June 20, 2020

Japanese Customers: What were the most popular baby names selected by Japanese parents for their children in 2006

a child practicing writing at school

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Japanese Customers this year used a wider variety of names for their children. This has been said to be due to the widening and changing social classes evident in society. The top name for boys in 2006 was Riku which means stable and secure. For girls the top name was Hina, made up of two Chinese characters, one meaning sun and the other small plants. The use of names by parents is unique as it draws on the current events in society, ie, what is popular, what personalities the parents like, what name will last the test of time and what will empower the child to future success.

It is common in Japan to wait a number of days after the baby is born to name it. Some parents ask a priest to name the child when they present the child traditionally at a Shinto shrine. Others prefer to name the child themselves and spend a long time defining the correct Chinese characters that will be used to make up the child's name. This includes making sure the number of strokes in each character are correct. The number of strokes, the shape of the character, the implied meaning and literal meaning and the interpretation others may have, all shape the final choice.

Superstition and the connotation of luck and bad luck pervade. Many parents may consult a traditional Japanese calender so as to pick a lucky day on which to name their child, visit a shrine and which day to register the baby on the family register at the local ward office.

A concern for many parents when they name their child these days relates to how their child will be treated in the schoolyard. Names are well tested with parents providing positive and negative meanings of each choice selected before the final name is selected.

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