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Help with my last name!

Joined
May 4, 2017
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Hello there!

I'm very new to the site but I would really appreciate some help in reguards to the kanji symbols for my last name. My grandparents taught them to me before they passed away and I've seen them the same way on the internet. It's Hayashi and I know that it means forest, but I recently heard that most kanji symbols have many meanings! If I wanted to get a tattoo in their memory with the symbols, is there any way that they could be misconstrued or take on a different meaning?

Bonus: Their first names were Namiko and Takane. If you could show me the kanji and any extra meanings that would be amazing. I was told that Namiko meant wave child and Takane meant mountain. They were forced into camps during WWII and had their names changed to Betty and Jack.

Thank you so much!!!
 

joadbres

八方凡人
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Bonus: Their first names were Namiko and Takane. If you could show me the kanji and any extra meanings that would be amazing. I was told that Namiko meant wave child and Takane meant mountain.
There are several ways to write most Japanese names, so it is impossible to know for certain which characters were used in the names of your grandparents without verifying it by means of some kind of documentation. However, the fact that you were told the name / character meanings is a big clue, and helps to narrow down the likely characters.

For your grandmother, the ending 'ko' part of her name is almost certainly written as 子, as that usage is widespread among women, and has the meaning 'child'. There are several different characters which mean 'wave' and can be read as 'nami'. For use in a person's name, the most common of these would be 浪. Another is 波.

For your grandfather, given that you were told his name means 'mountain', it is fairly likely that his name is written as either 高嶺 or 高根. The first character in these names, used by itself, means 'high' or 'tall'. 嶺 means 'peak; summit', and 根 means 'root' (such as of a tree), but when used together with 高, the meaning is 'high peak'.

In short, the most likely way that these names are written would be 浪子 and 高嶺, but there are other possibilities. Your family probably has some kinds of documents which could be used to confirm these.

As for extra meanings of the characters, it would be simplest to first confirm exactly which characters were used in the names of your grandparents, and then go from there. However, most of the above characters have one principal meaning associated with them. When Japanese people see these characters, they will think of the meanings as identified above.
 
Joined
May 4, 2017
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Thank you so much for the detailed answer! I'm going to try and find some documents before their names were changed. Everyone's help means a lot.
 
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