus they cannot be treated as reliable as proof of the "official-ness" of any name.

Looking more deeply at confirmable instances where 膣子 appears, such as Google searches, we see that the top-most hits are Twitter handles (where people can use whatever they want as their "name"), followed by the vandalized Jisho.org entry, and then several hits that appear to be Chinese rather than Japanese. None of this provides any compelling evidence that this is a "real" name for official purposes. We can add a Japanese particle to our search to ensure we're getting Japanese hits, such as this search for "膣子"+"は", but again we find only Twitter handles, Chinese strings quoted in Japanese texts, and mysterious hits that don't seem to actually include the "膣子" characters in this order.

All told, the evidence is that 膣子 does exist as a kind of name, but the evidence also shows that this is most likely a nickname or unofficial label.


Pulling together everything we can find about these two purported names, we can only conclude that these are not "official", and can thus never be used as children's official names. They might appear as nicknames, either applied by someone to themselves, or to other people.

  • 1
    A constructive argument, I like this one. You has definitely clarified the situation, thank you. – exulansis May 6 '19 at 22:09

膣子 and 醜子 are not real person names. They may be possible as funny pen names or such, but for real person names, they are out of the question. I doubt a local government will accept registrations of such names.

Looks like #names function of jisho.org is severely broken and vandalized. Many results seem to be poor-quality machine generated readings, but there are also many clearly-vandalized data. For example, it says 田村 is read えりりん/くらりせ/まちるで, 佐々木 is read いしだ/にいくら, 佐藤 is read さとあ/さいう/さいとう, and so on. Even though the main part of jisho.org is (usually) useful, for now, you should ignore those "names" data. 膣子 and 醜子 also should be some sort of vandalism.

  • 2
    ? The evidence that erroneous entries exist is right there in the response. Entries like くらりせ or にいくら are clearly attempts by people named "Clarise" or "Nicola" to try and add their names to random entries in jisho.org. Since these are not legitimate dictionary entries, I think it's safe to assume it's vandalism. – jogloran May 6 '19 at 3:36
  • 3
    Yes, I believe an evil person intentionally injected wrong data in some way or another. I don't know how they collected those data, though. えりりん is probably from Eriko Tamura (whose nickname was えりりん), and this is unlikely to happen from pure computational mistake. – naruto May 6 '19 at 7:46
  • 2
    So tangorin and kanshudo also say 田村 can be read えりりん 😂 As I said, this is the nickname of a singer in the 80's whose surname happened to be 田村. – naruto May 6 '19 at 18:54
  • 3
    The weblio entry you pointed to says explicitly that the content was taken from the same database as the #names database in jisho.org. At the moment we only have one source claiming that this name exists, and this answer states that this particular entry of the database cannot be taken at face value. – Earthliŋ May 6 '19 at 19:29
  • 3
    @exulansis 田村/佐々木/佐藤/etc are common traditional surnames, and it's impossible to freely change its reading just because someone liked a certain celebrity. How can we trust a database that says the valid reading of 佐々木 is いしだ? – naruto May 6 '19 at 19:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.