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What Is Kira Kira Names?

Are you wondering what’s up with the recent Kira Kira names trend in Japan? Yes, this trend has definitely had us reacting awkwardly or in sheer shock at what most people can do to stand out and to feel unique. 

The term “Kira Kira” is a word of Japanese origin that literally means “sparkling” or “shining” names. What’s wrong with shining names you might ask, but it’s the types of names parents give their children that have caused a major controversy in Japanese culture. 

So if you want to learn more about the Japanese naming culture and “Kira Kira” names in Japan, make sure to check out below. We’ve analyzed the origin of the Kira Kira name trend and the implications of the trend so far. 

What is Kira Kira Names 

Naming Traditions in Japan

It’s a worldwide known fact that Japanese people prioritize their culture very much despite being a technologically advanced country. Naming traditions in Japan are one of the most significantly followed traditions in Japan. 

The Japanese even go to great lengths to find the ideal name for their babies by taking the birth time and date into account to analyze which name could be auspicious for the child’s life.

What Is Kira Kira Names

Initially, when naming a baby, the Japanese people are more likely to choose a kanji letter before choosing the baby’s name and the pronunciation of the name. Sometimes it’s also the norm for parents to choose a name for the baby before choosing the kanji letters.

Either way, in Japanese culture it’s always the family name or surname that has to come before the chosen baby name. For instance, the name Nohara Shinnosuke has the family name “Nohara” and the name “Shinnosuke” is the child’s name.

 It’s a strict practice in Japan that the surname or family name should be derived from the paternal side. In addition, the order of the name should strictly be the family name before the child’s name, and having a middle name isn’t a recognized practice by the Japanese.

What Is A Kira Kira Name?

The Kira Kira name trend began in the early 1990s and the trend has seemingly not died yet given that several Japanese parents have still named their kids with Kira Kira names.

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As we’ve mentioned above, a Kira Kira name means a shining or sparkling name that has a unique meaning to it. 

The Kira Kira names are by themselves unique as in the names are written in kanji letters that have unusual readings or pronunciations.

Kanji letters are already complicated by nature and each kanji letter is said to have a different meaning and pronunciation depending on the name or word. 

Parents who choose Kira Kira names for their kids, pick kanji letters that usually don’t match the pronunciation of the name hence this has caused a lot of confusion among other people who want to read the name of the kid but find it difficult to do so. 

An example of a Kira Kira name is 甘辛 which is a female name and is pronounced as “Keeki” and the kanji letters mean sweet and salty. When this name is translated to the English Language it literally means “cake”. 

Another awkward example of a male Kira Kira name is 黄熊 “Pooh” and the kanji letters translate to “yellow bear” which evidently refers to the animated character “Winnie the Pooh”.

Here are some of the popular Kira Kira names in Japan:

Kira Kira NameKanji MeaningPronunciation English Translation 
光宙Light or sparklyPikachu Pikachu 
主人公Main characterHeroHero
耳長Long EarsUsagiRabbit 
可愛Cute PinkuPink

Why Are Parents Obsessed With Kira Kira Names?

When a child is born parents are quite overwhelmed as to what they should name their little one and they come up with a long list of names to choose the best out of the lot. 

Sometimes, parents end up giving their children meaningful names that are tied closely to their culture, and sometimes the social trends also heavily influence how parents name their kids.

The Kira Kira name trend has influenced countless families in Japan to adapt to the phenomenon and give their children unique names. One of the main reasons why parents want their kids to have unique names is the anime and manga culture in Japan.

We all know how big anime and manga are in Japan and their influence is groundbreaking. We’ve seen a few examples of how some Kira Kira names are derived from certain anime characters like “Pikachu” and some Kira Kira names are basically English words like “Hero” and “Pink”. 

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Since some parents are anime geeks they tend to give their children names of their favorite anime characters.

The obsession with Kira Kira names is also related to how Japanese parents believe that their kids will stand out from the rest of the crowd and how their unique names can bring them more attention and popularity. 

This is why some Kira Kira names are inspired by English words because Japanese parents presume that giving their children English names can help them in the future if the children are considering moving overseas.

This is so that their children can get acceptance by the Western people or for them to seem more Westernized than Asian.

Benefits of Giving Children Kira Kira Names

Of course the first thought that comes to our minds when considering the benefits of such names is the uniqueness. 

Kira Kira names are more likely to be unique than regular names and your name is one way to grab a lot of attention when it sounds cool and trendy than others’ names.

It also gives the child a sense of importance and the notion of how your name should make you feel confident and proud. 

Having a Kira Kira name is likely to be more convenient for people to remember the child’s name and what he or she may look like, which means basically easy identification. 

But are there only benefits to Kira Kira names?

The Issues Related To Giving Children Kira Kira Names

When something out of the ordinary is done, we have to prepare for the worst outcome. That’s also the case with Kira Kira names which might have seemed trendy at first but received severe negative criticisms later on. 

The idea behind Kira Kira names was nothing but to give children distinctive names. However, the names people started coming up with were either too awkward or incomprehensible.

One popular case in Japan involving a Kira Kira name occurred in 1993 when a parent named their son 悪魔 which means “Devil” in Japanese. The city council had to reject the name due to the fact that the name could have a negative impact on the child’s life. 

Although it’s right to give your child a special name, it’s best to reflect upon how the name can have a major impact on the child’s future. 

With such awkward names, there’s a great possibility that bullying can occur which would seriously damage the child’s confidence, academics, and career.

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In addition, having Kira Kira names in Japan is quite an issue because the kanji letters that are used to write the Kira Kira name are meaningless and tough to pronounce. This can cause confusion among the people when reading the child’s name and the person reading the name might require an explanation as to why the name is written in that way. 

Initially, it might be all glory and amazing to have a quirky name but when the child grows up and has to pursue a career, the Kira Kira name might hinder their goals and dreams. 

Since a name is the first thing we ought to know about a person, it’s best to give the child a catchy and meaningful name that won’t negatively impact them in the future. 

Will the Kira Kira Name Trend Live On?

Trends change over time hence it’s practical to think that the Kira Kira name trend might be abandoned eventually. 

However, the world we live in today has advanced to become a place where individualism and being unique is highly praised. We’re also seeing a growing trend in people attempting to dress, look and behave eccentrically.

Hence, having a Kira Kira name might be considered a general norm in the impending days to come. 

Despite arguments that Kira Kira names are socially unacceptable as they may damage one’s future, there are also people who welcome and love the idea of having unconventional names. Only time can tell us how long the trend lives to be or how long it takes to go down the line.

What Is Kira Kira Names: FAQs

What does Kira Kira mean in Japanese?

The term Kira Kira means “shining” or “glittering” and it is a term used by the Japanese to refer to shining or unique names. The Kira Kira name trend began early in the 1990s when a parent named their son “Devil”. The trend to give unique names to children in Japan was since named “Kira Kira”. 

What is a DQN name?

DQN is another term given to Kira Kira names. In Japanese, the term DQN is written as ネーム and it translates to a stupid or awkward name. The reason why Kira Kira names are considered stupid or lame by most people is that they’re meaningless and are written in kanji letters that don’t match the pronunciation of the name. 

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