How popular is the baby name Geisha in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Geisha.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Geisha


Posts that Mention the Name Geisha

How did Mexican comic books influence U.S. baby names?

Partial cover of the comic book "Lágrimas, risas y amor" #78, featuring the story "María Isabel" (1964).
One of the “María Isabel” covers

In the 1960s, comic books were on their way out in the United States. But they were still going strong in Latin America.

In fact, one of Latin America’s best-selling comic books, Lágrimas, risas y amor (transl. Tears, Laughter and Love), was introduced in Mexico in late 1962.

Lágrimas, risas y amor was created by Yolanda Vargas Dulché. It featured romantic stories, each of which had its own unique set of characters. And, believe it or not, some of these stories ended up influencing U.S. baby names, particularly in states with large Spanish-speaking populations (like California and Texas). Here are some examples:

Yesenia

“Yesenia” (1965-1966) told the love story of Yesenia, a gypsy, and Osvaldo, a Mexican soldier. In 1966, we see the name Yesenia appear for the first time in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1968: 13 baby girls named Yesenia
  • 1967: 12 baby girls named Yesenia
  • 1966: 17 baby girls named Yesenia [debut]
  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: unlisted

Geisha

I don’t know anything about the plot of “Geisha” (1967), but the baby name Geisha first appeared in the U.S. data the same year:

  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: 8 baby girls named Geisha [debut]
  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: unlisted
Partial cover of the comic book "Lágrimas, risas y amor" #279, featuring the story "Geisha" (1967).
One of the “Geisha” covers

Analuisa

“El atardecer de Ana Luisa” (transl. “Ana Luisa’s Middle Years”) (1971) told the story of Ana Luisa, who lost her boyfriend to another woman when she was young, but got him back years later. There’s a gap between the publication and the debut of the compound name Analuisa, but I still think it’s likely that the two events are connected.

  • 1975: unlisted
  • 1974: unlisted
  • 1973: 5 baby girls named Analuisa [debut]
  • 1972: unlisted
  • 1971: unlisted

…And it doesn’t end there! Many Lágrimas, risas y amor stories were later adapted for TV and film, giving them extra (and much bigger) rounds of exposure. Some examples:

Rosaisela

The comic “María Isabel” (1964) featured a character named Rosa Isela. It became a telenovela in 1966, and a year later the compound name Rosaisela first emerged in the data:

  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: 5 baby girls named Rosaisela
  • 1967: 9 baby girls named Rosaisela [debut]
  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: unlisted

Yesenia (again)

“Yesenia” became a telenovela in 1970 and a movie in 1971. The one-two punch of both of these pieces of media, both made in Mexico, resulted in an huge increase in the usage of Yesenia in the United States:

  • 1973: 343 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 503rd]
  • 1972: 471 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 414th]
  • 1971: 526 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 410th]
  • 1970: 30 baby girls named Yesenia
  • 1969: 9 baby girls named Yesenia

Oyuki

The comic “El pecado de Oyuki” (transl. “The Sin of Oyuki”) (1975-1977) became a telenovela in 1987. It first aired in the U.S. on Univision, and the same year the name Oyuki debuted in the U.S. data:

  • 1989: 8 baby girls named Oyuki
  • 1988: 20 baby girls named Oyuki
  • 1987: 6 baby girls named Oyuki [debut]
  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: unlisted

Yesenia (yet again)

“Yesenia” was made into yet another telenovela in 1987, and this resulted in the name’s highest-ever usage in the U.S. the same year:

  • 1989: 1,303 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 204th]
  • 1988: 1,208 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 215th]
  • 1987: 2,003 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 137th]
  • 1986: 845 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 293rd]
  • 1985: 522 baby girls named Yesenia [rank: 422nd]

Alondra

The comic “Casandra” (which came out during the ’80s) was adapted as Alondra for TV in 1995. It was renamed in honor of Yolanda Vargas Dulché’s granddaughter, orchestra conductor Alondra de la Parra. The same year, the popularity of the name Alondra (the Spanish word for “lark”) rose considerably:

  • 1997: 1,837 baby girls named Alondra [rank: 167th]
  • 1996: 2,020 baby girls named Alondra [rank: 157th]
  • 1995: 1,205 baby girls named Alondra [rank: 238th]
  • 1994: 149 baby girls named Alondra
  • 1993: 193 baby girls named Alondra [rank: 972nd]

Rosaisela (again)

“María Isabel” was made into yet another telenovela in 1997. A year later, the name saw its highest-ever U.S. usage:

  • 2000: 20 baby girls named Rosaisela
  • 1999: 33 baby girls named Rosaisela
  • 1998: 51 baby girls named Rosaisela [peak]
  • 1997: 10 baby girls named Rosaisela
  • 1996: 10 baby girls named Rosaisela

…Do you know anyone who was named with one of these comics or telenovelas in mind? Which name did they get?

Sources:

  • Foster, David William. (Ed.) Handbook of Latin American Literature. New York: Routledge, 2015.
  • Hinds, Harold E. and Charles M. Tatum. Not Just for Children: The Mexican Comic Book in the Late 1960s and 1970s. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992.
  • Lágrimas, risas y amor – Wikipedia

Images adapted from Lagrimas, Risas y Amor #78 and Lagrimas, Risas y Amor #279 from the Grand Comics Database under CC BY-SA 4.0.