Top 200+ Japanese Boy Names and Their Meanings

japanese boy names

Japanese boy names offer a unique and personalized way to choose your little one’s moniker. If you have Japanese heritage, you might consider a traditionally male name or perhaps one with a unique, cute, or cool meaning for your baby boy. By combining different kanji characters, you can create your own moniker that’s as unique or adorable as your new arrival! To help inspire you, we’ve rounded up 220 of our favorite Japanese names for boys, along with offering a mini-lesson on the traditions behind these names.

Traditions Behind Japanese Male Names

When choosing a Japanese name for your baby boy, perhaps it helps to better understand the traditions behind the baby-naming process in Japan. Maybe you’re already familiar with these cultural norms, but if not, the following might help you choose the right name and understand the meanings behind Japanese male names.

Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana

Japanese names typically use kanji, a set of characters with Chinese origins and Japanese pronunciation. These characters provide a visual representation of the name and are quite complex, but parents can also use hiragana and katakana instead, which are simpler ways of writing kanji. For example, the Japanese boys’ name Haruto looks like this when written with kanji: 晴斗. However, you could write it more simply with hiragana, which looks like this: はると. And in katakana, it’s even more simplified: ハルト.

Characters, Meaning, and Pronunciation

Once a parent decides whether to use kanji or the simplified hiragana or katakana, they’ll choose the characters, meaning, and pronunciation, which tends to vary. Japanese names for boys and girls use more than 3,000 kanji characters, combining them to create the monikers and meanings. That’s a lot of names, so you’ve got plenty of options! Characters Though parents can just use one character in their child’s name, many opt for two or three kanji to make the name more personal. Four-character names are typically reserved for the eldest son in the family, so your firstborn may need a long Japanese male name! Meaning Japanese parents combine kanji to create the meaning of their child’s name. Kanji can have multiple meanings, which can also change based on how they’re combined. Take the name Daiki for example:

  • The Japanese character dai can mean “big” or “great.”

  • And when combined, the character ki can mean “brightness,” “tree,” and “valuable,” among other interpretations.

So, the name Daiki can mean “big brightness,” “great brightness,” “great value,” and so on.

Pronunciation Just as the meanings of names for boys in Japanese can vary, so can the pronunciation. Common and traditional names have well-known pronunciations, but many parents share the spelling and sound of their child’s name, as unusual kanji combinations can create unexpected sounds. And since the 1990s, it’s become popular to use uncommon pronunciations even for more typical names. Take the kanji 大翔, for example:

  • It has a traditional pronunciation of KHEE-RO-TOH, which many parents still use.

  • But it also has other sounds, including HA-ROO-TOH like the name Haruto and MAH-SAH-TOH for the name Masato.

For our list of Japanese names for boys, we included the most common pronunciation, but keep in mind that you can choose others—just remember to give people both the spelling and sound if you choose a more unfamiliar pronunciation.

Popular Japanese Boy Names

If you want a trendy Japanese name, you can look at the top baby boy names in the United States and also at what’s making waves in Japan. Of all the current popular monikers in Japan, two appear in the top 1,000 names in the United States: Kenzo and Kenji. Otherwise, we included other typical and trendy names that have topped the charts (and continue to do so) in Japan. 1. Kenzo. The most popular Japanese boy name in the United States, at least in recent years, is Kenzo, traditionally spelled Kenzō. It makes a good choice for a Japanese American boys’ name, and you might associate it with the fashion brand founded by designer Kenzō Takada. The kanji ken can mean “humble,” “healthy,” “strong,” and “wise,” and zo means “three.”

2. Kenji. Another good option for a Japanese American boys’ name, Kenji is the second most popular Japanese male name in the United States. Among other interpretations, ken can mean “healthy,” “strong,” “sharp,” and “sturdy,” and ji means “two.”

3. Aoi. This Japanese boys’ name is pronounced with three syllables (A-O-EE), and the most popular meaning is “hollyhock” or “althea.” However, ao can also mean “green” or “blue,” so there are other possible interpretations.

4. Aoto. You can pronounce this cute moniker as AH-O-TO. One of the more common meanings is “blue constellation,” in which ao means “blue,” and to refers to a constellation in Chinese.

5. Haruto. Popular, common, and cute, the Japanese boys’ name Haruto offers quite an adorable meaning. Pronounced HA-ROO-TO, the name combines haru, which can mean “light, sun” or “clear weather,” and to, which can mean “fly, soar” or refer to a Chinese constellation.

6. Hinata. Pronounced KHEE-NA-TA, this is the perfect name for your little ray of sunshine. The more common meanings of the name’s kanji combination are “sunny place,” “toward the sun,” and “sunflower.” There are quite a few Japanese boy names meaning “sun,” but with so many interpretations, this one might be a favorite!

7. Minato. Though rarer than other popular Japanese boy names on this list, Minato (pronounced MEE-NA-TO) has been used for decades, resurfacing from time to time. It means “harbor.”

8. Riku. Riku, pronounced REE-KOO, combines two kanji to form the typical meaning of “land.” If you’re interested in other international names, you might like to know that Riku is also the Finnish short form of Richard.

9. Sota. If you like the idea of nature baby names, you might consider Sota, traditionally spelled Sōta and pronounced SO-TA. So can mean “sound of the wind” and ta “big, great.”

10. Yuto. Though Yuto is a popular spelling, the traditional way of writing this Japanese boys’ name is Yūto. Pronounced YOO-TO, it has a fairly cool meaning, as yu can mean “excellence, superiority” and to “soar, fly.”

Choosing a baby name can be fun yet also overwhelming. Watch this video for some exciting facts that could help you find the perfect baby name!

Unique and Rare Japanese Boy Names

To help your little one stand out from the crowd, consider unique Japanese boy names. Unique baby names offer rare sounds and spellings and haven’t been topping the popularity charts in quite some time. You can choose among the following names for boys in Japanese for something that's unique and perfectly suits your one-of-a kind little guy. 11. Akimitsu. This unusual boy name is perfect for your shining star. Pronounced A-KyEE-MEE-TSOO, it’s an excellent option among Japanese boy names meaning “light,” as the kanji combination creates the interpretation of “bright light.”

12. Hanzō. The traditional spelling and notable bearer are what make this a unique Japanese boys’ name. Pronounced HAWn-ZO, the name was borne by a famous sixteenth-century samurai. It combines han and to mean “half” and “to hide,” respectfully.

13. Isamu. This could be the perfect Japanese guys’ name, as it simply means “brave.” Pronounced EE-SA-MOO, it may be familiar to you as the name of the artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi.

14. Jun’ichi. Use this rare Japanese boys’ name for your unique little guy, as it combines the kanji jun, meaning “pure,” with ichi, meaning “one.” You can pronounce it JWOOn-EE-CHEE.

15. Ken’ichi. Similar to the name above, Ken’ichi is also a unique option, pronounced KEWn-EE-CHEE. Like Kenzo and Kenji, it combines ken, meaning “strong, healthy” or “study, sharpen,” with ichi, which means “one.”

16. Kōji. Pronounced KO-ZEE, this is a unique yet strong Japanese male name. Ko can mean “prosperous,” “peace,” or “happiness, good luck.” And when combined, ji can mean “boss.”

17. Minoru. You might like the unique meaning behind the name Minoru, pronounced MEE-NO-ROO. A favorite interpretation is “to bear fruit,” so your little boy will surely have success and good fortune!

18. Naomi. Though Naomi is one of the most popular Japanese girl names, it’s unisex, so it also works for boys. For any gender, nao is typically interpreted as “straight, direct,” but mi traditionally means “beautiful” for girls and “self” for boys.

19. Ryōsuke. Unique in spelling, this name typically uses the meaning “clear” for ryō and “help, assist” for suke. For pronunciation, you have two options: RyO-SOO-KEH or RyO-SKEH.

20. Yasu. If you’re wondering what Japanese boy names mean “calm” or “peace,” Yasu is one of them. Pronounced YA-SOO, it can mean “peace, quiet” or simply “peaceful.”

More Unique and Rare Japanese Boy Names

There are so many unique Japanese boy names, some with rare sounds and others as favorites from past generations. Check out the unusual names below.

Common Japanese Boy Names

What is a good Japanese name for a boy? The answer to this question will depend on your personal opinion, but you might consider common Japanese boy names to be among the best choices for your son. They fit somewhere between popular and unique, offering an old-fashioned vibe that never seems to go out of style. 31. Arata. This common Japanese boys’ name has the cute meaning of “fresh, new,” so it’s perfect for your new arrival. It’s pronounced A-RA-TA.

32. Fuyuki. Perhaps you’ve seen this Japanese male name before, as it’s quite common. Pronounced FOO-YOO-KEE, its most traditional meaning is “winter” and “tree.”

33. Hikaru. Pronounced KHEE-KA-ROO, Hikaru means “light” or “brightness,” though the kanji combinations can create other interpretations. It’s a fairly common gender-neutral name.

34. Osuke. With the cute pronunciation of OH-SOO-KAY, this name offers a sweet meaning of “cherry blossom” and “to help.”

35. Ren. This sweet old-fashioned boy name is making a comeback and is certainly a cute Japanese American boys’ name. It means “lotus” or “love.”

36. Ritsu. Common and cute, Ritsu is pronounced REE-TSOO and is the perfect moniker if you’re a family of lawyers, as it means “law” or “being upstanding.”

37. Shuto. If your baby boy is born during the wintertime, you might like the Japanese name Shuto, pronounced SHA-TOH. Its kanji combination creates the meaning “holly” and “winter.”

38. So. If you want a simple baby name with a short and sweet meaning, consider So, which is pronounced just as it looks, SOH. It means “fresh,” so your little one will always be ready for anything!

39. Tatsuki. In some cultures, trees signify wisdom and strength, so consider the Japanese boys’ name Tatsuki if you want to channel that for your son! Pronounced TAT-SOO-KEE, it means “tree” and “to signify honesty.”

40. Touji. Another name that works well for winter baby boys is Touji, which means “winter solstice” in Japanese. It’s pronounced TOH-JEE.

More Common Japanese Boy Names

These common Japanese boy names have been used by families for decades and are good choices if you're searching for a classic moniker for your son. For even more common favorites, keep reading the list below.

Cool Japanese Boy Names

Whether you’re after edgy first names or cool middle names for boys, consider a Japanese moniker. From hip meanings to edgy sounds, these Japanese boy names will give your little one a cool vibe. 51. Banri. Pronounced BAN-RyEE, this Japanese name for boys has the cool meaning of “thousands of miles.” It’s a good moniker to use to wish your little one an adventurous life.

52. Haru. Haru, pronounced HA-ROO, just sounds cool! Though its kanji stands on its own, the name can be a nickname for the popular moniker Haruto. Haru means “light, sun,” “spring,” or “clear weather.”

53. Hikari. There are plenty of names for boys in Japanese that mean “light,” and this is one of them. But what adds to its cool factor is the pronunciation of KHEE-KA-REE.

54. Kaede. You could use this as a Japanese American boys’ name, as it looks similar to the name Kade but with a slightly different spelling. But if you prefer the traditional name, Kaede is pronounced KA-EH-DEH in Japanese and means “maple.”

55. Kaito. If you think the sea and sky are pretty cool, then the name Kaito might be a good option. It’s pronounced KA-EE-TO, with kai meaning “sea, ocean” and to meaning “fly, soar.” This is also an option if you’re looking for Japanese boy names meaning “water” or some form of water.

56. Kei. This is a good example of a single kanji name with numerous options for meanings, as kei can mean “intelligent,” “gemstone,” and “congratulate,” among other interpretations. If you enjoy the spelling and are interested in other languages, you might like the Hawaiian boys’ name Kai.

57. Masao. The unique spelling is what puts this moniker into the cool category for Japanese boys’ names. Plus, it’s pronounced MA-SA-OH and can combine its kanji to mean “proper hero.”

58. Nori. The most common interpretation for the kanji nori is “ceremony, rites.” Though pronounced NAW-ree in the United States as a nickname for Eleanor, in in Japanese, Nori is pronounced NO-REE.

59. Ryō. It doesn’t get much cooler than a Japanese boy name that means “cool.” Ryō (pronounced RyOH) can mean “cool, refreshing,” among other interpretations.

60. Taro. Traditionally spelled Tarō, this name is pronounced TA-RO. It’s a pretty cool boys’ name and since ta can mean “big, great” in Japanese and to can mean “son,” you’ve got a “great son.”

More Cool Japanese Boy Names

We really can’t get enough of these cool Japanese boy names, with their hip sounds and edgy meanings. Check out more below!

Short and Long Japanese Boy Names

Because of the traditions behind Japanese names for boys, monikers tend to be long, with multiple kanji, or short, with just a singular kanji. We’ve rounded up some of the best names for boys in Japanese, both short and long. 71. Akio. Though a short baby boy name, Akio offers quite a few interpretations. Aki typically means “bright, luminous,” and when combined, o can mean “man,” “male,” “hero,” and more.

72. Hideyoshi. Something interesting about Japanese male names is that they can appear to be quite long, but that’s because they simply combine names. In this case, you have the name Hide, meaning “excellent, outstanding,” combined with Yoshi, meaning “good, virtuous” or “good luck.” Together, the name is pronounced KHEE-DEH-YO-SHEE.

73. Hirohito. For a long and sweet Japanese boys’ name, you’ve got Hirohito, pronounced KHEE-RO-KHEE-TO. It has a very nice meaning of “abundant” and “compassionate” or “person” by combining hiro and hito.

74. Kazuyuki. This long baby name might have one of the best meanings on our list of Japanese boy names! Kazu means “harmony, peace,” and yuki means “happiness, good luck.” It’s pronounced KA-ZOO-YOO-KyEE.

75. Nao. Short and simple, Nao is pronounced NA-O and means “straight, direct.”

76. Nobutoshi. Nobutoshi, pronounced NO-BOO-TO-SHEE, is a long name with an appealing meaning. Nobu can mean “trust,” and toshi typically means “quick, clever.”

77. Shin. For a singular kanji name, you could go with Shin, pronounced SHEEN. In Japanese, this boys’ name means “real, genuine.”

78. Shin’ichi. If you like the name and meaning of Shin above but prefer a longer Japanese name for your baby boy, consider Shin’ichi. It’s pronounced SHEEN-EE-CHEE and combines shin (“real, genuine”) with ichi, meaning “one.”

79. Shō. This is another singular name with a few different options for meaning. Pronounced SHO, it can mean “soar,” “glide,” “prize,” or “reward,” among other interpretations.

80. Yori. Yori, pronounced YO-REE, is an excellent option for a sweet Japanese name for your baby boy. It simply means “rely upon,” and being reliable is an admirable character trait to have.

More Short and Long Japanese Boy Names

Japanese names for boys seem to offer two choices: short and long! So, we’ve included a few more mini monikers and long titles for you to consider.

Cute Japanese Boy Names

Your adorable baby boy certainly deserves a cute name, and there are plenty of sweet options in Japanese. These cute Japanese boy names offer sounds and meanings that will pull at your heartstrings.

91. Asuka. This is a unisex Japanese name with an adorable meaning. Pronounced A-SOO-KA or A-SKA, the name combines asu, which can mean “tomorrow,” “fragrance,” or “to fly,” with ka, meaning “bird.”

92. Daigo. With a cute pronunciation of DA-EE-GO, this Japanese boys’ name is already a winner. But it also offers an adorable meaning: “big, great” and “enlightenment.”

93. Fuyutake. Pronounced FOO-YOO-TA-KAY, this Japanese boys’ name has a cute meaning inspired by nature. Fuyu can mean “winter,” and take can mean “bamboo.”

94. Haruo. If your little baby boy is born in spring, consider this Japanese name, as it means “springtime man.” It also has a cute pronunciation, HA-ROO-OH.

95. Isao. Another cute and short option, Isao is pronounced EE-SA-OH and means “virtue” or “honor, merit.”

96. Kohaku. The cute sound of this Japanese boys’ name is what makes it truly adorable. It’s pronounced KO-HA-KOO and means “amber,” so it’s a good choice if your baby is born in November, as amber is the month’s birthstone.

97. Kōki. If the spelling and sound of this cute Japanese boys’ name isn’t quite enough, you might also love the meaning. Pronounced KO-KyEE, can mean “light” or “happiness, good luck,” and ki can mean “hope” or “brightness.”

98. Shoichi. For a sweet name for your little one, consider Shoichi, pronounced SHO-EE-CHEE. Sho means “iris” and ichi means “one.”

99. Touwa. Touwa has too many great interpretations—it’s hard to choose the best meaning! Pronounced TO-WAH, tou can mean “winter” or “wisteria,” and wa can mean “feathers” or “peace, harmony.”

100. Yoshi. Yoshi might be the ultimate cute Japanese boys’ name, as it simply means “good luck.” If you liked Nintendo as a kid, you might remember Yoshi as the cute dinosaur and trusted sidekick of Mario and Luigi in Super Mario World.

More Cute Japanese Boy Names

Your little one may very well need a cute Japanese boy name that means “pure” or “dream and vision,” so here are a few more options for you to consider.

Pretty Japanese Boy Names

In Japanese culture, it’s not unusual to give a male a pretty first name, whether in sound or meaning. We think you’ll love the following Japanese boy names, which have beautiful and pretty meanings and simply roll off the tongue. 111. Akemi. Besides its pretty sound, as it’s pronounced A-KEH-MEE, Akemi also has the perfect meaning of “bright” (ake) and “beautiful” (mi). Another interpretation for this gender-neutral Japanese name is “natural beauty,” which your little one will surely have!

112. Atsuki. There are plenty of interpretations for the pretty Japanese boys’ name Atsuki, but among the most beautiful are “warmth” and “hope.” It’s pronounced AT-SOO-KEE.

113. Haruka. Pronounced HA-ROO-KA, this is another name that has lots of choices for meaning. The prettiest interpretations might be “spring” for haru and “flower, blossom” or “fragrance” for ka.

114. Jun. For a simple yet pretty Japanese boys’ name, consider Jun, another gender-neutral option. Pronounced JOON, it can mean “pure,” “moisture,” or “clean.”

115. Michi. Not only pretty but also quite common, Michi is another gender-neutral Japanese name. Pronounced MEE-CHEE, it has the beautiful meaning of “path.” Surely your new arrival has created a new path for you!

116. Noriaki. The sound of this name is what makes it so pretty, as it’s pronounced NO-REE-A-KyEE. Nori can mean “law” or “rule, ceremony,” and aki can mean “bright, light, clear.”

117. Soma. Traditionally spelled Sōma and pronounced SO-MA, this name combines so and ma to create the pretty meaning of “sound of the wind” and “genuine, real.”

118. Touya. If you like the sweet calmness of the dusk or a starry sky, you might enjoy the name Touya, pronounced TOH-YA, which simply means “evening, night.”

119. Yoshiharu. Combining two names, Yoshiharu can mean “goodness” and “spring,” which is fitting considering spring brings us lots of good things! It’s pronounced YO-SHEE-HA-ROO.

120. Yukiya. This pretty and cute Japanese boys’ name, pronounced YOO-KEE-YA, is an excellent choice for your son. Yuki can mean “happiness” or “snow,” and ya is often used as an exclamation. So, your little boy is “happiness!” Or he’s “snow!”

More Pretty Japanese Boy Names

Because of the many ways to combine kanji, the list of pretty Japanese names for boys is nearly endless! We couldn’t leave out names meaning “good luck” and “peace, calm,” so here are more beautiful monikers.

Powerful Japanese Boy Names

Strong boy names are aplenty in Japanese. You’ll find numerous kanji combinations that create powerful meanings for your strong baby boy!

131. Akira. This strong Japanese male name means “bright” or “clear,” so your little one can use his clear mind to lead him! It also has the nice pronunciation of A-KyEE-RA.

132. Chihiro. Pronounced CHEE-KHEE-RO, this powerful name combines chi, meaning “thousand,” and hiro, meaning “fathom.”

133. Daiki. All the kanji combinations for Daiki make this a powerful Japanese boys’ name. Pronounced DA-EE-KyEE, dai can mean “big, great,” and when combined, ki can mean “brightness,” “tree,” or “valuable.”

134. Fuyuto. If you think winter is a powerful season, this might be the name for you. Fuyuto, pronounced FOO-YOO-TOH, means “winter” and “ascend, rise.”

135. Haruya. Another nature-inspired Japanese boys’ name with the meaning “spring,” Haruya takes it a step further with ya, which is either an exclamation or means “also, more.” So, the power of spring is intensified!

136. Hiro. As a unisex Japanese boys’ name, Hiro (pronounced HEE-RO) is an adaptable name choice. Besides sounding like the word hero, which already gives this name strength, it also has the powerful meanings of “abundant,” “generous,” and “prosperous.” If you were a fan of the TV series Heroes, you might think of the character who could time travel and stop time.

137. Kazuo. If you’re after a Japanese boys’ name with a deep meaning, consider Kazuo, pronounced KA-ZOO-O. Kazu can mean “peace, harmony,” and when combined, o can mean “man” or “male.” So, your little one is a “peaceful man.”

138. Masashi. Another strong choice is the name Masashi, pronounced MA-SA-SHEE. Masa can mean “government,” and when combined, shi can mean “will, purpose.”

139. Shuji. Short and simple, Shuji means “govern, rule.” It’s pronounced SHOO-JEE.

140. Toya. Pronounced TOH-YA, the first part of this name (to) means “wisteria.” But what gives Toya its strength is the meaning behind ya, which is “arrow.”

More Powerful Japanese Boy Names

Keep those strong Japanese male names going with the following monikers, some with very powerful meanings, such as “victory,” “trust,” and “eternal.”

Numerical Japanese Boy Names

Many Japanese boy names indicate the order in which a son arrives, such as first son, second son, and so on. All you need to do is combine the kanji ro, meaning “son,” with the kanji for each number. Though not many families have 10 sons, if you enjoy this idea, you can still use the first handful of names! Here are the numerical names for the first through the tenth son: 151. Ichiro. Ichi means “one,” so Ichiro, pronounced EE-CHEE-RO, is the perfect Japanese name for your first baby boy! The traditional spelling is Ichirō, and you might think of Ichiro Suzuki, a former professional baseball player who famously broke rookie records during his first year with the Seattle Mariners.

152. Jiro. For your second son, you could go with Jiro, as ji means “two.” It’s pronounced JEE-RO and is traditionally spelled Jirō.

153. Saburo. Since sabu means “three,” Saburo (or Saburō) works for your third son. It’s pronounced SA-BOO-RO.

154. Shiro. The fourth son in the family might be given the Japanese boys’ name Shiro, traditionally Shirō. Pronounced SHEE-RO, shi means “four” and, of course, ro means “son.”

155. Goro. Goro continues the numerical theme, as go means “five,” so it’s a good option for a fifth son. The spelling and pronunciation make this a cute Japanese boys’ name, as it’s pronounced GO-RO. You can also use the traditional spelling, Gorō.

156. Rokuro. Keep counting with Rokoru (or Rokorō), pronounced RO-KOO-RO, for your sixth son. Ro means “six.”

157. Shichiro. Your seventh son can have the name Shichiro, as shichi means “seven.” It’s pronounced SHEE-CHEE-RO whether you use the traditional spelling of Shichirō or this more common spelling.

158. Hachiro. If you’ve made it to eight sons, consider Hachiro, pronounced HA-CHEE-RO. Hachi means “eight,” and you can use Hachirō as a more traditional way of writing the name.

159. Kuro. Ku simply means “nine,” so you can use Kuro or Kurō for a ninth son. It’s pronounced KOO-RO.

160. Juro. Lastly, the tenth son traditionally received the name Juro (Jūrō), as ju means “ten.” It also comes with a cute pronunciation, JOO-ROO.

Even More Japanese Boy Names

If you can’t get enough of these popular, common, unique, cute, strong, cool, and edgy Japanese boy names, we’ve included more below!

The Bottom Line

Like Korean boy names, Japanese names for boys offer a unique cultural naming technique. Finding the perfect moniker for your new arrival can be a challenging task, but with names for boys in Japanese, you can almost create your own by combining different kanji and choosing personalized meanings and sounds.

For even more ideas and inspiration, check out our list of Asian names for boys.

If you’re interested in other languages and cultures, you might want to check out our list of Irish boy names or Italian boy names. Whatever name you choose, it’ll be the right one, as you and your little guy are already bonding, and you know what’s best. As you make the big decision, don’t forget to download the Pampers Club app so you can get rewards for all those future diapers purchases that little Jun or Kenji will need!