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Your name in Japanese! Whoa! in Off-Topic

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"What is my name in Japanese?"

The better question to ask is, "What does my name sound like in Japanese?" but we'll tell you all the same!


Here's how it works:

We take your name, and then we pronounce it with Japanese syllables. There are a set number of sounds within the Japanese language that often can't express foreign words very accurately. There are standards in place, however, for how to convert certain sounds to Japanese. For example, the "th" sound that Japanese lacks is simply converted to an "s" or "z" sound. The word "Myth" becomes "Misu."

Note that a lesson on hiragana/katakana, the basis of Japanese syllables, will be posted at some point in the future. In the meantime, this is a short list of the vowel sounds and their common romanization in Japanese:
あ (a) - "ah," or the o in "got" or "pot" in American English
い (i) - "ee," or the ea in "teach"
う (u) - "oo," or the oo in "boot"
え (e) - "eh," or the e in "hen"
お (o) - "oh," or the oa in "boat"

There's other variants of these sounds, but if they arise, I'll explain then.


Take my name, for example.

Joshua.

The sounds there, as spoken in Japanese are "Jya" "Shu" and "a." (ジャシュア) That's actually pretty much the same as it is in English, so I'm lucky! Except, it turns out that "Jyashua" is a fairly unnatural sounding name within context of Japanese, so my name in Japanese is actually "Jyoshua" (ジョシュア).

We can then take that one step further and figure out some kanji for the name, which really won't ever be useful within the context of Japanese, but it's kind of neat to have a way to spell your name, and to assign some meaning to it. In my case, I settled on the kanji 助手, which actually only covers "Joshu," but that's my nickname in Japan, so it works!


We can do full names, screen names, anything, really. There are some sounds that are extremely difficult to find kanji for. We'll do our best, though! If your name is difficult to pronounce in American English, please try to provide a pronunciation guide!

Just post with the name you want translated, and someone will get to it!


The first thing I give you is the most correct way to write your name in Japanese. It's katakana, which is the character set reserved for foreign words. Everything else is just there for fun, but if you ever needed to really write your name in Japanese, use the katakana. It's simpler and more angular if you don't know which it is.

edited by Joshura on May 18, 2012 at 10:14 PM

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 9:04 PM

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Heikki

(Hey-kki)

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 9:37 PM

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Larissa
Tessa
Erin
Jennifer
Tressa

my friends saw this and want theirs done XD

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 9:45 PM

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Heikki -

ヘイキ ー heiki

平気 (adj-na,n) coolness; calmness; composure; unconcern;
兵器 (n) arms; weapons; ordnance; (P); ED
併記 (n,vs,adj-no) writing side by side;

In this case, your name is actually already a word, which is nice for getting some cool words. Normally, I'd be giving people a string of characters that don't really mean anything together, but for you, mister, you get lots of words! So, take your pick. If I were you, I'd go with "Coolness," but weapons are a pretty good deal, too. The last one is kind of... not a good choice :D

edited by Joshura on May 19, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 9:48 PM

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Larissa
Tessa
Erin
Jennifer
Tressa

my friends saw this and want theirs done XD

Tell your friends to make their own posts >:O

Larissa-

ラリサ ー rarisa
"rah ree sah" (the Japanese r is somewhere between an r and an l - sometimes it sounds like a rolled r in Spanish)

乱離 【らり】 (n,adj-na) (abbr) being scattered in all directions; being broken up and dispersed
矢(P); 箭 【や(P); さ(ok)】 (n) arrow;
差 【さ】 (n,n-suf) difference; variation;

So, let's see... it looks like the "sa" pronunciation of arrow is rather unusual, so that would be a wary choice, but the meaning would be neat. Here are your options:

乱離矢 - which roughly might be interpreted to mean "arrows scattered in all directions," but don't try to confirm this with a Japanese person. They will go crosseyed.
乱離差 - which could roughly mean "differences scattered in all directions" or "differences broken up and dispersed..." Uh... yeah!

This is not a perfect process, and oftentimes you get something that only means what you want it to mean sometimes. A Japanese person will rarely be able to read your kanji as intended by this process, but if you explained to them why you have the kanji you do, they'd be like "ohhhh, that!"


I'd be happy to do your friends' names, too, but I don't have time right now! It would actually be easier to get through them all if they signed up :P

Here they are in the simplest form:
Tessa: テサ - tesa - teh sah
Erin: エリン - erin - eh reen
Jennifer: ジェニファー - jenifaa - jeh nee faa
Tressa: トレサ - toresa - toh reh sah

edited by Joshura on May 19, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 9:58 PM

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... Daniel :D

Whenever you have the time ^^

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 10:07 PM

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Daniel

ダニエル ー danieru

兌 【だ(da)】 (n) dui (one of the trigrams of the I Ching: swamp, west)
贄; 牲 【にえ(nie)】 (n) (1) (arch) offering (to the gods, emperor, etc.); (2) gift; (3) sacrifice
駄荷 【だに(dani)】 (n) horse's load
縁【えん(en)(縁); えにし(enishi)(縁); えに(eni); え(縁)(e)】 (n) (1) fate; destiny (esp. as a mysterious force that binds two people together); (2) relationship (e.g. between two people); bond; link; connection;
流 【る(ru)】 (n) (arch) (See 五刑) exile

駄荷縁流 - this... could be GREAT, depending on how you choose to read the meaning. Such as, "The load of the fated exile's horse is heavy" Maybe it can never be great.

兌贄流 - this one would be something like "the western exile sacrifice"

Yup.

edited by Joshura on May 21, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 10:15 PM

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I only know my name in Kata Kana-since that is what my friend from Japan taught me "オブリ" and it's pronounced "Ooburi" hee hee. It sounds cute from my friends anyway.

BTW- Larissa's is awesome!

edited by Sintar on May 18, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 10:17 PM

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I only know my name in Kata Kana-since that is what my friend from Japan taught me "オブリ" and it's pronounced "Ooburi" hee hee. It sounds cute from my friends anyway.

I will find you some better kanji later, but that's actually really funny! "Buri" is my favorite kind of sushi - it's a Japanese amberjack, a kind of yellowtail. It's really oily and tasty and awesome. 鰤 is the kanji, so it'd be お鰤 (oburi) if you wanted to be honorific about it.

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 10:24 PM

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Am I the resident Bosskey Japan correspondent? If so I'll get right on this.

- A quick side note on Kanji, being the crazy foreigners we are, we're kinda lucky concerning kanji. While it's never official for us, we can use anything we want. The Japanese are forced to use a list of approved name kanji, the poor folk. Take my name for example:

Casey -> ケーシー (ke-shi-) (the hyphens drag out the sound before it)

Using only approved name kanji, my name would be something like

敬志 (keishi) -> meaning Honorable Intentions. Cool I guess. But when the sky's the limit I choose:

決死 (kesshi) -> Preparedness for death. Rockstar status achieved.

Also, because Japanese is so poor at bringing foreign names into their language, it's easy to fudge the pronunciation a bit to your own benefit. No one spells my name the same in Japanese, so just go with what you like!

Anyway, my mad rant is over, let's make some names!

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 2:38 AM

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I'll start with these.

Tessa: テサ - tesa - teh sah

Unfortunately the te part of your name kinda limits options. But here are some fun ones:
手車 (tesha) -> Hand car (for the lawls)
鉄鎖 (tessa) -> Iron Chain (could have a nice connotation of stong links of friendship or something eh?)

Erin: エリン - erin - eh reen

愛林 (erin) -> Lovely Woods (I'd say this would actually be a very appropriate and beautiful Japanese name)
You could also replace the second kanji, 林 with 鈴, making your name Lovely Little Bell, another solid choice.

Jennifer: ジェニファー - jenifaa - jeh nee faa

寺弐華 (jinifa) -> Two Splended Temples (fa is a stretch here as its not a native sound for the Japanese. But it could have a nice ring to it. And the second kanji is old school, so it gives you street cred)

Tressa: トレサ - toresa - toh reh sah

島礼差 (toureisa) Island of Extravagance (bit of a stretch, but the second kanji, usually meaning politeness, can also mean gifts or wonderful things. The last kanji just makes those wonderful things even better)

edited by SatchmoBGW on May 19, 2012 at 4:22 AM

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 3:13 AM

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Yay Casey!

Yeah, I've actually met Japanese girls names Erin.

You're much better at figuring these out than me - I generally transliterate sounds rather than find real words. Bravo! Looks like Jax's lazy friends have some real street cred to toss around now.

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 6:26 AM

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Haha, we comp them tonight, start a tab tomorrow.

I didn't want to go too all out without your approval, but I like doing stuff like this. Erin fits perfectly for a Japanese name but have only met an Eri or two myself.

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 6:35 AM

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Erin may have been a nickname, now that I think about it!

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 6:52 AM

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Ohh! Maria :D Ma-ree-ah I guess? xD

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 9:05 AM

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Maria could work pretty fine as it is since it contains letters that all exist in japanese and doesn't really need to be changed much unless you'd want to notify something with the way of saying it, which in katakana it'd be マリア.

I could try doing the whole kanji thing that Josh and Casey (hello there) does, but my kanji "skills" are a bit limited so I'll leave it to them ^^;

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 10:03 AM

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Maria -> マリア (mah ree a) solid name for Japanese, works well.

真理吾 (maria) Follower of One's True Feelings (the first two kanji are used a good amount in names. Literally the kanji is Truth, Logic and Self, but it can give a sense of following your own path in life I think)

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 10:06 AM

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Ohhhh~! I'd prefer if it were harder to make it T^T Damn easy name!
And my kanji seem cool o: I shall follow my true feelings! Though I never understood, how ppl choose kanji for a name.

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 3:06 PM

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I will find you some better kanji later, but that's actually really funny! "Buri" is my favorite kind of sushi - it's a Japanese amberjack, a kind of yellowtail. It's really oily and tasty and awesome. 鰤 is the kanji, so it'd be お鰤 (oburi) if you wanted to be honorific about it.

Oh wow Josh that "Buri" sounds yummy! I love yellowtail!

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 6:26 PM

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Jonas Loman (as far as i know, it should become "yo- na su ro- ma n")

Posted on May 19, 2012 at 7:42 PM

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