Home
Back

Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Illegal Names 2013/2/26 15:15
I was wondering what the implications of naming your foreign-born child an illegal name (see below) and then moving to Japan would be.

Besides the massive public outcry, e.g. people being surprised at the name or the like, what would happen? Could you sign that name on official documents? If you took up permanent residence would they make you change it? Just curious.



"...in 1993 two parents who tried to name their child Akuma (, which literally means "devil") were prohibited from doing so after a massive public outcry."
by Daniel (guest)  

Re: Illegal Names 2013/2/26 16:37
Besides the massive public outcry

Of which there will most likely be none

e.g. people being surprised at the name or the like, what would happen?

People would probably be surprised but would also likely assume its a name of foreign origin.

Could you sign that name on official documents?

Most likely yes, but I imagine you might have to use katakana for your official name, and might be prevented from taking a kanji alias if its offensive enough.

If you took up permanent residence would they make you change it?

PR doesn't involve changing your name. If they were to consider citizenship then it might be a different story. I wouldn't be surprised if you were prohibited from taking offensive kanji as a name in this case.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/2/26 18:01
In 1993, the municipal office didn't approve his name.
But if the boy named "Akuma", I think he has no problem.

They said "The name make fun of him,
we are afraid he will be teased by other kids in the school. So parents should not give their child such name".
In Japan, some think there is a social problem that many children named strange/nontraditional name called "Kira-kira name"(means sparkling/dazzling name) in recent years.

Remember then no-one said "Kill the boy who have cursed name"!
by ajapaneseboy rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/2/26 22:00
Is there a list of approved names for children?

For me -as a foreigner- Akuma has no negative meaning, simply because I did not know the translation. Kira, on the other hand, thanks to the anime Death note and that it sounds like killer, would sound negative to me.

A name that tops my list for a -as of yet non existant- daughter, has always been Ronja. One of the very few names that you could write in hiragana (maybe even in kanji) without butchering it and taking the next thing that almost ,but not really, sounds like it. Any opinions on that name for a girl from a Japanese viewpoint?
by fatgermanbloke rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/2/26 22:17
fatgermanbloke,

Is that pronounced "ro-n-ya" or "ro-n-ja," about the last part "ja" - if it is "ja" as in "Japanese," there is a word in Japanese by that sound, meaning "the person who argues/discusses." Does not really sound like a girl's name.

There are approved kanji for names, but not a list of names.
by AK (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/2/27 00:04
Sorry, in other words...
If you are named "Akuma" and move to Japan, you have no problem.
Your Japanese friends will say "Hey, your name means devil in Japanese, so cool!" or something.
That's all.

At first, when you make your Japanese name, some Japanese advise you
"If it's pronounced Eikuma, Akuuma or something, maybe those are better than Akuma, if you want to be inconspicuous? But Akuma is very easy to learn, so it's not bad."
If your name is Akuma, the municipal office will approve it.

BTW, I have heard some Finnish name are a bit funny in Japanese.
Aho: idiot
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esko_Aho
Ahokas: idiot and dregs
JariKuri: managing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jari_Kurri
Mauri Ukonmaanaho was the president of Nokia Japan.
by ajapaneseboy rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/2/27 01:57
So essentially it's just a matter of the offensive kanji. As long as you were to spell it in Katakana there wouldn't be a problem? Interesting.

Thanks for all the helpful answers everyone!
by Daniel (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/2/27 05:35

...and name "Mika" is for males in Finland instead for females. "Ari" is also a male name. There are surprising amount of homonyms between Finnish and Japanese languages.

Anyway, I don't think having a original name that has a bad meaning in Japanese be a problem for immigrants. Giving one for a child born in Japan would obviously be prohibited.

Speaking of bad names... there is a ice-hockey player in U.S. called Miroslav Satan, and I don't think anyone demands him to change his name... even in such christian fundamentalist country like U.S.
by kodama (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/2/27 10:44
... even in such christian fundamentalist country like U.S.

...Only because the party they belong to is also against government regulation ;)
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/2/27 21:09
Is that pronounced "ro-n-ya" or "ro-n-ja," about the last part "ja" - if it is "ja" as in "Japanese," there is a word in Japanese by that sound, meaning "the person who argues/discusses." Does not really sound like a girl's name.

Is there a difference in pronounciation between ja and ya? I honestly can't tell.

And a name which means "one who argues" is pretty much spot on for a girl. Just don't ever quote me on that :D

Names are funny like that. A name that is utterly normal for a boy to have, can be a girl's name just one country away. And the other way around. Happens a lot in Europe.
by fatgermanbloke rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/2/28 03:09
I think names like Akuma is not precisely illegal, but can be considered as child abuse. If you are already grown up, the government won't force you to change your name at the immigration office.
by jomonstrider rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/3/1 18:51
"there is a ice-hockey player in U.S. called Miroslav Satan, and I don't think anyone demands him to change his name"

That is because his name is actually not Satan, but Šatan. :) which is pronounced like sha - ta - n (like Japanese pronunciation)
by nogalo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/3/1 19:14
However he pronounces it, he would not be required to change his name.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/3/2 00:24
Let me get this straight.

Daniel, you're not saying that the child would have Japanese nationality nor would his/her name be officially registered in Japanese in any way, right?

Hey, the most traditional Japanese name for eldest sons would sound like a potato in a lot of countries. You can't try to get all names to sound internationally proper.

And if memory serves me right, Akuma's parents were in fact a Japanese father and a foreign mother. That was one of the reasons the father insisted on the name. He seemed to have very unconventional views.

But this father happened to be quite an eccentric fellow. Back then when he was on TV all the time, we were easily able to imagine that the city hall clerk's boss was concered about the innocent newborn's future and tried to do his/her best to protect the baby from any jokes his peculiar father was inviting.

So it's not that this specific name was illegal, but it was more that the name may have had too many disadvantages for this child's rights. And there was a law suit. It would probably have been a totally different story if the child was old enough to speak for himself.

In other words, Daniel, your non-Japanese child may come to Japan some day and people might think, "Hmm, funny name." but that would be it. And then (s)he might grow up and one day decide to become Japanese and go to the city hall to register a new Japanese name. Then the clerk might say, "Are you sure?" and then your grown child would say, "Yes, I am sure." and the name would be accepted.

http://d.hatena.ne.jp/higonosuke/20050920
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/3/4 16:07
Have you seen this page:

http://www.turning-japanese.info/2010/07/faq-do-you-have-to-take-japan...

Seems the Akuma technically isn't illegal, but was discouraged in this specific case due to the history of one of the parents (as mentioned it was deemed a form of child abuse).
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Illegal Names 2013/3/5 04:44
@fatgermanbloke

actually kira doesn't have to mean killer, kira kira also means shiny/sparkly as to why they say kira kira names(showy).
by morrgmorg rate this post as useful

Legal Names 2013/3/6 15:31
And Lord Kira Kozukenosuke is too famous a legal name. He's still got ancesters.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

reply to this thread