Welcome

Welcome to Beyond Sakura and Hiroshi, a blog whose aims of this blog are to cover many of the names that exist in the country, ancient and modern, popular and rare, and also share lists of names with a variety of themes.

Please note that I will NOT be posting on this blog every day, rather, I will be posting 2 names on BSAH every 3 days for 6 days, interspersed by a list post, so with the 2 names being posted on a Monday, another 2 will be added on a Thursday and a list post on a Sunday etc. Also note that I will not be posting anything on this blog in the months of March, June, September and December.

If you have any thoughts about any of the names being posted on this blog or any general feedback or tips, it is highly encouraged to do just that as it will help me improve future content on this blog.
For more musings and ramblings on other name topics, my Twitter handle is @maybeitsdaijiro. My other website, Maybe it is Daijirō (aka Maks), from this point forward, will feature posts regarding my own naming research.

The list of sources that I used for this blog is included here. On this page is a pronunciation guide so you can get familiarised with the pronunciation of Standard Japanese and the way I transcribe pronunciations. A list of names that have been posted on BSAH is also included here, as well as a list of name lists being published.

Thank you for reading.

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Towako (とわこ)

Sources Pronunciation guide

(Main) gender: Female
Pronunciation: to-wah-ko [tó̞.ɰᵝà.kò̞]


Etymology and/or ways to write:
In essence, this name looks like a combination of 永久/永遠 (towa) meaning “eternity” and (ko) meaning “child.” Since the Heisei Period (1989-), the most commonly used form is 十和子, the first two kanji meaning “ten” and “harmony, peace.”
Other kanji containing the reading to/ are used, like meaning “ascent,” meaning “shrine grove,” meaning “grant, answer” or meaning “winter.” The same can be said for other kanji that can be read as wa and they include meaning “wave” and meaning “ring, circle, loop.”

Popularity:
Since being first used in the Meiji Period (1868-1912), Towako has maintained its position as being a rarely used feminine name. Telephone book data places the amount of women with this name at around 0.005% and data from Namae Jiten tells that no more than 0.005% of girls were given this name throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

If you would like to add in your thoughts about this name, please share them in the comments below.

Ainosuke (あいのすけ)

Sources Pronunciation guide

(Main) gender: Male
Pronunciation: ah-eenoske [à.í.nó̞.sɨ̥́ᵝ.ké̞]


Etymology and/or ways to write:
This name is made up of an ai kanji, like meaning “love, affection,” meaning “indigo” or /meaning “meeting,” the genitive particle (no), written as but can also be written phonetically or as , and (suke) meaning “help,” also written in many other kanji as , , , , etc. (see Shinnosuke for more).

Popularity:
Up until very recently, this name was rarely used. Telephone book data puts the amount of men with this name at around 0.001%.
Regarding Heisei Period (1989-2019) popularity, it was extremely rare in the 1990s with an uptick in usage occurring from the 2000s onward. By 2009, around 0.004% of boys were given this name, up from around 0.001% five years earlier. According to my preliminary 2014-8 names research, over 0.03% of boys received this name in that time period.
It seems certain that kabuki actor Kataoka Ainosuke VI made an impact on the name’s rising popularity through his appearances in other media.

If you would like to add in your thoughts about this name, please share them in the comments below.

Kurumi (くるみ)

Sources Pronunciation guide

(Main) gender: Female
Pronunciation: kuu-ruumʸee [kɯ̟̀ᵝ.ɾɯ̟̥́ᵝ.mʲí]


Etymology and/or ways to write:
This name is derived from the word (胡桃), referring to a walnut. There are multiple theories for its etymology, including a shift from 呉実 (kuremi), made up of , an archaic word referring to China, and meaning “seed; fruit,” the combination stemming from the walnut being introduced to Japan from China via Korea, and a shift from 黒実 (kuromi), the first element meaning “black,” from the dark, brown colour of the nut.
Other ways to write this name are shown in the table below:

ku (く) ru (る) mi (み)
胡桃 see above* / “beauty”
// “to come, arrive”** “seed; fruit”
“long time” part of 瑠璃 (ruri) “lapis lazuli” sign of the Sheep
“nine” “stop” “looking, viewing”
“crimson” part of 琉璃 (ruri) “desire, wish, hope”
“monarch, ruler” “current, flow” “heart, mind”
“sky” “moon”

“dream”

* 胡 on its own is also used
** also used as part of a split 1st element

Popularity:
Usage of this name is relatively recent, having been used since at least the 1940s. Increase in its popularity took place in the 1980s – around 0.095% of girls were given this name in 1990.
From the 1990s to the 2000s, the general trend for its popularity was an upward one, having risen to over 0.39% by 2007, placing the name just below the top 50. By the 2010s, its popularity was already falling down. According to my preliminary 2014-8 names research, it was given to less than 0.2% of girls in that period, by then out of the top 100.

If you would like to add in your thoughts about this name, please share them in the comments below.

Uta (うた)

Sources Pronunciation guide

(Main) gender: Female, can be male as well
Pronunciation: uu-tah [ɯ̟̥́ᵝ.tà]


Etymology and/or ways to write:
This name is derived from a word which refers to a song (and ) or poetry (and ). Other writings related to these include , , /, and 雅楽, the last one taken from 雅楽寮, read in various ways like ‘Uta-no-tsukasa’ or ‘Gagaku-ryō’, which refers to a government office under the Ritsuryō system in charge of court music.
Regarding other 2-kanji combinations, all of the single kanji can be used can be used on both elements. As a 1st element kanji, they are combined with a ta kanji, like meaning “plump, thick,” meaning “wash, scour” or meaning “large, big,” or other kanji that fit into the image, like meaning “sound,” meaning “play music” or meaning “heart, mind.” As a 2nd element kanji, they are usually prefixed with a kanji that can (partially) be read as u, such as meaning “gentle, elegant,” meaning “eaves, roof,” meaning “sea, ocean” or meaning “happy, glad.” There is an option for differing single kanji to be combined with each other, one example that I have found being 詩唄.

Popularity:
By the latter half of Edo Period (1603-1868), Uta had seen moderate usage as a feminine name (by then, mainly written phonetically). Combining data from Tsunoda and Collazo, on average, it was used by around 0.25% of females. Like most other names used in that period, it mostly fell out of favour throughout much of the 20th century, though it started seeing increases in its popularity, as both a feminine and masculine name, in the Heisei Period (1989-2019).
Throughout the first half of the 1990s, it was given to no more than 0.003% of girls and boys. By 2007, it was given to over 0.06% of girls and 0.01% of boys, further increasing to over 0.32% of girls and 0.1% of boys by 2014-8, according to my preliminary research into baby names from that period. That, coupled with latest survey data from Baby Calendar, firmly places Uta within the top 100 for girls.

If you would like to add in your thoughts about this name, please share them in the comments below.

A random assortment of currently under-used Japanese boy names

Sources Pronunciation guide

It’s gotten to a point where I feel that I am running out of good list ideas to publish to this blog, so I thought to myself “Ehh…just randomise some names.” And that’s what this list is about today. I might possibly turn this into a list series in itself in the future.
For a name to qualify on this list, the number one rule is that it needs to be given to between 0.015% and 0.050% of boys from 2014-2018, based on my preliminary research into baby names from that period.
Now, on with the list, starting with:

  1. Ōjirō – this first name on the list combines 3 kanji containings the readings ō, like meaning “cherry (tree, blossom)” or meaning “vigorous, prosperous,” shi, like meaning “history,” meaning “samurai” or meaning “next,” and , usually meaning “son”
  2. Tatsumi – this next name can be written as /辰巳, referring to the south-east direction, though other kanji can be used, like /(tatsu) meaning “dragon,” (mi) meaning “seed; fruit” or (mi) meaning “sea, ocean”
  3. Gento – this next name combines a gen kanji, like meaning “mystery, occult,” /meaning “(bow)string” or meaning “origin, source,” with a to kanji, such as meaning “sound,” meaning “metropolis,” meaning “rabbit, hare,” , referring to a peregrine falcon, or
  4. Kenshō – for this next name, a ken kanji, like meaning “health” or meaning “fist,” is combined with a shō kanji, such as meaning “victory, win,” meaning “commander, general,” meaning “fly, soar,” meaning “sacred, holy” or meaning “shine”
  5. Taihei – this name is written with a tai kanji, like meaning “quiet, peaceful” or meaning “large, big,” with a hei kanji, mostly meaning “even, flat”
  6. Retsu – for this name, is the main kanji used, meaning “violent, furious; intense, fierce”
  7. Shiyū – this next name on the list combines a shi kanji, like meaning “will, aim, goal,” or meaning “heart, mind,” with a kanji, such as meaning “male,” meaning “bravery, courage” or meaning “gentle, elegant”
  8. Masamune – the main forms of this name are 正宗 and 政宗 – the latter belonging to Date Masamune – made up of meaning “exact, precise,” meaning “rule” and meaning “sect,” though other first element kanji, like meaning “truth, reality” or meaning “excellence, superiority,” can be used
  9. Koo – pronounced like Kō (Kou), this name is mainly written with 2 kanji instead of 1, combining those with readings , like , part of 皐月 (satsuki) which refers to the fifth month of the lunar calendar, or meaning “glitter, sparkle,” and o, such as meaning “middle, centre” or meaning “grow”
  10. Sōei – for this final name on the list, a kanji, like meaning “conception, idea, thought” or , is combined with an ei kanji, such as meaning “eternity” or meaning “wisdom”

What do you think? If you would like to add in your thoughts or other suggestions for this list, please share them in the comments below.

Tatsuya (たつや)

Sources Pronunciation guide

(Main) gender: Male
Pronunciation: tah-tsuu-yah [tá.tsɨ̀ᵝ.jà]


Etymology and/or ways to write:
The most commonly written form of this name is 達也, the first kanji meaning “reach, arrive, attain” (is an alternative form). The second kanji is phonetic but can refer to the archaic auxiliary verb なり (nari) meaning “to be.”
Other kanji in use for this name include:

tatsu (たつ) ya (や)
/ “dragon” phonetic kanji
sign of the Dragon “arrow”
“stand, rise” / “increase”
“tree” phonetic kanji
“build, erect” “(coconut) palm”
“rise” “eight”
“south-east”

Popularity:
This name has been in use since the Meiji Period (1868-1912). From this period all the way through the pre-war part of the Shōwa Period (1926-1989), Tatsuya was an uncommonly used name, being given to no more than 0.1% of boys in any given year.
By the 1960s, it was within the top 100 with over 0.45% of boys receiving this name throughout the decade, rising to a peak of well over a percent by the 1980s, placing it within the top 20. Since its peak, the popularity of Tatsuya as a given name gradually waned throughout the Heisei Period (1989-2019), falling to a fraction of the peak percentage by 2007. According to my preliminary 2014-8 names research, the name was given to over 0.04% of boys within that period.

If you would like to add in your thoughts about this name, please share them in the comments below.

Ibuki (いぶき)

Sources Pronunciation guide

(Main) gender: Male, can be female as well
Pronunciation: ee-buu-kʸee [í.bɯ̟̀ᵝ.kʲì]


Etymology and/or ways to write:
There are two words with the reading ibuki, including 伊吹, referencing the tree known as the Chinese juniper, and 息吹/気吹, generally meaning “breath.”
Currently, the most popular form of this name for boys is 一颯, made up of kanji meaning “one” and “sudden, quick” respectively, the latter seemingly fitting in with , which means “blow, puff, emit.” Regarding the latter kanji, it can also be used either on its own or as a 1st element kanji, combining with a ki kanji, or it can be replaced with similar-looking , referring to the maple tree. Other particular forms of note include 歩希, 一蕗, with the second kanji, 芽吹/芽生, both normally read as mebuki and mebae respectively and having the meaning “bud, sprout,” and 生樹.
There are many other ways of writing this name, as can be seen in the table below:

i (い) bu (ぶ) ki (き)
“tie, rope” “valour, bravery” “tree”
“power, authority, might” “dance” “rare”
“reliance, dependence” “wind”* “brightness, brilliance”
/ “only” “step” “vitality”**
“greatness” part of 芙蓉 (fuyō) “Confederate rose” “princess”
“clothing” “male” “precious, valuable”
“colour” “season”
“bravery, courage” 6th heavenly stem in Chinese calendar
“fragrance” “thin silk”
“(natural) spring, fountain” “standard”
“gentle, elegant” “rise”
“feeling, thought” “origin”
“prayer”

* also used as a merged 2nd element kanji
** also used as a 2nd element kanji

Popularity:
This name has been in use since at least the early Shōwa Period (1926-1989), though it did not start seeing an increase in its popularity for both genders until the following Heisei Period (1989-2019).
In 1990, it was given to around 0.008% of boys and around 0.005% of girls, rising to over 0.18% for boys and over 0.08% for girls by the start of the new millennium. Though it has dropped a little bit for girls within a few years, since the mid-2000s, percentage levels remain slightly constant, staying within or just above the 0.2% level for boys and 0.05% level for girls. Both my preliminary 2014-8 names research and survey data from Baby Calendar place Ibuki within the bottom/2nd-bottom quarter of the top 100 for boys.

If you would like to add in your thoughts about this name, please share them in the comments below.