Did you know that it is possible to write your name in kanji(ideogram), even if your name is not Japanese? Anyone who studies Japanese knows that it is common to use katakana to write foreign names, but there is no problem writing your name in kanji. This is actually a lot of fun because you choose ideograms that give your name a certain meaning.
It's okay to write foreign names using kanji, because before there was katakana there was only kanji. Take the Chinese language for example, it only has ideograms. Of course, if you're going to write your name on a daily basis, it's better to use katakana. But have you ever thought how your name would look with kanji? Which kanji and which meanings to choose? In this article, we'll teach you how to do just that!
Choosing Kanji for your name
Choosing kanji for your name is not an easy task. Japanese ideograms have many ways of reading, the readings of the names may be different from what you learned when studying that kanji. Remembering that you will not change your name, you will just use the syllables of your name written in katakana and find kanji that fit to replace them.
You should also be careful not to choose a female or male kanji. It is not easy to define whether or not an ideogram is appropriate for your name, pay attention to the meaning and decide whether or not this kanji is appropriate for you. Another problem is that it has ideograms that are not common to use in names, not to mention its standard reading and the reading of a different name, so be careful.
Where to find the correct ideograms? We recommend that you visit the website jisho.org and do a syllable-by-syllable search of your name in the category names from the website. There you will find all the kanji with their correct reading used in names along with the meaning in English.
This is another way to write your name in Japanese, and give it real meaning. It is worth remembering that this is not your official name, so it is not recommended sign documents with it, some Japanese may confuse the reading.
Another alternative to Jisho is the website kanjizone.com where you simply write your name in English and it presents suggestions of ideograms and their meanings for you to form your name. It's very easy and practical.
How did I choose my name?
I only learned that it is okay to use kanji in my foreign name when a Japanese family asked me and suggested that I choose kanji for my name. I used jisho to find kanji and read them, with the help of the Japanese I got the following results:
- My name is Kevin (ケビン or ケヴィン).
- 計敏 – ke (計) means plot, plan, scheme, measure. / bin (敏) means smart, agile and alert;
- 花敏 – ke (花) – means flower;
I liked the meaning of my name. I stayed with these two options because the Japanese started to say that using [花] was a little feminine, but then later they said it was okay. Of course, there are several other ideograms with other meanings to choose from, but it's not easy.