Relationship between Japanese names and seasons


Category : Culture, Language

Japanese names and seasons

I learnt an English term “summer baby”. There is a similar thing in Japan which  some Japanese people are named after seasons in which they were born.

“Haru” means “spring”. Some spring babies might get a name like “haruhiko”, “haruka” and so on.

“Natsu” means “summer”. Some summer babies might get a name like “Natsumi”, “Natsuki”…

“Aki” means “fall”. Some fall babies might get a name like “Akiko”, “Akihiko”…

“Fuyu” means “winter”. Some winter babies get a name like “Fuyu”, “Fuyuko”…

However, even if someone’s given name has the sound of either one (haru, natsu, aki, fuyu), it doesn’t necessarily mean the season.

If someone’s given name has one of the these characters (Kanji) below, it means he/she was probably born in that season.

春=haru=spring
夏=natsu=summer
秋=aki=fall
冬=fuyu=winter

These characters can be read differently (in names too).

e.g. 春=syun 夏=ka 秋=syuu 冬=tou

Do you know “Haruki Murakami”? He is a novelist. His Japanese name is 村上 春樹 in Japanese name order. His given name has “春” (haru). However, his birthday is January 12th. In the old calendar, January was spring. I guess this is why his given name has “春”.

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