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problems with the name Ren 2010/12/16 16:53
Hi all. I am expecting a baby girl and my husband is Japanese. I was in love with the name Wren for a girl because it can be easily pronounced in Japanese, as Ren happens to mean ''Lily'' which is just lovely.
However I recently was told by a Japanese friend that Ren is first off, a BOY's name, and secondly, is "showy", like a rock-star or anime name (thats her exact words). I'm not sure if that is her personal opinion or if that is a common perception of that name in Japan... so I would like to hear others' thoughts on Ren, and also.. is it really off-limits to a GIRL? Would it sound as bad as a girl named Logan or Barett or something?
Thanks for the input. (apologies to any Logans or Baretts out there)
by V (guest)  

... 2010/12/16 18:39
My name just happens to be Logan Barett and I am mortally offended :p

Just kidding.

I personally think Ren is a cute name for a girl.
It is perhaps unique but that's a good thing. It doesn't immediately bring to mind any imagery that would lead to her being bullied because of her name though I don't know about links to anime characters.

I personally like the name.
by kyototrans rate this post as useful

Ren Honjo, blood-type A 2010/12/16 18:56
Being a fan, of course, the name Ren immediate reminds me of the popular girl's manga "Nana"'s main character and punk guitarist who accidentally smashed himself into his old brick warehouse resident with help of his drug habits.

He is in fact probably the most popular character in this story. A typical warm-hearted messed up rocker, unlike the cold-hearted businessman Takumi the bassist of the band.

I don't know about "lily," but Ren, when written as 蓮 as it is for the "Nana" character, means "lotus." I think it's a beautiful name.

I also don't think there is any sort of "off-limits" for a girl's name. I've heard of Akira and Seitaro, so what's the big deal about Ren? It is indeed a boyish name, but I think it's cool.

Up to the parents.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Ren 2010/12/16 19:48
I'm kinda partial to Ren as a girls name and I don't think its particularly boyish, as I've met a few Rens of either gender.

Actually Logan as a girls name sounds pretty normal to me too, but if you're gonna name your girl Barett perhaps Beretta would be a better choice ;)


By the way, Lotus are commonly known as Water Lilys in English so that's where the Lily translation comes from.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

. 2010/12/16 23:45
I am not familiar with Japanese anime but I like the name Ren (蓮). It is very pretty. There are some unisex names; Hiromi, Hikaru, Masumi, etc, so it depends on a personal taste. I think Ren is a beautiful name for a girl. I like Wren as well.
by Ikuyo Kuruyo (guest) rate this post as useful

thanks! 2010/12/17 05:49
Thanks for the comments! I'm glad to hear that it can be a unisex name after all.
I'm worried if it might be somewhat "flashy" after all though, especially after someone posted those links to that dolfie thing, and an anime. It's not a too-cool-for-school kind of name that only celebs and cartoon characters have, is it??
This calls to mind a little boy I know who is named "Talon".. and as he is neither a crimefighter nor action-figure, his name is ridiculous. Or how about a little girl I know named "Storm". Just awful.. I always ask her mom when she's going to have a boy so she can name him Magneto.
by V (guest) rate this post as useful

I know a "storm" 2010/12/17 07:27
and yes, I think if you call a girl "Storm" you couldnt be surprised if she became an exotic dancer. I like "Ren", I've seen it in a couple of J-dramas. I've also seen it in "Ren and Stimpy", one of the grossest cartoons of all times but I wouldnt let that dissuade you.
by Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2010/12/17 21:36

Water lilies! Good reminder. Thanks.


If Ren is a "too-cool-for-school" name, you'd be surprised to know the hundreds of new names that teachers have trouble reading correctly!
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Beautifull O-Ren! 2010/12/21 10:34
Ren i ssuch a nice name for a girl and especially for a Japanese Girl! my wife's Japanese, our baby girl is now nearly 3 months, and this is one of the names we had chosen before she was born. Ended up with another name but it's cute, might sound a little rare and showy to some Japanese but you'll always find people to contest any sort of name and that goes for the untire planet!
by shirohito rate this post as useful

Ren 2010/12/21 13:48
According to the pregnancy/baby magazine I bought just this week, Ren is the most popular boy's name for 2010 according to the source they used, so definitely not just a "rockstar name" these days.

While I think it is a fairly unisex name, given the popularity as a boy's name you would have to consider that your daughter might be one of several Rens in her year at school, but possibly the only girl- if you are fine with this, then go for it.

I think most people would translate Ren as lotus rather than lily- Yuri is the name that people usually seem to translate as lily. The Lotus Sutra in Buddhism is "renge kyou" in Japanese, for example.

We are having a boy so have considered Ren for him, but two things put us off- a) the popularity, and b) I can't shake the image of Ren the really unappealing chihuahua in Ren and Stimpy...
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

both 2010/12/22 14:46
Just reminds me of Masakazu Katsura's coming Video Girl Ai(電影少女 愛) and its sequel Video Girl Ren (電影少女 恋).
So it's not exclusively a boy's name.

Also, if you've seen the flick Kill Bill, one of the female villain's name is O-ren played by Lucy Liu. ("O-" is attached to girls' names sometimes (like Otsu from Takehiko Inoue's "Vagabond")

Honestly never met a Japanese guy named "Ren" and yes, it would almost certainly make me giggle as I would remember Ren & Stimpy's Ren Hoek!
by jmarkley rate this post as useful

about the name being a rockstar... 2010/12/24 22:55
About the name being a ''rockstar'' name,
there is a group called ''Vocaloid''
in which one of the singers is named ,Rin,with her brother ''len''
but not Ren with a 'e'.
But Ren is very nice name indeed. =)
by Geo0 rate this post as useful

Thanks for all the great feedback!! 2010/12/25 06:32
Thanks for the great feedback everyone! I'm going to name her Wren as planned but I feel 100% better about the jpese counterpart now! You've convinced me :D

Merry Christmas to everyone out there!!
by V (guest) rate this post as useful

@ Sira 2010/12/25 06:34
By the way Sira, I actually ADORED Ren&Stimpy as a kid so the name association doesn't ruin it for me! lol thanks
by V (guest) rate this post as useful

names 2010/12/25 08:57
That's good then! Wren is a lovely name.

I wish you a happy and health pregnancy :-)
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

How about an alternate spelling? 2011/2/16 09:14
I went by Ren in sixth grade, because of Ren Stevens (I was a big fan of the Disney channel). But I hated it when people brought up Ren & Stimpy, as someone else here already has, so watch out for that. This nickname is a good one for me. But "Rin" would be even more appropriate considering how my name is spelled.

And "Rin" is what I would like to talk about here. It's the spelling for a girl's name! So you can get around the fact that "Ren" is a boys name. In English, I would pronounce it like "Wren" and it's close enough by the Japanese pronunciation as well.

I really recommend spelling it like that. But it IS an anime name.
- Rin from Inuyasha is spelled in Hiaragana (りん)
- Rin from Naruto is spelled in Katakana (リン)
- and I found this kanji on Behind the Name: (凛) which also tells me that it's a girl's name. And gives the meaning as, "dignified, severe, cold"

That meaning isn't very desirable. But Rin from Inyuasha is the complete opposite of those traits! You should do an image search for her. She's an incredibly sweet, cute, unprejudiced girl and I think she'd make a great namesake, honestly.

But if you've already named your child 'Ren' that's perfectly OK too. I'm kind of offended on your behalf at the reaction you got from the person in your first post. That was incredibly rude of her to be so judgmental!
by Catherine (guest) rate this post as useful

r and l 2011/2/16 13:53
I think Ren is a beautiful name, regardless of the gender thing.
Only thing to be cautious of...
I know some Native English speakers who have had a baby with Japanese person tend to avoid any names with R and L, B and V etc because it causes confusion for pronunciation and spelling mistakes for family and friends etc.
Japanese possesses one liquid consonant, a flap that varies between lateral [ɺ] and central [ɾ]. English has two: an alveolar lateral approximant /l/ and rhotic consonant of varying phonetic properties centered around [ɹ] that is generally represented as /r/.
The Japanese "れ" is strictly somewhere between /re/ and /le/ (although many agree closer to /re/ in most pronunciations.
Since Len is also a name be prepared for the confusion and mix ups...if that doesnt bother you then great.
by gilesdesign (guest) rate this post as useful

Ren is a real cool name for girls 2011/4/6 07:47
Hi. I'm native Japanese and I think it's really cool to name a girl Ren or Wren. 蓮 looks crisp and beautiful. れん would be cute and nice. No, it won't be sounding too rock-star. Wish you and your baby good luck!
by Passer-by (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2011/4/14 05:56
I agree that Ren is not a common name for girls. Wren is nice, it's a kind of bird. But it can sound like "wrench."

You can always name her Renée, which I think is a beautiful name, and use "Ren" as her nickname. There! Problem solved :).
by dew (guest) rate this post as useful

Maybe~ 2011/4/17 23:40
Ren is considered a boy's name, but I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Think about English names that are traditionally masculine or feminine but are applied to both, like Ashley or Kelly.

For all you know, there could be an unusual cultural tradition that switches names. A Chinese belief (I don't know how common this is) is that if the first born son dies, then evil spirits are after the sons. So, all male children from that point on are called feminine names to deceive them.

A similar practice occurs in tribes in Africa; names that translate to "Ugly" or "Mean" are the norm. It's believed that if you name your child something like "Love" or "Hope", then bad spirits, looking to destroy love and hope, will kill your children.

That has nothing to do with anything, but I just thought I'd share~

Ren is a cute name, though.
by Andrew (guest) rate this post as useful

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