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surname question 2021/9/27 22:39
This is my first time doing something like this. I am hoping to know more about my family's last name and I cant seem to find what I'm looking for. I was born in the U.S and raised here but I am...I guess multiracial? I am not sure but that isn't important. My grandmother was Japanese and my mother was mixed. My father is white so I feel pretty removed from my mother's side of the family but I am hoping someone can tell me what the Kanji characters of my grandmother's Surname mean. It was Ryusaki and while I know the kanji for it I would like to know its 'break down'. I'm too embarrassed to ask my aunts and uncles and my grandmother and mother have passed away. I've visited them a couple of times but haven't been able to see them in a couple of years and we barely call or text. I just would like to know more about my family's name before I visit them again, I think that it would be nice and make me feel more connected to them.

Sorry if this is long or weird I've never done this and my cultural background is pretty sensitive since I live in a pretty backwoods town in America. If anyone could help that would be great -please be kind <3
by alli (guest)  

Re: surname question 2021/9/28 08:41
Well whatever you have found using Google is about as much as what anyone here could tell you.

You should ask family as they will be able to tell more like family history and or old living family conditions back in Japan.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: surname question 2021/9/28 09:28
“Ryuzaki” can be written in a few different ways in kanji - for example, 龍崎 and 竜崎, these two would be the most common ways, but there are others. Is yours one of these two?
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: surname question 2021/9/28 10:03
It is not a common name. It is difficult to know without more info. But Ryusaki (or Ryuzaki), if written 竜崎 or 龍崎, could have originated near the city of Ryugasaki (龍ヶ崎 or 竜ヶ崎)in present day Ibaraki Prefecture.

Ryu means dragon. Saki means small peninsula.

Search of 竜崎 as a name resulted in few people, known enough to have an entry in Wikipedia, go by Ryuzaki. There was an actor named Katsu Ryuzaki.
by kamahen (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: surname question 2021/9/28 11:54
I think you had better understand that kanji used for a name can be different depending on families at first. For example, a name pronounced as 'Asada' can be 浅田 or 朝田. Then meaning can be different even if it sounds the same, like homophone words.

龍崎 came up in my mind as well when I read your question. I had a classmate called 龍崎 when I attended a school in Japan. However, it was 'Ryuzaki' in his case, and I don't think it means 'break down' even if it was 'Ryusaki'.

I think you can get exact answer if you know what kanji is used in your case. If you are sure it is 'Ryusaki', I suggest you to search it especially Kyusyu people as the name something+saki tend to be Kyusyu origin.
by A (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: surname question 2021/9/28 12:11
Excuse me, I misread your post, you didn't say that your name meant 'break down', I should take a nap..
by A (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: surname question 2021/9/28 13:01
「It was Ryusaki and while I know the kanji for it I would like to know its 'break down'.」

Since you say you already know the kanji, what do you mean by "break down?"
If you're curious as to the meaning, Ryusaki, which could be written as either 龍崎 or 竜埼, would mean "dragon point" ("point" as in the tip of a shoreline or peninsula).

If you're wondering why your family's surname is Ryusaki, that's probably not something anyone could answer for sure without speaking to them directly. Since the "saki" part of Ryusaki can refer to a point on the shoreline of either a river, lake, or ocean, pretty much any place in Japan that's near a body of water could potentially be the reason for your family's name. Folktales and legends about dragons are also fairly common in Japan, and in Japanese mythology they're often associated with the element of water, so unfortunately "dragon + point" doesn't really narrow down the number of possible inspirations for your family's name.

As someone mentioned, though, there is a town in Ibaraki Prefecture called Ryugasaki which is written with similar kanji, 龍ケ崎. The "ga" / ケ portion is sort of a filler with no particular meaning, so it's possible that your family has roots in the area, but it's also possible that it could be an unrelated coincidence.

All that said, Ryusaki is a fairly uncommon surname in Japan. According to Myoji Yurai.net, an online surname database, there are less than 1,000 people in Japan with the surname Ryusaki if it's written in kanji as 龍崎, and only about 1,500 if Ryusaki is written as 竜崎. For both of them, the site says "The surname has its roots in Tatsuzaki Village [this Tatsuzaki was written with the same kanji, 竜崎, as one of the possible kanji combinations for Ryusaki], which was located in Hitachi Province (present-day Ibaraki Prefecture), on land given by Emperor Tenji to Nakatomi Katamari (founder of the Fujiwara Clan)." It also says that most of the people alive today with the surname Ryusaki live in either Ibaraki, Chiba, Tokyo, or Kanagawa Prefectures.

But again, "dragons" and "points" come up frequently in Japanese folklore/geography. For example, there's also a neighborhood called Tatsuzaki in the town of Tamakawa in Fukushima Prefecture, and even a Ryuzaki Onsen hot spring on the coast of Oshima Island in Yamaguchi Prefecture (linguistically, both Ryuzaki and Ryusaki are possible pronunciations of 竜埼).

So if you're looking for the significance of the surname Ryusaki in how it relates specifically to you family, you'll probably have to ask one of your Japanese family members. You mention that you haven't been in contact with your aunts and uncles for quite some time, but I can't imagine they'd be upset if you were to contact them and say you're interested in learning more about your cultural heritage from their side of the family. If you're curious, a pretty standard way to politely apologize for not keeping in touch with someone in Japanese is "Gobusata shiteori, moshiwake gozaimasen" / ご無沙汰しており、申し訳ございません ("I apologize for my long silence"), and the fact that the Japanese language has a set phrase for the situation shows it's something that happens in Japan too, so assuming you're not on actively hostile terms with your Japanese side of the family, it's probably worth a shot trying to get in touch with them if you want to learn more.
by . . . . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: surname question 2021/9/28 14:13
There are numerous possibilities as to what kanji can be used for a surname that sounds the same. Moreover, you can only "assume" the meaning of a surname, because you need to go search trivial history to pinpoint the true origin of the surname. For example, do you know what the surname "Jones" means? You can assume, but you can't be so sure.

If you can turn to your relatives, I strongly encourage you do while you can. Humans are not immortal, I'm afraid. Maybe you can start by asking if they have old photos or even a copy of a koseki (official registration). It's know big deal. They'll just think you finally became interested in family history.

Meanwhile, have you tried searching ancestry websites?

You can find copies of passenger lists of ships that came from Japan, or copies of censuses, by typing in whatever you know about the person.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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