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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Japanese Baby Names

Aloha Everyone,

There are many different ways the Japanese come up with names for their children. Traditionally, it was the child's grandfather who had the privilege of choosing the name. In other cases, a name might reflect the order of the child among sibling. This is especially prevalent for male offsprings: the first child, second child (as Ichiro for 1st son, Jiro for 2nd son.) In long-established Japanese family, the first son would inherit the household.

“Quite often the first born might inherit an element of their father's kanji (e.g. Yasunori, Taisuke and Taiga all start with the kanji 泰). In such a case, you already have a set kanji and you would look to see what sounds it can be read as and what other kanji you can combine it with to come up with a kanji combination that fits with the phonetic name that you might like.”

Yo, the third son on our dear friends, Yasu & Mayumi, and his wife, Yui recently welcomed their first child.  When I asked Yo the process which he and his wife went to settle on their son’s name, he explained that they first wanted to incorporate KAI 海 (means ocean)  “as we wanted him to be international and cross the seas.”  “Also, Yui and I love the sea - we both love scuba diving and went to Tonga to snorkel with humpback whales for our honeymoon...”.  Then they searched for the second kanji keeping in mind the acceptable meaning and sound and  chose TO "翔”.  “ It means to take flight/soar, and this added to our image of him being a global citizen.”

Calligraphy, KAITO, was produced by Yasu, the proud grandfather.
My sincere “thank you” with apologies to Yo for his explanations which I had to abbreviate for our blog.  Additional “thank you” to Yasu for allowing me to use his masterful calligraphy.

Aloha -- Cathi