8 Hints to tell the gender from Japanese Names

8 Hints to tell the gender from Japanese Names

Although it’s easy to know the gender of a person from his/her name in our native language, it’s hard to tell the gender in another languages. In fact, since Japanese language is very different from most of Western languages, it’s very difficult for you to know if the name is for boys or for girls. I, a Japanese girl who live in a Western country, have often been mistaken for a boy because of my name. Most people aren’t sure if it’s a girl’s name since my name finishes with “o”. In Western countries, it’s common that boy’s names finish with “o”, while girl’s names finishes with “a.” In Japan, however, it is not the case. Today I will tell you 8 features of gender in Japanese names that you can use to tell if it’s boy’s or girl’s name. The easiest way to tell gender is from the last syllables of names. I will tell 4 common last syllables for girls and 4 common last syllables for boys.



 

8 Hints to tell the gender from Japanese Names

 

1. ko

If you live in Japan, you must have notice that many girl’s names finish with “ko.” I can say that majority of girl’s names finish with these syllables in Japan. In fact, “ko” has been very popular sign for girls, starting from 1917 until 1985. There are so many names with “ko” that I can’t even list them all: Kazuko, Sachiko, Keiko, Kumiko, Tomoko, Yuko, Yumiko, etc. You must have heard of Yoko Ono, a famous girlfriend of John Lennon. Since the last syllable is “o,” many Western people mistake these names for boy’s names. If you know that “ko” is a sign of girl’s names, you will have less hard time telling the gender from Japanese names.

 

2. mi

In Japan, there are many girl’s names that finish with “mi.” The name ‘Akemi’ has been very popular name in the 1960s. In 1980s, new names with “mi” in the 1980s, such as Naomi, Emi, Yumi, Ami, Megumi. The name, “Naomi” can be an English name, so it would be easy to understand. Just be aware that the name “Takumi” is a guy’s name.

 

3. i

As you know, Japanese alphabets always finish with a vowel. That means the names which end with “i” isn’t the same as the names that finish with “mi” or “ki.” If the letter “i” is situated after another vowel, which means it’s the names that finish “i.”The most popular girl’s name that ends with “i” would be “Ai.” That means “love”. Isn’t it beautiful? Other examples are: Mai, Aoi, Yui, etc.

 

4. na

Another sign of girl’s name is the end “na.” From the end of 1990s until now, the name “Reina” has been ranked high. More recently, the name “Yuna” is very popular too. Other examples are: Hina, Anna, Rina, Kana, etc. Since these names sound like girl’s name in other Western languages, it would be very easy for you to remember.

 

5. ki

I have shown you 4 signs of girl’s names in Japanese. Now I will show some signs for boy’s names. Many Japanese boy’s names finish with the sound “ki.” This is a common sign of boy’s name that exist for many generations. Some examples are: Naoki, Hideki, Masaki, etc. The name “Taiki” has been popular in the past recent years. Just be careful that some girl’s names also finish with “ki” such as “Misaki” “Saki” and “Maki.”

 

6. ya

Other boy’s names finish with “ya.” Since it finishes with “a,” some people might mistake it for girl’s names, but keep in mind that “ya” is actually a sign of boy’s name in Japanese. Some of the examples are: Tatsuya, Kazuya, Takuya, etc.

 

7. ta

The syllables “ta” are also a sign of boy’s names. Although the end syllable is “a,” those names are for boys. It’s a typical end syllables for boy’s names actually. There are so many names that finish with “ta,” in spite of trends in each generation. Examples of the names that finish with “ta” are: Kenta, Yuta, Shota, Ryota, Haruta, Yota, etc.

 

8. to

In the past few years, there are many boy’s names that end with “to.” Many parents name their child with names such as: Hiroto, Haruto, Minato, Yuto, Kaito, Naoto, etc. Unlike the names that end with “ya” or “ta,” this sign is quite easy for you to know its gender.

 

Conclusion

Although it’s only a small part of the list, those finishing syllables for boy’s names and girl’s names can help you determine the gender by looking at Japanese names. It’s not easy to know the gender only from names in Japanese. Just keep in mind that signs of gender of names for Western names don’t apply for most Japanese names. If you remember those signs, you might be able to save yourself from embarrassing mistakes whether to call someone “Mr.” or “Mrs.”

 

8 Hints to tell the gender from Japanese Names

1. ko
2. mi
3. i
4. na
5. ki
6. ya
7. ta
8. to