The land of the rising sun has always fascinated people. The mountainous national parks and the magnificent temples on the one hand. The densely populated cities like Osaka or Tokyo with their skyscrapers on the other. The cultural peculiarities, the millennia-old traditions and customs, the modern pop culture in the cities: Japan is a country of strong contrasts. Japanese first names are also strong and multifaceted. And: they have beautiful meanings.
Japanese names are represented in characters. They usually consist of one or two (sometimes more) kanji. Each of these kanji has its own meaning. Depending on the spelling and combination, these meanings may differ. Therefore, for many first names there are also different German translations. Japanese girls’ names can therefore usually be interpreted differently.
The most beautiful Japanese girl names we have listed below – including their most common meanings.
First name meaning
Aiko child of love
Aimi love, beauty, affection
Airi love, affection
Akane dark red
Akari light, glow
Akiko autumn child
Akira radiant, bright, clear
Amaya night rain
Arisu pure/clear water
Asuka morning scent
Ayaka colorful flower
Ayumi go your own way
Chika meaning depending on kanji character e.g.: wisdom, summer, flower
Chiyoko child of eternity, child of 1000 generations
Hana flower, blossom
Haruka far away
Haruko child of spring, flower child
Hiko fire child
Hinata facing the sun
Honoka a breath of, shimmer
katana japanese sword; meaning: single-edged sword
Kazuko child of peace, child of peace
Kazumi harmony, beauty
Kichi happy, content
Kyoko meaning depending on kanji character e.g.: Mirror, apricot, respect
Majikku the magical
Mami true beauty, also: wave
Mei Meaning depending on Kanji character e.g..: bud, sprout, reliable, shiny
Michiko beautiful/smart/reasonable child
Miki meaning depending on Kanji character e.g.: beautiful story, beautiful hope, flower stem, tree trunk
Misaki beautiful flower
Mitsuko child of light
Miyu superior spirit
Momoka peach blossom
Nanami seven seas
Naomi honesty, beauty
Narumi seed of beauty, sound of the sea
Natsuki summer, hope
Natsuko child of summer
Sachiko child of happiness, lucky child
Saki Meaning depending on the kanji character: Blossom, hope
Sakura cherry blossom
Setsuko child of the festival
Takara treasure, precious
Tomomi beautiful friend
Yoko sun child, child of the sea
Yoshiko beautiful/good child, child of happiness
Yui meaning depending on kanji character e.g..: connectedness, uniqueness, kindness, also: tie
Yuki courage, snow
Yuna moon, night
The peculiarity of Japanese girls’ names
When giving a name, Japanese parents do not only pay attention to the sound. The appearance also plays a major role. Because: Japanese first names should not only be melodious and meaningful – they should also look particularly beautiful in the Japanese kanji writing system.
The meaning of the name also plays an important role in Japan. Children are often named after certain moments in life. As an example: Sakura means cherry blossom and is given in reference to the cherry blossom season. Names like Yoko (= sun) or Taki (= waterfall) are also extremely popular. So Japanese names (almost) always have a beautiful and deeper meaning.
Here is what you should look for when choosing a Japanese girl’s name
Since Japanese girls’ names can have different meanings depending on the kanji, you should know all the meanings before choosing a name. At best, you should ask a native speaker if a name might have any negative meanings.
In addition, when choosing a name, you should make sure that the first name harmonizes well with the last name. This is not always the case with a combination of Japanese maiden name and German surname.
A small disadvantage also results from the fact that with Japanese first names it is often not obvious at first glance whether it is a boy’s or girl’s name. Whereas German girls’ names quite often end in “a” and boys’ names end in a consonant, in Japanese there are only vague “tendencies” here. Thus, Japanese girls’ names often end in “ko”, “mi” or “ka” and boys’ names in “o”, but there are numerous exceptions.
All in all, a Japanese first name is a nice choice because it has a profound meaning and is rare and therefore special in this country. Nevertheless, you should think carefully whether a Japanese name does not form too much of a contrast to your family name and thus sound somehow “funny”.
You should also be sure about the meaning of the name as well as its pronunciation and intonation.
Which Japanese girl’s name do you like best? Do you miss a name in our list? We are looking forward to your comments!