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Japanese proper names

Wolfemann

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Greetings and felicitations!

A friend of mine has been trying to convince me that I should find an ESL school in Japan to teach English in the summers (even though I haven't taken any Nihongo courses yet). I have very little experience with the language, but was told that it would be best if I were to pick a Japanese name to use while there (I'm still not too familiar with this practice).

A woman I dated at university used to call me "Ōkami" as a pet name. My actual given name is "Micah". I was wondering if 舞火 (Maika) is permissible as a Japanese name, and could 狼 (Wolf) be used as a family name?

As I've said, I'm really not familiar with Japanese naming conventions, and I wouldn't want to take on a name that is too 'odd' to native speakers. Also, if this combination would work, would it be written as
狼 舞火?

Many thanks!
 

Mike Cash

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Welcome to the forum. Happy to have you with us.

was told that it would be best if I were to pick a Japanese name to use while there
What on earth for? What was the reasoning behind that?
 

Uncle Frank

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You might want to read some old posts about teaching English and about visa requirements to help you out. Welcome to JREF where you can get true facts to help you.
 

Wolfemann

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Thank you very much!
She said that she was encouraged to do so (although she also was hoping to eventually become a citizen). Regardless, she was encouraged to do so by someone at the TOESL program she was working with.

Cool that I don't have to worry about that.

…but now I'm curious. Would "狼" and "舞火" be used a names in Japanese or would that be as weird as a westerner named "Dancing Dog"?

At this point I'm just getting really interested in finding out more about Japanese naming conventions.

Many thanks!
MIcah
 

Toritoribe

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Would "狼" and "舞火" be used a names in Japanese or would that be as weird as a westerner named "Dancing Dog"?
舞火 is a female given name, and that used only as the name of a character in manga, anime, game or like that, not a real name. 狼 can't be a name.
 

madphysicist

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She said that she was encouraged to do so (although she also was hoping to eventually become a citizen). Regardless, she was encouraged to do so by someone at the TOESL program she was working with.
Generally western immigrants to Japan continue to use their original names, just written in katakana when necessary. I don't know how many people who naturalise keep their katakana names though, that would be interesting to know.

Of course some people choose a nickname if their name is difficult for Japanese people to pronounce. But "Micah" should be easy, since it's short and contains no sounds that do not exist in Japanese.

I find it strange that someone working as an English teacher would be encouraged to pick a Japanese name - surely the students should be getting used to pronouncing English names?
 
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