Name Generator > Character Names > Japanese Names
Japanese Name Generator
Struggling with a story? Do you want to name a Japanese protagonist, but you're worried about choosing the wrong name? Then help yourself out with our Japanese name generator!
About Japanese Names
Japan uses roughly the same naming convention as China – a family surname followed by a given name – although there is a much greater variety in Japan, with over 100,000 different Japanese surnames currently in use. Japan has only used this specific convention since the 19th Century, following the restoration under Emperor Meiji in 1868, and the three most common names now used in Japan are Takahashi, Suzuki and Sato.
Japanese names are mainly written with the complex written characters called kanji, but can also be written with the hiragana and katakana alphabets, depending on pronunciation. Most Japanese surnames are made up of two kanji characters, but there can be multiple ways of pronouncing a particular combination of kanji, while some Japanese specifically use the traditional, more complex versions of kanji for their surnames instead of the modern, simplified versions.
Many recent Japanese parents have specifically chosen names that are harder to spell and pronounce than the more common names, especially since the 1990s (for example, the name 'Hiroto' now often gets written and pronounced as 'Haruto', 'Masato' or 'Taito'). Japanese female names often end with the syllable '-ko', which is written with the kanji character that means 'child'; or they end with '-mi', which is written with the kanji character that means 'beautiful'. Western names for girls (written in katakana script) have also been increasing in popularity, such as Emirii (for 'Emily') or Merisa (for 'Melissa').
Japanese male names will frequently end with syllables like '-hiko' or '-suke', and often feature kanji characters that mean positive attributes like 'brave', 'win', or 'correct'. Male names can sometimes be chosen in order to show the order in which the children were born – like Ichirou and Jirou, meaning 'first son' and 'second son'. Names can also be chosen so that the number of strokes needed to write them will be lucky or especially fortuitous, which is a type of fortune telling known as Semei Handan.
Names also have specific conventions relating to etiquette, with family members addressed differently to co-workers. Business people tend to be referred to with the suffix '-san' attached to the end of their name (a neutral term that can mean 'Mr' or 'Mrs'), while job titles can also be used as suffixes to denote seniority.
We've done our best to stick to the Japanese naming conventions in our generator in order to make it historically and culturally realistic, and this means that it's ideal for writers, creators, and gamers who want to generate Japanese characters accurately.