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Ren most popular kanji for baby boys' names in 2014; Rin for girls

18 Comments
By Jessica Kozuka

You may think choosing a name for your kid is hard, but in the West, we have it easy. All we have to choose is the name. Here in Japan, parents-to-be also have to choose what characters they want to write it with, a decision that has to take into account the relative auspiciousness of the number of strokes it takes to write, how well-known a particular reading is, and even if the government will accept the name they finally settle on.

Like trends for particular names, there are trends in the use of particular kanji or Chinese characters, too. Insurer Meiji Yasuda has just published the most common names this year and the kanji used for them.

Each year Meiji Yasuda looks at newborn babies named in insurance contracts with their company and publishes data on the use of kanji and other characters in Japanese names.

This year, the most common character used in boys’ names is 蓮, read as “ren” and used by itself to make that name. It means sacred lotus.

The second most popular kanji for boys' names were 大 (big) and 翔 (soar) to make the name 大翔, read as Hiroto or Haruto. And coming in third place was the kanji for sun and the kanji for facing combined for 陽向, read as Hinata or Haruta.

For girls, one of the most common characters was 凛, read as “rin”. This can mean cold, but also dignified and gallant.

Also particularly popular for girls was the character 菜 (“na”, vegetable greens), appearing in combo with sun (陽菜) for the names Hina and Hinata or with the kanji for binding or joining to make the name 結菜, read as Yuna or Yuina.

According to a Meiji Yasuda representative, “The character for sun is popular for both girls and boys because parents say they want to raise children ‘capable of lighting up the world around them.’ Perhaps this is a reflection of news stories recently about Japanese winning medals in Sochi and being awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.”

Source: NHK Newsweb

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Why old Japanese women have names in katakana -- New wave of “creative” Japanese names read more like riddles -- Kanji fail — Japanese parents shocked to learn their baby girl’s name has inappropriate meaning

© RocketNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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I like rin rin ran ran soseji.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What about Stimpy?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I love looking at name trends at my kids' English school. For boys the traditional four-syllable names (Tomoyuki, Takahiro etc.) are common as well as more Buddhist-sounding names like Ren, Ukyo, and Tenzan. We have lots of girls with two-syllable names like Rio, Rino, Miu, Rina and a few Hinas too, with all kinds cute kanji like 羽 and 舞 and 愛 that don't always make reading the name easy! The names might be popular regionally or in a certain income bracket. I find it fascinating.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Back in the old days, prominent families sometimes displayed greater thought in naming boys and came up with more aristocratic-sounding names such as Yoritomo, Yoriiye and others, some of which contain the written or printed characters used in the family name. The naming of girls, was a simple matter. They were, and still are, named after flowers, beautiful plants and other objects of natural beauty. Words standing for the daintier virtues were also used.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I love how everything needs to be justified in Japan as being in the とても人気ナンバーONE!category. Food, names, pets, cars happoshu. If more suckers choose one thing, then yet more will continue to do so only based on wanting follow the herd.

To name your kid something popular shouldn't be anything to be proud of or anything to report as positive.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

What a dismal future poor Ren and Rin will face.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ren and Rin ran up the hill to have some fun... :P

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Considering all the anti-Chinese sentiment heard in Japan, these names have a very mainland ring to them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

i love Kaga Rin! :D just wanna make you happy!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Knox Harrington

I really doubt the parents looked up what name was popular and named their kids, nor do I think this report has anything to do with Japnese people feeling proud of being part of a "herd". I think its more of a retrospective statistical thing they're talking about here. Something, probably media linked, triggered the minds of many new parents around Japan to come to the same conclusion as to what their new child should be named.

As for the marketing strategy, I agree I find it annoying as well but if its an effective strategy to employ for the Japanese market, can't really blame them for doing their job I guess.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'll never get a solid understanding of Japanese.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I love how everything needs to be justified in Japan as being in the とても人気ナンバーONE!category. Food, names, pets, cars happoshu. If more suckers choose one thing, then yet more will continue to do so only based on wanting follow the herd.

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-popular-baby-names-of-2014-2014-12

Humans are herd animals. You seem to be in ignorance of your own culture as well (because all cultures have herd mentality to some degree).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Knox Harrington at Dec. 04, 2014 - 08:59AM JST I love how everything needs to be justified in Japan as being in the とても人気ナンバーONE!category. Food, names, pets, cars happoshu. If more suckers choose one thing, then yet more will continue to do so only based on wanting follow the herd."

Names following popular trends is hardly just a Japanese thing. When I was a kid in the US I didn't know of a single female named Crystal or Brittany (or any of the spelling variants of those). Now they seem to be a dime a dozen in those young enough to be my daughters or granddaughters. To my dismay, as I have a dislike of those particular names, a couple have even married into my family.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Rin, Hinata and "Haruto" huh? ... Any otaku would know where these are coming from.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ren and Stimpy , brings back memories,,

2 ( +3 / -1 )

No Muddy Mudskippers then.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

When teaching, always had a good time translating Big Ben into Japanese....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

大翔, read as Hiroto or Haruto. And coming in third place was the kanji for sun and the kanji for facing combined for 陽向, read as Hinata or Haruta.

I just can't see how "Haruto" is arrived at from 大翔. The second one might, conceivably, be an alternative kanji for tobu, meaning "jump", making the first part of it to, but haru for 大 just doesn't work.

And while the 向 character is the -nata in hinata, it cannot be ta all by itself, making "Haruta" a big stretch.

Please, parents, don't do this. You may get well-meaning friends telling you how clever you were in naming your children, but it's the children who have to live with these names every day of their lives. Every day, explaining the bizarre reading of normal characters, that their parents once thought were cute.

There's nothing wrong with being creative and choosing a rare name -- Rin, written 凛, is wonderful; it is the standard reading for that character. But choose one that will not put such an unfair burden on your children.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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