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In Japan, the top 10 most common family names account for approximately 10 percent of the Japanese population. You may have heard of these most common family names such as 佐藤(Satō), 鈴木(Suzuki), 高橋(Takahashi).
Also, many rare family names have been used by less than 100 people. Besides, there are more than 10,000 different family names that are extremely unique.
Many rare family names are used by less than 10 people in Japan. At first, we have selected out 10 of them for you. Have you heard of them?
I am sure you have heard of those family names because the family names are also used as a place name in Japan. In addition to surnames of prefectures, city names and small-town names can also be someone’s surnames. “Tōkyō” seems to be another very rare name, with about 10 people in Japan.
In some cases, food ingredients that we often see in our daily lives are given surnames. The pronunciation is the same as that of the food.
We can’t even imagine how to read these names from the kanji.
The meaning of “四月一日” is “1st of April”. This pronunciation comes from the fact that the cotton was harvested in April. “A cotton (Wata) is taken (Nuku) on the 1st of April” has become the surname, “Watanuki”.
The meaning of “八月一日” is “1st of August”. The pronunciation comes from the custom of picking rice plants on the 1st of August. “A rice plant (Ho) is picked (Tsumu) has become the surname, “Hozumi”
The meaning of “九十九” is “Ninety-nine (99)”.
The “百 (hundred)” is pronounced as “momo” as well as “hyaku”. It was also called “Tsugi (next) momo” because the next number after “九十九(99)” is “百(100)”.
The word “Tsugimomo” was shortened to “Tsukumo”, which is the origin of the name.
The meaning of “九” is “Nine (9)”.
The single letter “九” is read as “Ku”. So it has become to be read “Ichijiku”. (“Ichiji” means a single letter, “ku” means “九 (nine)”.
The meaning of “小鳥遊” is “A little bird is playing”.
In this case, “A little bird is playing” means “No natural enemies (hawks)”. So the name is a wordplay that means “No (Nashi) hawks(Taka)” = “Takanashi”
The traditional family names in Japan are associated with kanji. There is no such thing as a hiragana-only or katakana-only family name. However, there are a small number of surnames with hiragana or katakana.
This “タ” is very similar to the kanji of “夕”, but in this case, the “タ” is katakana.
The longest Japanese surname is the one with five letters in kanji. Currently, there are only two types of surnames. Each is said to have about 10 people in Japan today.
It is said to be used mainly in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
It is said to be used mainly in Saitama Prefecture.
There are too many other unusual family names in Japan to list them all here.
They say that there are 300,000 types of Japanese family names in Japan. There are many unusual surnames, some of which are so rare that only a single-family exists. When you meet a Japanese person, pay attention to their last name. If the person has a rare name, you would be surprised to know that there is such a thing as a family name?
Have you been to Okinawa?
Okinawa is the most western part of Japan and has a population of 1.45 million. It is composed of 37 inhabited remote islands with magnificent nature. Many people from the Japanese mainland migrate to Okinawa for the amazing nature.
Also, it is a very popular holiday destination for Japanese people, as well as for weddings and honeymoons.
In Japan, you might encounter the situation that people use suffixes to attach to their names. We tend not to call someone’s name without suffixes unless she/he is your close friend or family member.
For instance, when you were introduced to Mr. Kenji Yamada at the first meeting, you wouldn’t say him ‘hi, how are you Kenji?” It seems friendly to some people but sounds like a bit impolite .
Supporting Ukraine Kids together
As the situation in Ukraine escalates, I feel with emotions too overwhelming to name. There are many children in Ukraine whose homes have been destroyed and without food and water. Gentle support is needed.
Please donate to Save the Children.
According to Google Analytics, Japanese Names.info has been visited from 217 countries and regions for 30 days. Of course, Ukrainian and Russian users are also included.
For the kind Russian people
Apparently this isn't broadcast on Russian TV, but what the Russian government is doing isn't actually a peacekeeping operation, but is more correctly described as an invasion and looting of your relative's country, Ukraine.
The only power that can change the reality in Ukraine is for the Russian people to speak out. Please touch the world media outside of Russia to see how your government is causing the tragic situation. Thank you for a peaceful world!e.g. UNICEF, Red Cross
Sort by Most Kanji Variations
This is the order of names with many variations of kanji.
Basically, names with more variations are more common and familiar to the Japanese.
Sort by Most Viewed
The names are sorted by the number of times they have been viewed on this site. This ranking is based on the behavior of users around the world, including Japan, so it does not mean that the names are commonly viewed by Japanese people only.
Please note that just because a name has been viewed more times does not mean it is a famous name in Japan.
What is Hiragana?
Hiragana is a syllabary used in written Japanese, which originated from the cursive style of Kanji.
What is Katakana?
Katakana is also a Japanese syllabary. Basically, the characters don't have any meaning by themselves, they only represent the sounds.
Japanese try to express the words came from foreign languages with the most similar sounds in Japanese using Katakana.
English Transcription is a term used when translating Japanese names into English. It represents a romanised version of the name with the aim of reproducing the pronunciation as accurately as possible. English Transcription can also be used for name searches.
The names are sorted by the number of Japanese households where the surname is used.
The more households there are, the more famous and common the surname is.
About this site's data of last names