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How many of you know that the United States has a large Japanese American population? How about the fact that there are thousands of people with names like Taro, Nobuko, and Yoshiko living in America? If you’re curious to find out more about these 10 bizarre Japanese American names facts, read on!
-Japanese American names come from a tradition of giving children two family or personal names. One name is typically given by the father, and another name is usually a female ancestor’s first name.
-A popular naming convention among Japanese Americans involves assigning one middle initial to each child in order – A for eldest son, B for second son, C for third son, etcetera. The mother’s maiden surname may also be used as an additional letter at the end: Kanno Taro would stand for Seki Tarou born to parents with last names of Kanno and Seki respectively.
-Some mane traditions give daughters their paternal grandmothers’ surnames while others use only males or females within specific families
Japanese Americans have one of the highest rates of “biculturalism” in America. This means that they retain strong ties to their culture and heritage even if they are born or raised in American society, speak English as a first language, attend an American school system, and pursue jobs outside the Japanese community. When children grow up with two cultures at home it is very difficult for them to know which parent should be honored when naming themselves according to the cultural norms. The result? Bizarre names! Check out these ten weird Japanese American names you’ve never heard before but will probably start seeing more often soon in our increasingly multicultural world.
-Akiko pronounced ah -kah -kee koh: Akiko is a feminine name of Japanese origin meaning “bright child.”
-Eiji pronounced eh -jee kee: Eiji is a masculine name of Japanese origin, which means “second son” in the familial hierarchy.
-Gemma pronounced jay -mah: Gemma is a feminine name that comes from an Arabic word for gemstone and means either from Syria or Colombia depending on how it’s spelled. This may be due to the Spanish influence during America’s colonialization period.
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-Did you know that the most popular Japanese American name is Koji?
-16% of all Japenese Americans are named Masa, Makoto or Misao.
-The second most common names for people with a Japanese background in America are David and Scott (they’re both only at about six percent).
-It’s also interesting to note that those three more commonly used first names have been consistently ranked as some of the least popular among other races. For example, “Ko” ranks #151 on the list of top 100 boy’s baby names according to BabyCenter.com while Takeru and Ryu rank 680th and 660th respectively out of 100+ boys’ names from 2002 – 2006 data collected by
-What is a Japanese American?
-Japanese American history and culture
-How were they viewed in US society before World War II?
-What happened to the Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor attack on December 1941?
-Concentration camps for imprisoned people during WWII. Where did these take place, how were the living conditions there and what was life like inside them? What have been some of the most famous movies about this time period in America’s history that you might know from school or elsewhere (e.g., The Boy with Striped Pajamas)? Why are we talking about this today as Thanksgiving approaches in America at present day 2016?
This post will answer all your questions! ^^
What is a Japanese American?
A Japanese American person can be someone of any race, but the term usually refers to those with Asian ancestry. Their ancestors arrived in America at different times: before World War II and during that time period; once the war ended in 1945 until today. The definition varies from state to state about who counts as an “Asian-American” for purposes such as enrollment by schools or voting registration. So depending on where you live this may vary! ^^
The first wave started when they were brought over from Japan by missionaries, trading firms and government officials around 1853 to work mainly on sugar plantations along the coast of Hawaii (Hawaii was then still ruled by King Kamehameha II).
The second wave happened after WW II when Americans felt the need to rebuild and start anew. The problem is that they didn’t have enough people working in factories so they started importing labor from Asia, mainly Japan. They would also bring over wives for those men who had none living with them on these plantations. ^^
Japanese-Americans then were able to move into medium-sized towns along the coastlines of California thanks to a government policy called “resettlement.” This was an attempt by President Truman’s administration to disperse Japanese Americans away from their isolated coastal communities where many suffered prejudice because of their culture and race. So this new housing opportunity brought more Asian American people inland, which helped create Benihana restaurants! ^^
-Japanese American names are often a mix of Japanese and English words.
-The meanings behind the name may vary depending on their parents’ background, location, or what they wanted to express through naming their child.
-Some people with these names have embraced them while others wish that they had been given more traditional American sounding names.
-It’s hard to know the origin of these names because they were mainly given by parents with an uncommon heritage.
-Japanese American people have been able to create their own unique identities that don’t always align with how others see them and this continues into the modern day. ^^
Background: Japanese American names are a mix of both Japanese and English words, which is why many Asian Americans have some form of a hyphenated or two word name like Smith-Chang. The meanings behind each specific name can vary depending on where their parent’s family came from, what location in America they resided in when naming them, or if it was just something personal for the individual themselves. Some people embrace these strange names, while others feel embarrassed and try to change it.
-Names like “Yuki” or “Kazumi” can be attributed to Japanese roots because they are the names of common flowers in Japan. ^^ However, other famous names such as Sailor Moon’s name is actually translated into Serena Tsukino from English words that her father found flipping through a Chinese dictionary at the hospital where she was born.
It is sometimes difficult for Americans who were not raised with customs imported by immigrants to understand why people do things different than they would normally expect them too but these parents often have their own reasons behind naming their kids something unique rather than following what society expects them to do. Some children even take on an entirely new identity by being reborn in a new country and taking on the customs of their parents’ culture. – “Kazumi” can be attributed to Japanese roots because they are the names of common flowers in Japan. ^^ However, other famous names such as Sailor Moon’s name is actually translated into Serena Tsukino from English words that her father found flipping through a Chinese dictionary at the hospital where she was born. It is sometimes difficult for Americans who were not raised with customs imported by immigrants to understand why people do things different than they would normally expect them too but these parents often have their own reasons behind naming their kids something unique rather than following what society expects them to do. Some children even take on an entirely new identity by being