I was sorting trough some items when cleaning when i found an old gift card from a old japanese friend/teacher that I lost contact with, and I can't understand what she wanted to mean when transcribing my name, because as far as I know sometimes kanji change readings when they are on a name, and I didn't got far with the language, but now this made me feel like start again.

Anyways what could be the meaning of this name?

She worte it like 二湖羅須

my name is nicolás

二 is two

湖 means lake

羅 means gauze

須 means ought

What could it be read as, could these kanji change meaning when combined, or is it gibberish to match the sounds?


In Japanese, name kanji does not necessarily have meaning, apart from being a name. Frequently, you can deduce a coherent connection for name kanji such that it appears to have a meaning. These would be names like Inoue (井上), Nakata (中田), and others. However, even in Japanese, there are surnames in which the kanji just does not mean anything. Examples would be Oonishi (大西), Shiomi (塩見), and others.

When it comes to given names, the same is true. Some given names have a meaning when you look at the kanji involved, some don't. It really depends on the parents, and their reasons for choosing the name.

The same is true in English. Names like Forrest, or Cliff do have meanings that can be comprehended outside of being a given name (if you ignore the spelling). However, as native speakers we rarely focus on what the name means outside of the context of what we call each other.


The kanji that your friend chose for you does not necessarily have a meaning attached to it. Judging from what you have, I would assume that this is the case. Sometimes a name is just a name. That being said, you can be creative and attempt to create a cool meaning out of the characters given. Just know that you'll likely have to explain it to those that are interested, regardless of their fluency in Japanese.

If you want your kanji to have a cool meaning/story attached to your name kanji, you can do some work on your own to derive a cool combination. Depending on who you associate with, it may earn you brownie points with your Japanese friends. Apart from being cool however, the kanji is ultimately a bunch of symbols that represent sounds used in your name.

  • 1
    Thanks, it helped a lot, btw I find funny that your TL;DR is as long as the main answer
    – xzinik
    May 22 '20 at 2:49

It doesn't mean anything at all. The kanjis were selected so it would match ニコラス, in the same way that すし is transcribed to 寿司.

  • 1
    You might want to read about ateji, 当て字
    – rebuuilt
    May 21 '20 at 1:15

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