Top Baby Names of 2015

Good morning everyone,

It's still dark outside so I can't tell if it's started to rain or not, but if it hasn't it certainly will soon. It's then going to rain for today and tomorrow before turning sunny again on Thursday. Highs all week will be in the high teens, which is still a couple of degrees above normal.

Choosing a name for your newborn son or daughter can be tough. Not only are you responsible for bestowing a name upon another human being that will stick with them for life and likely have a profound effect on how people perceive them—but if you live in a country like Japan, then you not only have to choose the baby’s name, but how it will look, sound and what it means as well. Talk about pressure.

Let’s start with the boys’ names. Below are the top 10 Japanese boys’ names for 2015.


The first thing to notice is that the number one name from last year, Ren, got demoted to number three. Hinata/Haruta is still going strong, only dropping one place down from third to fourth.

Interestingly, the kanji for “harbor/port” (and three different ways to read it) takes the number one spot this year. Perhaps it’s the parents’ desire for their child to travel the world? Or maybe they’re all just Naruto fans and hope that their boy grows up to be like the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze?

For a Naruto name, the parents certainly could have picked worse; I for one am glad there isn’t a whole generation of kids named “Orochimaru.”

One kanji that featured a lot in the list is “ta” (太), meaning “fat/thick/grand”, in the fourth, sixth, and tenth most popular names. I wonder if the reason for this is parents “wanting their child to grow up strong and to have a full, rich life.” (Not to confused 太 with 大 [big] or 犬 [dog]. That might make for an embarrassing name...ha ha!)

Moving on to the girls, below are the top names for 2015, with quite a few ties:

The most popular names are Sakura (“cherry blossom”) and Riko (“lavender child” in this instance). These weren’t even on the list in 2013, and they didn’t break the top three last year either.

The fact that Sakura appears again at number five with a kanji (the top-slot one, you’ll notice, forgoes Chinese characters altogether and is instead written in phonetic hiragana script) shows just how popular the name is. And let’s not forget number three either, Aoi (“hollyhock”), yet another flower.

One company suggests that the popularity of flower names is due to parents “wanting their child to bring beauty to the world around them, and to be loved by many.” That’s a fine theory, but personally I'm going with the popularity of Naruto’s Sakura again for this one.

Another change this year is Rin falling down to sixth place. Last year we speculated that Rin (meaning anything from “cold” to “elegant”) may have had some Frozen inspiration behind it, and the fact that the name Anna is tied for sixth place might mean that “Frozen” mania isn’t quite over yet in Japan.

Is the boys’ number one name Minato (“port/harbor”) and the girls’ easy-on-the-Western-ears names a sign of Japanese parents trying to prepare their children for more international lives? Or is it all just because of Naruto? What do you think? We’ll have to wait until next year to find out.

Have a great day!

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