The James Michener novel Sayonara came out in 1953. Set during the Korean War, it told the story of U.S. airman Lloyd Gruver, stationed in Japan, who fell in love with a Japanese entertainer called Hana-ogi. (Her namesake is a historical courtesan; hana means “flower” and ogi means “fan”).
Originally, the book was going to be adapted into a stage production à la Michener’s South Pacific. With a musical in mind, Irving Berlin wrote a song called “Sayonara.”
Instead, the story was turned into a movie (starring Marlon Brando) a few years later, and so Irving Berlin’s song ended up on the soundtrack.
Both Sayonara the movie and “Sayonara” the song came out in late 1957. The film made a bigger splash than the song did, so it may have had more of an influence on baby names.
In March of 1958 the film won four Oscars, including one each for supporting actors Red Buttons (who played Joe Kelly) and Miyoshi Umeki (who played Katsumi).
Miyoshi Umeki, both a singer and an actress, was the first Asian performer to win an Academy Award. Her win drew attention to the Japanese name Miyoshi, which debuted in the data as well in 1958:
1965: 6 baby girls named Miyoshi
1964: 9 baby girls named Miyoshi
1963: 8 baby girls named Miyoshi
1962: 7 baby girls named Miyoshi
1959: 8 baby girls named Miyoshi
1958: 20 baby girls named Miyoshi [debut]
A few months later, Umeki appeared on the TV game show “What’s My Line?” Here’s how she signed her name:
Miyoshi was Umeki’s birth name, but at the start of her singing career in Japan, she used the stage name Nancy Umeki. She reverted to her Japanese name upon relocating to America, ironically.
Icilma was an English cosmetics company. Icilma products (creams, soaps, powders, etc.) were on the market from the late 1890s until the mid-1960s.
The founder of Icilma was an Englishman named Stephen Armitage who had “acquired permission from the government to exploit a natural mineral water spring [in] Algeria, which had been discovered in the 1890s by oil prospectors.” He apparently coined the word “Icilma” by combining two Arabic words meaning “flows” and “water.”
So why are we talking about a long-gone bath-and-beauty brand on a baby name blog?
Because I’ve found dozens of females with “Icilma” as either a first or middle name. They earliest examples I’ve seen were born in the early 1900s. The most recent one I spotted was born in England in 2006.
Interestingly, the first Icilmas were born not just in England, but in various parts of the British empire. I found a particularly high number of Icilmas in Jamaica, for instance. Here’s a record for Icilma Marjorie Veronica O’Connor, who was born in Saint Andrew, Jamaica, in August of 1925:
I also found a few living in the United States, but it looks like most/all of them were born elsewhere.