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Please help me with my Japanese surname

Makoto

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Sep 29, 2017
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Hi!
I'm a second-generation Korean-Chinese who was born and raised in America (parents immigrated here from South Korea).

My father is Chinese who only knows traditional mandarin (I don't know any Chinese whatsoever) and the traditional Chinese writing for my surname is: 畢 (This is not a common Chinese surname either)

I've been learning Japanese since I was in elementary school (I'm taking the JLPT N1 this December) and I wish to work in Japan after graduating college. To make things simpler for me, I would like to go by a Japanese name when I work there, but I want the meaning of my name to carry on to my Japanese name. I already know what the Kanji for my first name translates to, so I do not need help with my first name.

Can anyone give me any ideas as to how I should create my Japanese surname? Checking the dictionary, the kanji for 畢 means "to end" like in 畢竟する (hikkyousuru).

Apparently I believe its old Chinese meaning is "graduation"(?)
 

joadbres

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Some Chinese or Korean people who stay in Japan for some time will use the same characters from their name, but use a Japanese pronunciation.

In your case, the on-yomi is simpler to use. As you probably know, it is ヒツ (hitsu).

So my recommendation would be to use the character, but adopt a reading of Hitsu when in Japan.

You mentioned having the meaning of your name carry over. I don't think this is necessary. It is highly likely that "end" was not the original meaning of this character, anyway. When it comes to family names which use Chinese characters, it is the characters themselves, rather than the meaning, which is important.

Edit: Some people from China or Korea will take the modern pronunciation of their name (in the native language) and convert it to the closest possible match in the Japanese sound system. That would be another option for you. So, for example, if your family pronounces your name as something similar to Bi, you could pronounce it as ビ in Japan.
 
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Mike Cash

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I believe the rules are such that unless you are a citizen of a country which actually uses kanji you will not be able to have a kanji name as your name for official usage. It will instead be rendered in kana. So as far as that goes, the name they're going to put you down as is the name that's on your passport.

For daily life, you may register an alias if you wish. This rule exists to allow people of Chinese/Korean ancestry who are descendents of this (usually) forcefully brought here to make life easier by using a Japanese-sounding name. The alias isn't restricted to only those people; any foreigner can make use of it. The only caveat is that you can only register it ONCE and you can't change it, so those wishing to use it should think carefully and maybe try out their proposed alias informally for a while first to see if it gets the reaction they thought it would. (People think up some really dumb stuff when they first get here that they would later cringe at).

In what ways do you envision this making life in Japan easier?
 
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