How popular is the baby name Rikishi 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 Rikishi.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Rikishi


Posts that Mention the Name Rikishi

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

tulips

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.

1890s

1900s

  • (none yet)

1910s

1920s

1930s

1940s

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

2020s

  • (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?

P.S. You might also be interested in this list of the top one-hit wonder baby names since 1880

Where did the baby name Illya come from in 1965?

The character Illya Kuryakin from the TV series  "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." (1964-1968).
Illya Kuryakin from “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The name Illya double-debuted in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1960s:

 YearBoys Named IllyaGirls Named Illya
196755 [rank 980th]10
196678 [rank 828th]11
196535 [debut]5 [debut]
1964unlistedunlisted
1963unlistedunlisted

Illya was the top debut name for boys in 1965. In fact, it ended up becoming one of the top boy-name debuts overall, and it reached the top 1000 twice.

So where did it come from?

The influence wasn’t the movie that gave yesterday’s name Ilya a boost, but the Cold War-era spy show The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which premiered on TV in 1964 and ran until 1968. (U.N.C.L.E. was an acronym for “United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.”)

The main characters were CIA agent Napoleon Solo (played by Robert Vaughn) and KGB agent Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin (played by David McCallum). Illya, a Slavic form of Elijah, was spelled out in the opening credits.

The name Napoleon may have also gotten a slight boost from the show, though it’s hard to tell.

Do you like the name Illya?

(Other dual-gender debuts I’ve posted about include Chaffee, Dasani, Dondi, Rikishi, and Sundown.)

Where did the baby name Dasani come from?

dasani, water, baby name, 1990s

Bottled water became increasingly trendy in the U.S. during the final decades of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the mid-to-late ’90s, though, that major players in the beverage industry finally hopped on the bandwagon: Pepsi launched Aquafina in 1994, and Coca-Cola followed with Dasani in 1999.

While I’ve never* seen “Aquafina” used as a human name, Dasani popped up in the U.S. baby name data right on cue in 1999. In fact, in was a rare dual-gender** debut that year:

  • 2004: 63 baby girls + 19 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2003: 67 baby girls + 18 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2002: 105 baby girls + 28 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2001: 94 baby girls + 60 baby boys named Dasani
  • 2000: 58 baby girls + 37 baby boys named Dasani
  • 1999: 9 baby girls + 9 baby boys named Dasani
  • 1998: unlisted
  • 1997: unlisted

The name, which saw peak usage in the early 2000s, also gave rise to a bunch of variants (Dasany, Dasanii, Desani) and soundalikes (Asani, Masani, Jasani, Tasani, Kasani, Sani).

What does the word Dasani mean? Here’s the official answer, straight from the 1999 version of the Dasani website (archived via the Wayback Machine):

People are having a lot of fun guessing the origin of the name DASANI. One Coca-Cola executive jokingly said it sounded like a “Roman god of water.” Actually, the name DASANI is an original creation. Consumer testing showed that the name is relaxing and suggests pureness and replenishment.

Similarly, an article from early 1999 explained that “the name Dasani isn’t derived from any existing word, English or foreign, but is meant to evoke the idea of freshness and purity.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Dasani?

*I’ve seen Aquafina used as a stage name, though: Awkwafina (born Nora Lum).

**Other dual-gender debuts include Chaffee, Dondi, Rikishi, Shelva, and Sundown.

Sources:

Where did the baby name Rikishi come from?

Professional wrestler Rikishi
Rikishi

The name Rikishi is rather unique. Not only is it a rare dual-gender one-hit wonder, but it’s it’s also the only debut name I know of that was popularized by a fake sport.

If you’re a professional wrestling fan, you already know where this one came from: Rikishi, the character played by Solofa Fatu, Jr.

Fatu’s pro-wrestling career started in 1985. He played a series of not-so-successful characters (Prince Alofa, Fatu, The Sultan) before appearing as the bleach-blond, loincloth-wearing Rikishi Fatu on the TV show WWF Metal for the first time in late 1999.

The following year, the baby name Rikishi debuted (times two!) in the SSA’s baby name data:

  • 2002: unlisted
  • 2001: unlisted
  • 2000: 10 baby boys and 6 baby girls named Rikishi [dual-debut]
  • 1999: unlisted
  • 1998: unlisted

That’s the only year it managed to make the national list, though.

So where did the ring name Rikishi come from? Rikishi is the Japanese word for “sumo wrestler.” It can be traced back to an Old Chinese word meaning “man of strength.”

And what helped Rikishi become a WWF superstar? His signature wrestling move, the humiliating “Stink Face.”

With his opponent lying prone in the corner of the ring, Fatu sticks his sizable rear end, which is covered in skimpy tights, in their face with a smile normally reserved for children at Christmas.

“That [move] came up two years ago in Mobile, Ala., when I was wrestling the Big Bossman and he fell in the corner,” said Fatu, who has given the stinkface to almost every top WWF performer. “As I turned around, I heard some man yell out, `Put your [butt] in his face.’ Meantime, I forgot what spot came next, so I walked over and put my [butt] in his face.

“It was the biggest reaction I had gotten, so I said I was going to do it next time. It’s been easy since then. I don’t think the Bossman knew what was coming. He saw my cheeks backing up and had nowhere to go.”

Here’s a 5-minute Rikishi Stinkface Compilation. Lovely, no?

Sources: Rikishi – Wikipedia, Rikishi’s Move Is A Little Cheeky, But It Gets Him Noticed
Image: Tech. Sgt. Lisa M. Zunzanyika, USAF

Top one-hit wonder boy names of all time in the U.S. baby name data

tulips

Here are some of the top one-hit wonder boy names of all time, from 1880 to 2012:

  1. Christop, 1,082 baby boys in 1989.
  2. Christia, 82 baby boys in 1989.
  3. Jometh, 23 baby boys in 2008.
  4. Jefre, 21 baby boys in 1961.
  5. Eriksson, 15 baby boys in 2008.
    • Alfy, 15 baby boys in 1966.
    • Andamo, 15 baby boys in 1960.
  6. Coopar, 14 baby boys in 2010.
  7. Ardan, 13 baby boys in 2012.
  8. Ramzee, 12 baby boys in 2006.
  9. Brettly, 11 baby boys in 2012.
  10. Aaro, 10 baby boys in 2012.

If we ignore the glitchy 1989 names, the real #1 one-hit wonder becomes Jometh.

Here’s what I can tell you about some of the above: Jometh and Elionaid were inspired by the TV show Objetivo Fama; Andamo was inspired by the TV show Mr. Lucky; Maurkice was inspired by football player Maurkice Pouncey; Kimario was inspired by a mention in Ebony magazine; Willkie was inspired by politician Wendell Willkie; Amareion was inspired by singer Omarion; Ebay was inspired by the TV show Good Times; Brettly was inspired by the TV show American Restoration; Vadir was inspired by actor Vadhir Derbez; Travolta was inspired by actor John Travolta; Macarther was inspired by Douglas MacArthur; Schley was inspired by Winfield Scott Schley.

Can you come up with explanations for any of the others?