Japan Today

The 10 most popular Japanese names for girls in 2017-2018

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Picking out a name for a baby is a huge decision, and that goes double for parents in Japan. The structure of the Japanese language, in which words are formed by combining kanji characters, means that there’s essentially a limitless number of possibilities when naming your child.

That’s where websites such as Akachan Natzuke (“Baby Naming”) come in, with lists of suggestions and rankings to help parens start narrowing down the impossibly large list of candidates. The site has recently released its list of the most popular girls’ names for 2017 and 2018 to-date, so let’s take a look at the top 10.

10. Rin (meaning: dignified)


9. Kei (meaning: blessing, mercy)


8. Kanna (meaning: guidance and pear)


7. Koharu (meaning: little sun)


6. Mio (meaning; waterway)

  1. China (alternately Chia) (meaning: thousand loves)


4. Tsumugi (meaning: silk cloth)


3. Emika (meaning: blossoming flower)


2. Kokoro (meaning: cherry blossoms of the heart)


1. Nozomi (meaning: heart of hope)


Many of these names have a decidedly modern ring to them, and it seems like a lot of the two-kanji names are the result of parents picking out a character they want in their daughter’s name and then looking for another to give it an audibly pleasing ring, which accounts for the mentions of hearts, love, and sakura. Some of the top rankers though, like Kanna and Mio, instead seem to be a case of choosing a name based primarily on its sound, and then finding kanji to produce the desired reading.

Meanwhile, names ending in -ko (子, meaning “child”), once the most common naming convention for Japanese girls, are still sitting in the “too old-fashioned” penalty box, though Fumiko (文子, “cultured child”) and Yuko (裕子, “kind-hearted child”) did manage to make the top 30, at rans 19 and 28, respectively.

It’s worth noting that the rankings aren’t compiled from the number of baby girls who were given that name at birth over the past year, but by the number of times the entry for each name was accessed on Akachan Natzuke’s website. Still, all that interest is bound to trickle down, so elementary schools might be seeing an influx of Nozomis and Kokoros in a few years’ time.

Source: Akachan Natzuke

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- The 10 most attractive Japanese women’s names, as chosen by dating app users

-- Kanji fail — Japanese parents shocked to learn their baby girl’s name has inappropriate meaning

-- Japan’s top 10 cat names for 2017

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Based on elementary age kids around us, the previous trend in girl's names was toward difficult to say names. As in names with elongated vowels, vowels with no consonant, or the hard "n" stop sound. Names where the romaji form probably needs an apostrophe to get the pronunciation anything like right.

So there are names get "Maaya", (much harder to say than the easily confused "Maya") , "Fuu'a", and "Kan'na", which is in the list above. Kanna is not the easily confused "Kana", it is "Kan'na". These "apostrophe" names do not flow off even off the Japanese tongue.

The harder a name is to pronounce in Japan, the more likely the child is to go through life with a shortened form like "maa-chan". So their real name gets substituted for a convenient but not-interesting nickname. Nicknames are great when they are original, but not when every Tsumugi is Tsu-chan or Tsun-chan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It beats the slew of "kira kira" names I've seen in recent years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites