Emperor Hirohito = Emperor BigPerson?

That’s not what I meant. Sure Smith has a meaning, but as a surname it does not denote a real smith. It’s just a name derived from a noun. The meaning is not the same. In fact, I would argue, that names don’t even have meanings as such. Unless you are maybe an indigenous American and your name is Sitting Bull and similar. But even then, I have no way of knowing how those people perceive names.

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Interesting name, hachiken. Around here in Ireland we get names that mean ‘sea warrior’ and ‘churchgoer’. My own last name means ‘lord’ in Irish, which is a rather unpleasant hierarchical term in my mind and is probably part of the reason why I try to make silly jokes about Emperor BigPerson. Am I a ‘lord’? Heaven forbid, I’m an anarchist in fact. But it does remind me of the land I’m in, in a subtle way.

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Fair enough. When you apply Smith to a person who is not a smith, the name itself is not an indicator of the life’s profession of the person who owns it. But actually I myself do have a Native American name which indicates who I am, so I am more likely to wonder if Emperor BigPerson is really a thing, and if the etymology and the meaning might match up as it has in my own life experience. Clearly it isn’t, but this was interesting nevertheless

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Just a generalized comment. My husband is Japanese and on our spring trip to Japan (with me full of newly learned kanji), I was full of questions about everything I could even halfway read. Sitting on the train and reading the names of places was interesting. I was trying to make connections between the kanji/name and the meaning of the kanji. I wanted to figure out why that name would work. More often than naught, he simply accepted it as the name without consideration of any meaning.

In our native languages, whatever they are, I’m guessing we also overlook the meaning connection with names. When kanji is used for a name, it just seems more obvious to me.

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Well yeah, etymology-wise the names originate from some familial clan of long ago (and many presumably to do with rice farming eg. 山田、田中、石田、本田 etc.) but these days they don’t attach any meaning to those family names. The name is just a name to them.

I know it’s common practice for the authors of manga to attach surnames of significance to their characters such as 水無 in Aria and 坂道 for the mountain climbing bike racer in Yowamushi Pedal for example, but I’ve had the conversation with a few Japanese people where I ask " So the kanji in your surname means…" and their response is usually “It’s just a name.”

On the other hand their individual given names (I won’t say “first name” because that can get confusing) are a completely different story. A mother wanting a happy child might name her daughter 幸子 (さちこ)for example.

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I for one am glad that “Scunthorpe” doesn’t have any meaningful etymology.

Or does it? :scream:

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It’s also worth mentioning to the OP as a beginning student of kanji, that names, both place names and people’s names, often have distinctive, even idiosyncratic readings, compared to those same kanji used as words.

In other words, just because you know the kanji in someone’s name doesn’t mean you necessarily know how to pronounce it. and likewise, knowing how someone says their name gives no certainty about how to write it, particularly first names.

My son’s name, for example is 真人 meaning true person. As a word, it would be read しんじん. But his name is read まこと. But other people with the name 真人 might be called しんじん, まひと, まさと, and others. And other people called まこと might have their name written as 万琴, 信人, 惇渡, and many others.

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Everything’s got some kind of etymology. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Wow, you learn something new every day!

Now do this one:

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My wife’s family name is 所, which certainly means something, but seems awfully vague, and no one (in her family at least) knows what the story is.

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Clearly they were born in… Place.

77b

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But is the reading for that ところ or something entirely different?

My dumb theory is that sometime in antiquity, when an ancestral patriarch
was given a census form, rather than admitting illiteracy, he just copied a kanji from a different part of the form and gave it back.

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Yes, ところ. Apparently a fairly common name in Gifu prefecture.

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“裕仁”
“abundant virtue”
kanji matters…
there are a lot of homophones in Japanese (words that sound the same with different meaning, kanji differentiates these words)

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are there interesting kanji combinations for ねも?

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Try it.

Easy bar bet money.

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For ねも, Jisho found “李嶺” and “嶺李”.
For にも, Jisho found “新萌” and “仁望”.

I was curious about this and did some snooping around. It turns out that there is an actor named George Tokoro (from Tokorozawa, Saitama) who is the voice of Homer Simpson in the Japanese dubbing of The Simpsons Movie…

Yes, 所ジョージ has been around as a comedian and TV talent for many years. He was one of the omnipresent celebrities on TV even from the first time I went to Japan in 1990. 所ジョージ, however, is his stage name.