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Help w/ Translation of Name for upcoming Baby

SuAsDu

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Hi,

I'm new to this forum, so please excuse me if I make a mistake.

My wife and I will be having our first born baby soon, and wanted to give our son a japanese name (I'm Thai, and She is Japanese).

We have come across two names, but have no idea what it means. Maybe someone can help.

Here is the first name: Kenzo - What does "zo" mean
Here is the second name: Hikaru - What does "ru" mean

Any help or tranlation of these two names would greatly be appreciated. Also if you know of anyone famous w/ these name please let me know.

Once again, any help or a suggestion for a boy's name would appreciated.
 

kisu

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hikaru means light i beleive there is a jpop singer named utada hikaru

~kisu
 

Maciamo

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Hikaru is a bit confusing as it i both male and female (like in Hikaru Genji and Hikaru Utada).

I realise that in international couples including a Japanese, the children's names are usually Japanese. I understand that a half English half Japanese speaking couple the Japanese name is easier to pronounce for both sides. But what about Thai names ? French or Italian peolpe marrying Japanese would often choose a name that is pronoucable in both languages, even if it's not a Japanese name (e.g. "Serena").
 

SuAsDu

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Originally posted by Maciamo
Hikaru is a bit confusing as it i both male and female (like in Hikaru Genji and Hikaru Utada).

I realise that in international couples including a Japanese, the children's names are usually Japanese. I understand that a half English half Japanese speaking couple the Japanese name is easier to pronounce for both sides. But what about Thai names ? French or Italian peolpe marrying Japanese would often choose a name that is pronoucable in both languages, even if it's not a Japanese name (e.g. "Serena").

In the US, people tend to have a First Name, Middle Name, and Family Name.

My Wife and I would like a Japanese First Name and a Thai Middle Name

I was unaware that Hikaru was both a Boy and a Girl Name. A japanese Name is much more easier to pronouce then a Thai name, and easier to spell.

As for a name that has meaning in both Thai and Japanese, it is very difficult to find. My wife and I have both tried to locate one, but to no luck.

Thanks again for your response.
 

Gaki

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Erm...why don't u ask your wife ?

The thing with Japanese names is that the kanji (and meaning) varies.

For example a name like Kyoko can be 京子 or 恭子 and both meanings are different to each other. Although pronounciation is same, meaning is different depending on Kanji.

It is a difficult thing...
 

SuAsDu

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Originally posted by Gaki
Erm...why don't u ask your wife ?

The thing with Japanese names is that the kanji (and meaning) varies.

For example a name like Kyoko can be 京子 or 恭子 and both meanings are different to each other. Although pronounciation is same, meaning is different depending on Kanji.

Gaki - umm.. I would ask my wife.. but she is 4th generation American. So her Japanese is very limited.

That is why I am looking for help from this channel.

I do understand that depending on the Kanji, the meaning can be different.

I am just asking for a little help. Thanks again for taking time to respond.

And why do you have such a large picture of a woman's chest? Is that necessary?
 

Gaki

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The picture is like advertisement for my website =P
 

Maciamo

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Originally posted by SuAsDu
In the US, people tend to have a First Name, Middle Name, and Family Name.

My Wife and I would like a Japanese First Name and a Thai Middle Name

That is ok for children born or living in the US, but the Japanese law forbid more than one given name (justly to avoid having mixed language names that would pollute the Japanese name system and language). So if the child of an international couple is born in Japan, he/she will only have a first name and usually Japanese (it must be writable in katakan, which limits pretty much the range of English names).
 

Maciamo

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Originally posted by SuAsDu
Gaki - umm.. i would ask my wife.. but she is 4th generation American. So her Japanese is very limited.

So what's the point in wanting a Japanese name for the children. A Japanese born outside Japan is not a Japanese anymore. After 4 generations, the Japanese authorities would laugh if you were trying to prove some kind of "Japaneseness" for her or your children.

What's more, as Gaki said, Japanese names use kanji, as there are plenty of way of writing so names like "yuuko", "kyoko", "ken" or "hiro". But you can't have a name written in kanji in the States, right ?
 

kirei_na_me

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My sons all have Japanese first names and Western middle names and we live in the U.S. I thought it would be nice for their father--who is a Japanese national--to give them Japanese names and I wanted to give them a name too, so I gave them the western middle names. They all are called by their Japanese names, which are somewhat easy to pronounce for Americans.

My sons, however, are Japanese. As of now, they have dual citizenship. Of course, only their surname and Japanese first names--in all the Kanji that took so long to pick out--appear on the koseki-touhon. The way my name is on the koseki-touhon is different, though. Nomura appears and then both my first name and my maiden name are combined in the first name space.

I don't think using Kanji would be necessary unless you did have to worry about the koseki-touhon. I guess you could use it just for the sake of wanting to have Kanji to go with the name, though.

By the way, my sons' names are:

星夜 Seiya

瀬奈 Sena

龍魁 Ryuukai

We of course can't use the Kanji here in the States, but we do use the Romaji. The Kanji is saved for those official Japanese documents only...
 

neko_girl22

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nice names Kirei-na-me!
Glad you don't have a problem pronouncing the "ryuu" sound... I still stumble over it at times!! hehe....

My name in kanji is - 香里奈 but, that's just for fun, I can't use it for official things.

Btw, I think it's nice SuAsDu, that you want a Japanese name for your child. I think Maciamo is being harsh when he said people will laugh.

trying to prove some kind of "Japaneseness"
English names come from all different cultures (e.g my real name is originally Greek) so there's no difference in choosing a Japanese name than an English one. My parents were not "proving" anything when they chose my name. They just liked it.

Hope you find a nice name ;)
 

Maciamo

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Originally posted by kirei_na_me

We of course can't use the Kanji here in the States, but we do use the Romaji. The Kanji is saved for those official Japanese documents only...

Yes, and in SuAsDu's case where children cannot ask Japanese nationality and will probably never live in Japan if their mother is already a 4th generation Japanese American, I don't see the point in finding Japanese names. But in your case it's obvious that they should as their father is Japanese and that would facilitate their acceptation if they ever want to live in Japan later (while in the US, anyone can be called anything and even change name fairly easily, so that doesn't matter).
 

Maciamo

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Originally posted by nzueda

English names come from all different cultures (e.g my real name is originally Greek) so there's no difference in choosing a Japanese name than an English one. My parents were not "proving" anything when they chose my name. They just liked it.

That's not the point. The English language itself is half of Greco-Latin origin, the other half of Norse-Anglo-Saxon (i.e. Germanic) origin. That is why all the Greco-Latin given names are used in English. Because Wales, Scotland and Ireland were incorporated to England to form the UK, Celtic names have also entered the language. However Japanese names don't have any historical or cultural connection with the English language. There might just be names like Naomi, Lisa (Risa) or Ken that happen to be the same in both languages. But the US are quite cosmopolitan (depends a bit where you live), so it should be easier for people to have a Japanese name there than an English/European name in Japan (Carina is easy for Japanese, though).
 

kirei_na_me

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nice names Kirei-na-me!

Thank you, nzueda. I hope so, since we stayed up many a night going through numerous books and counting up strokes so to pick the right names. I never dreamt it would be such a painstaking process and I never knew my husband could be so superstitious.

Glad you don't have a problem pronouncing the "ryuu" sound... I still stumble over it at times!! hehe

In fact, I do have a very difficult pronouncing "ryuu" or "ryo". Not to mention "tsu" and many others. Anyway, I did change Ryuukai to Lyukai just so people wouldn't go around saying Ryuukai with the same R sound as we're familiar with. It would just sound completely wrong. We changed it thinking it sounded more like an l than an r in the case of "ryuu".

The only real problem I have is people mistaking them for girls! People especially think Seiya and Sena are girls when they hear their names without seeing them! :eek:
 

Maciamo

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Originally posted by kirei_na_me

The only real problem I have is people mistaking them for girls! People especially think Seiya and Sena are girls when they hear their names without seeing them! :eek:

That's a bit normal, as in Latin languages the final "a" indicate a female name (or word) and a final "o" a male one. Unfortunately, there is no such rule in Japanese and it is in fact more ofte the opposite (all the "-ko" are female names). And as English has taken its influence from Latin and not Japanese, it creates the confusion with which you are confronted. "Sena" sounds like "Serena", and I also thought it was a girl name first (never heard "Sena" in Japan :confused: ). "Seiya" should be more clear as it is the name of the famous Japanese anime character "Saint Seiya" (it's at least very famous in France and Italy, but maybe not so much in the States ?).
 

kirei_na_me

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That's a bit normal, as in Latin languages the final "a" indicate a female name (or word) and a final "o" a male one.

Yes, you're right, Maciamo. The "a" on the end of a name gives a name a much more softer sound to us, I think, indicating a more feminine name. What I didn't know when I picked out the name Sena, was that the name had been popularized in Japan by the late Brazilian F1 racecar driver, Ayrton Senna Da Silva. When I was picking out names for my sons, I was wanting real traditional style Japanese names, but my husband failed to tell me about Sena until after he was born and already named. It doesn't matter, though, because I like his name.

"Seiya" should be more clear as it is the name of the famous Japanese anime character "Saint Seiya" (it's at least very famous in France and Italy, but maybe not so much in the States ?).

Well, I don't know how popular "Saint Seiya" here is in the States. As you might have already noticed, I'm not much into anime, so I guess I wouldn't know much about it in the first place. It's very interesting to know, though! ;)
 

Maciamo

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Originally posted by kirei_na_me
What I didn't know when I picked out the name Sena, was that the name had been popularized in Japan by the late Brazilian F1 racecar driver, Ayrton Senna Da Silva.

Well, anyway, "Senna" is Ayrton's mother maiden name, so that's a family name, not a given name. But as he chose it instead of his father's name "da Silva", everybody spoke of "Senna", like they speak of "Schumacher" now. "Senna" is a real legend in Europe and Brazil (at least). I still remember the tragic accident that cost him his life in San Marino. If your son becomes a racing champion, you'll know where he gets that from. :p What brand of car is your husbad importing ? Toyota ? There are back to F1 now. Ayrton became world champion sevreal time with a Honda engine. There is hope for Sena 2's future... :D
 

kirei_na_me

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Yeah, my husband makes parts for both Toyota and Honda, and it's funny, because you know what Sena has been interested in ever since he could be interested in something? Cars! Lots of cars! He will watch drag racing, F1, or anything like that on TV with intense interest. He has even said he wanted to be a racecar driver or a truck driver, so, there may be a connection! :p He is only 4, so I'm really hoping that will change. That is too much worry for a mother to handle, I think! I don't think I could handle it, anyway.

Funny how one son wants to be a painter, and as Seiya said it himself, "a painter that paints pictures, not houses" and then I have Sena who wants to drive a racecar... :D
 

littlebear

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Originally posted by Maciamo
So what's the point in wanting a Japanese name for the children. A Japanese born outside Japan is not a Japanese anymore. After 4 generations, the Japanese authorities would laugh if you were trying to prove some kind of "Japaneseness" for her or your children.

I would agree that Maciamo is being overly critical. Their decision to choose a Japanese and a Thai name for their child has nothing to do with 'trying to prove some kind of Japaneseness' for their child.

Although you are correct in pointing out that Japan has strict laws on nationality, I think this is irrelevant in this thread. I didn't read SuAsDu imply that they intended to claim Japanese citizenship for their child.

He and his partner are just proud of their heritage - who cares what the Japanese authorities think !
 

SuAsDu

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Originally posted by littlebear
I would agree that Maciamo is being overly critical. Their decision to choose a Japanese and a Thai name for their child has nothing to do with 'trying to prove some kind of Japaneseness' for their child.

Although you are correct in pointing out that Japan has strict laws on nationality, I think this is irrelevant in this thread. I didn't read SuAsDu imply that they intended to claim Japanese citizenship for their child.

He and his partner are just proud of their heritage - who cares what the Japanese authorities think !

Little Bear and everyone else that replied. Thank you for understanding that we are giving our son a Japanes and Thai name so he will understand the rich asian hertiage that he comes from and have an identity, and not 'trying to prove some kind of Japaneseness'. And regards to claiming Japanese citizenship, that was not even a thought. My wife and I have a very comfortable life in the States, and currently do not see a reason to move to Japan. We would probably end up moving to one of the islands in Thailand, before Japan.
 

Maciamo

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Originally posted by littlebear

He and his partner are just proud of their heritage - who cares what the Japanese authorities think !

Most people in the States have mixed origins from all over the world (especially Europe). Myself, as a European, can claim ancestors in at least 6 countries, but it's not because my great-grand-mother was German that I would feel the need to have a German name.

I was a bit critical because choosing a name is something I find extremely important and difficult. Do you know howw much a name can influence somebody's character, interest and whole life ? It's a very sensitie psychological issue and I don't know any other people who'd take as much care and studies as me to choose a name. That's even more difficult for "international couples".

I am also in favour of creating new names that fit somebody's personality and lots of people actually do it by choosing a nick name on a forum like here (but not always one that could be used in everyday life, though).

I even think children shouldd be able to choose a name by themsleves (maybe when they are adults, since theie personality can evolve a lot till then).

I didn't like the choice of a Japanese name for a 5th generationer (did each generation intermarry with non-Japanese or not ?) as it would only stress the "Japaneseness" for someone who is probably never going to live in Japan, or maybe will feel attracted to this country omnly because of that name. If he/she does in addition look perfectly Japanese, he/she might be confused at home for a tourist or exchange student later. There are so many things to keep in mind when choosing a child's name. As it will influence your offspring's destiny, be sure you choose a suitable one (there isn't "one" right solution though).

My first impresion is that "Hikaru" and "Kenzo" were taken after "Utada Hikaru" and the fashion designer "Kenzo", which is why I overreacted as for me this is a sign of feeble personality to copy a famous person's name (like all the girls named "Diana in England after "Princess Diana" ; plain stupid and unoriginal). Sorry for my little pique here. :sorry:
 

Mandylion

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Originally posted by Maciamo
... but the Japanese law forbid more than one given name (justly to avoid having mixed language names that would pollute the Japanese name system and language). So if the child of an international couple is born in Japan, he/she will only have a first name and usually Japanese (it must be writable in katakan, which limits pretty much the range of English names).

I'm a little confused; do you mean a child will have a first name and a last name (no middle name), or only have a first name?

I would also argue that you can certianly give a child of international marriage in Japan a middle ame, it just won't be legally recognized. That said, my full name, with the middle one, does appear on my drivers license, in roman letters. Is it because I am a foreigner? You bet. But I see no reason to discriminate on the basis of nationality.

I have a hunch the Japanese prohibit middle names just because it is easier to say "no," than to take the time, show some sensitivity, and change their systems.
 

Maciamo

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Hi Mandylion,

What I meant is that Japanese can only have a first (given) name and a last (family) name (in the opposite order of course). Middle names or combined family names (father + mother's family name) are illegal.
That is true of Japanese citizens and babies born and registered in Japan. I think that foreigners taking up Japanese nationality must drop their middle name(s) and choose a name writable in kanas and maybe even kanji.

I personally have 3 given names + a family name. I know that Americans usually only have one middle name (don't know why ?). In Europe, there is no limit and I know some people with 8 given names and heard of people with more than 20 ! Imagine the problem it would cause to get official papers in Japan. They are already confused when I say my 2 middle names are never used.

I know a few international couples who've had babies in Japan and they COULDN'T register any middle name at all. They, however, could do it at the embassy of the other parent, but it would only be recognised in that country. If the child later chooses the Japanese nationality, they will have to use only ONE first and ONE last name. That's the law and obviously foreigners don't have to change name to stay in Japan.
 
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