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Thread: Japanese name-giving

  1. #1
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    Japanese name-giving

    Hi everyone!

    I'm currently writing a short story about a Japanese girl and her mother, whose name is Hitomi. Now the story has a slightly creepy edge - the mother sees herself in her daughter and calls her after herself. I don't want this to be obvious to the reader though, so I was wondering: are there any other forms of the name 'Hitomi' that I could use for the daughter? I thought of Hitomi-san but that's still too obvious.

    The meaning of the name (that it is given to babies with especially beautiful eyes) is equally important here as I mention this earlier in the story, so maybe there is another name which also indicates that a girl has extremely beautiful eyes?

    Thanks in advance for your help!!

    Victorialine

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    Re: Japanese name-giving

    How about Medama? A joke. It's eyeball.

    Well, the mother is Hitomi. A name that indicates beautiful eyes more than those of the mother Hitomi? I haven't ever heard of. Hitomi is indeed about human eyes and doesn't have any other alternatives/synonym (except for 'me' 目、眼, I know!). What if we make the name using kanji?

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    Re: Japanese name-giving

    By the way, how about 美目, Mime? Not a joke. It stands for beautiful eyes directly and is an uncommon name that seems to have made with any purpose (of us). Therefore, it would emphasise the daughter's eyes and fit to a short story. If you don't like it, how about using Hitomi for the daughter and any new one for the mother, or making another new name? Post if you have any questions!

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    Re: Japanese name-giving

    Hi frequency,

    Thanks for your interest, I had exams and therefore wasn't able to work on the story, but now I'm back on it! To be honest, I don't speak any Japanese, it's a good friend of mine who is half Japanese who's inspired me to write the story (but she can't know of course!) Is it common in Japan to make up new names? If so this is a good idea! I'd like to send this story to a magazine later so readers would need to be able to find out about the relation of the names by e.g. looking them up online, otherwise they won't get the pun... do you see what I mean? In the story, the reader only "hears" the mother call her daughter the other name, not that it is actually the same one. This stands symbolically for the theme of the whole story, that the mother "sees herself" in her daughter, trying to relive her youth etc. I

    I actually thought about kanji as well, how would you make up a Japanese name out of it? Thanks a lot for your help!

  5. #5
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    Re: Japanese name-giving

    Welcome! I roughly understood.

    Quote Originally Posted by Victorialine View Post
    I actually thought about kanji as well, how would you make up a Japanese name out of it? Thanks a lot for your help!
    Regarding making a name, yes, we do freely more than people in English-speaking countries do. In one of our ways to make a name, we select some kanji you like to use and arrange them. The sound is determined by the sound each kanji has. I just selected the kanji meaning beautiful and the kanji meaning eyes. After that, I also determined the sound (Each kanji has several sounds, so I selected any one from them). But Hitomi is a Japanese noun 'eyes' and is often used as a female name as you know. The case of Hitomi is different from the case above―Hitomi is a name we borrow from noun.
    Last edited by frequency; 12th January 2013 at 6:11 AM. Reason: cut

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    Re: Japanese name-giving

    I add information. Mime is an 'artificial' name, so just using an online dictionary doesn't allow you/a reader to get the exactly right meaning of the name. And for example, although you show its kanji* in your story, I wonder, like all who are excellent Japanese-language lovers coming up to this forum, how many readers would check up the kanji on the Internet―the process would be bothersome to most of English users. Are these points appropriate to your goal?

    *e.g. The case if we used Mime. The sound of this name doesn't easily suggest beautiful eyes but its kanji 美目 can do.

    I don't feel like Mime seems to be appropriate right now..I'm getting to understand why you've wanted the name derived from Hitomi, which is as easy as to allow a reader to understand the relation by simple search. I'm reviewing the name now.

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    Re: Japanese name-giving

    Victorialine,
    Finally, I've found a good one. Hitomiko. This name is actually used in one of manga, fitting a short story. Ko, which mainly means child, is a very very common constituent of Japanese female name, and I guess not a few British people have ever heard name xxko (Ono Yoko!). Hitomiko will then provide a reader easier key to find their relationship. I can't find any other name better than it so far!

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    Re: Japanese name-giving

    Thanks a lot for your help, I'll consider Hitomiko, this was all also really interesting! ;-)

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    Re: Japanese name-giving

    Hello,
    How about Tomiko? It is a lot more common than Hitomiko. Or just replacing one word of the mother's name, Tomomi, Hidemi, Satomi, etc. If the father's name is for example, Satoshi, reader would easily guess that Satomi is a daughter of Satoshi and Hitomi.

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    Re: Japanese name-giving

    Carp3, I like your suggestion a little better actually as it is less obvious that I want to use the same name
    I just still hope I will come up with a name that has a similar meaning to Hitomi - or could you think or another name pair that could indicate a very observant person? (I know I'm using this name in a bit of a negative sense, sorry!)

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    Re: Japanese name-giving

    Tomiko means rich woman..but if you want to choose the name of which sound is similar to Hitomi, Satomi is fine, although it's far from human eye, Hitomi. If you want to choose the name of which meaning is similar to it, we don't have alternatives a lot. Me (eyes), Doukou (the pupils of the eye), Metsuki, Shisen (look/gaze), according to the Japanese thesaurus I consulted with. I mean that you'll have to choose the sound or the meaning..Hitomiko sounds too obvious, but I picked up both of the sound and meaning.

  12. #12
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    Re: Japanese name-giving

    Reminds me of Hitomi/瞳, Rui/泪(=tears, lachrymal) and Ai/Eye/愛(=love) in Cat's Eye... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...Eye_characters
    Last edited by Schokolade; 1st February 2013 at 10:55 AM.

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