More “Year of the Tiger” baby names


A couple of years ago, we talked about how the baby name Tiger saw higher usage in the U.S. in 1998, 2010, and 2022 — the three most recent Tiger years, according to the Chinese zodiac.

Since writing that post, I’ve found three more names that track with Tiger years. One of them saw higher usage during the early 20th century, while the other two (like “Tiger” itself) were more popular during the early 21st century.


The Japanese name Torao is based on the traditional Japanese word for “tiger,” tora.

Torao was the highest-debuting baby name of 1914. During the next Tiger year, 1926, the name saw peak usage.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Torao in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Torao

Here’s the data on Torao for those specific years:

  • In 1926, 27 U.S. baby boys were named Torao.
    • 19 [70%] were born in Hawaii, 6 in California
  • In 1914, 17 U.S. baby boys were named Torao.
    • 11 [65%] were born in Hawaii, 5 in California

The territory of Hawaii and the state of California both had relatively large numbers of Japanese-Americans at that time.

Other tora-names were also being bestowed during the early 1900s. In the Social Security Death Index, for instance, I found dozens of people — many born in 1902, 1914, or 1926 — with names like Toraichi, Torajiro, Torako, Toraki, Toraji, Torami, Torayo, Toragusu, Toramatsu, and Torashige.


The pronunciation of the Japanese name Taiga (which can mean various things, depending upon the kanji being used the write the name) is similar to that of the English word tiger.

After debuting in the U.S. baby name data in 1997, Taiga saw an initial spike in usage in 1998. Twelve years later, it spiked again.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Taiga in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Taiga

Here’s the data on Taiga for those specific years:

  • In 2010, 26 U.S. baby boys were named Taiga.
    • 8 were born in California, 5 in New York
  • In 1998, 18 U.S. baby boys were named Taiga.

Though it didn’t spike a third time in 2022, the name did debut on the girls’ list that year.

(Incidentally, this name coincides with the Russian word taiga, which refers to a biome.)


The Japanese name Kotaro can be created from various combinations of kanji, and the first element is sometimes written with a character (ko) that means “tiger.”

Kotaro saw its highest-ever usage (15 baby boys) in the Tiger year 2010.

(I discovered this name while writing about Japan’s top baby names of 2022; names pronounced “Taiga” and “Kotaro” saw elevated usage in Japan that year.)

What are your thoughts on these names?

P.S. My post about Dragon Year baby names also had a part 2. :)

Sources: Earthly Branches – Wikipedia, Tiger (zodiac) – Wikipedia, SSDI (via FamilySearch), SSA

Image: Adapted from Tiger from Ranthanbore Sawai Madhopur Rajasthan India 12.10.2014 by Dibyendu Ash under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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