You can also find Non-Western Name Conventions , a more academic description about naming.
A Japanese word consist of some syllables. There are 109 syllables, though "wi" and "we" are seldom used. The word "Shinkansen" can be be separated as "Shi-n-ka-n-se-n", thus a six-syllable word. There are only five vowels and fourteen consonants, very fewer than English.
Japanese grammar is some complex.
Because it is impossible explain Japanese grammar fully in this page,
I'll show some of most features.
First, Japanese has no apparent subject. In many case subject is omissioned.
Second, Japanese has no distinction of the singular and the plural.
Third, a Japanese sentence is determined at its end. The sentence "Kimi wa machigatte iru" means "You are wrong," and "Kimi wa machigatte inai" means "You are not wrong."
In short, expressions in Japanese are noncomittal and ambiguous, so the language Japanese is not suitable for logical discussion. Instead, it is full of words which express subtle emotion.
The language Japanese bases on the special character set called kanji . Kanji is the ideographic characters that originated in ancient China, and has been used in Chinese, Korean and Japanese. The word "kan-ji" means "Chinese (kan) character(ji)." There are more than 6,000 different kanji, but two thirds of them are rarely used. Each of them have its meaning and pronunciation. There are also the other two letter sets, hiragana and katakana , which is unique to Japanese. Different from kanji, it is phonogram. A hiragana/katakana represents a syllable.
Type I a i u e o ka ki ku ke ko sa shi su se so ta chi tsu te to na ni nu ne no ha hi fu he ho ma mi mu me mo ya yu yo ra ri ru re ro wa Type II ga gi gu ge go za ji zu ze zo da de do ba bi bu be bo Type III pa pi pu pe po Type IV kya kyu kyo sha shu sho cha chu cho nya nyu nyo hya hyu hyo mya myu myo rya ryu ryo gya gyu gyo ja ju jo bya byu byo pya pyu pyo Type V nAll Japanese words, including Japanese names, consists of the syllables aboce.
However, many Japanese prefer to write in the western style, the personal name first and the family name last, when they write in English today. So you would see many Japanese names such as Akira Kurosawa , Akira of the Kurosawas .
This often make you confuse.
The names of historical figures are almost written in family-personal order,
and names of modern people are written in personal-family order.
But not always.
Some people capitalize their family name, such as Gen-ichi NISHIO , Gen-ichi of the Nishios .
A Japanese has no middle name today.
Anyone have only a personal name and a family name.
Historical figures before 19th century often had many middle names, representing their occupation etc.
The emperor has no family name. He has only his personal name, such as Hirohito , Akihito and so on. Members of the royal family also don't have their family names. When a woman married with a member of the royal family, she lose her personal name.
Until 19th century, only the noble and bushi (samurai)
had family names. All other people, including farmers, merchants, craftmen,
had only personal names.
When the Edo Shogunate fell in 1853,
the new government of Meiji decided that all people must have
family names .
Until then, 80% of the Japanese people had no family names.
Most of women didn't have their family names, eigher. Even a daughter of bushi , she had only her personal name. This was because a woman couldn't be a successor of her house.
Kaga, Date, Maeda, Kuki, Asai, Shibata, Kato, Takeda, Saito, Honda, Ii, Tanuma, Ooka, Miyamoto, Suwa, Hattori, Chosokabe, Ukita, Mori, Ishida, Fukushima, Oda, Kuroda, Hachisuka, Okubo, Watanabe, Takigawa, Murakami
Sane-, -Yoshi-, -Tada-, -Ie-, -Tsuna-, -Yasu-, -Yori-, -Mochi-, -Taka-, -Kane-, -Tomo-, -Nobu-, -Naga-, -katsu-, -Toki-, -Masa-, -Mitsu-, -Hisa-, -Hide-, -Toshi-, -Sada-, -Kuni-, -Aki-, -Shige-, -Nori-, -Mune, -Uji, -Mori, -TsuguFor example, Yorihisa , Kanemori , Sanetoki
There was a wide variety for a low-ranked bushi . Ichiro (the first son), Jiro (the second son), Saburo (the third son), Shiro (the fourth son), Goro (the fifth son), and their variation such as Chojiro , Kanzaburo , Heishiro , Daigoro etc. were commonly used. -Emon, -Ji, -Zo, -Suke, -Be are also common such as Kuemon , Hikozaemon , Goemon , Heiji , Heizo , Kinnosuke , Kanbe , Hyobe , Denbe etc.
Their names were similar to those of low ranked bushi .
Sei, Shizuka, Tomoe, Masako, Ichi, Yodo, Kasuga, Nene, Koi, Tsukiyama, Matsu, Tama, Tara, Man, Sen, Yoshi,The word hime means ``princess,'' so a woman named Koi could called Koihime if she was noble and not married yet.
Hoshun-in, Kenbai-in, Kensei-in, Koudai-in
fuka-(deep), asa-(shallow), mae-(front), yoko-(side), nishi-(west), kita-(north), higashi-(east), minami-(south), ao-(blue), aka-(red), kuro-(black), kiyo-(pure), iwa-(rock), ishi-(stone), matsu-(pine wood), sugi-(cedar), take-(bamboo), -ki-(tree), -ita-(board), yone-(rice), -hayashi-/-bayashi(woods), -ue/-kami(upper), -shita/-shimo(lower), -hashi-/-bashi-(bridge), -mori-(forest), -tsuka-(ballow), -mizu-(water) -moto-(near), -naka-(in),-uchi-(in), -yama-(mountain), -oka-(hill), -saka-(slope), -no-(plain), -ike-(pond), -kawa-(river), -tani-(valley), -sawa-/-zawa(creek), -numa(marsh), -hata-/-bata(cropfield), -ta-/-da(ricefield), -shima-/-jima(island), -mura-(village), -saki-/-zaki(cape/edge)
Eichi, Gen-ichi, Jun-ichi, Ju-ichi, Ken-ichi, Koichi, Kyoichi, Ryoichi, Ryuichi, Seiichi, Sen-ichi, Shin-ichi, Shoichi, Shuichi, Shun-ichi, Yoichi, Yu-ichi,And -ji suffix means ``the second son,'' -zo does ``the third son,'' such as, Eiji, Shunji, Ryozo, Senzo .
Akikazu, Hidekazu, Hirokazu, Masakazu, Nobukazu, Shigekazu, Takakazu, Tomokazu, Toshikazu, Yasukazu, Yoshikazu
There are other Japanese male names.
Akihiko, Akihiro, Akihito, Akira, Fumio, Fumihiko, Hideaki, Hidekazu, Hirofumi, Hirohisa, Hiroshi, Hisashi, Hitoshi, Jotaro, Katsuhiko, Katsumi, Kazuhiko, Kazuki, Kazunori, Kazuo, Kazushi, Kei, Ken, Kensaku, Kosaku, Kotaro, Mamoru, Manabu, Masafumi, Masaharu, Masahiko, Masahiro, Masaki, Masami, Masao, Masashi, Masayoshi, MasayoshiAkio, Michihiro, Michio, Naoki, Noboru, Nobuhisa, Nobuo, Nobuyoshi, Noriaki, Norihide, Norihisa, Norio, Osamu, Rintaro, Ryosei, Ryutaro, Satoru, Satoshi, Shigeaki, Shigeki , Shintaro, Sumio, TMasayuki, Tadao, Tadashi, Takaaki, Takafumi, Takahiro, Takao, Takashi, Takayuki, Takeshi, Takuya, Taro, Teruo, Tetsuhiko, Tetsunori, Tetsuo, Tetsuya, Tetsuyuki, Tomohiko, Tomoyuki, Toru, Toshiharu, Toshio, Toshiyuki, Tsutomu, Yoshifumi, Yoshimitsu, Yoshiyuki, Yukio, Yutaka
Aiko, Akiko, Asako, Atsuko, Ayako, Chikako, Emiko, Eriko, Etsuko, Fujiko, Fumiko, Haruko, Ikuko, Junko, Katsuko, Kazuko, Keiko, Kimiko, Kumiko, Kyoko, Machiko, Maiko, Makiko, Mamiko, Mariko, Masako, Mayako, Mayuko, Mayoko, Michiko, Mihoko, Minako, Misako, Mitsuko, Miyoko, Momoko, Mutsuko, Nahoko, Namiko, Nanako, Naoko, Natsuko, Nayoko, Noriko, Reiko, Rieko, Rikako, Rinako, Risako, Ritsuko, Rumiko, Ryoko, Sachiko, Saeko, Sakiko, Sakuko, Sakurako, Sanako, Satoko, Sayoko, Shoko, Seiko, Tadako, Takako, Tamiko, Tokiko, Tomiko, Tomiko, Yoko, Yoshiko, Yukako, Yukiko, Yumako, Yumiko, Yuriko, Yutsuko
Some female names end -Mi suffix, which means ``beauty.'' Such as,
Ami, Asami, Emi, Harumi, Honami, Kazumi, Kumi, Manami, Mami, Masami, Masumi, Mayumi, Mutsumi, Nami, Nanami, Naomi, Narumi, Natsumi, Nomi, Remi, Romi, Satomi, Yumi
There are some other names and what the name (usually) means.
Ai (love), Akane, Aki, Arisa, Ayame (sweet flag flower), Chiaki, Chika, Chisato, Ema, Eri, Fumi, Fumie, Fumiyo, Hatsue, Hatsuyo, Hitomi (eye), Ikue, Isako, Izumi (fountain), Jun (pure), Katsue, Kazue, Machi, Madoka, Mai (dance), Maki, Mari, Maya, Mayu, Mayo, Megumi (charity), Miho, Mina, Mio, Misa, Misato, Miya, Mizuki, Naho, Namie, Namiyo, Nana, Nao, Narumi, Natsumi, Nozomi (hope), Rie, Rina, Risa, Rui, Sachi, Sae, Saki, Sakura (cherry), Saya, Sayuri, Sayo, Shinobu (perseverance), Shiori, Tamiyo, Tokie, Tokiyo, Yayoi (March), Yu, Yui, Yuka, Yukari, Yuki, Yuma, Yuri (lily), Wazuka