Need some advice on Japanese names

Hello everyone!

A friend of mine is a writer and asked me for some feedback on some male Japanese names for a character. My friend doesn’t really speak Japanese much beyond the basics, and even though I’m N2 I don’t have a lot of intuition about naming conventions.

The idea is that my friend is from Kentucky from a farm called Fox Run (as in “creek”) and wants to pay homage to this in the name of a character. He mentioned using things to represent Kentucky as the bluegrass state and the use of river or fox in there somewhere. I guess even though his writing will be in English, he’d still like the kanji to work out. Shrug.

I figured I’d bounce some things off you guys. The family name seems easiest to do first, and I’ve had a couple of ideas:

  1. 青草 (あおくさ) - Seems like a natural enough choice. Hitting directly on “bluegrass” with this one. I’ve seen it in the names of places and stuff like that, but I’ve never met anyone with this as a name. I guess it could be possible though?

  2. 青原 (あおはら) - Another actual place, so it could be alright. In any case, I certainly find it more euphonious than 青草. Also considered 青ヶ原 (あおがはら) by analogy to the real forest 青木ヶ原 (あおきがはら).

  3. 狐川 (or 河 maybe?) (きつねかわ) - Seems creatively possible by analogy with the millions of other 川 names. Some people on the internet have seemed to use it as well. I’m not sure if 川 is even used for bodies of water smaller than a river like “creek,” but it doesn’t seem to be too big a point of contention.

For first names I’m pretty at a loss, since I’m terrible at reading unfamiliar ones even on a good day, but here are two I came up with off the top of my head.

  1. 狐太郎 (こたろう) - By analogy to the real name 小太郎 using the こ reading of 狐 which apparently exists in some uncommon words (not that I know any of those…) I have a feeling using 狐 this way will mostly come across with heavy オタク cringe though, but I don’t have the sensibility to tell. Also, this is the only male given name I know with こ in it, not こう sooooooo…

  2. 狐泉 (こせん) - Now, I don’t think こせん is a real Japanese name per se… but it exists at least in some other forms, I guess a good example of which is 弧線 (こせん). So I think the creativity of getting “fox” and “some kind of water feature” could outweigh the practicality of a real name. I don’t know anymore, I’m spitballing.

Thinking through all that, I kind of think 青原 狐泉 seems like an ok (ish) choice, but what do I know.

So, any kind of advice or suggestions you could give on these names or others you could think of is very appreciated! I think some of these are kind of crazy, but with more キラキラ names floating around these days it’s hard for me to tell what a native would be willing to accept or just trash on😂 The goal I guess is finding a creative name while cutting down on the イタい factor.

よろしくお願いいたします!

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I dont have any real input, but 孤独 (こどく)is a common word and uses the こ reading. こたろう would have been my first guess for that name, but I’m not Japanese of course.

Jisho thinks so, though doesn’t specify a gender. Kanji is 古川, but you could replace the 古 with 狐 for the wordplay. こせん without kanji is the stage name of a “freelance radio personality” in Kansai.

That’s not 狐, though.

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Well that’s interesting to know! I remember seeing 古川 on Jisho when I was first looking into it, but I didn’t want to accidentally bungle into some nonsense. Good to know about the guy in Kansai though…so maybe it’s not so insane after all! For fiction at least, maybe that’s all the proof I need to say it’s real enough.

Ah, fair enough, i misread