Top baby names in Japan, 2019

Flag of Japan
Flag of Japan

The government of Japan doesn’t release official baby name rankings, but, in late 2019, the Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. released the results of its annual baby name survey. The survey covered the first nine months of 2019 and accounted for 8,407 baby girls and 8,455 baby boys (so: less than 2% of the total number of births in Japan).

According to Meiji Yasuda, the top names in Japan in 2019 were Rin and Ren.

Here are the top five names for per gender:

Girl Names

  1. Rin, meaning “dignified”
  2. Himari
  3. Yua
  4. An
  5. Tsumugi

Boy Names

  1. Ren, meaning “lotus”
  2. Haruto & Arata [2-way tie]
  3. Minato
  4. Aoi
  5. Ritsu

Ren was also the top boy name in 2018.

The Reiwa era began in Japan on May 1, 2019, but apparently the era-change did not have a strong influence on baby names:

In the past, there had been a trend to name babies using characters from the new era name, but no such names made the top 10 this year, suggesting that this trend may have weakened.

The name Reiwa (“using the same characters as the current era name”) only managed to rank 600th for boys in 2019. In fact, no name containing the kanji for “rei” made the top 100 for either gender — though names with the kanji for “wa” did pop up in the top 100 for both genders.

Sources: Rin and Ren most popular baby names of 2019: survey, Rin, Ren top Japanese baby names in 2019; kanji from new era name less prevalent: poll, Japan’s Deaths Exceed Births by Half a Million in 2019

Image: Adapted from Flag of Japan (public domain)

3 thoughts on “Top baby names in Japan, 2019

  1. Oh boy, do I have a LOOOOOT to say about this, so please bear with me…

    First of all, the top 5 names provided here are for the writings (for boys, 1st is ? (Ren), 2nd is ?? (Haruto, etc.)/? (Arata, Shin, etc.), so on and so on). To get a more accurate picture of the top Japanese names, you have to look at the list of the most popular names by reading. Direct from the source itself (, here are the actual top 5 baby names for 2019 according to Meiji Yasuda Life:
    1. Haruto / Mei
    2. S?ta / Himari
    3. Minato / Hana
    4. Y?to / Rin
    5. Riku / Sakura
    If we take the reading rankings for the other shown in your article, Yua ranks 23rd, An ranks 50th, Tsumugi ranks 15th, Ren ranks 16th, Arata ranks 21st, Aoi ranks 16th and Ritsu ranks 18th. In essence, what most blogs and news website publish with regards to top Japanese names only show the ones that are ranked by writing, not by reading.
    MYL isn’t the only source for the top Japanese names. There are two other publicly available sources that exist. The first is Tamahiyo ( For some reason, they did not include the numbers and percentages for 2019 which they did do in years past. Regardless, here are the top 5 names by writing~reading:
    1. ?/Ren ~ Haruto / ??/Himari ~ Mei
    2. ?/Ritsu ~ S?ta / ?/Rin ~ Akari
    3. ?/Minato ~ Minato / ??/Mei ~ Mio
    4. ?/Itsuki ~ Y?to / ??/Yuina ~ Ema
    5. ?/Aoi ~ Riku / ?/Tsumugi ~ Yui
    The second one is Baby Calendar (, which has the highest sample size out of the 3 (80,062 boys and 78,308 girls):
    1. ?/Ren ~ Haruto / ??/Himari ~ Yui
    2. ?/Minato,S?,etc. ~ S?ta / ?/Rin ~ Akari
    3. ??/Haruto,Hinato,etc. ~ Minato / ?/Aoi ~ Aoi
    4. ?/Itsuki ~ Y?to / ?/Tsumugi ~ Mei
    5. ?/Ritsu ~ Riku / ??/Yuina,Yuna,etc. ~ Himari
    Baby Calendar also has a name search tool where you look up any writing or reading that is used from 2017-2019. The link is

    Regarding Reiwa era impacts, Tamahiyo notes that rises in names containing ? (or kanji containing ?) and ? aren’t so remarkable. Nevertheless, they have noted names of this type increasing (brackets are comparisons from the other two sources):
    – ?/Rei (boy) 89th -> 62nd (MJL: 94th -> 54th / BC: 88th -> 68th)
    – ??/Rena (girl) 106th -> 83rd (MJL: not in top 100 / BC: 79th -> 76th)
    – ??/Yamato (boy) 29th -> 10th (MJL: 4th -> 13th / BC: 7th -> 9th)
    – ??/Kazuma (boy) 134th -> 71st (MJL: not in top 100 / BCnamesearch: 135th -> 96th)
    – ??/Nodoka,Waka (girl) 76th -> 54th (MJL: 58th -> 49th / BC: 45th -> 67th)
    Other names of this type were not mentioned on Tamahiyo since they either stabilised or dropped off in rankings. They include:
    – ??/Rena (girl) 36th -> 54th (MJL: 53rd -> 54th / BC: 60th -> 79th)
    – ??/Wakana (girl) 77th -> 76th (MJL: 50th -> 98th / BC: 68th -> 79th)
    ?? doesn’t appear in either Tamahiyo or Baby Calendar (though it does show up in its name search, dropping off), though it did enter the writing top 100 for MJL.
    Tamahiyo also notes other writings that fit into an image of a new beginning:
    – ?/Arata (boy) 26th -> 9th (MJL: 15th -> 2nd / BC: 14th -> 12nd)
    – ?/Tsumugi (girl) 11th -> 5th (MJL: 9th -> 5th / BC: 16th -> 4th)
    – ??/Sakura (girl) 15th -> 6th (MJL: 18th -> 15th / BC: 11th -> 14th)
    – ??/Yudzuki (girl) 25th -> 10th (MJL: 1st -> 7th / BC: 8th -> 9th)
    – ?/Hana (girl) 76th -> 21st (MJL: 25th -> 14th / BC: 25th -> 25th)
    – ?/Uta (girl) 211st -> 28th (MJL: 38th -> 20th / BC: 43rd -> 35th)
    When searching for Reiwa in the Baby Calendar search tool in its writing ?? or its reading, they don’t show up in the data, though ? (read as Rei, Ry?, Haru, etc.) does show an increase in usage for both boys and girls.

    On a brief, final note, one of the names that I have noted down since I first looked at the data late last year is Ritsu with regards to how television is impacting baby naming in Japan. That name has entered the boys’ top 30 last year and has been experiencing its current fast rise in popularity since 2018. The reason: the drama ‘Hanbun, Aoi.’. I have a whole post dedicated to Ritsu on my Japanese name blog if you click on my name in the comment.

    With that, ramble over…

  2. From Japan Times:

    The most popular names given to babies born in Japan so far in 2020 were Aoi, So and Ao, all of which are written as a single kanji character meaning “blue,” for boys, and Himari, Hinata and Hina, all written in the same combination of two characters for “sun” and “hollyhock,” for girls, a life insurer survey showed Thursday.

    (“So far in 2020” = January to September.)

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