Top 10 baby names in Japan and the USA

By on February 3, 2013
One of the largest life insurance companies Meiji Yasuda Seimei released the official results of its research on the most common names of Japan-born babies in 2012.For the first time in eight years since 2004, the name “Haruto” which means “luck” in kanji currently enjoys the number one spot on the list of the most popular name for baby boys.   In the girls department “Yui” came out as the number one most picked name by Japanese parents.  Yui , written in two Chinese characters as (you-e) literally means “bound” and “clothing”. “Together, it means ‘securely wrapped in clothes’ or ‘a life of abundance’”,  according to a couple who gave a similar name to their baby girl.  Names beginning in ”” appears to be gaining in popularity among baby girls in Japan as seen from the 3rd and 4th widely popular names  (Yuna) and ( Hina).The Japanese customarily use two names: a family or surname and a first or given name in that order.  They are rarely called by their first names with the exception of children.  Unlike in other countries, naming a baby in Japanese is expressed in Chinese characters and thinking of what to use and how to read it can somehow be tricky. The use of kanji is regulated by the government of Japan so couples who are expecting a baby usually consult the Jinmeiyo and Joyo standard list of approved kanji characters and its reading well in advance.  Here’s the catch, not all approved kanji characters in the list are automatically approved.  Some time ago, a Japanese couple was in fact refused registration of their baby boy’s name Akuma which means “demon” because of the negative connotation.  Overall, picking a baby name in Japan is a mix and match of Chinese characters, number of strokes, appropriate meaning and sound.

By contrast, the current trend in American baby names appear to have been influenced by the bible, history, films and celebrities. Baby Center, a renowned US parenting website released its top 10 most popular baby names in America.

Sophia – wisdom
Emma – universal
Olivia – dignity and beauty
Isabella – royalty
Ava – pretty or living one
Zoe – life
Chloe – young green shoot or Greek goddess
Mia – shortcut of Maria or “my”
Madison – son of mighty warrior

Aiden – little fiery one
Jackson – son of Jack or God has been gracious
Ethan – firm, strong
Liam – short for William
Mason – stoneworker
Noah –  peaceful, long-lived, wanderer or comforter
Lucas-  light or illumination
Jacob –  one who supplants
Jayden –  thankful or God will judge
Jack –  God is gracious


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