10 Common Japanese Surnames – Japan Web Magazine


Should you stay in Japan, have Japanese pals, or comply with Japanese well-known individuals, you would possibly discover that you just’ll hear some Japanese household names extra regularly than others. Similar to in different international locations, Japan has surnames which might be frequent.

There are over 40,000 surnames in Japan, 7,000 of which have not less than 1,000 individuals or extra. The highest 30 surnames represent about 18% of your entire Japanese inhabitants.

On this article, I’ll share with you the ten most typical Japanese surnames. How many individuals have these names? What well-known individuals have these surnames? Discover out all this data right here!


Japanese surnames origins

surname hanko

There are a lot of methods Japanese surnames got here to being. The oldest surnames in Japan come from way back to the seventh century, when department households of emperors began giving themselves a surname. Nevertheless, there are only a few of those.

Then in the course of the Heian interval (8 to twelfth century), frequent individuals would additionally give themselves surnames. These surnames would change on a regular basis for a lot of completely different causes. so generally it’s troublesome to know the precise origins of a particular surname. Generally a sure surname might have two completely different origins.

In any case, normally, surname (or household title) origins will be categorized as one of many following 5 classes.

  • Surnames given by the emperor or a surname that advanced from that (e.g. Fujiwara, Sato, Ito, Kato)
  • Surnames that symbolize a particular place or space (e.g. Ishikawa, Okada, Chiba)
  • Surnames impressed by geographic options or landscapes (e.g. Yamamoto, Ikeda, Otani, Tanaka)
  • Surnames with origins concerning instructions (e.g. Azuma, Onishi, Kitagawa)
  • Surnames that come from the career of ancestors (e.g. Torikai, Okura, Shouji)

Though there will be different classes, these are the most typical.


Okay, now that you realize about surname origins, let me present you the highest 10 most typical Japanese surnames.

Sato family name

1. Sato (佐藤)

The commonest surname in all of Japan is Sato. This title has its origins within the surname “Fujiwara” which is a surname given by the emperor. There are literally many different Japanese surnames which have advanced from the surname Fujiwara (even on this record).

It’s stated that there are roughly 1.86 million individuals with this household title. The title Sato will be discovered principally in Akita, Yamagata, and Miyagi prefeture.

Well-known individuals with this final title embody Actor Takeru Sato (佐藤 健), and Professional racing driver Takuma Sato (佐藤 琢磨).

2. Suzuki (鈴木)

The second most typical household title in Japan is Suzuki. The origin of this surname comes from an older surname “Hozumi” which suggests “stack of rice straw”. A rod that’s positioned within the heart of this Hozumi known as “Susuki” which is the origin of this surname.

There are round 1.79 million individuals with this title out and in of Japan. This surname can at present be discovered principally in Shizuoka, Fukushima, and Yamagata prefectures.

Well-known individuals with this final title embody Professional Baseball participant Ichiro Suzuki (鈴木 一朗), and Japanese Actress Kyoka Suzuki (鈴木 京香).

3. Takahashi (高橋)

The third most typical household title in Japan is Takahashi. The title means “tall bridge”, making it a surname impressed by geographic options or landscapes.

About 1.41 million individuals in Japan have this surname, particularly in Iwate, Akita, and Miyagi prefectures.

Well-known individuals with this final title embody Manga writer Rumiko Takahashi (高橋 留美子), and Ice determine skating olympian Daisuke Takahashi (髙橋 大輔).

4. Tanaka (田中)

Subsequent on our record is the surname Tanaka. It’s stated that there are roughly 1.33 million individuals share this household title, making it the fourth most typical surname in Japan. The title means “within the rice fields”.

At the moment, you’ll find this surname principally in locations corresponding to Tottori, Saga, and Fukuoka prefecture.

Some well-known individuals with this final title embody Gymnastics Olympian Rie Tanaka(田中 理恵), and Voice actress Mayumi Tanaka (田中 真弓).

5. Ito (伊藤)

The fifth most typical household title in Japan is Ito. Similar to the surname “Sato”, this surname additionally has its origins within the surname “Fujiwara” which is a surname given by the emperor.

There are round 1.07 million individuals with this surname across the nation, particularly in Akita, Mie, and Aichi prefecture.

Well-known individuals with this final title embody Horror manga writer Junji Ito (伊藤 潤二), and Author/poet Hiromi Ito (伊藤 比呂美).

6. Watanabe (渡辺/渡邊)

“Watanabe” is the sixth most typical household title in Japan, having roughly 1.06 million individuals. The origin of this title comes from a career within the Asuka interval (6 to eighth century) that consisted of people that would carry issues/individuals on boats.

This final title is at present discovered particularly in Yamanashi, Fukushima, and Niigata prefectures.

Well-known individuals with this final title embody Professional Basketball participant Yuta Watanabe (渡邊 雄太), and Comedy actress Naomi Watanabe (渡辺直美).

7. Yamamoto (山本)

The seventh most typical household title in Japan is Yamamoto. The title means “base of the mountain”, making it a surname impressed by geographic options or landscapes.

1.05 million individuals out and in of Japan share this similar surname. You can find a excessive proportion of individuals with this surname in prefectures corresponding to Yamaguchi, Wakayama, Kochi.

Well-known individuals with this final title embody TV newscaster Mona Yamamoto (山本 モナ), and Sengoku interval samurai commander Yamamoto Juzaemonnojo (山本 十左衛門尉).

8. Nakamura (中村)

The subsequent surname on this record is Nakamura. 1.04 million individuals share this final title, making it the eighth most typical final title in Japan. This surname can have the which means of both “heart of the village” or “the unique village”.

At the moment, individuals with the surname Nakamura are particularly frequent in Yamaguchi, Mie, and Nagasaki prefectures.

Well-known individuals with this final title embody Voice actor Yūichi Nakamura (中村 悠一), and Mannequin/actress Ann Nakamura (中村 アン).

9. Kobayashi (小林)

The ninth most typical household title in Japan is Kobayashi (小林). It is a surname that has many origins. The which means of the title is “small forest”.

Throughout the nation, you could find round 1.02 million individuals with this final title. Commonest locations for this final title embody Nagano, Yamanashi, and Niigata prefectures.

Some well-known individuals with this final title embody Aggressive eater Takeru Kobayashi (小林 尊), and Professional traditional pianist Aimi Kobayashi (小林 愛実).

10. Kato (加藤)

And lastly, the tenth most typical household title in Japan is Kato (加藤). Similar to the surnames “Sato” and “Ito”, this surname additionally has its origins within the surname “Fujiwara” which is a surname given by the emperor.

Slightly below 900 thousand individuals throughout Japan share this final title, particularly discovered within the prefectures of Aichi, Gifu, and Akita.

Well-known individuals with this final title embody Singer Miliyah Kato (加藤 ミリヤ), and Mannequin/actor Masaya Kato (加藤 雅也).


I hope you loved this text. Should you preferred this text and need to know extra about Japanese tradition, you should definitely try the next articles as properly!

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