What are the most popular kanji for the naming of babies in Japan today?
The website 明治安田生命 releases the rankings of “the most popular kanji for names” every year.
Every single kanji has its meaning, therefore, parents think carefully about which kanji to use for naming their child. Let’s find out what was the most popular kanji used for naming in 2019.
The latest ranking of the most popular kanji for boys (2019)
- 太 meaning: big, strong, thick (e.g. 陽太: Haruta , 太一: Taichi )
- 翔 meaning: flying (e.g. 翔駒: Shōma , 大翔: Hiroto )
- 大 meaning: big, strong (e.g. 大騎: Taiki , 大輔: Daisuke )
- 斗 meaning: space, stars (e.g. 颯斗: Hayato , 聖斗: Kiyoto )
- 陽 meaning: the Sunlight (e.g. 陽士: Akito , 陽貴: Haruki )
- 人 meaning: a person (e.g. 誠人: Masato , 遥人: Haruhito )
- 真 meaning: genuine (e.g. 悠真: Yūma , 真: Masato )
- 悠 meaning: comfortable, considering (e.g. 悠大: Yūdai , 悠彬: Haruaki )
- 一 meaning: one, first (e.g. 一郎: Ichirō , 優一: Yūichi )
- 蒼 meaning: the blue color of the grass (e.g. 蒼生: Aoi , 蒼空: Sora )
- 郎 meaning: a young man (e.g. 篤郎: Atsurō , 幸太郎: Kōtarō )
- 晴 meaning: sunny (e.g. 晴樹: Haruki , 流晴: Ryūsei )
- 輝 meaning: shining (e.g. 峻輝: Shunki , 隆輝: Takateru )
- 颯 meaning: the sound of wind (e.g. 一颯: Ibuki , 颯空: Saku )
- 湊 meaning: harbor (e.g. 湊: Minato , 湊一郎: Sōichirō )
These top five kanji are in no particular order from last year! This kanji will be combined with other kanji to make a name.
Names with large scale impressions, such as “太”, “翔”, “大”, and “斗” rank among the most popular.
“太” is the number one most popular kanji used for naming a boy! The kanji “太” meaning “big”, “strong”, or ”thick” is a classic in boys’ names. This kanji gives a youthful and boyish image, so it is not used for girls. “太” is also popular because it is used in the kanji for the sun (太陽).
“太” is often used at the end of a name, as in “~太 (~ta).
These days, “太” has become so popular that other kanji is used instead with the same reading such as “汰”, “多” or “大”. (meaning – 汰: select/ 多: many, numerous/ 大: big, strong)
Names with “翔” became popular in the 1980s and are still very popular today.
The word “翔” means “flying” and from this image, it creates a strong image of a person who flies toward his dreams and hopes, which is why it is so popular today.
If the name is just “翔”, it’s pronounced “Shō” and is also very popular as a single letter name.
Besides, it can also be used at the end of a name by making it read “~to”. Here are some examples.
- 悠翔 Yūto (悠: comfortable, considering)
- 結翔 Yuito (結: linking, connecting)
- 陽翔 Haruto (陽: meaning: the Sunlight)
- 大翔 Hiroto (大: big, strong)
- 陸翔 Rikuto (陸: land)
- 海翔 Kaito (海: the sea)
The latest ranking of the most popular kanji for girls (2019)
- 奈 meaning: a large tree that covers the earth (e.g. 春奈: Haruna , 奈々: Nana )
- 花 meaning: flower (e.g. 凛花: Rinka , 花: Hana )
- 菜 meaning: greens (e.g. 夏菜: Natsuna , 優菜: Yūna )
- 莉 meaning: jasmine (e.g. 真莉: Mari , 愛莉: Airi )
- 愛 meaning: love (e.g. 結愛: Yūa , 愛菜: Mana )
- 美 meaning: beauty (e.g. 朝美: Asami , 令美: Remi )
- 結 meaning: linking, connecting (e.g. 美結: Miyu , 結: Yui )
- 乃 this is frequently used as an ending with girls’ names (e.g. 菜乃花: Nanoka , 莉乃: Rino )
- 咲 meaning: blooming (e.g. 里咲:Risa , 咲良: Sakura )
- 心 meaning: heart (e.g. 心愛: Kokomi , 希心: Nozomi )
- 陽 meaning: the Sunlight (e.g. 陽音: Harune , 陽: Himawari )
- 音 meaning; sound, melody (e.g. 彩音: Ayane , 愛音: Aine )
- 彩 meaning: colorful (e.g. 彩: Aya , 愛梨彩: Arisa )
- 桜 meaning: cherry blossoms (e.g. 衣桜菜: Iona , 桜良: Sakura )
- 希 meaning; hope (e.g. 優希: Yūki , 希美: Nozomi )
“美” has been in common use since the 1960s and is still very popular today!
Many of the most popular kanji for girls are associated with nature, such as “菜”, “花”, “莉”, “咲”, and “桜” that are inspired by flowers, plants, and nature that evoke a sense of beauty and kindness and are perfect for girls.
Only the kanji “陽” is ranked in the top 15 for both boys and girls. (In the boys’ ranking, it ranked fifth.)
“陽” means “sunshine” or “brightening”. So the parents probably want their children to be ‘a person who makes everyone cheerful like the sun’ or ‘a person with a warm heart like the sun’.
There are many ways to read “陽”, so it can be combined in many different ways to make names. Here are just a small selection of popular names with “陽”.
- 陽菜、陽奈 (Hina)
- 陽南、陽愛 (Haruna)
- 陽花、陽果 (Haruka)
- 日陽、陽向 (Hinata)
- 陽莉、陽葵 (Himari)
- 陽佳、陽華 (Yōka)
Also, the name of “陽子(Yoko)” became a popular name in the 1970s and 80s and today it’s a very classic and common name. There may be that the child is given the kanji “陽” from the mother’s or grand mother’s name, “陽子(Yoko)”. As I mentioned earlier, “陽” is very popular for boys too, so wouldn’t it be a great idea for siblings to name themselves together using the kanji for “陽”?
Reference 明治安田生命 名前ランキング
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