Culture Note 2: Japanese Names

Culture Note: Japanese Names 

When Japanese give their name, they say their family names first and given name last (middle names do not exist). When introducing themselves, they often say only their family name. Here are some typical Japanese names.

Family name






Given Name

Takuya (man)

Erika (woman)

Shoota (man)

Ai (woman)

Ichiroo (man)

Naomi (woman)

Hiroshi (man)

Yuuko (woman)

Masahiro (man)

Misaki (woman)

Most Japanese names are written in Kanji (Chinese characters). For example, Tanaka is usually written as 田中, which means “middle of the rice field”. Family names are often related to nature or geographical features. Because many Kanji share the same reading, names with the same pronunciation may be written with different Kanji, such as 裕子 and 優子 for the feminine name Yuuko.

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