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Thread: Unusual Japanese family names

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Unusual Japanese family names

    What unusual Japanese family names do you know ?

    The following are quite rare I think :

    Aso 阿蘇
    Doi 土井
    Doihara 土居原 土肥原 土井原
    Eto 江藤
    Iko ?
    Konoe 近衛
    Kido 木戸
    Mesuda 召田
    Mizota 溝田
    Nukaga 額賀
    Obata 小幡
    Okudaira 奥平
    Osumi 大隈
    Yanaihara 矢内原
    Last edited by Maciamo; Oct 7, 2004 at 11:38.

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  2. #2
    Cute and Furry Ewok85's Avatar
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    My girlfriend is Manai, I cant remember the kanji so I'll repost it later :P

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    Cat lover Apollo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Doi 
    I agree that Doi is quite rare - but normal, it is my mother's maiden name.

  4. #4
    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    My husband has a cousin who's also a Doi.
    Last edited by kirei_na_me; Sep 16, 2004 at 00:38.
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  5. #5
    Occasional visitor nekosasori's Avatar
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    Wasn't there a famous woman politician whose surname was Doi?

    I know a Mano-san (眞野)

    My mother's maiden name isn't too common, either though not exactly "rare" - Oyamada (小山田)

  6. #6
    Regular Member -Yu-'s Avatar
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    I think those names that Maciamo wrote aren't that unusual.
    The one that I think is rare is Dairaku 大楽, this is my friend's name, it sounds like a restaurant name.

    One more, 西別府 ni shi be ppu.

  7. #7
    Cute and Furry Ewok85's Avatar
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    真名井 - as promised, Manai

  8. #8
    Cat lover Apollo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekosasori
    Wasn't there a famous woman politician whose surname was Doi?
    You are absolutely right!!!
    TAKAKO DOI was the leader of Social Democratic Party from 1986 (the first woman) and speaker of the House of Representatives during the Social Democratic Government.

    She is a kind of a role model for female politicians in Japan.


  9. #9
    Hentai Koutaishi Lina Inverse's Avatar
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    Then there's also Hitoshi Doi, whose anime page is quite popular among fans
    Hitoshi Doi's homepage

    Seems that "Doi" isn't that seldom...

  10. #10
    Cs’†
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ewok85
    真名井 - as promised, Manai
    That isn't a given name?

  11. #11
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    This family name is absolutely rare: ういえ (uie)

    Sorry, I forgot the kanji for 'uie'. That's the name of a friend, but I can't ask her right now...
    Actually most Japanese don't know how to write her name.

  12. #12
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Alright, it seems that Doi is not so rare after all. Let's concentrate on finding others.

  13. #13
    Cat lover Apollo's Avatar
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    A good friend of ours has a rare Japanese surname: Komatsuzaki.
    I don't know the kanji, but I can ask.

    Has anyone heard of this name before? I only know his family with this name.

  14. #14
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miss_apollo7
    A good friend of ours has a rare Japanese surname: Komatsuzaki.
    I don't know the kanji, but I can ask.

    Has anyone heard of this name before? I only know his family with this name.
    I am not sure I have heard it, but the kanji used are quite common : 小松崎

    Japanese family names usually use geographical locations (山, 岡, 原, 田, 野, 沼, 沢, 津, 崎, 浜, 川, 島, 橋, 井, 平...) and/or descriptive adjectives (大, 小, 上, 下, 中, 本, 北, 西, 南, 東, 富, 芝, 永, 長, 高, 平, 美, 福, 白, 黒, 赤, 青...), or plant names (藤, 松, 杉, 桜, 梅, 梨...). Combinations of these kanji make about 90% the most common family and place names in Japan.

    However, some names use quite rare kanji in names like 阿蘇 (Aso), 額賀 (Nukaga) or 西別府 (Nishi-Beppu).

    I have also found 稲峰 (Inamine) and 珍田 (Chinda).
    Last edited by Maciamo; Sep 18, 2004 at 14:04.

  15. #15
    Cute and Furry Ewok85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn
    That isn't a given name?
    Definitly a surname.

  16. #16
    Cs’†
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    Interesting. It just looked like a given name to me, I guess because it's similar to 真那伽 (まなか). But hey, what do I know about Japanese names? I think they are the most troublesome part of the language, what with all the different readings and all.

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    “VË‚¶‚á‚ñI blade_bltz's Avatar
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    I'm a Suda 諏田. Seems pretty rare....although the other side of my family is 中田, which seems sooo common.

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    Regular Member sky888's Avatar
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    very interesting!
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  19. #19
    Regular Member -Yu-'s Avatar
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    Well, I expected everyone to say, wow! that name is so rare or something like that, but you don't think Nishibeppu 西別府 is unusual?

    I learned something today, when people were classified into 3 classes in Meiji period, such as nobility(華族), ex-samurai (士族), commonality (平民), people were given a right to have a family name.
    The was they chose their names was mostly to use a part of a famous person's name, for example, Fuji of Fujiwara (藤, 藤原) and a part of an area's name where they are from.
    e.g If one was from 佐賀 and liked Fujiwara, the one makes up one's name of them, that is Satou 佐藤, you got it?

    I also read some of them didn't know how to make their sur name, so they just asked a clerk to make up instead by themselves, therefore, a lot of unmeaningful names were born, for instance, Akai 赤井 Yamanaka 山中,
    If you had lived on a mountain at the time and had asked a clerk to name you, you would've been called Yamanaka.
    If you face always had been in red, you would've been called Akai.

    Sorry, I have made any mistake, there isn't much time for me to correct it.

  20. #20
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Yu-
    I learned something today, when people were classified into 3 classes in Meiji period, such as nobility(華族), ex-samurai (士族), commonality (平民), people were given a right to have a family name.
    The was they chose their names was mostly to use a part of a famous person's name, for example, Fuji of Fujiwara (藤, 藤原) and a part of an area's name where they are from.
    e.g If one was from 佐賀 and liked Fujiwara, the one makes up one's name of them, that is Satou 佐藤, you got it?
    Very interesting. Is there a way of knowing which names are from the nobility and which one are from samaurai families ? Is there some kind of list ?

    I was also wondering about the 佐藤, 伊藤, 武藤, 後藤, etc. I guess that 武藤 were people from the Musashi area in West Tokyo. But why are Satou and Itou so popular nationwide ?

  21. #21
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Here are some more :

    Abo 阿保
    Obinata 小日向 
    Komoto 河本 or 甲本 (?)
    Kuhara 久原
    Nagakage 長陰 (?)

  22. #22
    Regular Member neko_girl22's Avatar
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    I know of a Kusai-san.. from Okinawa heheh Mr Smelly! of course I'm sure it doesn't mean that Sorry I don't know the kanji though.
    Here in Kagoshima my husband is surprised at some unusual names (he's from Kansai). Kisshoan is one unique name that comes to mind. I forget the kanji, but I remember they told me it means "happy house" or something similar.

  23. #23
    Cat lover Apollo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nzueda
    I know of a Kusai-san.. from Okinawa heheh Mr Smelly! of course I'm sure it doesn't mean that Sorry I don't know the kanji though.
    HAHA!! Poor kusai-san!! Especially when shouting for him : "Kusai-san, kite kudasai!!!"
    I have never heard of the name, but I am sure that it has a different meaning when WRITING the name in kanji...hehe..but poor guy anyway...

    It is like my friend from Japan is called Tetsuya, but it doesn't mean "metal-shop," but has a different meaning in kanji - and it is a common first name in Japan.

  24. #24
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    I guess that Kusai is written like that : 草井 but it could also be something like that : 九祭

  25. #25
    Danshaku Elizabeth's Avatar
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    Another one that is rather peculiar is the family name Bushida. i•Žm“cj

    Quite auspicious, though, if it was born from a soldier's life •Žm“¹B

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