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What are the most popular kanji for the naming of babies in Japan today?

What are the most popular kanji for the naming of babies in Japan today?
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)

  1. meaning: big, strong, thick (e.g. 陽太: Haruta click to speech はるた, 太一: Taichi click to speech たいち)
  2. meaning: flying (e.g. 翔駒: Shōma click to speech しょうま, 大翔: Hiroto click to speech ひろと)
  3. meaning: big, strong (e.g. 大騎: Taiki click to speech たいき, 大輔: Daisuke click to speech だいすけ)
  4. meaning: space, stars (e.g. 颯斗: Hayato click to speech はやと, 聖斗: Kiyoto click to speech きよと)
  5. meaning: the Sunlight (e.g. 陽士: Akito click to speech あきと, 陽貴: Haruki click to speech はるき)
  6. meaning: a person (e.g. 誠人: Masato click to speech まさと, 遥人: Haruhito click to speech はるひと)
  7. meaning: genuine (e.g. 悠真: Yūma click to speech ゆうま, 真: Masato click to speech まさと)
  8. meaning: comfortable, considering (e.g. 悠大: Yūdai click to speech ゆうだい, 悠彬: Haruaki click to speech はるあき)
  9. meaning: one, first (e.g. 一郎: Ichirō click to speech いちろう, 優一: Yūichi click to speech ゆういち)
  10. meaning: the blue color of the grass (e.g. 蒼生: Aoi click to speech あおい, 蒼空: Sora click to speech そら)
  11. meaning: a young man (e.g. 篤郎: Atsurō click to speech あつろう, 幸太郎: Kōtarō click to speech こうたろう)
  12. meaning: sunny (e.g. 晴樹: Haruki click to speech はるき, 流晴: Ryūsei click to speech りゅうせい)
  13. meaning: shining (e.g. 峻輝: Shunki click to speech しゅんき, 隆輝: Takateru click to speech たかてる)
  14. meaning: the sound of wind (e.g. 一颯: Ibuki click to speech いぶき, 颯空: Saku click to speech さく)
  15. meaning: harbor (e.g. 湊: Minato click to speech みなと, 湊一郎: Sōichirō click to speech そういちろう)

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 click to speech ゆうと(悠: comfortable, considering)
  • 結翔 Yuito click to speech ゆいと(結: linking, connecting)
  • 陽翔 Haruto click to speech はると (陽: meaning: the Sunlight)
  • 大翔 Hiroto click to speech ひろと (大: big, strong)
  • 陸翔 Rikuto click to speech りくと (陸: land)
  • 海翔 Kaito click to speech かいと (海: the sea)

The latest ranking of the most popular kanji for girls (2019)

  1. meaning: a large tree that covers the earth (e.g. 春奈: Haruna click to speech はるな, 奈々: Nana click to speech なな)
  2. meaning: flower (e.g. 凛花: Rinka click to speech りんか, 花: Hana click to speech はな)
  3. meaning: greens (e.g. 夏菜: Natsuna click to speech なつな, 優菜: Yūna click to speech ゆな)
  4. meaning: jasmine (e.g. 真莉: Mari click to speech まり, 愛莉: Airi click to speech あいり)
  5. meaning: love (e.g. 結愛: Yūa click to speech ゆあ, 愛菜: Mana click to speech まな)
  6. meaning: beauty (e.g. 朝美: Asami click to speech あさみ, 令美: Remi click to speech れみ)
  7. meaning: linking, connecting (e.g. 美結: Miyu click to speech みゆ, 結: Yui click to speech ゆい)
  8. this is frequently used as an ending with girls’ names (e.g. 菜乃花: Nanoka click to speech なのか, 莉乃: Rino click to speech りの)
  9. meaning: blooming (e.g. 里咲:Risa click to speech りさ, 咲良: Sakura click to speech さくら)
  10. meaning: heart (e.g. 心愛: Kokomi click to speech ここみ, 希心: Nozomi click to speech のぞみ)
  11. meaning: the Sunlight (e.g. 陽音: Harune click to speech はるね, 陽: Himawari click to speech ひまわり)
  12. meaning; sound, melody (e.g. 彩音: Ayane click to speech あやね, 愛音: Aine click to speech あいね)
  13. meaning: colorful (e.g. 彩: Aya click to speech あや, 愛梨彩: Arisa click to speech ありさ)
  14. meaning: cherry blossoms (e.g. 衣桜菜: Iona click to speech いおな, 桜良: Sakura click to speech さくら)
  15. meaning; hope (e.g. 優希: Yūki click to speech ゆうき, 希美: Nozomi click to speech のぞみ)

“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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