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Japanese culture

Learn about Japanese culture from this Japanese language blog by the JOI's professional Japanese teachers.

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Popular Japanese baby names

The Japanese language allows for quite a range of naming. With Chinese characters or Kanji and Hiragana as well, there are many variations of the same name. Most people choose to use Kanji for their children's names, but due to stroke number beliefs (some stroke numbers or combinations are said to bring good or bad fortune) or for the sake of simplicity, Hiragana names are also popular.

In this week's blog, Ishibashi sensei introduces the top ranked names in 2016 in Japan. These are measured from the names of babies born in the year, so may not be the rank of most popular names overall.

Please read this blog and listen to Ishibashi sensei reading the blog in the free video to learn Japanese pronunciation.

Popular Japanese names




日本人の子どもの名前というと、どんな名前を想像しますか。 わたしは古い人間なので太郎くんと花子ちゃんを思い浮かべますが。 子どもの名前にも流行があります。 2016年のランキング以下のとおりです。



男の子の名前ランキング、1位の蓮(れん)の漢字は別の読み方で「はす」とも読みます。 蓮(はす)は花の名前で、仏教極楽浄土を意味します。 女の子の名前ランキング、1位の陽の漢字は太陽の陽で、太陽の光の意味ですね。葵(あおい)は植物の名前です。 最近日本では花や植物の意味の漢字が人気があるようです。 みなさんの国では最近どんな名前が人気がありますか。

To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video. 


日本人(にほんじん)の子(こ)どもの名前というと、どんな名前を想像(そうぞう)しますか。 わたしは古(ふる)い人間(にんげん)なので太郎(たろう)くんと花子(はなこ)ちゃんを思(おも)い浮(う)かべますが。 子どもの名前にも流行(りゅうこう)があります。 2016年(ねん)のランキング以下(いか)のとおりです。



男の子の名前ランキング、1位(い)の蓮(れん)の漢字(かんじ)は別(べつ)の読(よ)み方(かた)で「はす」とも読みます。蓮(はす)は花の名前で、仏教(ぶっきょう)極楽浄土(ごくらくじょうど)を意味(いみ)します。 女の子の名前ランキング、1位の陽(よう)の漢字は太陽(たいよう)の陽(よう)で、太陽の光(ひかり)の意味ですね。葵(あおい)は植物(しょくぶつ)の名前です。 最近(さいきん)日本では花や植物の意味の漢字が人気があるようです。 みなさんの国(くに)では最近どんな名前が人気がありますか。

Popular Japanese names

When you think of Japanese children's names, what names do you imagine ? In my case, old people's names like Taro or Hanako come to mind. But, children's names have trends to them. The 2016 name rankings are shown below.

Boys' names ranking
Number 1: Ren
Number 2: Hiroto
Number 3: Haruto

Girls'names ranking
Number 1: Himari
Number 2: Hina
Number 3: Yua
(from TamaHiyo ranking)

The Kanji for the top ranked boys' name Ren also has another reading which is "Hasu". "Hasu" is a flower's name (Lotus Blossom) and in Buddhism it also means Paradise. The Kanji used in the top ranked girls' name uses one of the Kanji from the word sun which means the sunlight and also the Kanji for a plant (Hollyhock). So recently in Japan using the Kanji of flowers and plants is popular.

How about in your country ?

流行(りゅうこう)trend, popular


思(お)い浮(う)かべるcome to one's mind


以下(いか)the following

蓮(はす)a lotus


極楽浄土(ごくらくじょうど)the land of Perfect Bliss, paradise



葵(あおい) a hollyhock

植物(しょくぶつ) plant


Hajimemashite, my name is Kaori Ishibashi.
I live in Ibaraki city, in Osaka prefecture, with my husband, son and daughter. Ibaraki city is in between Osaka and Kyoto and is in a very convenient location. Before I was married, I went to Canada and Spain as an exchange student. So I too love to study languages.
Since my children are still so young, I cannot readily go abroad, so I am really glad of the opportunity to communicate with people from various countries through JOI. Let's study Japanese together.

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