Japanese Name - Professional Names

Professional Names

Actors and actresses in Western and Japanese dramatic forms, comedians, sumo wrestlers, Western-style professional wrestlers, and practitioners of traditional crafts often use professional names. Many stage names of television and film actors and actresses are unremarkable, being just like ordinary Japanese personal names, but a few are tongue-in-cheek. For example, Kamatari Fujiwara (藤原 釜足) chose the name of the aforementioned founder of the Fujiwara family, while Hino Yōjin (日野 陽仁)'s name sounds like be careful with fire (although written differently). Many stand-up comics like the duo Beat Takeshi and Beat Kiyoshi choose a Western name for the act, and use their own (or stage) given names. Writers also tend to be clever about their names, for example Edogawa Rampo which is designed to sound like "Edgar Allan Poe".

Sumo wrestlers take wrestling names called shikona (醜名 or 四股名). While a shikona can be the wrestler's own surname, most upper-division rikishi have a shikona different from their surname. A typical shikona consists of one, two or three kanji. Often, part of the name comes from the wrestler's master, a place name (such as the name of a province, a river, or a sea), the name of a weapon, an item identified with Japanese tradition (like a koto or nishiki), or a term indicating superiority. Often, waka indicates a wrestler whose father was also in sumo; in this case, the meaning is junior. Wrestlers can change their shikona, as Takahanada did when he became Takanohana (貴ノ花) and then Takanohana (貴乃花). Another notable example is the wrestler Sentoryu, which means fighting war dragon but is also homophonous with St. Louis, his city of origin.

Geisha and practitioners of traditional crafts and arts such as pottery, the tea ceremony, calligraphy, irezumi (tattooing) and ikebana (flower arranging) often take professional names. In many cases, these come from the master under whom they studied. Kabuki actors take one of the traditional surnames such as Nakamura (中村), Bandō or Onoe. Some names are inherited on succession, such as that of the famous Kabuki actor Bandō Tamasaburō V (五代目 坂東 玉三郎 Godaime Bandō Tamasaburō) through a naming ceremony.

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Famous quotes containing the words names and/or professional:

    “Well then, it’s Granny speaking: ‘I dunnow!
    Mebbe I’m wrong to take it as I do.
    There ain’t no names quite like the old ones, though,
    Nor never will be to my way of thinking.
    One mustn’t bear too hard on the newcomers,
    But there’s a dite too many of them for comfort....’”
    Robert Frost (1874–1963)

    Never be intimidated when you deal with men. Curse, don’t cry.
    Anonymous, U.S. professional woman. As quoted in Aspirations and Mentoring in an Academic Environment, ch. 4, by Mary Niles Maack and Joanne Passet (1994)