Japanese names usually consist of Chinese characters, the Kanji . Today the Japanese have a name with two parts, a family name and a first name . In the East Asian name order, the family name comes first and the first name follows. Therefore called Yoko Ono in Japanese Ono Yōko ( Japanese 小野洋子 ) and former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Koizumi Jun'ichirô ( 小泉純一郎 ).
All Japanese except the emperor and his family have family names. In Japanese, the imperial family is referred to as kōshitsu ( 皇室 ) or tennōke ( 天 皇家 ), which means both “imperial family” and “imperial family”.
When legally married, the couple should adopt a common family name. However, no new family name may be thought up. For a name change you need permission from a family court. If a foreigner takes on the Japanese nationality, he gets a new first and family name either in Katakana , which is based on the spelling of the foreign name, or in Kanji , which is based on the pronunciation or sometimes even on the meaning.
Historical development of the Japanese names
Antiquity: uji and kabane
For the Yayoi period there is evidence that society in Japan was divided into an upper class, the common people and slaves. The upper class was divided into a large number of clan associations ( 氏 uji ), the members of which claimed to be descended from a common ancestor ( uji-gami ).
The kabane ( 姓 ) are hereditary titles that belonged to the uji (family associations, clans). The most varied of views prevail in research about the ranking and designation. Not even a fixed term has established itself in English literature.
Uji were essentially extensive extended families or groups that traced their origins back to the same person (including emperors) or kami , often with their own Uji-specific names, but all had the same Kabane. The origins of this classification system go back to the early Japanese period (4th – 5th centuries). 24 different Kabane are known, although these were not specified in an exact order. Awarding (or increasing) took place by the ruler. Occasional awards were also made to deserving individuals. Overall, however, this system was too inflexible, especially before the introduction of the court ranking system (see below), as the granting of a Kabane was associated with privileges to the (sometimes very large) family groups that had certain hereditary functions at court. The clan chiefs controlled certain occupational groups ( guilds ) called -tomo or -be , which probably had a rear- seated status.
With the slow rise of the Yamato hegemony, the custom came up in the 5th century to use a kabane - a hereditary title of nobility - in addition to one's uji name. With the introduction of more and more titles, however, their meaning was soon reduced to that of another surname. The highest-ranking kabane terms were Omi ( 臣 , king ) and Muraji ( 連 ; "ruler, village lord, old nobility not of imperial blood"). Members of the imperial family did not have a kabane . This applied to descendants up to the 4th generation. Unless individual ranks were raised, they were “eliminated” from the imperial family with the 5th generation by giving them the highest granny .
Late antiquity: origin of the myōji
As the Japanese population grew, so did the number of people with the same uji name. In order to better distinguish between them, something memorable was added, mostly the place of residence or employment. Samurai were then concerned with the administration of myō ( 苗 , seedlings) of the men in the country and lived there. Since the name of her place of residence was the same as the name of her myō , these makeshift names were called myōji ( 苗 字 ). Mostly myōji was the name, but also kabane and uji. But the main uji families often did not have such myōji , and officially, for example at the imperial court or on documents, one did not sign with one's myōji , but with one's uji name.
Naming Policy in the Tokugawa Shogunate
The Tokugawa shogunate made family name ownership a privilege. Only samurai, court nobles ( kuge ), doctors, Shinto priests and people with special government permits were allowed to carry a family name. This privilege was called myōji-taitō ( 苗 字 帯 刀 ) and meant "permission to carry a family name and a sword".
Until the end of the 18th century, it was forbidden for the lower ranks (farmers, traders and non-residents) to carry a family name and the traditional additional names. It was not until 1870 that the government enacted the "Law on Permitting Family Names for the People" ( 平民 苗 字 許 容 令heimin-myōji-kyoyō-ryō ), through which anyone could take a family name.
The government soon saw the need for a system for the registration of persons and in 1875 passed the "Law on the Necessary Designation with Family Names for the People" ( 平民 苗 字 必 称 義務 令 heimin-myōji-hitsushō-gimu-ryō ), through which all citizens can Were required to wear a family name. At the same time, the ancient uji - kabane system was abolished. Married women could actually keep their maiden name, but in modern times it has become increasingly common to take the husband's surname.
The naming after the birth of a child is also an important event in Japan, as it represents the first step towards a social existence. Names also indicated meaningful characteristics of their bearer, rank or profession. The name can also provide information about the sibling order and thus directly about the succession: Many male first names end in -rō ( 郎 , -th son , young man ); in combination with the prefixes ichi ( 一 , one , Ichirō in the sense of first son ), ji ( 二 , Jirō for the second son) and san ( 三 , three , Saburō for the third son). In feudal times it was customary to give boys children's names ( yomyō ), which they changed with the ceremony of coming of age. Until the reformation of the Koseki system in the Meiji period, it was easy to change names. Today this custom is still alive in the frequent name changes of sumo wrestlers and kabuki actors . Onomatology or onomancy ( 姓名 判断 , Seimei handan ) is a recognized profession in Japan. In doing so, tendencies about character traits, success in love and work, future prospects and much more are derived from the characteristics that are laid out in the characters of the name.
In premodern Japan, usually when reaching the age of 15 , ceremonies ( 元 服 , gempuku ) were held, in which the child's name ( 幼 名 , yōmyō ) was dropped and one was accepted as a full member of the community ( 一 人 前 , ichininmae ). Today the age of majority is reached at the age of 20. It is ritualized on January 15th, the day of majority ( 15. の 日 , Seijin no hi ) , for everyone who turns 20 in a calendar year . A name change does not take place on this occasion.
In the case of marriage, the woman usually takes on the husband's surname. In this case, civil law provides that the woman is entered in the family register under the man's name. In the past few decades, this practice has resulted in married couples often no longer registering in order to continue to use both family names. A political initiative aimed at changing the law so that both spouses can use their family names ( 夫婦 別 姓 , fūfu bessei ) failed in the Japanese lower house for the seventh time in 2000 . In 2011, complaints before regional courts for separate names failed again.
While marriage in Japan is mostly celebrated according to Shinto custom, the Japanese choose Buddhist burial rituals for burials. This includes that the deceased receives a posthumous name ( 戒 名 , Kaimyō ) one week after his death . Kaimyō is available for men and women in three different versions, which is also reflected in the price. In the standard version, -shinji is added to the name for men and -shinyo for women. In the more elegant version it is the suffixes koju and daishi . The noblest honor is the honorary title in .
In Japanese culture, it is also a widespread custom to give yourself a stage name ( 号 , Gō also: 雅号 , Kagō ) as a scientist, writer or painter . This custom was adopted from China. In the case of a haiku poet, one speaks of Haigō ( 俳 号 , also Haimei or Haimyō ), with reciters of Gingō ( 吟 号 ). In addition, writers and mangaka are also referred to as the writer's name ( 筆名 , Hitsumei ) or the pseudonym ( ペ ン ネ ー ム , pen nēmu ).
Common name components
With first names
Female first names often end in -ko ( 子 , child ) or contain the syllable -mi- ( 美 , beautiful, beauty ). Since the 1980s, names that end in -ko have increasingly gone out of fashion. In 2005, the three most popular given names for girls were Hina , Yui, and Miyu .
With family names
The ten most common Japanese family names are (in descending order) Satō ( 佐藤 ), Suzuki ( 鈴木 ), Takahashi ( 高橋 ), Tanaka ( 田中 ), Watanabe ( 渡 辺 ), Itō ( 伊藤 ), Yamamoto ( 山 本 ), Nakamura ( 中 村 ) , Kobayashi ( 小林 ) and Katō ( 加藤 ).
Other common family names come e.g. B. can be achieved by combining two or three elements from the list below. The surname Tanaka ( 田中 ) , for example, suggests that the ancestors might have worked or lived in the middle ( 中 -naka ) of a rice field ( 田 ta- ). Many names are also derived from common names.
Selection of common Japanese name parts:
- Position and location information: kita- hoku- ( 北 , north ), minami-, nan- ( 南 , south ), nishi- ( 西 , west ), higashi- ( 東 , east ), -nabe ( 辺 , border ), -ue- , -kami ( 上 , above ), -shita , -shimo ( 下 , below ), mae- ( 前 , front ), ga-, go-, ko- ( 後 , back ), yoko- ( 横 , next to , horizontal ), taka-, -daka ( 高 , high ), -naka- ( 中 , in the middle ), -uchi- ( 内 , inside )
- Geographical conditions: -hashi -, - bashi- ( 橋 , bridge ), -hata -, - bata ( 畑 , field ), -kawa -, - gawa ( 川 , river ), -ike- ( 池 , pond ), - i- ( 井 , well ), -izumi ( 泉 , source ), -maki- ( 牧 , willow ), -mura- ( 村 , village ), -hara-, -wara ( 原 , plain ), -no- ( 野 , plain ), -oka- ( 岡 , hill ), -oka-, -kyū- ( 丘 , hill ), -saka- ( 坂 , slope ), -saki -, - zaki ( 崎 , cape ), -sawa -, - zawa ( 沢 , swamp, stream ), -numa ( 沼 , morass ), -ta -, - da ( 田 , rice field ), -yama- ( 山 , mountain ), -mine ( 峰 , summit ), - hama- ( 浜 , 濱 , beach ), -shima, -jima, -tō, -tou, -dō, -dou ( 島 , island ), -tani-, -dani, -ya ( 谷 , valley ), -tsuka - ( 塚 , mound of earth ), -machi ( 町 , city ), -shiro-, -jō, -jou, -ki, -gi ( 城 , castle ), -sono-, -zono- ( 園 , garden ), - miya- ( 宮 , palace ), -dō, -dou ( 堂 , hall ), -shitsu, -jitsu, -muro, -moro ( 室 , room ), -tera-, -ji ( 寺 , Buddhist temple )
- Plants and food: -ki-, gi ( 木 , tree ), -ki-, gi, ju ( 樹 , tree ), -hayashi- , -bayashi ( 林 , grove ), -mori- ( 森 , forest ), ha -, -ba ( 葉 , leaf ), hana-, ka- ( 花 , flower , blossom ), -kusa- ( 草 , grass plant ), -maki- ( 槙 , 槇 , stone slice ), -matsu- ( 松 , pine ), -sugi- ( 杉 , cedar ), take- ( 竹 , bamboo ), fuji-, -tō, tou, -dō, dou ( 藤 , Wisteria ), Cha-, Chiya-, Sa-, Ta- ( 茶 , Tea ), yone- ( 米 , rice ), kiku- ( 菊 , chrysanthemum ), hagi-, ( 萩 , bush clover ), asa-, ma-, ( 麻 , hemp ), kaki- ( 柿 , kaki ), katsura - ( 桂 , cinnamon ), sakura-, -zakura ( 桜 , 櫻 , cherry ), -tachibana-, -kitsu- ( 橘 , wild tangerine ), -nashi ( 梨 , Nashi pear ), -momo-, -tō , -tou ( 桃 , peach )
- Colors: aka- ( 赤 , red ), ao- ( 青 , blue ), kuro- ( 黒 , black ), -haku -, - ira -, - shira -, - shiro- ( 白 , white )
- Numbers: i-, ichi-, itsu-, hi-, hito-, hitotsu- ( 一 , one ), ni-, futa- ( 二 , two ), mi-, mitsu- ( 三 , three ), yo-, yotsu-, shi- ( 四 , four ), go-, itsu- ( 五 , five ), nana-, na-, Shichi- ( 七 , seven ), hachi-, ha-, ya-, yatsu- ( 八 , eight ), ku-, kyū- kyuu- ( 九 , nine ), chi-, sen- ( 千 , thousand )
- Seasons: haru-, -kasu-, -shun ( 春 , spring ), -natsu-, -ka- ( 夏 , summer ), -aki-, -shū-, -shou- ( 秋 , autumn ), -fuyu- , -tō-, -tou- ( 冬 , winter )
- Body: -me-, -moku ( 目 , eye ), -kuchi, -guchi ( 口 , mouth ), -o, -bi ( 尾 , tail ), mō- ( 毛 , body hair ), hane, -ha, - ba, -wa, u- ( 羽 , spring )
- Other: O, OO, Oh-, Dai ( 大 , large ), co-, o- ( 小 , small ), ta -, - because ( 多 , much ), SHO, shou ( 少 , little ), -tō, -tou ( 遠 , wide ), kon-, chika- ( 近 , close ), asa- ( 浅 , shallow ), fuka- ( 深 , deep ), -naga- ( 長 , long ), - naga- ( 永 , long time ), ma- ( 真 , 眞 , true ), kiyo- ( 清 , pure ), ara-, nii-, niu, nishi-, nitsu, nyuu-, shin- ( 新 , new ) , ko-, furu- ( 古 , old ), ishi- ( 石 , stone ), iwa- ( 岩 , rock ), hoshi- ( 星 , star ), hi-, ni- ( 日 , sun ), -tsuki- , -zuki-, -getsu ( 月 , moon, month ), -ita- ( 板 , board ), suzu- ( 鈴 , bell ), -mizu-, -mi ( 水 , water ), umi-, kai-, -mi ( 海 , sea ), oki- ( 沖 , open sea ), -nami-, -mi, -ha-, -ba ( 波 , wave ), -se ( 瀬 , rapids ), hon- , -moto- ( 本 , origin )
- State organization in the 7th to 9th centuries: Ritsuryo
- Japanese salutation
- Chinese name
- Korean name
- Vietnamese name
- To uji and kabane :
- Richard Miller: Ancient Japanese Nobility. Berkeley 1974 (Uni Calif. Press)
- Takehiko Abe: Uji kabane. Tōkyō 1960 (Shibundō), 170 pp.
- Albert J. Koop, Hogitarō Inada: Japanese Names and How to Read Them . The Eastern Press, London 1923 ( archive.org ).
- Florian Coulmas : The culture of Japan. Tradition and modernity . 2nd Edition. CH Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-58776-4 , 1st rites of passage, p. 35-51 .
- Japanese given names
- Nobility and state (also: Japanese coat of arms)
- Collection of Japanese authors' names and pseudonyms
- How to read Japanese names
- unless the man is accepted into the woman's family. This is quite often done through adoption, especially to secure the succession.
- language also Imina ( 諱 )
- Florian Coulmas: The culture of Japan. Tradition and modernity . S. 36 .
- Florian Coulmas: The culture of Japan. Tradition and modernity . S. 47 .
- ２０１１ 年 ２ 月 １４ 日 、 夫婦 別 姓 訴訟 を 提起 at asahi.net (Japanese)
- Florian Coulmas: The culture of Japan. Tradition and modernity . S. 50 .