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Japan’s top 5 baby names since April 1 contain kanji character for ‘rei’

10 Comments

A baby-naming website operated by Recruit Staffing Co Ltd says that the number of readers looking at names containing the kanji characters “rei” (令) and “wa” (和) have skyrocketed since Japan’s next imperial era “Reiwa” (令和) was revealed on April 1. 

The two kanji characters can be used for both boys and girls. The new era name “Reiwa” translates to “beautiful harmony,” according to the government.

Furthermore, the top five names for boys and girls since April 1 contain the kanji character “rei” (令). Before the new era name “Reiwa” was unveiled, the name “Hiyori” (日和), which contains the kanji character “wa” (meaning “harmony” or “peace”), was ranked No. 5 for the most popular girl’s name last month. In addition, it was the only name containing the “wa” kanji character.

According to the baby-naming site’s data, as of April 7, “Reiwa” had taken the No. 1 spot for the most popular boy’s name. A spokesperson for the baby name database said the kanji character “rei” has never been so highly ranked before. 

However, with the Reiwa Era to officially begin on May 1, the search for this kanji character has been on the rise and the spokesperson believes that it will show up in the names of a lot of babies born this year.

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10 Comments
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Rei has always been a common name, and wa is used on the ends of a lot of names. So I don't see the problem of calling a child Reiwa. The only thing I would dislike is that too many people of the same age would have the same name...i prefer being unique.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Know a few Showas and Reis but no Heiseis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At the moment, people are cranking up nostalgia for Tamagotchi, pagers (Japanese "pocket bell") and other modern old stuff, so Heisei doesn't seem so bad. However, the accepted definition of Heisei for Japan that we'll revert to in a year or so is the "lost decades". There were of course some very large natural disasters during Heisei as well. Enough to not want to be named "Heisei" yourself.

This economic stagnation is ongoing, so once the novelty of the Reiwa name wears off, we're likely to have ongoing "lost decades". Or maybe the demographics and national debt will finally blow up as predicted and we'll have a genuine financial crisis. Or the rising tide of populism around the world, maybe with added climate disruption, leads us to the place that populism normally leads to. A place I don't want to think about for my own children's sake.

Anyway, my point is, would you want to be named after that? The new Emperor seems like a decent person, but his hands are not on the levers. Nobody's hands really are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One of the TV station had found a 2 year old girl whose name is Reiwa and went to interview her family.

Depends on the kanji, yet the child has a Heisei birth date which will make things easier for her!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Imagine if your parents named you after the generation or leader you were born under. I would be relatively annoyed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Gotta feel sorry for the kids who have parents that name them with the name Reiwa. Never met a kid named "Heisei" or "Showa" and I highly doubt any parent back then would have considered it.

I was in Japan when the new era name was announced. The next day I was watching TV at my hotel in the morning. One of the TV station had found a 2 year old girl whose name is Reiwa and went to interview her family.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Government mandated harmony"? Oh, that's so, err, lovely.

exactly. I mean the kanji rei 令 is command, order dictation. Your interpretation sounds much more concise than beautiful harmony.

It sounds that this next era is going to be much more authoritarian.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Only natural when the government seems ever determined to create subjects of the state. And what does your name mean, Reiwa? "Government mandated harmony"? Oh, that's so, err, lovely.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Gotta feel sorry for the kids who have parents that name them with the name Reiwa. Never met a kid named "Heisei" or "Showa" and I highly doubt any parent back then would have considered it.

Spot on.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

According to the baby-naming site’s data, as of April 7, “Reiwa” had taken the No. 1 spot for the most popular boy’s name. A spokesperson for the baby name database said the kanji character “rei” has never been so highly ranked before. 

Gotta feel sorry for the kids who have parents that name them with the name Reiwa. Never met a kid named "Heisei" or "Showa" and I highly doubt any parent back then would have considered it.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

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