Dec 20, 2015

Naming our Son

Naming our Son  photo

Since my husband is Japanese and we are planning to stay in Japan we wanted to give our son a Japanese name. 

In Japan, the total number of strokes in one's first and last names combined can be  lucky (or unlucky?!) Japanese parents often pay around 5000 yen to get a lucky name from a shrine. What if the shrine thinks 50 strokes is lucky? I would have to spend the rest of my life writing that lucky name (not so lucky for me)!  In this respect, I like "Hajimi" which is just one stroke, but is it lucky? Don't Japanese get confused and think it is a dash? Also, doesn't it sound strange to say "Hajime desu. Hajime mashite?"  

"Genki" also has simple kanji and a nice meaning, but again, how strange to say, "Genki-san, genki desuka."  There is a similar problem in English with the names "Yu" and "Mi".... " (girls names) or "Shu".... "I  am you," or "I am me"  or "I am shoe."

I think the sound of a name is most important since we are going to use/hear that name everyday for the rest of our lives. I like  "Joji" but my dad thinks it sounds girly, and my husband thinks it sounds the same as "George." "Joji" with kanji meaning "second son" may have a lucky number of strokes, but  alas, this is our first son.

Many bicultural couples name their sons "Ken" or "Riki." No thank you. Besides being too common, Ken is the name of Barbie doll's blonde blue-eyed partner and Ricky was an overweight boy I knew in my school days. 

I would like to use one kanji from my husband's name in our son's name, but I would also like to use my father's name or grandfather's name as a middle name. By the way, do you know why Japanese don't have a middle name? It's because just choosing one name is complicated enough!



Housewife, mother, paid English conversation partner, editor, writer, Japanese student, fan of my local international exchange offices, ecologist, social activist, festival goer, outdoors enthusiast, adventurer, animal lover, healthy living advocate, seeker, net addict (in remission?!).


  • City-Cost

    on Dec 21

    Thanks for another fantastic post! I wonder what Ricky is like now? You never know, he could be like Brad Pitt in Fight Club!! I always felt that if I had kids in Japan, I'd try and go for a Japanese name that could also pass for a name in my home country; Megumi - Meg, for example. Can't think of a boy's name right now though. Anyway, maynestacy, we're loving your posts over here. Keep an eye out for future campaigns that we're planning, and hopefully we can get some of your posts in there.

  • maynestacy

    on Dec 22

    Come on City-cost, give me some bonus points as a Christmas present, pleeeaaase. Three hours of writing and several posts later, and I haven't even made it to 500 points yet!