Names are meaningful. They qualify you in a way that people can easily understand. Understanding what names mean, their origin, and what they signify is a curiosity for most and an obsession for others. There is much to uncover about the origin of names. Some prefer learning more about Russian or ancient Roman based names. Although, one of my favorite kinds are Japanese last names. They hold a lot of meaning for the Japanese people. Understanding more about their origin and background can help you understand their culture and history all the more. Let me share with you some interesting facts about these last names.
Overall, there are over 300,000 last names being used in the country of Japan. Some of the most known and normal Japanese last names would be Sato, Takahashi, and Kobayashi. About half a million Japanese citizens carry the name of Sato. Somewhat less use Takahashi. Kobayashi is attached to about 241,000 people. You may have heard of several others, in particular if you use Japanese made devices or vehicles. They have certainly put their branding out into the world and made many of their names household words that almost everyone has heard.
There is one large difference between Japanese last names and the naming structure practiced by most other cultures. Most often, English speaking people put their given name first and their family name second. This is reversed for the Japanese. For instance, instead of being John Smith it would be Smith John or Hashimoto John. Other Asian countries function in a similar way. This may seem a bit odd at first, but I would imagine that they think the same thing about others. For them it is perfectly typical. It is also important to note that Japanese do not typically have middle names. The Japanese royal family operates a bit differently in this department as well. They usually carry predetermined names as is the custom.
The tradition of a surname is important in Japanese culture. It can aid or hurt depending on where you live and who you interact with. In this case, it is not too different from western culture, but you may discover that Japanese culture takes it a bit further. This can influence one’s ability to get a career, be in good standing with the locals, or even impress a significant other’s family. It is far more complicated than what most people are used to. This does not mean a person cannot overcome hurdles simply because of their name. They are not cemented into other’s judgement for the rest of their lives. That may have been true in the distant past, but it is not the case at present.
Researching names is an enjoyable hobby for some and a career for others. Whichever it is you subscribe to, learning more about Japanese last names should be part of your schedule. Their culture is highly influential and their reach covers the globe. It is not such a terrible idea to learn more about them and their names. It can help you understand them better.
Learn more about Japanese Last Names.
About the Author
I love the Japanese language.