Whether you’re looking for some inspiration for your daughter’s new name, just want to know what some of the most popular names are in Japan right now, or you’re simply looking to discover Japanese culture a little more – here’s a list of 50 Japanese girl names and their meanings. The origins of these Japanese girl names range from traditional Japanese names that have been carried through from generation to generation, to modern Japanese name origins that reflect current fashion trends – but they all have one thing in common: they’re beautiful!
Japanese Girl Names with Meanings
The Japanese girls’ name Ai can mean 愛 love, affection, or 藍 indigo. It’s pronounced “eye.”
The meaning of the Japanese girl’s name Aika is ‘one and only child.’ It can also be translated as ‘great love or affection for one person.’
This Japanese girls’ name means “peaceful beauty.” Akemi is also a popular name for old-fashioned Japanese food recipes.
The Japanese girls’ name Akiko means “child of the shining red tree,” or “bright child.”
This feminine Japanese moniker translates to ‘one and only,’ and it can be shortened into Aki or Akyo. It may have an alternate pronunciation that sounds like ‘ah-keh-eee-oh,’ but it’s often rendered as in ‘uh-kee-yoh.’
A common modern Japanese girl’s name, Ami means ‘friendship’ or ‘love.’
This Japanese girls’ name means ‘one who walks slowly,’ or ‘walking slowly.’ The name is also used as a verb for ‘to proceed cautiously; to investigate.’
Chika is a common and easy-to-remember Japanese girl’s name that means ‘in front of; before.’ It can also mean beside, next to, or related to. As an informal nickname, it can be rendered as Chi or Tsu-.
The Japanese girls’ name Eriko is pronounced like ‘eh-ree-koh.’ It comes from the vocabulary word eriko meaning ‘thorn of a rose,’ or ‘to be unlucky.’
Etsuko is a Japanese girls’ name meaning ‘lucky child,’ which may imply ‘happy accident!’ It can also mean ‘child of Teruko.’
Fumiko means the “child who was brought up/nurtured by (the) full/bloomed boughs of trees.” It has several other possible translations. The kanji characters are 文子, with fumi being “words” and ko being “child.” You can also see it as 富美子, where 美 means beauty and 子 means child.
This Japanese girls’ name has many possible translations, including ‘distant or remote area,’ ‘remote or distant scenery,’ and ‘to be far.’ It can also mean the season of autumn.
The girl’s name Hina is pronounced like ‘hee-nah’ (ending with a long “ahh” sound) and it means winter solstice or young maiden. It can also mean dancing snow. Some fans speculate that it might be another version of the popular anime character Ein from Planetes .
Hiroko is one of several Japanese girls’ names meaning ‘generous child,’ ‘expanded child,’ or ‘broad-minded child.’
The girl’s name Hirose (pronounced like ‘he-roh-say’) means ‘one who acts/performs with harmony.’
One of the Japanese girls’ names meaning ‘lucky child’, Hisako can also mean ‘child of Fusae’. It can be written with kanji characters that say 小子, which mean small child. Another way to look at it is that it comes from Hina and ko , which means “(the) daughter of Hina.” This ties into the original meaning of hina being “dancing snow.”
The Japanese girls’ name Honoka means ‘diligent’ or ‘hard worker.’ It can also be written as 穂香, which means ‘fragrant flower.’
Ichika is a common girl’s name meaning ‘one person, one life’ or ‘only daughter’. When written with hiragana characters instead of kanji ones that contain the word ichi , it becomes一夏, which is pronounced like ee-chee-kah. This ties back to the original meaning of the Chinese character for “one.” You can also see it spelled without hiragana characters as 市夏.
The Japanese girls’ name Kaori not only means ‘fragrance,’ but it also refers to “superior smelling incense.” It can also mean breeze or wind, which is often an element of the fragrance itself. Another possible definition is ‘sweet.’ This ties back to the meaning of kao (香) as ‘incense’ or ‘fragrant’.
This Japanese girls’ name means ‘mist; fog; haze;’ It’s related to the word for “mirage” and is often used in association with places like mountains where there are lots of misty surrounding areas. When written with kanji characters, it becomes 霞, which you can see in the name of Mistral’s Japanese voice actress, 伊藤霞 .
The Japanese girls’ name Kotomi means “a book full of secrets.” It can be written with kanji characters that use 江戸 (old Edo) and 万 (10,000). Together, they mean ‘secretly amassed/gathered 10,000 items or objects.” It also comes from 小 (small; miniscule; childlike) and 木 (tree), giving us the meaning of “childlike tree” or “tiny tree.” You can also see it spelled using hiragana as ことみ, which is used as the name of a self-proclaimed rival to Tomoyo Sakagami in Clannad (key visual pictured right).
The Japanese girls’ name Kumiko means ‘born between/during summer; warm child,’ or ‘summer born.’ When written with kanji characters instead of katakana ones, it’s 倉美子 and takes on the meaning ‘enlightened by wealth and beauty’ due to its relation with the character 美 , which has these same meanings.
The Japanese girls’ name Kurara can be translated as ‘sparkle.’ Its hiragana spelling is くらら.
The Japanese girls’ name Maaya means ‘illusion; mirage.’ The kanji characters it’s written with are 幽 and 邃, where you can see the word “yo” for “illusion.” 悠 also has this same meaning, so there may be a connection between that kanji character and this one. You might also see it spelled using hiragana as まあや, which brings us to…
This Japanese girls’ name is surprisingly similar to Maaya in pronunciation, but it’s written with different characters that have a completely different meaning – 麻耶 – which means ‘hemp seed’. According to the baby name site, Baby Name World , it’s also a variant of Mayu (まゆ), which means ‘bud.’
The Japanese girls’ name Minori refers to ‘the sound of prayers being answered.’ It can be written with kanji characters that have 南 and 乃 inside them, which gives us a clue as to its origin in minori ni naru or “becoming southern.” You can see this possibility in the title of the anime Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo tr. Angel and Dragon Engraved by an Angel ). In one other possible translation, “minori” comes from 観音 (the sound of bells in temples) with 与 added to the beginning. Other characters used to write it are 実里 and 美穂里, which you can see in the name of Minori’s voice actress, 三原ほの花 (pictured right).
The Japanese girls’ name Nao is written with an assortment of kanji that have different meanings depending on how they’re arranged. Here are some possibilities: 菜央 (なお) – green vegetables; なう – expression for surprise or excitement; 那志 (なおし) – deep red color; 那奈 (なな) – graceful kind of beauty; 仲華 (なか) – connected/involved with each other.
The Japanese girls’ name Naomi means ‘charm,’ but it can also be written with kanji that mean ‘praise.’ As a given name, its most famous bearer is model and actress, Naomi Campbell . A less common variant is Noa , which you might hear in an anime’s Japanese voice track as ねお instead of なお or なおみ.
If you want to give your daughter a Japanese girls’ name that has the meaning “prosperous,” then consider naming her after the characters that make up the kanji for “prosperous” – 寧 and 世. They mean “peaceful world” or “peaceful era.” The name can also be written as 波里, which has a different set of meanings: waves; a harbor town; a rice plant. It’s typically spelled using hiragana as なりえ, but you might hear it in anime as はるえ instead of なりえ or はるな .
Meaning ‘precious’ or ‘fine wine,’ the Japanese girls’ name Saki can be written with kanji characters 里 and 吹.
The Japanese girls’ name Sumire means ‘violet.’ It also has a connection with the word 菫 , which is a slightly more common way of writing “sumire,” and it means ‘deep purple’ or ‘purple-red color.’ In case you’re wondering why some kanji characters are used to write this particular name instead of others, here’s at least one possible explanation: 素 might be the origin because it originally meant ‘pure,’ as in pure as violet blooms. You can see that same meaning expressed as すみれ or 鈴鹿 (the latter spelling comes from the word 西湖 – a famous lake in Japan).
This is a Japanese girls’ name that means ‘apricot.’ It can be written with different kanji characters, but it sounds more like すもも when given names are spoken in anime’s Japanese voice track. In gorgeous artwork, the blossoms might be drawn as pink instead of white to match their meaning of ‘innocent beauty’ or 高貴 from the word 奇麗 (きれい), which means ‘beautiful.’ With a slightly different pronunciation, すもちゃん or すももちゃん is a cute way to call your daughter for short!
The Japanese name Suzu is made up of the kanji characters 鈴 and 球, which means ‘bell’ and ‘ball,’ respectively. You can see this combination in the names of anime characters like Suzume (すずめ), Suzy (すーじ) or Chizuru (千鶴). In a different borrowing from Chinese, you’ll also notice it in names like Lingxin (凌心), Yuwen (虞雯) or Wuye (舞世), but their pronunciations are completely different from that of “Suzu.” Another origin for this name might be 寿美 , which has a similar meaning of ‘long life beauty’ or 長寿, but it’s pronounced differently as としみ.
The pretty name Tsubaki means ‘camellia’ in Japan and it has a number of possible origins depending on which kanji you want to use. Some examples are 菜摘 (なつめ), 月摘 (つきざい) or 寿摘 (ことのざい). The latter two are used to write the names of anime characters like Chizuru (千鶴), Kotori (ことり) or Toshiko (としこ), so if you want to go with something more beautiful but still traditional, you might consider those.
The Japanese girls’ name Yuri is one of the most common and famous names for Japanese girls – and it’s actually given to both genders! The kanji characters that make up this name – 優 and 登 – mean ‘soft; gentle; humble; polite’ and ‘climb.’ If you’re looking for a cute way to say “Yuri” then ぎゅうり (gyuurii) works. There are also other interesting options like ユリ (yuri), which has an older feel or 侑織 (ゆうおり), which would be perfect if you’re looking for something that has a connection to the word ゆう (yuu) which means ‘luxury.’ The latter kanji also appears in names like Takashi (隆).
If you want your daughter’s name to have a Japanese sound, but it isn’t exactly a traditional Japanese girls’ name, then why not look at kanji characters? When written as 弓里 and 郁葉, this means “bow” and “leaf,” respectively. If you prefer a more phonetic spelling of this name, then go with ユリハ. In anime, it might be drawn closer to the pronunciation of ゆりは, which is similar to the hiragana spelling.
When written as 響音 and 結菜 , this name means ‘echo’ and ‘vegetable dish.’ If you’re looking for something that’s just a bit more interesting or special than traditional Japanese girls’ names, then consider the alternative readings of きょうね (kyouné) or きゅんきゅん (kyuunkyuun), both of which have cute pronunciations!
38. Yuzuki / Yuzuka
Yuzuki can be written with lots of different kanji characters – many of them have a similar sound and meaning, but each represents a unique origin. Examples include 柚子 , 譲 and 有紗 .
The Japanese name Yuzuru is written with the kanji characters 有 and 祐 , which means ‘exist’ and ‘help.’ You can see this combination of characters in Japan’s historical hero Watanabe no Tsuna (渡伴 のつな); he helped keep peace between the Genji (源氏)and Heike (平家). The name exists outside anime, but it is rare because it has an older feel than most other girls’ names. When you read it as ゆずる, it is a bit of a play on words – the verb “yuzuru” can mean both ‘to exist’ and ‘to help.’
The Japanese name Yuuna means ‘dignified beauty’ or 雄華 from 雄とかが. You might notice this combination of kanji characters appears in the names of real-life politicians too! The first prime minister since World War II was named Yoshida Shigeru (吉田 茂), so if you’re looking for an old-fashioned, dignified name for your daughter, then you have lots of different options to choose from. If you want something with a cute pronunciation, then ゆうな works.
The Japanese name Yuuri means ‘dignified virtue’ or 雄莉 from 雄とり . The latter symbol appears in the names of several politicians throughout Japan’s history – it can be written as 功 , 侃 , 桂 and 煕 . If you want to give your daughter a dignified yet slightly different name, then you might consider these options instead of Yuuri.
The combination of characters that make up this beautiful name have origins that are interesting enough to warrant their own blog post (coming soon!), but for now we’ll just say that Yuzuriko is written with the kanji characters 衣 , 加 and 兎 . If you’re looking for something similar but not quite as pretty, then ぎづり (gizuri) or ゆずり (yuzuri) are both cute possibilities.
Similar to the English name Sara, the girl’s name Zara might sound familiar to anime fans – it appears in several series including Blood+, Bleach, Code Geass, Fairy Tail, Freezing and Yumekui Merry. The title character of Kilari is called Sara Sakura, though her family only uses the first part of her name. In Japanese she goes by サラ (sara), which can be written with the kanji characters 沙 , 莉 and 良 . If you want something similar to Sara, but not exactly the same, then how about サラ (sara), サラビ (salabi) or サラマ (salama)?
The name Zena is unusual enough that it might stand out in class lists at school or on your Facebook page, but it’s also got a cute sound that means ‘little star’ when written as 兹七 . You may also see this combination of symbols in the names of politicians like Kō Miyazawa (公宮泰). The pronunciation of ぜんざ is zenza.
The name Zena can also be written as 絵里奈 , which means ‘illustrator’ and ‘ninth.’ In real life, there are a few notable people called Rena, such as the singer 泉 麗奈 (Rena Izumi) or the voice actress 井上 麻 彩(Rena Inoue). Boys may recognize this combination of symbols from the manga artist 本田 薫 (Kaoru Honda), but if you’re looking for a similar-sounding girl’s name then ぜな works too.
46. Zeami / Seami
When written as 神海 , this name means ‘divine sea’ and is used in Japan’s creation myth to represent the sea goddess. The name appears in several series including Kaleido Star, Romeo x Juliet, Soul Eater and Tegami Bachi. If you want something similar but with a completely different meaning, then how about 早紗 (haya sae) or 神良 (kami ryo)?
47. Zephyrus / Zefyrus
This exotic-sounding name can be written using the kanji characters 雪 , 冶 , 夫 or 朔 . It sounds like it may have Greek origins – if that’s your thing, then take inspiration from the names of some famous Greeks like Achilles (阿基里斯), Hercules (ヘラクレス), Orpheus (オルフェウス) or Achilles (アキレス). If you prefer something with a different pronunciation, then how about サファ (safa), セプ (sepu) or ゼブラ(zebura)?
This unusual name can be written as 次元, which means ‘space’ and appears in the names of several politicians including Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama 丸山 富市 , former prime minister Yoshirō Mori 小渕 喜朗 , and Prime Minister Tarō Asō 麻生 太郎 . If you’re looking for something with a similar sound that is easier to spell, then how about ジダン (jidan)?
49. Zoi / Zoé
When written as 子供 , this name means ‘child’ and can be found in the names of several politicians including former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama 丸山 富市 , former prime minister Yoshirō Mori 小渕 喜朗 , and Prime Minister Tarō Asō 麻生 太郎 . It has also appeared in the series Kamen Rider Kabuto, Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, One Piece, Sengoku Basara and Zegapain, among many others. If you like the sound of ‘child’ but want something a little easier to pronounce, then how about チコ (chiko), チョ (cho) or サンダ (sanda)?
This pretty name can be written with the kanji character 早 , which means ‘fast’ when used in names. The name has appeared in several series including Blood+ and Gintama, but there are plenty of other ways that it could work too – for example 泉流石(Izumi Ryuuseki), 朝比奈(Asahina), 千奈美(Sena), 小枝(Koe) or 雀野(Suzuya).