The island country of Japan, located in the northwest Pacific Ocean, welcomes over 800,000 babies every year.
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)
(Himari, Hinata, Hina; Rin; Uta; Hina, Haruna; Yuina, Yuna; An, Anzu; Mio, Rei; Yua; Mei; Riko; Sakura; Ema.)
Boy Names (Meiji)
(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)
(Himari, Rin, Yuina, Mei, Uta, Hina, Aoi, Riko, Tsumugi, Ema.)
Boy Names (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.
Taiga sounds like the English word “tiger,” while Kotaro can include the kanji character that means “tiger.”
- “Himari, Aoi, and Nagi: Japan’s Top 2022 Baby Names.” Nippon.com 9 Dec. 2022. [Based on 2022 data from Meiji Yasuda.]
- “Ao and Himari: Japan’s most popular baby names in 2022.” Japan Times 1 Nov. 2022. [Based on 2022 data from Benesse]
- “Himari, Tsumugi, and Ren: Japan’s Top 2021 Baby Names.” Nippon.com 15 Nov. 2021. [Based on 2021 data from Benesse]
Image by Svetlana Gumerova from Unsplash