Home Podcasts Ichimon Japan What is a kirakira name? | Ichimon Japan 29

What is a kirakira name? | Ichimon Japan 29

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On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is a kirakira name?

Topics Discussed

  • What a so-called kirakira nēmu is
  • What kirakira means
  • Five of the most difficult to read “kirakira names”
  • The fact that many Japanese people seem to be unaware that Winnie the Pooh’s name is Winnie and not Pooh
  • The famous 1993 case of a baby who almost got named Akuma and the controversy that surrounded it
  • The story of the boy named Ōjisama and how he changed his name
  • How you legally change your name in Japan
  • The difficulties that people with kirakira names might face in daily life
  • The well known rakugo story of Jugemu
  • The original much darker version of the story of Jugemu
  • What shiwashiwa nēmu are
  • Examples of shiwashiwa names
  • The recent popularity of old-fashioned “classic” Japanese first names in Japan
  • Restrictions on baby names in other countries such as the U.K., Germany, and Iceland
  • And much more!

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Sources, Links, Videos, Etc.

Here are some of the main Japanese-language sources that were used when doing the research for this episode.

Here are some of the main English-language sources used when doing the research for this episode.

Just in case, here is the kanji for the “five hardest to read kirakira names” that were covered in this episode.

  1. Shīzā: 皇帝
  2. Doremi: 七音
  3. Hīrō: 主人公 (normally read shujinkō)
  4. Tiara: 愛羅
  5. Pū: 黄熊

If you missed our first episode focusing on Japanese names, make sure to check it out. Juse use the link below.

Here is the two latest episodes of Japan Station.

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Japanese Vocabulary List

Most episodes feature at least one or two interesting Japanese words or phrases. Here’s some of the ones that came up on this episode. All information is from Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC.

  • Kirakira nēmu
    • キラキラネーム : キラキラネーム; キラキラ・ネーム (n) (derog) (See DQNネーム・ドキュンネーム) unconventional baby name
  • Kirakira
    • キラキラ : きらきら(P); キラキラ (adv,adv-to,vs) (on-mim) glittering; sparkling; glistening; twinkling
  • Shujinkō
    • 主人公 【しゅじんこう】 (n) (1) protagonist; main character; hero(ine) (of a story); (n) (2) head of household
  • Kōtei
    • 皇帝 【こうてい(P); おうだい(ok)】 (n) (hon) emperor
  • Akuma
    • 悪魔 【あくま】 (n) (1) devil; demon; fiend; (n) (2) (in Christianity and Judaism) (See サタン) Satan; the Devil; (n) (3) {Buddh} Māra; evil spirits or forces that hinder one’s path to enlightenment; (P); ED Name(s): 【あくま】 (g) Akuma
  • Jōyō kanji
    • 常用漢字 【じょうようかんじ】 (n) (See 当用漢字) kanji for common use; jōyō kanji; list of 2,136 kanji established in 2010, formerly a list of 1,945 established in 1981
  • Kakuseizai
    • 覚せい剤 : 覚醒剤(P); 覚せい剤(P) 【かくせいざい】 (n) stimulant (e.g. psychoactive drugs like methamphetamine, ritalin, etc.)
  • Ōji
    • 王子 【おうじ】 (n) (1) prince
  • Koseki
    • 戸籍 【こせき】 (n) (1) family register
  • Shiwa
    • 皺 : 皺(P); 皴 【しわ】 (n) (1) (uk) wrinkle; crease; (n) (2) (uk) ripple

We Want Your Questions

Is there something about Japan that confuses you? Is there something about Japanese culture that you would like to learn more about? Is there something in Japanese history that you would like us to explain? We’re always looking for new questions about Japan to answer, so if you have one, please send it to ichimon@japankyo.com.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing Theme: Produced by Apol (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Fiverr)

Ichimon Japan cover art: Produced by Erik R.

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Full Show Notes



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