How popular is the baby name Yoko 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 Yoko.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Yoko


Posts that Mention the Name Yoko

How did “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” influence baby names in 1984?

The Most Beautiful Girl in the World Pageant, 1984

In January of 1984, a one-of-a-kind beauty pageant called “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” was broadcast live on television from Oahu, Hawaii.

What made it unique? The fact that viewers at home could participate in picking the winner!

Back in 1984, this was a novel idea — so novel that, even though creator Dick Clark had come up with the concept back in the late ’60s, he wasn’t able to garner any interest in it until decades later.

The show was hosted by Jayne Kennedy and David Hasselhoff. In fact, the Hoff was featured in the TV commercial for the pageant:

The Most Beautiful Girl in the World tv commercial, David Hasselhoff

Twenty-one young women from around the globe were chosen as contestants. Here are their names and the regions they represented (in order of introduction):

  • United States: Susanne Ashley Trimble
  • India: Safira Afzaal
  • Great Britain: Debi Brett
  • Japan: Yoko Ami
  • Swaziland: Zanella Tutu
  • Denmark: Lene Nyholm Jensen
  • Spain: Maria Jose Bustos
  • Italy: Antonia Dell’Atte
  • Brazil: Carmen Carolina Baldelli
  • Germany: Birgit Wiemann
  • Saipan: Zelma Tomokane
  • Puerto Rico: Deborah Carthy Deu
  • The Philippines: Yoraidyl (YOR-ah-dil) Diaz Stone
  • Canada: Elizabeth Stimson
  • Mexico: Jaqueline De La Vega Pineda
  • Singapore: Julie Nickson
  • Morocco: Nadia Bahy
  • France: Patricia Talazac
  • Hong Kong: Tracy Chan
  • Australia: Melanie Ivanhoe
  • Israel: Yarden Levinson

I want to draw your attention to two of these contestants, Safira Afzaal and Yarden Levinson, because the rare names Safira and Yarden both debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1984 specifically:

Safira usageYarden usage
1986unlistedunlisted
1985unlistedunlisted
198418 baby girls6 baby girls
1983unlistedunlisted
1982unlistedunlisted

(Safira may be based on the Arabic name Safeerah, meaning “messenger”; Yarden, the Hebrew name of the Jordan River, is derived from a Hebrew word meaning “descend” or “flow down.”)

Here are Safira and Yarden introducing themselves at the start of the program…

Safira:

Safira Afzal, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, beauty pageant, 1984

Yarden:

Yarden Levinson, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, beauty pageant, 1984

Over the course of the two-hour program, the field of contestants was reduced three times: from 21 to 10 (by a panel of judges), from 10 to 3 (again by the judges), and finally from 3 to 1 (by popular vote).

Both Safira and Yarden survived the first cut. The second portion of the show featured the ten remaining women modeling in swimsuits, modeling in evening gowns, and, rather unusually, doing aerobic exercise. (How ’80s is that?)

Here’s Safira doing aerobics:

Safira Afzal, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, beauty pageant, 1984

And here’s Yarden:

Yarden Levinson, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, beauty pageant, 1984

Before the three finalists were announced, David Hasselhoff explained that each of the three would be assigned a specific “1-900” phone number.

To cast a vote for your favorite girl, you simply dial her phone number. It’s that easy. Your vote will automatically be registered in the phone company’s computer in Kansas City, Missouri, and there’ll be a telephone charge of 50 cents. The total number of calls received at the end of the ten-minute period by the phone company’s computer in Kansas City will be transmitted to us, five thousand miles away, in Hawaii, and we will know our winner.

The three finalists? Debi, Jaqueline, and Yarden. (Not Safira, sadly.)

Here’s Yarden, right after being named a finalist:

Yarden Levinson, finalist in The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, beauty pageant, 1984

During the next ten minutes, viewers saw (among other things) clips of the finalists talking about themselves. Yarden mentioned that, in Israel, every girl goes into the military and “learns how to fight,” and that she “served in a rescue unit in the Air Force.” She also said:

I come to the competition and they look at me and they say, ‘You’re Israeli? You’re blonde, I mean, how can that be?’

Alas, Yarden finished in third place with just 17.48% of the vote.

The winner was Debi Brett, the Brit, with 53.46% of the vote. (She received over $100,000 in cash and prizes, including a 30-day round-the-world trip, a full-length mink coat, a grand piano, a diamond ring, a Dodge 600 convertible, and a Ricoh 35mm camera.)

So, neither Safira nor Yarden won the pageant. But their names live on the U.S. baby name data, which is arguably far cooler. :)

I’m not sure what became of Yarden after the pageant, but I can tell you a bit about Safira (whose last name is actually spelled Afzal). She was born in Pakistan, raised in England, and went on to earn a law degree and become a barrister.

(Other post-pageant careers: Debi became photographer; Antonia became a model/TV personality; Deborah won Miss Universe 1985 and became an actress/TV personality; “Jaqueline” (actually spelled Jacqueline) became a model/TV personality; and “Julie” (Julia) became an actress — in fact, she played the female lead in the second Rambo movie.)

So what are your thoughts on the names Safira and Yarden? Which one would you be more likely to use for a baby girl?

Sources:

Baby names typed by the right hand: Better?

Years ago, I came up with a list of one-handed baby names — that is, names that are typed with either the left hand or the right hand on a QWERTY keyboard.

Turns out there may be a slight advantage to right-hand names.

According to a study published recently in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, “the QWERTY keyboard may gradually attach more positive meanings to words with more letters located on the right side of the layout (everything to the right of T, G and B).”

Why?

It has to do with fluency.

We tend to like simplicity over complexity, and the harder-to-type letter pairs are on a QWERTY keyboard’s left side — these two facts together may lead people to prefer words (and names) that are typed on the right.

Which names are typed by the right hand only? My original list:

  • Holly
  • Io
  • Jill, Jim, Jimi, Jimmy, Jin, Jo, John, Johnny, Jon, Joni, Joy, Juho, Juli, Julio, Jun, Juno
  • Kiki, Kim, Kimi, Kimiko, Kimmy, Kimo, Kip, Kiyoko, Kojo, Kollin, Kumiko, Kyou
  • Lili, Lilly, Lilou, Lily, Lin, Lino, Loni, Lonny, Lou, Lulu, Lyn, Lynn
  • Miki, Mikki, Mikko, Milly, Milo, Mimi, Min, Minh, Miyu, Molly, Momoko
  • Nik, Nikhil, Niki, Nikki, Niko, Nikol, Nikon, Nuno
  • Olli, Olujimi, Om
  • Phil, Philip, Phillip, Pio, Polly, Poppy
  • Yoko, Yuko, Yumi, Yumiko

Can you think of any others?

Source: The QWERTY Effect: How Typing May Shape the Meaning of Words (h/t Anthony Mitchell, @aem76us)

One-handed baby names: Jimmy, Carter, Tessa, Lynn

When you sign your first name, you use one hand. But when you type it, chances are you need to use both hands — even if your name is a short as Emma, Gus or Ty.

Have you ever wondered which names can be touch-typed on the standard QWERTY keyboard with one hand only? Me too, so I came up with some lists….

Left-handed baby names

left-handed baby names
  • Ace, Ada, Adeva, Aqsa, Asa, Ava
  • Babette, Barbara, Barrett, Baxter, Bess, Bette, Brad, Brett
  • Cade, Caesar, Cara, Carter, Casara, Case, Cass, Cesar, Cresta
  • Dara, Dave, Dawes, Dax, Debra, Dee, Dessa, Dexter, Drew
  • Ed, Edgar, Edward, Egas, Esta, Estes, Etta, Eva, Eve, Everard, Everett, Evette, Ezra
  • Freeda, Fred, Fredda
  • Gage, Garret, Garrett, Gerard, Grace, Greg, Greta, Grete, Gretta
  • Rebeca, Rebecca, Reece, Reed, Reese, Retta, Reva, Rewa, Rex
  • Sabra, Sage, Sara, Sardar, Steve, Stewart, Svea
  • Tad, Taggart, Ted, Tara, Tate, Tera, Teresa, Tess, Tessa, Tex, Trace, Tracee
  • Vada, Varda, Varvara, Vera, Verree, Vesta, Vester
  • Wade, Wafa, Ward, Wes
  • Zada, Zara, Zed

How funny is it that Dexter, which comes directly from the Latin word for “right,” is typed with the left hand only?

Right-handed baby names

right-handed baby names
  • Holly
  • Io
  • Jill, Ji-Min, Jim, Jimi, Jimmy, Jin, Jo, John, Johnny, Jon, Joni, Joy, Juho, Juli, Julio, Jun, Juno
  • Kiki, Kim, Kimi, Kimiko, Kimmy, Kimo, Kip, Kiyoko, Kojo, Kollin, Kumiko, Kyou
  • Lili, Lilly, Lilou, Lilikoi, Lily, Lin, Lino, Loki, Loni, Lonny, Lou, Lulu, Lyn, Lynn
  • Miki, Mikki, Mikko, Milly, Milo, Mimi, Min, Minh, Miyu, Molly, Momoko
  • Nik, Nikhil, Niki, Nikki, Niko, Nikol, Nikon, Niilo, Nuno
  • Olli, Olujimi, Om
  • Phil, Philip, Phillip, Pio, Polly, Poppy
  • Yoko, Yuko, Yumi, Yumiko

I realize that QWERTY “handedness” is not a major baby-naming factor for most people, but I do think it would be cute to pair a one-handed name with another one-handed name — maybe a surname (Teresa Garza, Phillip Hill) or a twin name (Edward & John, Grace & Lily, Zara & Milo). What do you think?

How to pronounce Asian names

Yesterday I discovered the “Asian Name Pronunciation Guide,” which was created by California State Polytechnic University (Pomona) to help its students “more accurately pronounce some common Asian first and last names.” What a cool thing for the school to make available.

There are pages for names in Cambodian, Cantonese, Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Thai and Vietnamese. Best of all, most pages include audio files of native speakers correctly pronouncing selected names.

Here are all the first names listed:

Cambodian First Names & Pronunciations

  • Bopha, bohpah
  • Chanda, chahndah
  • Chandarith, chahnrit
  • Chhoun, choo-en
  • Dara Khan, dahrah kahn
  • Khan, kahn
  • Kosal, kohsahl
  • Kunthea, kunt-hee-ah
  • Lai, lah-ee
  • Lun Ang, loom-ang
  • Maly, mahlee
  • Map, mahp
  • Moeuk, mew
  • Pean, pee-in
  • Phalla, pahlah
  • Phireak, pee-re
  • Poew, pohew
  • Rith, rit
  • Ry, ree
  • Sarit, sahrit
  • Srey, sray
  • Soas, soo-uh
  • Socheat, sohjee-et
  • Soeun, sew-in
  • Sok, sawk
  • Somally, sawmahlee
  • Sopea, sohpeeah
  • Sophal, sohpahl
  • Sophat, sohpaht
  • Sophea, sohpeeah
  • Sopheap, sohpee-up
  • Suon, soo-in
  • Theary, t-ih-ree
  • Thy, tee
  • Tren, trayng
  • Vanna, wahnah
  • Vannak, wahnak
  • Vantha, wahntah
  • Veng Kim, wayng kum
  • Vuthy, wootee

Cantonese (Chinese) First Names & Pronunciations

  • Chi-Kung, chee-kahng
  • Chi-Man, chee-mahn
  • Ka-Ling, gah-leeng
  • Kok-Wing, kaw-wing
  • Lai-Ying, ly-ying
  • Mei-Yee, may-yee
  • Pui-Pui, puhyee-pahyee
  • Sau-Ha, sow-han
  • Shuk-Yee, suh-yee
  • Sin-Feng, sin-fuhng
  • Siu-Kao, seeyoo-kayoo
  • Tak-Wah, duh-wah
  • Wai-Keung, wy-kuhung
  • Wai-Ling, wy-ling

Filipino First Names & Pronunciations

  • Adelaide, ahdelydah
  • Angelita, ahngheleetah
  • Annal, ahnah
  • Antonio, ahntoneeyo
  • Aunor, awnor
  • Carlo, karlo
  • Catalina, kahtahleena
  • Dakila, dahkeelah
  • Dalisay, dahleesy
  • Diego, deeyaygo
  • Floricel, florreesel
  • Gemma, jemah
  • Guillermo, geelyermo
  • Honesto, ohnesto
  • Irma, irmah
  • Isabel, eesahbel
  • Ligaya, leegahyah
  • Liwayway, leewaiwai
  • Luningning, looningning
  • Lourdes, lordess
  • Magdalena, mahgdahleena
  • Manuel, mahnoowel
  • Maria, mahreeyah
  • Maricar, mahrikahr
  • Miguel, meegel
  • Norma, normah

Indonesian First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Ade, ada
  • Devi, day (silent y)-vee
  • Dewi, day (silent y)-we
  • Erlin, arleen
  • Fanny, funny
  • Farida, fareeda
  • Glenna, glenna
  • Harjanti, harjantee
  • Hartanti, hartantee
  • Ida, eda
  • Inge, enge
  • Lanny, lunny
  • Leony, leony
  • Liana, leeana
  • Liani, leeanee
  • Ratna, rutna
  • Shinta, shinta
  • Siska, sisca
  • Sri, seri
  • Sucianty, soocianty
  • Susanti, soosantee
  • Utami, utami
  • Vera, vera
  • Verawati, verawatee
  • Veronika, veronica
  • Widya, wedya
  • Widyawati, wedyawati
  • Yanti, yunti
  • Yenny, yenny
  • Yulia, yoolia
  • Yuliana, yooleeana
  • Yuliani, yooleeanee

Male Names

  • Ade, ada
  • Adi, adee
  • Agus, agoos
  • Ari (Ary), ari
  • Bambang, bumbung
  • Benny, banny
  • Budi, boodee
  • Deddy, deddy
  • Djaja (Djaya, Jaya), jaya
  • Doddy, doddy
  • Hadi, hudee
  • Hadian, hudeean
  • Hamdani, hamdani
  • Handoko, handoko
  • Hartono, hartono
  • Hendra, hendra
  • Hendri, hendori
  • Hengki (Hengky), hanki
  • Herman, herman
  • Indra, endra
  • Irwan, erwan
  • Ivan, evan
  • Iwan, ewan
  • Johan, johan
  • Ridwan, ridwan
  • Sonny, sonny
  • Sudirman, soodirman
  • Sudomo, soodoomo
  • Sugiarto, soogiarto
  • Suharto, sooharto
  • Suhendra, soohendra
  • Sukarno, sookarno
  • Suparman, sooparman
  • Surya, soorya
  • Suryadi, sooryadee
  • Susanto, soosanto
  • Teguh, taguh
  • Yandi, yundee
  • Yohanes, yohanes

Japanese First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Akiko, a-ki-o
  • Etsuko, eh-tsu-ko
  • Hiroko, he-ro-ko
  • Hiromi, he-ro-me
  • Junko, june-ko
  • Kaoru, ka-o-ru
  • Kazuko, ka-zu-ko
  • Keiko, keh-ko
  • Kuniko, koo-ni-ko
  • Kyoko, kyoh-ko
  • Mariko, ma-ri-ko
  • Masako, ma-sa-ko
  • Michiko, me-chi-ko
  • Miho, me-ho
  • Miki, me-ki
  • Miyuki, me-you-ki
  • Naoko, na-o-ko
  • Noriko, no-lee-ko
  • Reiko, reh-ko
  • Sachiko, sa-chi-ko
  • Takako, ta-ka-ko
  • Tomoko, to-mo-ko
  • Yoko, yoh-ko
  • Yoshiko, yo-shi-ko
  • Yuki, you-ki
  • Yumi, you-me
  • Yumiko, you-me-ko

Male Names

  • Akio, a-ki-o
  • Akira, a-ki-ra
  • Hideo, hi-de-o
  • Hiroshi, hi-ro-sih
  • Ichiro, e-chi-roh
  • Junichi, june-e-chi
  • Kazuo, ka-zu-o
  • Kenji, ken-ji
  • Kiyoshi, ki-yo-shi
  • Koichi, ko-e-chi
  • Koji, ko-ji
  • Makoto, ma-ko-toh
  • Osamu, o-sa-mu
  • Shigeru, shi-ge-ru
  • Shinichi, shin-e-chi
  • Shiro, shi-ro
  • Susumu, su-su-mu
  • Tadashi, ta-da-shi
  • Takao, ta-ka-o
  • Takashi, ta-ka-shi
  • Takeo, ta-ke-o
  • Takeshi, ta-ke-shi
  • Toru, toh-ru
  • Tsutomu, tsu-to-mu
  • Yoshio, yo-shi-o
  • Yuji, you-ji
  • Yutaka, you-ta-ka

Korean First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Eun-A, euna
  • Eun-Hee, eunhee
  • Eun-Ju, eunju
  • Eun-Jung, eunjung
  • Eun-Kyoung, eunkyoung
  • Eun-Mi, eunmi
  • Eun-Su, eunsu
  • Eun-Sun, eunsun
  • Eun-Young, eunyoung
  • Hye-Su, hiesu
  • Hyun-Ja, hyunja
  • Hyun-Ju, hyunju
  • Hyun-Jung, hyunjung
  • Hyun-Young, hiuniung
  • Jin-Sook (Jing-Suk), jinsuk
  • Kun-Sun, keunsun
  • Kyoung-Mi, kyungmi
  • Min-Hee, minhee
  • Min-Hoe, minhoe
  • Min-Jung, minjung
  • Min-Young, miyoung
  • Mi-Kyoung, mikyoung
  • Mi-Sun, misun
  • Mi-Young, miyoung
  • Na-Young, nayoung
  • Sang-Hee, sang/hee
  • Sang-Mi, sangmi
  • So-Young, soyoung
  • Sun-Hee, sunhee
  • Su-Jung, sujung
  • Young-Hee (Yung-Hee), young-hee
  • Young-Ja, youngja
  • Young-Mi, youngmi
  • Yun-Hee, iunhee

Male Names

  • Chang-Ho, changho
  • Chang-Su, changsu
  • Chang-Uk, chang-uk
  • Dong-Min, dongmin
  • Dong-Uk, dong-uk
  • Du-Ho, doho
  • Hyun-Su, hyeonsu
  • In-Ho, inho
  • Jang-Ho, jangho
  • Ja-Hoon, jahoon
  • Jong-Cheol (Jong-Chul), jongchul
  • Jong-Pil, jongpil
  • Jong-Su, jongsu
  • Jung-Hee, jeonghi
  • Jung-Hun (Jung-Hoon), jeonghun
  • Jung-Yeol, jung yeol
  • Ki-Hoon (Ki-Hun), kihun
  • Kwang-Ho, kuangho
  • Man-Su, mansu
  • Min-Ho, minho
  • Min-Ki, minki
  • Min-Kyu, minkiu
  • Min-Su, minsu
  • Sang-Ho, sangho
  • Sang-Ki, sangki
  • Sang-Kyu, sangkiu
  • Sang-Min, sangmin
  • Suk-Chul, sukchul
  • Sung-Uk, sung-uk
  • Yong-Su, youngsu
  • Young-Ho, young-ho
  • Young-Il, young-il
  • Young-Min, youngmin
  • Young-Su, youngsu

Mandarin (Chinese) First Names & Pronunciations

  • Chien, chee-en
  • Chiu, cheeoo
  • Di, dee
  • Du-Wah, doo wah
  • Fah, fah
  • Fong, fong
  • Jinho, rinho
  • Jong, rong
  • Ki, kee
  • Kwai, kwai
  • Lai-Ching, ly ching
  • Len, len
  • Li-Li, lee lee
  • Liang, lee ang
  • Li-Kung, lee kung
  • Lin, lin
  • Ling, ling
  • Li-Sheng, lee sheng
  • Mei, may
  • Riu, ree oo
  • Soon, suhn
  • Sung, sung
  • Wah-Tai, wah tahee
  • Wang, wang
  • Yung-Ling, yung leeng
  • Zhuo-Shing, choh sheeng

Thai First Names & Pronunciations

Female Names

  • Amporn, um-porn
  • Areya, ar-ree-ya
  • Budsaba, bud-sa-ba
  • Chompoo, chom-poo
  • Chompunut, chom-ou-nut
  • Duangrat, duang-rat
  • Intira, in-ti-ra
  • Jutharat, ju-ta-rat
  • Korrakoj, kor-ra-kod
  • Krittiga, krit-ti-ga
  • Nattaporn, nat-ta-porn
  • Nuntida, nun-ti-da
  • Orapan, or-ra-pun
  • Ornanong, on-a-nong
  • Patsaporn, pud-sa-porn
  • Pim, pim
  • Porntip, porn-tip
  • Pradtana, prad-ta-na
  • Premwadee, prem-wa-dee
  • Preyanutch, pre-ya-nut
  • Promporn, prom-porn
  • Sangrawee, sang-ra-wee
  • Sinee, si-nee
  • Sirirat, si-ri-rat
  • Sunisa, su-ni-sa
  • Suttida, soot-ti-da
  • Suwattanee, su-wat-ta-nee
  • Tidarat, to-da-rat
  • Utumporn, au-tum-porn
  • Vipada, wi-pa-da
  • Yada, ya-da

Male Names

  • Adirake, a-di-rake
  • Akkarat, aek-ka-rat
  • Chaowalit, chaow-wa-lit
  • Chayond, cha-yond
  • Chuan, chuan
  • Jettrin, jet-trin
  • Kiettisuk, kiet-ti-suk
  • Kittikorn, kit-ti-korn
  • Krit, krit
  • Ned, nade
  • Niwat, ni-wat
  • Nontawat, non-ta-wat
  • Pairote, pai-rote
  • Paradorn, pa-ra-dorn
  • Petch, petch
  • Pongrit, pong-rit
  • Pracha, pra-cha
  • Prakorb, pra-korb
  • Pramod, pra-mote
  • Prasopchai, pra-soap-chai
  • Sakchai, suk-chai
  • Sarawut, sa-ra-wut
  • Songpole, song-pole
  • Sunya, sun-ya
  • Surat, su-rat
  • Suttipong, sut-ti-pong
  • Thongchai, tong-chai
  • Tuksin, tuk-sin
  • Udom, au-dom
  • Vit, wit
  • Winai, wi-nai
  • Worrawut, wore-ra-wut

Vietnamese First Names & Pronunciations

  • Chi, chee
  • Cuc, kuk
  • Diem, yeeyim
  • Duc, duk
  • Dung, yuhng
  • Duong, yoong
  • Hanh, hahn
  • Ho, hoh
  • Hoa, hwa
  • Hong, howng
  • Hung, huhng
  • Lan, lahn
  • Liem, leeyim
  • Lien, leeyin
  • Loc, lowk
  • Mai, mah-ee
  • Minh, min
  • Nam, nahm
  • Nga, nga
  • Nguyet, nwyit
  • Pham, fam
  • Phu, foo
  • Thi, tee
  • Thien, teeyen
  • Tho, toy or tahoo
  • Thuy, twee
  • Tuan, twahn or twuhn
  • Tuyet, tweeyit
  • Viet, wee-et
  • Xuan, swuhn