Japanese names can echo ancient Japanese beliefs and traditions. Favored baby names also embody artistic forms like gardening, haiku poetry, architecture, and even noble lifestyle nodding to the Samurai Bushido Code. Other names reflect birth order. Taro, for instance, means “the first-born male.” Whether you select a traditional Japanese name or a more contemporary one, its meaning in Japanese will likely be complex. That’s because one Japanese name can have a plethora of meanings depending on the kanji used.
In Japan, a baby is given an informal name six days after birth. When the child turns 16, he’s given a formal name, accompanied by a customary naming ceremony. We decided to take a look at some popular names for boys in Japan to discover some truly remarkable monikers. Here are 25 baby names for boys with Japanese origins that we think you’ll love.
Famed film director Akiro Kurosawa is one example of a distinguished individual with this handsome name. The name means “bright boy.”
The strong-sounding name Botan means “peony.” This is a popular name in Japan that’s used for both boys and girls.
The name Fuji honors the majestic mountain. It means “someone near the river where wisteria grows.”
Haruki Murakami is a celebrated Japanese writer who is well-known to many book lovers in the US. His 1994 novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is an absolute treasure. The name means “child of Spring.”
Thanks to Hideki Irabu and Hideki Matsui, two baseball players from the NY Yankees, many western ears have heard this attractive name. It means “excellence” or “bright tree.”
Hiro is a popular name for both boys and girls and is a shortened form of Hiroshi or Hiroto. The name can mean “generous,” “broad,” and “widespread.”
For a firstborn son, Ichiro is a classic choice. The name means “the first son” so no guesswork with this option.
The name Jiro might mean “second son” but it’s commonly given to boys no matter the order of their birth. Jiro Ono is a celebrated Japanese chef who was the subject of the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
You’ll notice that many names denote birth order. Kenji is another such example that means “second son” or “study.” Adorably, Kenji is the name of a Japanese bullet train in Thomas and Friends.
The name Kiyoshi can mean “bright,” shining,” or “clear.” Kiyoshi Kuromiya was a Japanese American activist who was born in an internment camp and went on to become an aide to Martin Luther King Jr. He became an outspoken opponent to the Vietnam War in the 60s. And, finally, he was a founder of the Gay Liberation Front.
Kazuki is a traditionally masculine name given to boys. The name means “peace” or “peaceful tree.” Kazuki Kitamura is a celebrated Japanese actor who has appeared in numerous film and TV roles.
Kota is a handsome name that means “happiness” or “good fortune.” Kouta Hirano is a popular Japanese manga artist whose older works are now considered collector’s items.
Minoru is a popular name for boys that means “truth.” Actor Minoru Chiaki appeared in a number of the aforementioned Akira Kurosawa films including Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and The Hidden Fortress.
Matsu is a name that also belongs to the Japanese pine from which it takes its meaning. The character Matsu appears in the Sekirei manga and anime.
Naoki is a very popular Japanese name for boys. It means “honest.” Naoki Kobayashi is a very attractive dancer, choreographer, actor, and model. He is closely associated with the J-Pop musical genre.
Raiden is a Japanese name that means “thunder” and “lightning.” Raiden is the Japanese god of thunder.
Ren is a popular name for both boys and girls in Japan and means “water lily” or “lotus.” Ren Sato is a rising Japanese racing driver and the 2019 Japanese F4 champion.
Ryu is both a Japanese origin name and a popular given name for boys. It means “dragon.” Ryu might be familiar to gamers because it’s the name of a popular character in Stree Fighter.
The name Ryota means “clear” or “refreshing” and belongs to a number of Japanese footballers. Ryota Watanabe, Ryota Miki, and Ryota Aoki are just a few examples of athletes with the name.
Distinguished conductor Seiji Ozawa helps give this name a modern, musical lift. The name means “lawful” or “just.”
Shōji Hayashi was a celebrated Japanese architect and an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Shoji is an attractive name that means “correct.”
Shinjiro has a great ring to it and means “pure” or “true.” Shinjiro Atae is a singer-songwriter, actor, and model who recently embarked on a solo music career and often write lyrics for his songs in English.
Takumi is a popular given name that means “artisan.” Takumi Nakayama is a champion mixed martial artist and former King of Pancrase Featherweight Champion.
The name Yukio means “snow boy.” In Japanese culture, this name suggests a sense of independence and is one of the popular names for December babies. Yukio Tabuchi was a renowned Japanese photographer who brings this name clout.
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Yuto is a great name for a boy that means “tender.” Yuto Nagatomo is a Japanese professional footballer who recently played as a fullback for the Turkish club Galatasaray and Japan national team.
There you go! 25 Japanese baby names for boys that are completely wonderful.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 25. Akiro
- 2 24. Botan
- 3 23. Fuji
- 4 22. Haruki
- 5 21. Hideki
- 6 20. Hiro
- 7 19. Ichiro
- 8 18. Jiro
- 9 17. Kenji
- 10 16. Kiyoshi
- 11 15. Kazuki
- 12 14. Kota
- 13 13. Minoru
- 14 12. Matsu
- 15 11. Naoki
- 16 10. Raiden
- 17 9. Ren
- 18 8. Ryu
- 19 7. Ryota
- 20 6. Seiji
- 21 5. Shoji
- 22 4. Shinjiro
- 23 3. Takumi
- 24 2. Yukio
- 25 1. Yūto
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