How popular is the baby name Ayanami in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Ayanami.

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Popularity of the baby name Ayanami

Posts that mention the name Ayanami

Interesting one-hit wonder names in the U.S. baby name data

single flower

They came, they went, and they never came back!

These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).

There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more.


  • 2020: Jexi













  • (none yet)


As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add the names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

Image: Adapted from Solitary Poppy by Andy Beecroft under CC BY-SA 2.0.

[Latest update: Apr. 2024]

The rare name Ayanami

Rei Ayanami of "Neon Genesis Evangelion"
Rei Ayanami

A few months ago, I was contacted by a reader whose birth name was Ayanami.

The name was inspired by Rei Ayanami, a character from the mid-’90s anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, which “[did] for anime in Japan what The X-Files did for cult sci-fi in America.” The now-iconic TV show quickly grew into a franchise involving films, video games, and products.

The character’s first name, Rei, may have been chosen as a reference to Sailor Moon character Rei Hino; her last name, Ayanami, was taken from the name of the Japanese WWII naval vessel Ayanami. The Japanese word ayanami refers to a “twill wave” — a wave with a twill-like pattern, apparently. (The more familiar Japanese word tsunami means “harbor wave.”)

The reader who got in touch with me was wondering about the single-year appearance of the name Ayanami in the U.S. baby name data in 2015. Why that year? And, would it be back?

I don’t have a solid theory about 2015, but I do think there’s a strong chance the name will re-emerge — perhaps in the yet-to-be-released 2019 data, as mid-2019 is when Netflix added Neon Genesis Evangelion (the original series, plus two of the movies) to its library.

What are your thoughts on the name Ayanami?

Sources: Rei Ayanami – Evangelion – Fandom, Neon Genesis Evangelion – Wikipedia, 15th Anniversary: The Cultural Legacy of Neon Genesis Evangelion, ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ comes to Netflix June 21st