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Tuesday, 17th November 2015
In General Japan News,

The top baby names in Japan for 2015 revealed

A list of the top boys’ and girls’ names for newborn babies in Japan has been released, showing the trends for 2015.

Cookpad Baby has produced lists of the names most commonly chosen by new parents in the last year.

As well as deciding on what to call a child, the decision on how a name is written in kanji, one of the written forms of Japanese, also needs to be made.

This means that some of the names seemingly appear twice on the lists, but this is down to different spellings becoming popular in kanji characters.

Sou, Minato and Ichika are three different ways to read the kanji word for port or harbour and this is the name that topped the list for boys in 2015.

Ren, which was the most popular name of 2014, has now found itself in third position, behind Itsuki and Tatsuki, two ways of pronouncing the same kanji name.

Hinata and Haruta, which were in third place, have now moved down to fourth, showing how previous favourites are still dominating the top ten.

Names meaning fat, thick and grand appeared in the fourth, sixth and tenth positions, reflecting Japanese parents’ desires for their children to grow up to be strong and have rich, fulfilled lives.

Meanwhile, in the list of girls’ names there were several ties, with Sakura, meaning cherry blossom, and Riko, which translates as lavender child, at the top.

These floral monikers didn’t make it into the top five last year and weren’t even on the list in 2013, demonstrating how quickly trends can change.

Another flower, Aoi or hollyhock, appears at number three, while the non-kanji version of Sakura finds itself in the fourth position.

Some believe that the popularity of the Naruto manga series can be seen in the top names for both sexes, as Minato and Sakura are both characters in the anime.

Rin, which was tied for the top spot in terms of girls’ names in 2014 has slipped down to joint sixth this year with Anna.

Interestingly, these names were thought to have been so popular las year due to the release of Disney’s Frozen, as Rin translates to cold and elegant.

While the movie is no longer in the cinemas, its influence is still being felt as these names remain in the list, even at positions further down.

Observers have also noted that many of the most common names chosen in Japan this year for both boys and girls are fairly easy for Western people to pronounce.

It is thought that a move from the more linguistically complex traditional names could be a bid by Japanese parents to ready their children for international life.

Only time will tell whether those that ranked highest in 2015 will remain popular in 2016 and beyond, with nobody able to predict what the next big trend for baby names in Japan will be.

Related news stories:
Business Insider recommends best little-known destinations in Japan (1st October 2015)
Japan hopes to add Fukuoka ancient monuments to UNESCO list (29th July 2015)