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Abe takes a stand against parents naming their children Pikachu

88 Comments
By Philip Kendall

It’s not easy being a kid. If you’re fat the other kids make fun of you; if you’re skinny the other kids make fun of you; if you get good grades they make fun of you… Kids don’t need a genuine reason to be tease their peers; they can make one up just as easily.

But when your parents name you after their favorite thing – be it the weather on the day you were born, the place you were conceived or their favorite snack food – things get awkward for poor little Windy Latrine Butterfinger.

Although authorities have been known to intervene when parents try to call their child things like Akuma, meaning devil in Japanese, and @ as once rejected by authorities in China, the vast majority slip through the net. Since kanji, the Chinese characters used in the Japanese writing system, are based on meaning and can be read in a variety of different ways, parents giving their child a kanji-based name (some choose phonetic kana script, but this is usually just for girls) are able to choose both their child’s name and how it will be written.

For the most part, parents choose names that convey their love or hopes for their offspring, but in the land of otaku nerdism, sometimes parents just can’t help but get carried away.

Kirakira (lit. sparkly) or DQN (from the onomatopoeia word dokyun, the sound of being struck hard or shot in the chest) names are allegedly on the rise in Japan, and are causing more and more kids unnecessary distress as other kids make fun of them each time the teacher calls “Suzuki Goomba” during rollcall.

Political hopeful and victim of recent TV blunder Shinzo Abe, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party made a stand against kirakira names last week when he stated that giving a child a name like Pikachu, which could be written something like 光宙 (“light” and “space”), is tantamount to child abuse, saying: “Children are not pets; we have to provide guidance for parents who would name their child in such a way.”

Naturally, this has sparked quite a debate both online and with national newspapers picking up on the comments, some suggesting that parents should be free to name their child whatever they like. Others, however, suggest that Mr. Abe is right to take a firmer stance against the yankii (coming from the English “Yankee” but meaning delinquent youth) parents who wish to adorn their child with a ridiculous name:

“Kids are merciless. You’ve gotta give your child a break when naming him or her.”

“Stupid Parents: My child is being bullied! This country is awful! The Administration: Yeah, well, you called your kid Pikachu…”

“A name that distinctive is bound to lead to privacy issues online…”

“No matter the kanji, a kid called Pikachu is going to get bullied. They might as well call him Poop.”

“Well, since Pokemon is known the world over, in a way these parents have chosen a very international name LOL”

“Wherever they go, having to introduce yourself as ‘Pikachu’ would never be easy.”

It’s great to live in a country where we have freedom of speech and the ability to choose, but when it comes to affecting another person’s life with our decisions, we enter into a rather difficult debate. A parent may well give their child an unusual name with the best intentions and all the love in the world, but ultimately not everyone will see it that way.

Most would agree that it’s fine for hardcore anime fans to decorate their cars with character designs and motifs to the point that others find them painful to look at, but when the same fan breaks into your garage and turns your car into a Hatsune Miku hot rod, it becomes a problem. Perhaps if a parent loves Pokemon that much they should legally change their own name, rather than giving their kid the burden of wearing the moniker for the rest of their life. Or until they turn 20 and can legally change it, anyway…

This all reminds me of a friend of mine who did some part-time work at the Inland Revenue service when he was a student. His job basically consisted of filing documents away eight hours a day, but he would often regale us with tales of having spotted a “Mr. Bastard” and even a “Ms. Sunshine” amongst the files. Changing a family name isn’t the easiest thing to do, but parents have a golden opportunity when deciding their child’s name to shape their future. If you’re about to give birth to a child, do the decent thing and give them something that won’t make them cringe every time it’s called.

Read more stories on RocketNews24. -- Remember When Your Mom Said “You Could Lose An Eye”?
-- The Perfect Gift for New Parents: 20-Year Birthday Card Box-Set Guaranteed to Jerk a Few Tears -- Oh, Japan, You Make Me So Mad Sometimes!

Source: 暇人速報

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88 Comments
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My mother wanted to call me Karl but the priest refused to give a 'communist' name. I'm glad her plan B wasn't Cookie Monster.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well, I was going to comment about the phenomenon of badly naming a child by giving the example of Ima and Ura Hogg, but I'm shocked to find out that there really was no Ura. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ima_Hogg

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Im definitely not an Abe fan, but this is probably the one think I will agree with him on, Just because one person thinks a name is cool or fun, doesnt mean the rest of the world will.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

“Stupid Parents: My child is being bullied! This country is awful! The Administration: Yeah, well, you called your kid Pikachu…”

Of course Abe, all bullying is because of stupid parents. Now you can return to ignoring the issue. Nice way to blame everything on the parents and avoid any responsibility for dealing with bullying in Japan.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

How about they teach tolerance and acceptance rather than discrimination?

They should actually be doing away with the kanji mandate! Imagine all the naturalized citizens that must butcher their names because of intolerant idiots like Abe, and all the children who must forget all traces of their heritage.

Nobody should be siding with Abe and his ridiculous statements, as they hurt many people who have NORMAL names that just aren't Japanese.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

“Children are not pets; we have to provide guidance for parents who would name their child in such a way.”

wow, best quote coming from the J-Gov. Too many parents here believe having a child is like having a pet.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Frungy - you do realise that comment is what someone on an internet message board said, not Abe right?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

We had a teacher in our school whose first name was Gay although out of respect we never addressed our teachers by their first name. We did however hear other teachers address each other by their first names. At the beginning of a new school year I noticed that teacher was now being addressed as Gaynor which of course didn't really sound any better to us students with 'twisted minds'. I did not have that teacher for any courses that year but I was corrected by her when I addressed by her last name as she had married over the summer and was now using her husband's family name of Dyck. It all made sense then... Be careful what you tag your children's future to with that first name selection.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Imagine all the naturalized citizens that must butcher their names because of intolerant idiots like Abe, and all the children who must forget all traces of their heritage.

Sigh. You mean like all Asian-heritage naturalised citizens in English-speaking countries are allowed to retain their own kanji/chinese character names? Don't they have to write them in alphabetic script, just like everyone else? What's the difference? And why does anyone have to forget all traces of their heritage just because city hall wants them to write their name in a way their fellow citizens can read and understand?

As for parents naming a child Pikachu.....makes one wonder if they're actually growed-up enough to be having kids of their own in the first place. Jimizo's priest went too far, though.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I had a teacher in High School by the name of Mr Lipps. He named his daughter Ruby.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

and I have a friend who named her daughter chinchin

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Who in God's name would want such a weird name?? I do bet by the time those unfortunate kids who have weird names grow up, they'll certainly end up revising their birth certificates just for them to change their names into good and decent names. I don't appreciate parents who're so lazy enough to think of a name that suits their children. Pathetic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Kids or immature adults would make the worst decisions but normally there is someone there to stop them whether it be their parents or the government. What Abe is showing here is not a political statement but just common sense.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think parents should have the right to name their children anything they want. I do not like to think that I would be refused to name my own child a name that had special meaning to me and my mate simply because the government felt it wasn't standard enough. The world is already filled with enough common, boring, mundane names like John, Mary, etc. Nothing wrong with wanting your child to have something a little different.

Me, my parents gave me a name that in my thirty plus years of life I've never personally met anyone face-to-face with the same name, and I was always thankful for that uniqueness. I always somewhat pitied the other kids in my classes with common names who often had several other kids in the class with the same name.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As much as I do agree that called your kid Pikachu is pretty bloody stooopiid, but when you consider some of the names that a few western movie and music stars have called their are also pretty bloody stooopiid! I do think the Japanese need to look outside the box for first names though. However, it seems a bit right-wing when a candidate for country leadership jumps in tells people what they can call their kids.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I see Abe is addressing the most important issue facing Japan. Naming children must rank up there with reconstruction of the Miyagi and Fukushima areas, the economy, DPRK missile launches, US forces realignment, China, ...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How about they teach tolerance and acceptance rather than discrimination?

This is one point I will agree with however you go and ruin it by the following;

They should actually be doing away with the kanji mandate! Imagine all the naturalized citizens that must butcher their names because of intolerant idiots like Abe, and all the children who must forget all traces of their heritage.

Nobody should be siding with Abe and his ridiculous statements, as they hurt many people who have NORMAL names that just aren't Japanese.

Why does Japan have to follow some "other" country's language when writing out a persons name? Why not have foreigners learn Japanese instead of trying to insist that Japan use a western alphabet? Would you say the same to people from Korea? or China?

The world has been blessed with a plethora of different languages and alphabets, it behooves the person visiting the country to ADAPT.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Some dummies in the UK just named their kid Hashtag - seriously. Hashtag Jameson... google it. Actually maybe the next kid will be called Google...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Of course Abe, all bullying is because of stupid parents. Now you can return to ignoring the issue. Nice way to blame everything on the parents and avoid any responsibility for dealing with bullying in Japan.

Way to miss the issue and point of the article.

Have you every actually stopped to think about bully and how it happens and how parents can help make sure their kid doesn't become a victim? Seems you'd rather blame the teachers, school, society rather than the parents. Haven forbid anyone mentions anything about scared cow parents.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Someone who has no respect for parents and blames the victims of bullying for being bullied has no place working in a school, tmarie. It is never ever the victims fault, and attitudes like the one you show cause immense pain for those on the receiving end.

As for Abe its none of his business what parents call their children, and not the government's place to have a say in the issue in any shape or form.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Someone who has no respect for parents and blames the victims of bullying for being bullied has no place working in a school, tmarie. It is never ever the victims fault, and attitudes like the one you show cause immense pain for those on the receiving end.

You have to be living in a dream world to believe what you wrote here. Parents play a HUGE part in how their children are accepted at school, and by giving them a "unique" or "unusual" name without giving their child the means or information on how to deal with adversity they are in effect asking for their kids to have trouble, whether it be in school or in their adult lives.

SOME people who are victims of bullying sometimes bring things upon themselves unwittingly because they had never learned how to effectively deal with people and adversity.

Some bullying today is an extension of how parents have failed in their responsibility to raise their children.

As for Abe its none of his business what parents call their children, and not the government's place to have a say in the issue in any shape or form. At least the Yanki kids have some imagination and individuality.

And this kind of thinking let's common sense go out the window and causes children who live in a society where being a part of the group is more important in their younger school years to experience problems all because their parents chose to be cute and give them a name that MAKES them stick out.

You HAVE to understand the culture HERE first and foremost. And Abe is right in saying what he did, while the timing and delivery leave much to be desired. Oh and while YOU think Yankee kids have imagination, (they dont they are just copying what others have done) and individuality (again not so here because they are just copying others before them) the generally speaking dont study, dont learn anything, quit school, and become a HUGE burden on society because they have nothing beneficial or useful to offer society other than being chinpira or women who work in mizu-shobai or worse.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

What a NATIONAL news.... all for political purpose.

:@Yubaru... your point is good. It's the upbringing and breeding of their parents that counts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

kringisDec. 03, 2012 - 05:32PM JST Frungy - you do realise that comment is what someone on an internet message board said, not Abe right?

You're right, I apologise.

tmarieDec. 03, 2012 - 08:49PM JST Have you every actually stopped to think about bully and how it happens and how parents can help make sure their kid doesn't become a victim? Seems you'd rather blame the teachers, school, society rather than the parents. Haven forbid anyone mentions anything about scared cow parents.

So I should name my kid "Kentaro" or something else suitably Japanese? Oh, wait, that won't help because he's clearly foreign. Maybe I should pay for a little cosmetic surgery to slant his eyes? Oh, wait, he speaks English well and is probably going to be quite bright, so I should remind him to not speak English and to make plenty of mistakes.

... No tmarie, you're the one who misses the point. The point is that we shouldn't be making excuses for bullies. A kid should be able to walk into a Japanese school with the name, "Please Bully Me" (suitably expressed in kanji), and still be guaranteed a safe education. Trying to pin bullying on issues like names is ridiculous.

The problem with right-wing nutters like Abe legislating which names are "acceptable" is that soon there'll be an official list out and no foreign names will be on it. Surely even the most idiotic ready can see where this is headed.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Oh I understand the culture here perfectly well, doesnt mean I have to assimilate or agree with the way things are handled with here, or the drive towards total conformity.

If standing out in some way, if being an individual is seen as a bad thing, an opening for bullies to take advantage of, then it is absolutely society and teachers that need to change not the child being victimized.

As for Yanki young people being nothing but a drain, the ones I know pay their own way in life, are decent enough parents and seem a lot happier than their "normal" counterparts.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A fairly common name for girls in Japan recently is Urea.

Poor kids.

They're going to have a hard time if they ever live in an English speaking country.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Welcome to the Nanny State under Abe. Sure - I too have issues with parents at the extreme wishing to name their kid after the devil - but 光宙 - so what? There are many, many more regrettable names.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Abe: "Children are not pets; we have to provide guidance for parents who would name their child in such a way"

I have to go with Abe on this one. But I would go further - we have to slap these parents upside the head for trying to name their child Pikachu, or Akuma or some other ridiculous name.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

There is a lot of politics tied up in a name. In the UK the snobs still choose cringe-inducers like Rupert and Penelope while on the council estates we meet Jordans and Bethanys. Stop labeling your kids.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

it took me a while to catch on... my last name happens to be pi(k)a, spelled slightly different. i was 'pikachu'ed all the time.

having no idea about this 'character' i simply figured i was being referred to as 'pi(k)a, you!'. And figured 'so I am!' Or perhaps 'pi(k)a' followed by half a sneeze (as in ha-choo).

I believe my students (kids) were baffled. I offered them a tissue and some benadryl (sp?)

true story.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There is nothing wrong with being a little creative in naming your child, although I think it takes more courage to name them something distnctly old fashioned that hyper-trendy. The rock star might name his off-spring "Apple Blossom" but would never dare call her "Gladys".

There is a line between mild creativity and stupidity. After all, if you meeet someone with a name form a different culture, it will be unusual, but no one would get bullied just because of the name (outside of Japan). Call someone "Monkey-Brains-Starship" and the kid will get picked on. It will be the fault of immature, attention-seeking parents.

Pixalated said:

I think parents should have the right to name their children anything they want

But it is not the parents who have to live with the name. They are not naming a dog or a hamster. I think it fair to object to offensive names or names likely to attract ridicule.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@basroil

They should actually be doing away with the kanji mandate!

There isn't any "kanji mandate". Names have to be registered in kanji, or hiragana, or katakana; in Japanese in other words. Which makes sense seeing as how we're in Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Pikachu?? No ! No! No! How about Doraemon ???

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Parents, please understand: your child's name isn't about you and how clever and creative you are. Your child's name is something they will have to bear, all their lives, and you have a responsibility to your child to not impose a social burden on them. These parents seem to put more value on their fellow-adult friends praising their cleverness when the baby is born, over the two decades of misery that the child will have to endure.

As for little 光宙, I'll give hsi parents credit for one thing. "Hikaru" ("to shine") really was pronounced "pikaru" back around the Asuka and Nara periods in the 7th-8th centuries, so getting "pika" from 光る is technically possible.

But the first thing he should do is start calling himself Kouchuu, which, while still unusual, at least somewhat resembles Kouji 光二, Kouichirou 光一郎, Kousei 光成, and a family of other "light"-related names that normal people actually have.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yubaru, 100% agree with your post. Thing is, many parents of bullied kids would rather point the finger at others rather than look at how THEIR parenting has helped their child become a victim. Indeed, parenting plays a HUGE roll with regards to who bullies and gets bullied but many folks don't want to look nor understand that. Names can be a huge factor in bullying. I certainly don't agree with the government saying what names parents can use but parents should be away that if they give their kid a dumb name, that kid will probably get teased for it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Trying to pin bullying on issues like names is ridiculous.

I don't think anyone is "trying to pin bullying" on things like names but you'd have to be an idiot not to think that kids get teased for their names. Fact of life and you can rant about how it is wrong but that doesn't mean the issue is going to go away.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

lol! this is funny what about mj's kid blanket n i think coldplays apple kid lol xD parents lol

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Don't forget Moses for Coldplay, Buddy Bear for Jamie Oliver, Alicis Silverstone with Bear Blu.... And Zappa 's poor kids burdened with... Moon Unit, Dweezil and Diva Thin Muffin. Some parents need to get a life.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Kids don't need a reason to tease their peers; they can make up one just as easily"

Heck, I got called "Four Eyes" for wearing glasses by some idiot kids.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

izumi pinku "the citizens living standards are important" party

there are some better ones than pikachu

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sad truth that Mr Lear (of Lear jets) called his daughter Shanda...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Finally, Mr Abe, something you are smart enough to talk about. Go ahead, make it your central campaign issue.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Although authorities have been known to intervene when parents try to call their child things like Akuma

Whats wrong with Akuma? That hurts my feelings....

7 ( +7 / -0 )

tmarieDec. 03, 2012 - 10:30PM JST Don't forget Moses for Coldplay

What is wrong with the name "Moses"? It's a fine biblical name. Your criticism is more than a little ironic from someone with Marie, i.e. Mary, in their name. Your criticism of Moses is like saying that names like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John aren't acceptable, or that fine standard of Mexican names, Jesus, is out.

... and this is precisely what's wrong with allowing any nutter to interfere with naming. I agree that Pikachu is a little extreme, but the moment you start letting government interfere in something as sensitive as naming children the result will most assuredly be worse than the alternative.

morrison_rmDec. 03, 2012 - 11:16PM JST Sad truth that Mr Lear (of Lear jets) called his daughter Shanda...

It may sound like the Yiddish word for shame or scandal, but actually it's a variant on the French name Chantal, which means "stone" in honour of Saint Jeanne-Françoise de Chantal.

I would remind people that entire generations of U.S. citizens grew up with names like, Chastity, Prudence, Hope, and Charity.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Go to your ball i mean room pikachu!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Your asking for trouble if you officially name your child Pikachu especially if they are overweight

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Glad to see that of all the problems the world faces, Japan's would-be Prime Minister thinks this is a high-priority issue for Japan. (rolls eyes)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

cleoDec. 03, 2012 - 05:43PM JST

You mean like all Asian-heritage naturalised citizens in English-speaking countries are allowed to retain their own kanji/chinese character names?

Yes. The USA does not have laws regarding valid names, and in fact some states protect even the assumed name of individuals as long as it's not fraudulent.

Don't they have to write them in alphabetic script, just like everyone else?

No, except for certain paperwork because they still use ASCII. It is an entirely typological issue. Same reason why some nordic, greek, etc letters typically aren't seen.

What's the difference?

Computer fonts mainly. In Japan's case, there's no issues at all since even ShiftJIS has roman characters, UTF-8 is almost universal (due to the need for kanji). There's no technological barrier.

And why does anyone have to forget all traces of their heritage just because city hall wants them to write their name in a way their fellow citizens can read and understand?

Is it so much harder to read the furigana over a roman character name than the furigana over kanji? Some people even have name kanji that can be read multiple ways, so how is that any easier? They can mandate katakana version in addition to roman characters if they want, and should since Japanese names also need it.

In the case of Japan, it's one step further, since practically everyone knows roman characters. The katakana version takes care of the rest.

And having more diversity will be a great thing for the children of Japan, it will cut down on the bullying Abe is trying to promote, and perhaps slowly allow more nails to stick out, making Japan much more dynamic (and it must be to survive in the interconnected world)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These names are horrible. Even worse than Botchan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I had a meeting with a guy named Justin Case a couple of months ago. I suppose that's not so bad but parents can be consummate idiots when it comes to names.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Oh my, what kind of parents would name their child "heart?" The kanji might be different but when I hear shinzo I think of a bloody heart sitting on a table.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A name that distinctive is bound to lead to privacy issues online

How silly is this statement? My name is distinctive--very, very few people in the world with my last name, and none that I am aware of share my first name. So I have a unique name. Here's a clue for whoever stated this would affect privacy on line---most people on line use a pseudonym or screen name

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@basroil

"And having more diversity will be a great thing for the children of Japan, it will cut down on the bullying"

Did you even read the article ? Kids don't care about diversity. They always make fun of others for any reason. Just because you don't do so based on names doesn't mean today's kids don't. For some it becomes traumatic experience.

You are probably too old to remember how kids act to other kids

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A kid should be able to walk into a Japanese school with the name, "Please Bully Me" (suitably expressed in kanji), and still be guaranteed a safe education.

While I agree in theory the reality is what people should be focusing on and the reality is that in todays society here kids are being handicapped by their parents trying to be cute without thinking about their future and how other people are going to look at them or call them.

I mean let's be for real.....Pikachu?

Real story: I wanted, over 20 years ago this was, to name my first son, Musashi, as in Miyamoto, Musashi fame, and everyone I talked to including my wife, her family, Japanese friends, all explained to me the serious handicap that he would have in school with a name like that. If I did do that they said you'd better make sure he started out life in a dojo because he's going to have to defend himself everyday.

Meaning that no matter how much we like a certain name we have a responsibility to consider our childrens lives and their future and how others will view them, and not just to satisfy our own fancy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As for Yanki young people being nothing but a drain, the ones I know pay their own way in life, are decent enough parents and seem a lot happier than their "normal" counterparts.

Then they aren't Yankis,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It may sound like the Yiddish word for shame or scandal, but actually it's a variant on the French name Chantal, which means "stone" in honour of Saint Jeanne-Françoise de Chantal.

Yeah, except that her first name is really Crystal, and Shanda is her middle name.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is a difference between having a unique name, and having a kirakira name. Hashtag/Pikachu are names that will give you trouble throughout your life. Having a unique name just means spelling it over and over everywhere you go

I have a fairly rare surname, combined with a slightly different spelling of my first name, meaning that i am quite possibly the only one out of 7 billion people with my name. Sure it made me have to learn the phonetic alphabet very early on to help people spell it out, but apart from the odd mispronounced name calling, i never had a problem with it in school.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i knew an indian kid in school who was called Veejay Jayen.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Hide SuzukiDec. 04, 2012 - 06:13AM JST

Did you even read the article ?

I did, and as with any article I only consider the stances provided to be subjects to further investigate. Considering ONLY ABE SAID THAT, it should be taken with a very large grain of salt.

Kids don't care about diversity.

No, but that's the point. Kids don't care if someone's different, their parents, teachers, and random idiots like Abe do. They have no innate concept of race, no notion of "good names" and "bad names". The people that make them that way are their parents and other adults they interact with. They don't care because they don't understand why the differences matter (and to be honest, they shouldn't), not because they are inherently intolerant.

Just because you don't do so based on names doesn't mean today's kids don't. For some it becomes traumatic experience.

You are probably too old to remember how kids act to other kids

Having gone through it myself, I actually know exactly what happens when you stick out in multiple ways. Your thinly veiled insults don't change my experiences. And through my experiences, I have seen that the more diversity a child is exposed to early on, the more they accept differences.

While they should be more accepting in general, allowing children to have more than just a few hundred characters in a few hundred phonetic combinations is a good step forward.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@basroil

No, there are more than 2,000 characters available for names right now, and that's set to rise to over 2,700. And parents can ascribe any reading they want to any character. So this real number of possibilities approaches infinity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

wow tmarie!!! r u serious?! LOL THE WORST PARENTS! LOL!!

TheDevilsAssistant Akuma is a wonderful name <3 but i prefer Lucifer. long live the beast ^___^

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frungy, if you think Moses won't be teased for his name, be my guest. Not nearly as many Moses (es?) out there as Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, Marie, Maria, Mary, Joseph.... I can just hear the parting of the sea jokes already...

LH, serious. You can google them. I pity their kids.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I don't know much about kanji, but I've noticed a refreshing trend for certain educated Japanese parents to deliberately give their kids names that sound acceptable in both Japan and English-land. For example, Mari, Sari, Emi, Karin, Kei, Rei, Jou, Riku, Tomu, and the old standby Ken. All of these names have anglicised versions (Marie/Mary, Sally, Emmy/Amy, Karen, Kay, Ray, Joe, Rick, Tom, Ken) and the kids are taught to be comfortable with both spellings. I approve of this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've noticed a refreshing trend for certain educated Japanese parents to deliberately give their kids names that sound acceptable in both Japan and English-land.

I see nothing at all "educated" or "refreshing" about foisting particular names on your kids merely to make them "acceptable" (for God's sake, listen to you what you're saying....) in the English-speaking world. Are you suggesting that "Kazunari" is somehow "unacceptable"?

Would you find it "refreshing" if English-speaking parents suddenly started choosing names that were "acceptable" in, say, "Russian-land"? Boris, Ivan, Elena??

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Don't forget Moses for Coldplay

One branch of my family tree has three Moseses and three Aarons, none of whom appear to have had any problems, as they passed the same names on to their own sons. Also a few Emanuels, a couple of Enochs and lots of Jonahs on other branches. What's wrong with biblical names?

Tessa, the trend is not exclusively among 'educated' Japanese and has little to do with names that are 'acceptable' in English-land. It's basically a backlash against the 'old-fashioned' names with girls all ending in ~ko and boys either having four syllables or ending in ~o, ~ji, ~ro or ~zo.

'Kazunari' and others like it are perfectly acceptable, of course, though longer names do tend to get mangled when they travel (Kayzunahree?) As for Russian-sounding names, Mr. and Mrs Johnson seem to have thought one quite acceptable for their son. And the lad has grown up to be apparently invulnerable to teasing, so maybe forn-sounding names aren't all bad.

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Actually, looking at this headline, it pretty much defines the LDP's position in Japanese politics... Abe...Pikachu. Nice match.

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Is it too much to ask any of these politicians to take a stand or take action on something that actually means something to the safety, prosperity and future of the people and country of Japan? Pikachu? That is just great. Next maybe he can focus on what color taxis should be. It will be equally useless in helping this country.

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I think people here are confusing the differences between unusual and asinine.

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I once knew a cure Thai girl called: Porn.

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just remembered, I also knew a Vietnamese guy called Chin Po. I'm not joking....

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Cleo, I don't think I said there was anything wrong with biblica names. I know however that if a kid named Moses went to school where I did, he's certainly be teased for his name. So would many of the others you mentioned.

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tmarie - Like I said, I've got three (Great/Great-great) Uncle Mo's, and if any of them were teased for their name, it wasn't bad enough for them to consider not calling their own son Moses.

My real name is perfectly ordinary, not in the least unusual or rare, yet I got teased about it at school. I also got teased about my weight, my height, my hair colour, my eyesight.... and I teased right back. Kids tease. It's no big deal (I'm talking about ordinary everyday teasing, not ijime).

Not giving your kid a millstone round his neck for the rest of his life is one thing, not choosing a perfectly normal name because some punk kid ten years down the road might not like it is another.

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@basroil

"I have seen that the more diversity a child is exposed to early on, the more they accept differences."

Yes, eventually, after years of learning and experiences.

Then please give your kid a weird name and have them wear ridiculous outfit. Other kids eventually will learn that diversity is important and they will learn not to make fun of others for being different once they grow up while your kid goes through ridicule constantly and possibly getting bullied because of that.

But it seems it's more important for you to force your idealistic opinions on others than dealing with reality

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Then please give your kid a weird name and have them wear ridiculous outfit. Other kids eventually will learn that diversity is important and they will learn not to make fun of others for being different once they grow up while your kid goes through ridicule constantly and possibly getting bullied because of that.

I'm pretty sure that's not what he meant by "diversity".

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I once with an Italian dude whose last name was baka tare?? We tried and tried to help him pronounce his name in a less offensive manner to the Japanese students but he was way too proud and went on with his name sounding like a horrible profanity in Japanese!!

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Cleo, you're at least a generation older than I am. What was a fine name then and now is two different things - names come and go. Moses where I grew up, and where my friends have kids today, would be nothing less than horrific. You can debate that all you like and that's fine but please don't suggest my experiences are wrong because yours are different. Dick used to be a perfectly fine name generations ago now but lord any help child named Richard who has parents that use that nickname now.

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tmarie, I take your point, but there's still a world of difference between names like Moses and Dick and names like Pikachu, Hashtag or Pokemon.

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tmarie, I take your point, but there's still a world of difference between names like Moses and Dick and names like Pikachu, Hashtag or Pokemon.

Hence my comment about unusual vs asinine.

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No one is saying there isn't Cleo but what you think is a perfectly fine name may not be for this generation. Parents need to be away of it regardless of them just plain being silly or just being very old fashioned which also opens up the door to teasing. Anyone these days naming their kids Bertha is right up their with someone naming their kid Hashtag. It just shouldn't be done.

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I remember a similar ruckus being caused twenty or so years ago when a couple attempted to name their son "Akuma", or "devil" in English !

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No, there are more than 2,000 characters available for names right now, and that's set to rise to over 2,700. And parents can ascribe any reading they want to any character. So this real number of possibilities approaches infinity.

How close to infinity is this number?

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@Ah so

Thinking about it, I reckon the number is actually infinite. You could call a daughter, say "佳子", but choose to pronounce it "Mayumi", or call a son "健太郎", pronounced "Shin". Any combination of characters can be ascribed any pronunciation, so I reckon "infinity" is the right way to express it.

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Tessa, the trend is not exclusively among 'educated' Japanese and has little to do with names that are 'acceptable' in English-land. It's basically a backlash against the 'old-fashioned' names with girls all ending in ~ko and boys either having four syllables or ending in ~o, ~ji, ~ro or ~zo.

I should mention that I work for an international school, and the Japanese kids I teach are destined to live/work/study in N. America. I think their parents are doing the sensible thing by giving their kids monikers that are easy for westerners to remember and wrap their tongues around. It saves a lot of explaining and spelling-out in the long run.

I remember in my high school we had a student teacher named Motoko, and nobody could pronounce her name properly - they all called her "motorcar." Her life improved dramatically when she adopted an English nickname.

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Well, the worst thing I've ever seen are probably the neo-nazi parents that wanted to name their kid Adolf Hitler. I mean, what kind of future did they want for him? He sure as heck wouldn't have much of a chance of going into politics...

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tmarie, I have to admit I was oddly pleased when I met a woman named Naomi at work. I don't know why but the idea of a name that works in both Japanese and English is unique. Now, interestingly, my boss at the time had the family name Miazga, which actually translated into Kanji well. He even got his own Kanji rubber stamp, lucky dog. My name ends up all in Katakana....but it's German, so the Japanese are happy enough with that. Schadenfreunde, I guess.

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The point is, it's none of your business whatever name they give their children.

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tmarieDec. 05, 2012 - 09:07AM JST Cleo, I don't think I said there was anything wrong with biblica names. I know however that if a kid named Moses went to school where I did, he's certainly be teased for his name. So would many of the others you mentioned.

You sound proud of school for being like that. Perhaps you should re-evaluate your school, its staff and its students and those student's parents who apparently felt that behavior like this towards another student was appropriate instead of trying to blame somebody for their name.

TessaDec. 07, 2012 - 01:16AM JST I remember in my high school we had a student teacher named Motoko, and nobody could pronounce her name properly - they all called her "motorcar." Her life improved dramatically when she adopted an English nickname.

By chance, did you go to the same school as tmarie? Motoko hard to pronounce? Really? Perhaps the only reason it was diffcult to say was because nobody at your school was interested in pronoucing it correctly in the first place. More fun to be rude and inconsiderate, isn't it? If you can say motorcar then you can say motoko.

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tmarieDec. 03, 2012 - 10:15PM JST Yubaru, 100% agree with your post. Thing is, many parents of bullied kids would rather point the finger at others rather than look at how THEIR parenting has helped their child become a victim. Indeed, parenting plays a HUGE roll with regards to who bullies and gets bullied but many folks don't want to look nor understand that. Names can be a huge factor in bullying. I certainly don't agree with the government saying what names parents can use but parents should be away that if they give their kid a dumb name, that kid will probably get teased for it.

Speaking from experience? You don't have any children so what would you know about parenting? What experince do you raising a child? The extent of your experience is either that of being bullied or being a bully. So which is it?

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tmarieDec. 03, 2012 - 10:30PM JST Don't forget Moses for Coldplay, Buddy Bear for Jamie Oliver, Alicis Silverstone with Bear Blu.... And Zappa 's poor kids burdened with... Moon Unit, Dweezil and Diva Thin Muffin. Some parents need to get a life.

Nothing's wrong with any of those names. In fact, they seem to bother you much more than they bother those people. If they felt it was a burden, they would've have changed them a long time ago. On the contray, those that have already reached adulthood seem to have found a way to make it work for them. Zappa's kids are all well into adulthood and have children of their own. They don't seem to be suffereing any. In fact, they have given their own kids unique names as well.

Perhaps it's not some parents, but rather some frequent posters on JT who need to get a life.

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