Dual-Japanese-English Names

Now it is the time of globalization. You may working away from your country. And certainly the next generation will be much likely to go abroad. Many Japanese names have similar sounds in English. So it might be good to name your baby one of those names so that the name can be used internationally.

Let me share examples of Dual-Japanese-English names. Of course, while the  names I’m going to introduce might have similar pronunciation in your language, they’re not exactly the same. Still, they’re similar enough to be used in other countries.

かれん This name sounds like Karen.
れいら This is similar to “Leia”, as in Princess Leia of Star Wars.
なおみ Although Naomi is the English name, なおみ is a fairly common Japanese name too.
れな Like the name of Lena Headey, best known as Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones, or Lena Dunham from Girls.
るな As in Luna Lovegood, the one who has long-blond-hair in Harry Potter.
りさ Lisa from the Simpsons is the only cartoon character I can think of who has a Japanese name, but it’s a common enough English name too.
まりあ sounds like Maria, and まり sounds like Mari, the French form of Maria.
えみり It is a little bit different, but still similar to Emily, like Emily Bronte, who wrote Wuthering Heights.
れい Rai is a unisex name in Japanese, unlike in English where it is considered more masculine.

There are some unisex names in Japanese, but not many, and even though there are lots of female Japanese names that sound like English ones, there is only a handful for males. Most of the male names in Japan are indigenous, meaning they don’t pop up anywhere except in Japan. But here is a examples.

じょうじ This name sounds like George, and fun fact for all the horror fans out there, I have a Japanese friend called じょうじ, whose mother named him after Georgie from IT by Stephen King.
Many of you know Ken Watanabe, it sounds like Japanese, right? So I was surprised when I heard that it’s also an English name, as in Ken and Barbie, which might be what you thought of when you first heard the name Ken. Ken is actually very prevalent in Japanese names, and is often combined with other kanjis in names., such as けんすけ、けんいち、けんた、けんぞう, and けんと, which sounds like Kent, as in Clark Kent, the family name of Superman. I’m curious, can Kent be a first name in English? Why not?
れおん This name sounds like the name Leon.
るい This name sounds like Louis, or closer yet, like the French form, Luis, as in king Louis the 16th or something.


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