50+ Beautiful Japanese Baby Names (With Meanings!)
Learn more about the best baby names in Japan, from popular picks to gender neutral options.
Japanese culture is packed with history, symbolism, and beauty. So, it's really no surprise that their names also reflect those same qualities. Whether you're interested in these designations for reasons related to your own upbringing, or you just want to learn more about the tradition, there's tons to unpack.
For instance, did you know that Japanese names typically appear in kanji, a set of characters that provide visual representations of each individual moniker? It may sound straightforward, but the system is incredibly complex, with over 50,000 characters in total.
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Today, simplified versions of the text called hiragana and katakana are commonly used in its place—particularly for women. If you're interested in learning even more, be sure to keep reading below. We've put together an extensive list of the best Japanese baby names around.
Cute Japanese Baby Names for Girls
- Ai: A great pick for your baby girl that's easy to pronounce and even easier to spell. The meaning of this name is "love."
- Ainu: A respected Japanese baby name meaning "goddess of fertility" or "human-like," though the term also applies to the indigenous population native to the area surrounding the Sea of Okhotsk.
- Akane: A Japanese name that can be assigned to boys but is primarily given to girls. This one means "deep red" or "dye from the Rubia plant."
- Ama: Like many Japanese baby names, this one carries multiple meanings depending on its kanji variation. Certain versions signify peace, beauty, and heaven, while others mean "bright," "truth," and "calm." The term also refers to Japanese divers known for collecting pearls, the majority of whom are women.
- Aneko: A great name for parents planning on having more kids. This one means "older sister," though it can also be used to refer to a "wise child."
- Anzu: A great pick for your precious baby girl. This one means "apricot" or "sweet child."
- Bashira: A beautiful name symbolizing a "joyful" child. Other meanings include "predictor of good news."
- Chieko: A popular female Japanese baby name meaning "thousand blessings child."
- Chiyo: This one means "a thousand generations" or "thousand worlds." It's often associated with its popular namesake, the legendary Haiku poet Fukuda Chiyo-ni.
- Chizue: A relatively popular girl's name meaning "long life," "endurance," or "durability."
- Emi: This one means "beautiful," "favor" and "blessed." It also shares some similarities with the names "Emily" or "Emma."
- Fumiko: This one has a fairly concrete meaning, translating to "child of treasured beauty."
- Haruko: A feminine Japanese name meaning "spring day." A great pick for parents expecting early in the season.
- Kazuko: This is a great name for parents in need of an easy-going little girl. This one means "peaceful child," and is often associated with the late Kazuko Takatsukasa, the third daughter of Emperor Hirohito.
- Keiko: A playful name for your baby girl meaning "lucky child" or "happy child." Also associated with former First Lady Keiko Fujimori. Fun fact: Keiko is also the name of the real-life orca that portrayed the killer whale in the 1993 drama Free Willy.
- Kumiko: A classic pick for your little girl. This one means "forever beautiful child," and has been made even more famous by Japanese voiceover actress Kumiko Watanabe.
- Sakura: A fairly popular Japanese baby name among little girls. This one means "cherry blossom," making it a great pick for babies born in spring.
- Tomoko: A relatively common name meaning "friendly child." Also made popular by Japanese photographer Tomoko Sawada.
- Yuuka: A popular name for a baby girl meaning means "excellent flower" and is often associated with actor Yuuka Yano.
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Attractive Japanese Baby Boy Names
- Akio: A strong name for a baby boy that roughly translates to "bright man," "manly," or "hero."
- Asahi: This one means "morning sun" and is a great choice for families who like to enjoy those quiet little moments together.
- Atsushi: A great pick for a budding entrepreneur. This one means "cordial," or "industrious."
- Daiki: A popular boy's name meaning "large tree" or "shining brightly." Often associated with Japanese judoka Daiki Kamikawa.
- Genkei: A popular Japanese baby name meaning "honored."
- Hachirou: A variation of the name Hachiro, meaning "eighth son."
- Haruki: This Japanese name means "spring child," and is almost always reserved for baby boys. Writer Haruki Murakami may have also inspired a few new namesakes.
- Hiroyuki: A great name for a good-natured baby. This one means "a lot of happiness" and is meant to help bring positive energy into any environment.
- Ichiro: In keeping with the Japanese tradition of naming children in accordance with their birth order, this one means "firstborn."
- Katsumi: A lovely name for a little boy meaning "patience," "beautiful," or "sea."
- Koi: If you're thinking "carp," then you would be correct. These freshwater fish are often featured in ornamental gardens in Japan, representing love, friendship, and good fortune.
- Kota: A predominately masculine Japanese baby name meaning "happiness," or "good fortune."
- Sota: A masculine Japanese baby name meaning "strong sound of the wind." The designation can also be spelled "Souta."
- Tatsuo: A powerful name for your little boy. It means "masculine dragon" and will certainly leave an impression on those he meets.
- Toshiro: A strong name for a future professional. This one means "talented."
- Yamato: This one is actually an ancient name for Japan. It can also be used to refer to the Yamato period in Japanese history, which lasted into the eighth century.
- Yoshi: While western audiences may already recognize this one because of the Super Mario series, the name actually means "pure" or "good."
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Gender-Neutral Japanese Baby Names
- Akira: This name typically means "sunlight" but its significance can change depending on the Japanese characters involved. Not only is this name growing in popularity among both boys and girls, but it's also making its way around the United States.
- Aoi: This one means "holly flower" which is a lovely thing to associate with any new baby—boy or girl.
- Jun: Though this name is traditionally reserved for baby boys, it has been gaining influence among parents leaning toward more gender-fluid picks. The name is not only popular in Japan, but it's also becoming more trendy in the United States. It means "pure" but may also be associated with the popular American moniker "June."
- Kairi: A popular unisex name that means "ocean village."
- Kiyoshi: This one is primarily a gender-neutral name, meaning "bright," "shining," or "clear."
- Kosuke: This gender-neutral pick means "rising sun." While the name is well enough recognized in Japan, it has not yet ranked for U.S. births.
- Mami: This one lacks the traditional attributes that often apply to male and female names. It's kanji combinations lead to a variety of interpretations, including terms that signify "real," "love," "genuine," and "ten thousand."
- Minato: A popular gender-neutral name meaning "harbor."
- Yuki: A lovely name inspired by nature. This one means "snow flower."
- Zen: A popular bohemian pick meaning "meditation."
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Unique Japanese Names
- Ahma: This name, which means "black rain," remains exceedingly rare, both within Japan and beyond its borders.
- Akemi: This one means "bright" or "beautiful," but even with such a lovely significance, this name continues to drop off in popularity.
- Benjira: While this name literally translates to "one who enjoys peace," it does bear a certain resemblance to the biblical staple "Benjamin."
- Chō: This one may be rare, but many parents favor the short and sweet options out there. The name means "butterfly" and is pronounced CHO.
- Fumiko: The name literally translates to "beautiful girl child" but the kanji characters can also convey "pearl" or "lotus." According to the naming translation platform Rosette, baby girl names that end with "ko" (which means "child") are no longer as popular as they were years ago.
- Hayami: A beautiful name for a baby girl. It means "rare beauty" and it's still fairly uncommon.
- Ichika: A Japanese baby name that has over 400 kanji variations. Some of its most popular meanings include "flower" "strawberry," and "play the music."
- Japana: This name remains fairly uncommon and means "muttering prayers," though English speakers will also notice its resemblance to the country itself.
- Kiyoko: A rare pick that typically translates to "pure child," though the meaning can change depending on which kanji characters the parents choose.
- Kokorohime: We can thank the "Kira Kira" trend for helping put this one on the list. The name, which means "princess at heart" speaks to a glittery make-up boom that has taken the K-Pop industry by storm.
What are some common Japanese last names?
It wasn't until 1873 that commoners in Japan were allowed family names. Today, researchers estimate that a good majority of surnames are derived from villages, neighborhoods, old provinces, and modern prefectures. Some of the most popular include:
What are some Japanese girl names with dark meanings?
Japanese names are ripe with meaning, with some sounding a little lighter than others. Some of the darkest names the country has to offer include:
- Akaoni: "Red-horned demon."
- Agana: "Blood."
- Itami: "Pain."
- Kanashii: "Sadness."
- Oiwa: "A vengeful female ghost."
- Sunako: "The dark side."
- Yasha: "Night devil."
What are the most popular names in Japan?
According to a survey conducted by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance, the most popular Japanese names for girls include:
The same survey found that the most popular Japanese names for boys include:
Do Japanese people have middle names?
It's very uncommon to have a middle name in Japan. The tradition isn't simply recognized by the culture. In fact, legal documents don't even contain a space to include these titles. However, exceptions can be made for foreigners.
That's it for our list of Japanese baby names! Be sure to check back with us soon for more ideas to share with the ones you love. You can also sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss out!