baby names

Kanji fail — Japanese parents shocked to learn their baby girl’s name has inappropriate meaning

What’s in a name? New parents often look for a name that they hope will embody the spirit of their child or be something that their son or daughter can wear with pride throughout their life, but even the most heartfelt monicker can prove awkward when taken out of context, and can be more funny than beautiful when heard by speakers of other languages.

For Japanese parents, the meaning of kanji characters used for a child’s name are just as important as how it sounds. Recently, however, one young couple had the name they chose for their new baby daughter rejected when they attempted to register it at their local town hall. It was probably a good thing, though, since the characters they had chosen had an altogether different, rather unpleasant, meaning that the couple were completely unaware of.

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The top 10 baby names in Japan 2013

The name you give to your child will stay with them for the rest of their life, so parents are always careful to choose one that will stand the test of time and carry them through to adulthood. In the United States, Sophia and Jacob took the top spots for baby names in 2013, while Ava and Noah took first place in the UK (depending on which site you consult). Let’s take a look at this year’s top 10 baby names in Japan as reported by Japanese pregnancy and parenting site, Tamahiyo.

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24 Japanese names with strange meanings in other languages

In Japan, the meaning of names can often be easily understood since they are typically made up of two or three Chinese characters. But what does that same name mean in other languages? Often, nothing. But sometimes a Japanese name can be translated as something as mundane as “bear cub” or as embarrassing as “pubic hair.” Take a look at 24 Japanese names that mean something entirely different when said in another language.

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