Did you grow up watching Anime series or Studio Ghibli movies? If you look at their history, you will notice some pretty fascinating names.
The words alone have this striking sound as you pronounce. As an anime fan myself, I have learned that each name represents a different meaning according to the context.
So, if you are not so keen on the meanings, forget it. However, as a parent of kids or pets who wishes a Japanese name that interprets significance, you better have a look at this list.
Japanese Kenji is the characters used to form words that can send various messages with a single name. So, you might have a complicated journey ahead in choosing a perfect one.
Let me ease the path a little for you.
35 Japanese Names That Sound American
I am not Japanese, which makes it difficult for me to enunciate the foreign names. What if there are American ways to say the Japanese names without complicating them?
The name Ami is said with more emphasis on the ‘A’ with ‘aa’ sound. It is a variant of the names Amy or Amie in the American version. You can even alter the ‘A’ with ‘E,’ giving it a flair, e.g., Emi, Eimi.
In Japanese, Arina often describes affection, genuineness, tenderness, etc. It is one of the popular names that are common in America as Irina.
Arina is also sub-originated from Greek and Persian history.
While many English readers might be reminded of the grammar Article, it is actually pronounced as Ann. Some even use this version to substitute the basic Anne to preserve the Japanese names without sounding too alien.
There are some rules in Japanese regarding the Ra, Ri, Ru, Re, Ro. The Japanese people often use them to substitute the letter L in English. Hence, Arisa is practically Alisa/Alysa.
Finally, I have come across a boy’s name that begins with ‘A’ and also sounds American. It is the variant of Alan but the Ra rule kind of changes the pronunciation.
Who does not know the name Anna? I am pretty sure one of my neighbors bears this name without knowing its popularity in Japan! The only slight difference is that the ‘A’ is used as ‘aa.’
The name Dan may be used as the first name in Japanese, but you can use it as a nickname for Daniel. The short form of the American name magically turns into a Japanese. What more do I need?
The R/L rule does not apply in every Ra, Ri, Ru, Re, Ro in Japanese Kenji. Therefore, Erika will have no change at all. It is a strategic name for the Americans who do not want people to ruin the intonation.
However, even as you say it as Eri, the Japanese people actually use the name instead of Ellie. Other similar names include Elly or Eli. They also have a similar phonic sound as Eri. Give it a try!
The sweet name Ema is equivalent to the American Emma. There is no hidden agenda here. It is a simple name that is originated from France and Germany, now Japan too.
If you are an Attack on Titans fan, you must know how famous this name has become overnight. Thanks to the quirky Re rule for L-sound, Ellen has transformed into Eren. Personally, it is one of my favorites.
This name is well known in various languages. Hana can mean flower or happiness in both Arabic and Japanese. It is also a name that has derived from the Spanish and Slavic versions of Hanna or Hannah.
To Arabs, the name Jin is Romanization of Djinn, aka spirits. However, it has no connection to Japanese Jin. In fact, the name is the substitution of English Jean or Gene.
As strange as the name Jouji might sound, do you sense a pang of familiarity to American George?
Remember Joe Jonas from the Jonas Brothers? Jou is just the alteration of that name. If you have a friend named Joe, you can even give him the nickname in Japanese style!
It is rather common in Korean and Chinese. Of course, it is also a name that many anime hoarders have come across numerous times. It can have various meanings in different languages. However, it has only one variant in English – June.
If you want to compress Kathrine to a Japanese name that also sounds American, Karin is the way to go. You can even consider Karen when suggesting Karin.
The Ri rule to the letter L is deeply rooted here. Of course, it is up to you regarding how you wish to pronounce it. You can leave it as Kairi or have Kylie.
It is also similar to the Kairi. In short, Keiri is the American version of Kaylee or Caleigh. Some even prefer to spice it up and use Keira, which implies Kayla or Keila.
Ken is like a short form for Kenneth if you wish to keep the Japanese touch to it. Still, Ken can also be the nickname for Kennedy. Either way, the name is widely popular in Asian media.
Maya is a name that stands for goodness, good mother, or Mother Earth. It has many origins, but mainly in Greek, Sanskrit, Amharic, and Japanese. The name harbors positive meaning if that is what you are curious about.
Consider Marie as the alternate image of Mary or Marie. Moreover, Maria or Marie in Japanese is told just the way it is spelled. So no hard work there.
If you wish to name someone Michaela or Michelle, Mika can be the Japanese version nickname for the person. It is pretty cool in an obvious sort of way. Plus, anime artists are crazy about the name!
When we see Mei, it does not even occur in our mind that it is actually May. If you like the May but are also an anime fan, what is stopping you from using Mei?
This name is pronounced just as it is written, unlike in America, where the ‘a’ is more like ‘æ.’
If you love the Biblical Noah, then the Japanese form of Noa will certainly catch your attention.
The only celebrity I can think of for now is Nina Dobrev, a Bulgarian/Canadian actress. The name is quite unique and easy to pronounce by anybody.
Although the name originated from Russia, you will hear it in Japan here and there these days. Besides, anyone who watched Code Geass might remember Nina Einstein.
Japanese Kenji characters deliver different sounds to a word that is pronounced similarly in English. This is why the spelling is always changed. Rei is such an example that Americans often use instead of Ray.
To me, Rin sounds like a melodic note to the ears. The real meaning is a companion. It is a gender-neutral name that anybody can pick. Oh, think about the name Lynn, Lin, or Lynne as you consider it.
If you combine the Ri rule of L-sound twice, what do you get? That is right – the name Lily has found a beautiful substitute for Japanese Riri.
Now, if you consider the Ri rule once again, the name stands for Lisa. Sometimes Risa can even be the variant of Riza. It offers different meanings but still pulls off as a cool Japanese/American name.
Even Rina depicts a similar sound as Risa. Hence, it is like Lina in American terms but still plays a wonderful sound to the original. Rina is quite common in Southeast Asia as well.
Here, the Re rule for the L-sound applies. If you have heard of the name Lena, then Rena is its Japanese version.
Believe it or not, Yugo is the variant option for none other than the name Hugo! It delivers an entirely different sound, making it quite uncommon in Japan. But it is a name the Europeans love. Hugh can be another possibility for Yugo.
This name is one of the most common and easy names in the world. Sara or Sarah has no change in pronunciation unless the accent demands it. So, it is a universal name that everybody is comfortable around in all languages.
To be honest, I think there are plenty of options for female names than the males. These names have the equivalency to the phonetic sound of both Japanese and Americans.
Sometimes one might even wonder about the name’s origin. Would it not be fun to watch people trying to find the source?
I do not know about you, but ultimately, I would look for suggestions from the characters of Japanese anime creations. They sure have names that stick to your mind with contentment.