Japanese Name - Structure


The majority of Japanese people have one surname and one given name with no middle name, except for the Japanese imperial family, whose members bear no surname. The family name - myōji (苗字 or 名字), uji (氏) or sei (姓) - precedes the given name, called the "name" - (名前 namae) or "lower name" (下の名前 shita no namae). The given name may be referred to as the "lower name" because, in vertically written Japanese, the given name appears under the family name.

Historically, myōji, uji and sei had different meanings. Sei was originally the matrilineal surname. Later it became granted only by the emperor. There were relatively few sei, and most of the medieval noble clans trace their lineage either directly to these sei or to the courtiers of these sei. Uji was first used to designate patrilineal descent, but later merged with myōji around the same time sei lost its matrilineal significance. Myōji was, simply, what a family chooses to call itself, as opposed to the sei granted by the emperor. While it was passed on patrilineally, one had a certain degree of freedom in changing one's myōji. See also Kabane.

Multiple Japanese characters have the same pronunciations, so several Japanese names have multiple meanings. A particular kanji itself can have multiple meanings and pronunciations. In some names, Japanese characters phonetically "spell" a name and have no intended meaning behind them. Many Japanese personal names use puns.

Some few names can serve either as surnames or as given names (for example Mayumi 真弓, Kaneko 金子, Masuko 益子, or Arata 新). In addition, to those familiar with Japanese names, which name is the surname and which is the given name is usually apparent, no matter which order the names are presented in. This thus makes it unlikely that the two names will be confused, for example when writing in (say) English using the order family name, given name. However, due to the variety of pronunciations and differences in languages, some common surnames and given names may coincide when Romanized: e.g., Shoji (昌司, 昭次, or 正二?) (given name) and Shoji (庄司, 庄子, 東海林, or 小路?) (surname).

Japanese names have distinct differences from Chinese names through the selection of characters in a name and pronunciation. A Japanese person can distinguish a Japanese name from a Chinese name by looking at it. Akie Tomozawa, author of "Japan's Hidden Bilinguals: The Languages of 'War Orphans' and Their Families After Repatriation From China," said that this was equivalent to how "Europeans can easily tell that the name 'Smith' is English and 'Schmidt' is German or 'Victor' is English or French and 'Vittorio' is Italian".

Read more about this topic:  Japanese Name

Other articles related to "structure":

Book Of Revelation - Content - Literary Structure
... In terms of literary structure, Revelation consists of four visions, each involving John “seeing” the plan of God unveiled, with an epilogue that ... In terms of content, the structure of Revelation is built around four successive groups of seven the messages to the seven churches the seven seals the seven trumpets and the seven bowl judgments ... Strand asserts that symbols and phrases of Revelation are organized as a chiastic structure, a literary device used frequently in the Old Testament ...
Book Of Ruth - Structure - Ethical Importance
2 ... Loving-kindness living Boaz and Ruth are models of an altruism for which the word "loving-kindness" has been coined (approximately translating Hebrew hesed) ...
Watchmen - Art and Composition - Structure
... The cover of each issue serves as the first panel to the story ... Gibbons said, "The cover of the Watchmen is in the real world and looks quite real, but it's starting to turn into a comic book, a portal to another dimension." The covers were designed as close-ups that focused on a single detail with no human elements present ...
321 Kinematic Structure
321 kinematic structure is a design method for robotic arms (serial manipulators), invented by Donald L ... Many other industrial robots, such as the PUMA, have a kinematic structure that deviates a little bit from the 321 structure ...
Zirconium Tungstate - Cubic Phase
... Since the structure is cubic, as described below, the thermal contraction is isotropic - equal in all directions ... The structure of cubic zirconium tungstate consists of corner-sharing ZrO6 octahedral and WO4 tetrahedral structural units ... (RUMs), which involve the coupled rotation of the polyhedral units that make up the structure, and lead to contraction ...

Famous quotes containing the word structure:

    ... the structure of our public morality crashed to earth. Above its grave a tombstone read, “Be tolerant—even of evil.” Logically the next step would be to say to our commonwealth’s criminals, “I disagree that it’s all right to rob and murder, but naturally I respect your opinion.” Tolerance is only complacence when it makes no distinction between right and wrong.
    Sarah Patton Boyle, U.S. civil rights activist and author. The Desegregated Heart, part 2, ch. 2 (1962)

    Just as a new scientific discovery manifests something that was already latent in the order of nature, and at the same time is logically related to the total structure of the existing science, so the new poem manifests something that was already latent in the order of words.
    Northrop Frye (b. 1912)

    It is difficult even to choose the adjective
    For this blank cold, this sadness without cause.
    The great structure has become a minor house.
    No turban walks across the lessened floors.
    The greenhouse never so badly needed paint.
    Wallace Stevens (1879–1955)