Top baby names in Japan, 2022

Flag of Japan
Flag of Japan

The island country of Japan, located in the northwest Pacific Ocean, welcomed 770,747 babies in 2022.

As far as I know, Japan has never released an official set of baby name rankings. But Japan’s top baby names of 2022 might be Himari and Ao, if two unofficial sets of rankings are to be believed.

The two sets of rankings were put out by a pair of Japanese companies that used their own data (i.e., the names of the newborns of their own customers/clients) to guess which baby names were the most popular in Japan last year.

  • Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company’s 2022 baby name rankings (in Japanese) account for 8,561 baby girls and 8,952 baby boys born in Japan from January to September, 2022.
  • Benesse Corporation’s 2022 baby name rankings (in Japanese) account for 148,103 baby girls and 149,152 baby boys born in Japan from January 1 to September 27, 2022.

These rankings aren’t exactly representative: the samples are self-selected, the last quarter of the year is entirely omitted, etc. Nevertheless, they’re fun to check out. And I think it’s significant that they agree on the #1 girl name.

Because both companies rank names as they’re written — and each of these written forms tends to have multiple pronunciations — I had to create images of the rankings (because my blogging software can’t handle kanji/kana characters). So, in the images below, the written forms are on the left, and their most common readings(s) are on the right.

Let’s start with Meiji Yasuda’s list.

Girl Names (Meiji)

Top girl names in Japan in 2022, according to Meiji Yasuda Life

(Himari, Hinata, Hina; Rin; Uta; Hina, Haruna; Yuina, Yuna; An, Anzu; Mio, Rei; Yua; Mei; Riko; Sakura; Ema.)

Boy Names (Meiji)

Top boy names in Japan in 2022, according to Meiji Yasuda Life

(Aoi, So, Ao; Nagi, Nagisa; Ren; Haruto, Hinato; Minato; Soma, Fuma; Ao, Aoi; Itsuki, Tatsuki; Yamato; Yuma, Haruma; Dan, Haru.)

And now, Benesse.

Girl Names (Benesse)

Top girl names in Japan in 2022, according to Benesse

(Himari, Rin, Yuina, Mei, Uta, Hina, Aoi, Riko, Tsumugi, Ema.)

Boy Names (Benesse)

Top boy names in Japan in 2022, according to Benesse

(Ao, Haruto, Aoi, Asahi, Ren, Minato, Yuito, Yuma, Hinata, Itsuki.)

Benesse also noted that several tiger-related boy names saw higher usage in 2022, which was a Year of the Tiger according to the Chinese zodiac.

Tiger-related boy names that saw higher usage in Japan in 2022, according to Benesse

Taiga sounds like the English word “tiger,” while Kotaro can include the kanji character that means “tiger.”


Image: Adapted from Flag of Japan (public domain)

[Latest update: Dec. 2023]

4 thoughts on “Top baby names in Japan, 2022

  1. It’s so interesting that Japan’s government doesn’t make the baby name data available. I know so little about baby naming in Asia. I should read about it.

  2. I don’t know why Japan doesn’t simply put out a top 10 list. Or even a top 5. Expectant parents in Japan would appreciate it, I bet.

  3. You might mention that the Meiji site, at least (I haven’t looked at Benesse yet) also lists the top name pronunciations without respect to kanji. This is the equivalent of combining all the alternate spellings on the SSA list, and I’d consider it more representative of the actual “most popular names” than a ranking by kanji.

    The top 10 girls’ names by pronunciation: Ema, Mei, Sana, Mio, Ichika, Yui, Aoi, Koharu, Tsumugi, Himari

    The top 10 boys’ names by pronunciuation: Haruto, Aoto, Riku, Minato, Haruki, Yuito, Haru, Aoi, Souta, Itsuki

  4. Thank you for bringing that up, Claudia, and for grabbing the lists!

    Benesse also does rankings based on readings:

    • Top girl names: Ema, Mio, Mei, Sana, Rio, Koharu, Aoi, Himari, Yui, Ichika
    • Top boy names: Haruto, Riku, Yuito, Aoto, Minato, Haruki, Hinata, Sota, Sora, Aoi

    You make a very good point. The next time I post about Japan’s top names, I’ll be sure to include both the kanji/kana rankings and the readings-based rankings.

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