Friday, November 8, 2013

Japanese Family Names

I read an interesting article about Japanese last names (which come first in Japanese).  There are an estimated 100,000 family names in Japan, more than in many Western countries, but the common names are very common, which means many people have exactly the same name. In the US, most people have middle names, in addition to a first name and a family name, but not so in Japan. 
The ten most common Japanese family names and the number of people in Japan with those names are:
1.    Sato, 1,928,000
2.    Suzuki, 1,707,000
3.    Takahashi, 1,416,000
4.    Tanaka, 1,336,000
5.    Watanabe, 1,134,000
6.    Ito, 1,080,000
7.    Yamamoto, 1,077,000
8.    Nakamura, 1,059,000
9.    Kobayashi, 1,019,000
10.Saito, 980,000
Ted and I both have last names that are very common among names in the United States, so we understand about have a name which is the same as others.

I love my birthday! No, my birthday isn't here yet, but it is coming.  Margaret sent me a package of gifts to be opened one a week. I'm going to try to be good and open them on schedule.  This giant chocolate bar wasn't wrapped up, so Ted and I decided it could be eaten ahead of time. (In case you are wondering, yes, I share with him.)



Margaret said...

Oops! In an effort to make sure the package arrived on time I sent too early. Sorry for testing your will power!

Queeniepatch said...

Thank you for this list. I believe most names are 'self given'; before the Meiji Restoration 1868 'ordinary' people had no family names, but were then asked to take one. Many names have geographical references, e.g people who had a river flowing by their front door would choose Maekawa (in front, river) or whose house were surrounded by rice fields took the name of Tanaka (rice field, inside).
Swedish family names, too, often refers to nature but in English there are a lot of professions, like Baker or Carpenter.
This is a very interesting subject!
Not knowing when your date is, I'd still like to wish you many happy returns of the day!