65 Popular Japanese Last Names With Meanings And Characters

65 Popular Japanese Last Names That Will Have You On The Next Flight To Tokyo

December 5, 2019 Updated April 16, 2021

japanese last names and meaning
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Last names are a great way to connect with our roots. Japanese last names show a particularly strong connection to the country’s breathtaking nature and clan history. In ancient Japan, clans were organized by the Kabane system, which determined each clan’s political and social standing. As clans began to devolve into individual households, the Kabane system went out of use, but the origins of many modern Japanese last names can be traced to it. If you’re searching for the most popular Japanese last names and their meanings you are not alone. According to the latest search data available, this query is searched for nearly 60,500 times a month.

We don’t blame you. Japan is one of the most beautiful and ancient places in the world. It’s also one of the most innovative and has a beyond-the-curve culture. It’s wonderfully futuristic (have you seen Tokyo? It’s like what the year 3000 will look like) but still very connected to its roots and cultural goals and beliefs. In Japan, a strong work ethic, perseverance, and respect for your elders are core values to their society. It is also important to understand and play your role in the family and be able to work successfully in a group and with others.

Japan has style and grace and is one of those rare places that straddle both the future and classical history. Both are absolutely breathtaking, and so are their last names.

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Depending on the characters used to spell them, names can have multiple meanings. Here, we’ve compiled a list of popular Japanese last names that breaks down each name’s Japanese spelling and the meaning behind it.

If you’re interested in the last names and meanings of other countries, check out our package on last names from around the world. See how many you recognize: French, Russian, Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, Hawaiian, Jewish, British, and Korean last names, among others.

  1. Abe
    Japanese spelling: 阿部, 安倍安部, or 阿倍
    Meaning: A means peace while be means multiple times.
  2. Beppu
    Japanese spelling: 別府
    Meaning: Separate borough.
  3. Kiyama
    Japanese spelling: 木山, 喜山
    Meaning: Tree mountain.
  4. Nakaya
    Japanese spelling: 仲谷, 中谷 or 中矢
    Meaning: Between the valley, in the center of the valley, or arrow in the center.
  5. Aoki
    Japanese spelling: 青木
    Meaning: Blue tree.
  6. Sakai
    Japanese spelling: 境
    Meaning: Border or territory.
  7. Wakabayashi
    Japanese spelling: 若林
    Meaning: Young forest.
  8. Takao
    Japanese spelling: 高雄 or 高尾
    Meaning: Bulky man or warrior.
  9. Shima
    Japanese spelling: 志麻 or 志摩
    Meaning: Island.
  10. Nishikawa
    Japanese spelling: 西川
    Meaning: Western river.
  11. Masaki
    Japanese spelling: 真崎
    Meaning: Correct or tree.
  12. Kato/Katō
    Japanese spelling: 加藤
    Meaning: Increase and wisteria. Wisteria are blue and purple flowers that bloom in the spring and early summer. They are a vining plant and native to China, Korea, and Japan.
  13. Hamasaki
    Japanese spelling: 浜崎
    Meaning: Beach peninsula.
  14. Fujii
    Japanese spelling: 藤井
    Meaning: Well of wisteria.
  15. Chiba
    Japanese spelling: 千葉
    Meaning: Thousand leaves.

    Japanese last names, tree blossoming
    Giphy
  16. Aikawa
    Japanese spelling: 相河
    Meaning: Ai means together or mutual, while kawa means river.
  17. Ebina
    Japanese spelling: 蝦名
    Meaning: Shrimp and distinguished.
  18. Goda/Gōda
    Japanese spelling: 合田 or 郷田
    Meaning: Rice paddy or village rice paddy.
  19. Hagimoto
    Japanese spelling: 萩本
    Meaning: Bush clover and book/present.
  20. Sawai
    Japanese spelling: 沢井
    Meaning: Swamp well.
  21. Suzuki
    Japanese spelling: 鈴木
    Meaning: Bell wood.
  22. Kutsuki
    Japanese spelling: 朽木
    Meaning: Decayed/rotted tree.
  23. Doi
    Japanese spelling:
    土井, 土居, 土肥
    Meaning: Earth town, earth residence, or earth fertilizer.
  24. Fueki
    Japanese spelling: 笛木
    Meaning: Wooden flute/pipe.
  25. Tachi
    Japanese spelling: 舘 or 立
    Meaning: Palace or rise.
  26. Baishō
    Japanese spelling: 倍賞
    Meaning: Double prize.
  27. Honda
    Japanese spelling: 本田, 本多 or 誉田
    Meaning: Root rice field, origin rice field, or honor rice field.
  28. Ishioka
    Japanese spelling: 石岡
    Meaning: Stone mount/stone hill.
  29. Kikumoto
    Japanese spelling: 菊本
    Meaning: Chrysanthemum book.
  30. Okazaki
    Japanese spelling: 岡崎
    Meaning: Split rock.
  31. Ito
    Japanese spelling: 伊藤
    Meaning: This, or that one.
  32. Saito
    Japanese spelling: 斉藤
    Meaning: Purity and worship.
  33. Tanaka
    Japanese spelling: 田中
    Meaning: Center of the rice paddy.
  34. Yamamoto
    Japanese spelling: 山本
    Meaning: Base of the mountain.
  35. Yamaguchi
    Japanese spelling: 山口
    Meaning: The mouth of the mountain.
  36. Yoshino
    Japanese spelling: 吉野
    Meaning: Lucky field.
  37. Yogi
    Japanese spelling: ヨギ
    Meaning: Person who practices yoga.
  38. Yoshikawa
    Japanese spelling: 吉川
    Meaning: Lucky river.
  39. Abiko
    Japanese spelling: アビコ
    Meaning: My grandson.
  40. Agawa
    Japanese spelling: 誘拐された
    Meaning: The corner of a river or a stream.
  41. Bando
    Japanese spelling: 発表
    Meaning: East of the slope.
  42. Sato
    Japanese spelling: 佐藤
    Meaning: Sugar.
  43. Takahashi
    Japanese spelling: 高橋
    Meaning: High bridge.
  44. Watanabe
    Japanese spelling: 渡辺
    Meaning: Patryonic name derived from the Watanabe clan.
  45. Kobayashi
    Japanese spelling: 小林
    Meaning: Small forest.
  46. Ando
    Japanese spelling: 安藤 or 安東
    Meaning: Peaceful wisteria, peaceful east or pacify the east.
  47. Ageda
    Japanese spelling: 上田
    Meaning: Upper rice field.
  48. Baba
    Japanese spelling: ばば
    Meaning: Horse-riding ground or race track.
  49. Bushida
    Japanese spelling: ぶしだ
    Meaning: A Samurai, warrior, or warrior way.
  50. Chikafuji
    Japanese spelling: ちかふじ
    Meaning: Near the wisteria.
  51. Chinen
    Japanese spelling: 知念
    Meaning: Feelings or a thousand years.
  52. Daigo
    Japanese spelling: 大吾
    Meaning: Great realization or enlightenment.
  53. Eguchi
    Japanese spelling: 江口
    Meaning: The mouth of the river.
  54. Endo/Endoh/Endou
    Japanese spelling: 遠藤
    Meaning: A distant wisteria.
  55. Fukuda
    Japanese spelling: 福田
    Meaning: Lucky rice field, blessed rice paddy, or hope.
  56. Fukushima
    Japanese spelling: 福島
    Meaning: Fortune or blessed island.
  57. Furukawa
    Japanese spelling: 古川 or 古河
    Meaning: Old river.
  58. Gato
    Japanese spelling: ガト
    Meaning: Behind wisteria.
  59. Nakamura
    Japanese spelling: 中村
    Meaning: Middle village.
  60. Yoshida
    Japanese spelling: 吉田
    Meaning: Lucky ricefield.
  61. Yamada 
    Japanese spelling: 山田
    Meaning: Mountain field or mountain rice paddy.
  62. Sasaki
    Japanese spelling: 佐々木
    Meaning: Assistant, help.
  63. Matsumoto
    Japanese spelling: 松本
    Meaning: Base of the pine tree.
  64. Inoue
    Japanese spelling: 井上
    Meaning: Above a well.
  65. Kimura
    Japanese spelling: 木村
    Meaning: Tree village.

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Japanese Proverbs

Each culture has its own sayings. In addition to what you can learn from Japanese names, there’s a wealth of wisdom you can pick up from Japanese phrases as well.

“One’s act, one’s profit.”
“Ten men, ten colors.”
“Wake from death and return to life.”
“Pulling water to my own rice paddy.”
“Evil cause, evil effect.”