45 Dual-Use Names That Work in Both Japanese and English(Hand-Picked)

Written by Daisy
Last updated:
Names That Work in Both Japanese and English

Are you looking for an English-friendly Japanese name for your baby? Luckily, this article contains a list of names that work in both Japanese and English.

We’ve also added their meanings and Kanjis. These names have powerful meanings that you will love.

Asian names hold deep meanings to them. They are written in three ways, with the commonest being kanji

Excited to begin? Let’s take a look at these names.

45 Names That Work in Both Japanese and English

Searching for the perfect Japanese name for your little one may be quite challenging. Leave it to us to make the job easier for you. Here is a list of names that work in both Japanese and English.

Girls Names That Work in Both Japanese and English

1. Reina

  • Kanji: 怜奈
  • Meaning: Wise
  • Pronunciation: REH-NA
  • Reina is a beautiful name that’s easy to pronounce and has a strong meaning. 

2. Hana

  • Kanji: 花, 華
  • Meaning: Flower
  • Pronunciation: HA-NA
  • Hana sounds like Hannah. This is one of my favorite Japanese names because it is easy to pronounce and has a lovely meaning.

3. Karen

  • Kanji: 華蓮
  • Meaning: Flower, Water lily
  • Pronunciation: KA-REHN
  • Karen is a good choice of Japanese name if you like flowers and it also sounds like the English name, Karen

4. Mika

  • Kanji: 美香
  • Meaning: Beautiful fragrance
  • Pronunciation: MEE-KA
  • Mika is easy to pronounce for native English speakers. It’s also the name of a famous photographer and director of movies and music videos, Mika Ninagawa.

5. Mai

  • Kanji: 真愛
  • Meaning: Genuine love
  • Pronunciation: MA-EE
  • I find this name simple yet amazing for your baby girl. It’s a Norwegian, Danish, and Estonian short form of Maria.

6. Takara

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Treasure, Jewel
  • Pronunciation: TA-KA-RA
  • Your baby girl is an absolute jewel, why not give her a name that says so? 

7. Rika

  • Kanji: 凛佳
  • Meaning: Dignified and Beautiful
  • Pronunciation: REE-KA
  • Rika is a short and beautiful name. The combination of the kanjis gives the name a classy meaning.

8. Aya

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Color
  • Pronunciation: AH-YA
  • Aya is a cute and unique Japanese name. Your baby girl’s life will be as colorful as her name! 

9. Emi

  • Kanji: 絵美
  • Meaning: Beautiful picture
  • Pronunciation: EH-MEE
  • I love the way this name sounds plus it has a unique meaning. 

10. Eimi

  • Kanji: 栄光
  • Meaning: Glorious light, Prosperous light
  • Pronunciation: AY-MEE
  • A famous bearer of the name is Eimi Kuroda, a Japanese fashion model. Eimi is a Japanese variant of Amy and could also mean beautiful crystal (頴美), or glorious sea (栄海).

11. An

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Global
  • Pronunciation: An
  • This name sounds like Anne. You should consider this name if you like a one-syllable name. 

12. Sara

  • Kanji: 紗良
  • Meaning: Silk + Goodness
  • Pronunciation: SA-RA
  • Sara works perfectly in Japan too! The combination of the kanjis gives it an elegant meaning.

13. Mei

  • Kanji: 芽生
  • Meaning: Bud, Life
  • Pronunciation: MAY
  • Mei is similar to the English name, May. Mei is famous for the 1988 Japanese animation, My Neighbor Totoro

14. Rina

  • Kanji: 莉奈
  • Meaning: White Jasmine 
  • Pronunciation: REE-NA
  • Rina is a good choice if you like names associated with flowers and nature plus, it sounds cute!

15. Emma

  • Kanji: 恵万
  • Meaning: Million/All blessings
  • Pronunciation: EH-MA
  • Emma is a variant of the Western name, Emma. All the blessings will belong to your child with Emma!

16. Naomi

  • Kanji: 尚美
  • Meaning: Wish + Beauty
  • Pronunciation: NA-O-MEE
  • This name is similar to the Biblical name, Naomi, but its meaning in Japan makes it more appealing. 

17. Erika

  • Kanji: 恵理香
  • Meaning: Blessings + Reason + Scent
  • Pronunciation: EH-REE-KA
  • Erika is a variant of the popular Western name, Erika. If you’re looking for a Japanese name that works in English, this is one. 

18. Maya

  • Kanji: 真矢
  • Meaning: Truth + Arrow
  • Pronunciation: MA-YA
  • Maya is similar to the Western name, Maya, and they also sound alike. 

Boys Names That Work in Both Japanese and English

19. Noa

  • Kanji: 乃愛
  • Meaning: Love, Affection
  • Pronunciation: NO-AH
  • Noa is easy to spell and pronounce. It’s also similar to Noah

20. Kenji 

  • Kanji: 健児
  • Meaning: Healthy child
  • Pronunciation: KEHN-JEE
  • This is one of my favorite Japanese names. It is also easy to pronounce by English speakers. 

21. Kaito

  • Kanji: 海斗
  • Meaning: Sea, Ocean
  • Pronunciation: KA-EE-TO
  • If you like names relating to water, this is one. Kaito celebrates the beauty of nature. 

22. Jouji

  • Kanji: 城治
  • Meaning: Castle + Govern
  • Pronunciation: JO-JEE
  • Jouji is a Japanese version of George. I love this name because it sounds like royalty.

23. Ryo

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Cool, Refreshing
  • Pronunciation: REE-O
  • If you like names with three letters, this is a good option. Its meaning represents calmness. 

24. Ken

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Healthy, Strong
  • Pronunciation: KEHN
  • Ken is a common name in the Western world as a short form of Kenneth or Kennedy. It’s one of my favorites because of its meaning. 

25. Kai

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Sea
  • Pronunciation: KAI
  • Kai is a multicultural name that works well in Japan and English too. Its meaning represents strength and life. 

26. Ian

  • Kanji: 生安
  • Meaning: Peaceful life
  • Pronunciation: EE-AN
  • Ian is similar to the Western name Ian. In Japan, it holds a deep meaning that will influence your child’s life.

27. Riki

  • Kanji: 利喜
  • Meaning: Benefit and Joy
  • Pronunciation: REE-KEE
  • The meaning represents favor, joy, and wealth. Riki sounds like Ricky

28. Dan

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Warm
  • Pronunciation: DAN
  • Dan is the short form of Daniel. I love this name brand cause it’s short, simple yet unique. 

29. Yuujin

  • Kanji: 優人
  • Meaning: Superior human
  • Pronunciation: YU-JEEN
  • Its powerful meaning amazes me! Yuujin sounds similar to Eugene

30. Jou

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Prosperity
  • Pronunciation: JO
  • Jou sounds similar to Joe. It represents wealth and happiness. 

31. Reo

  • Kanji: 怜王
  • Meaning: Clever King
  • Pronunciation: REE-O
  • Reo is a Japanese variant of Leo. Reo symbolizes royalty, wealth, and intelligence. 

32. Yuugo

  • Kanji: 優吾
  • Meaning: I’m Superior
  • Pronunciation: YOO-GO
  • Yuugo is an affirmation your child will love when they’re older. You can also write Yuugo as Yugo.

33. Reiji

  • Kanji: 怜士
  • Meaning: Wise warrior
  • Pronunciation: REH-JEE
  • Reiji symbolizes strength and wisdom. Reiji sounds similar to Reggie.

34. Shion

  • Kanji: 紫苑
  • Meaning: Aster
  • Pronunciation: SHEE-ON,
  • Shion is the Japanese variant of the Western name, Sean. I love the meaning of this name, a star!

35. Maikeru

  • Kanji: 神性
  • Meaning: Divine
  • Pronunciation: MAiy-KE-RU
  • Maikeru is the Japanese version of Michael. Maikeru means heavenly, supreme, and sacred.

Gender-Neutral Names That Work in Both Japanese and English

36. Ren

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Love
  • Pronunciation: REHN
  • I love this name because it’s one-syllable and has a beautiful meaning.  

37. Jun

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Pure
  • Pronunciation: JOON
  • Jun sounds identical to the English name and month, June.

38. Rei

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Gratitude
  • Pronunciation: RAY
  • Rei sounds like the English name, Ray. I love this name because the meaning reminds us to always be thankful for life. 

39. Kei

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Illuminate
  • Pronunciation: KAY
  • Kei is similar to Kay. The meaning signifies light and prosperity.

40. Akira

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Bright
  • Pronunciation: AH-KEE-RA
  • Akira signifies that your child’s life would be as bright as their life. 

41. Sora

  • Kanji: 空, 昊
  • Meaning: Sky
  • Pronunciation: SO-RA
  • Sora is easy to spell and remember. Sora represents success and light. 

42. Riko

  • Kanji: 莉子
  • Meaning: Logical
  • Pronunciation: REE-KO
  • Riko is a variant of Rico but in Japan, it works for both boys and girls. 

43. Reon

  • Kanji: 怜王
  • Meaning: Clever King
  • Pronunciation: REE-ON
  • Reon is influenced by Leon. Reon works for girls too and could be mean Gift + Favor (礼恩).

44. Jin

  • Kanji:
  • Meaning: Progress
  • Pronunciation: JEEN
  • Jin sounds like Jean or Gene. Jin represents progress and prosperity. 

45. Rio

  • Kanji: 莉桜
  • Meaning: White Jasmine, Cherry blossom
  • Pronunciation: REE-O
  • This name reminds me of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It’s simple, short, and easy to pronounce.
Names That Work in Both Japanese and English


5 Ideas to Craft a Perfect Japanese Name

  1. Combine Good Kanjis

Don’t only think of how the name sounds, think about the kanjis. Combine kanjis that you understand their meanings. 

  1. Use Two Kanjis

In recent years, most Japanese use two kanjis to create a name. Using two kanjis makes the name sound better and more authentic.

  1. Write Down Your Wishes

It’s no news to you that Japanese names hold wishes. So, if you have wishes, write them down. Then use jisho and Koseki Touitsu Moji Jyoho to know if you can use the kanjis in a name. 

  1. Choose A Name Using Yamato Kotoba

Yamato Kotoba (大和言葉) is an ancient Japanese language. Using this will help you find a name that’s unique and traditional. 

  1. Read Your Name With Yamato Kotoba

You can read kanjis into two categories: kunyomi 訓読み and onyomi 音読み. Kunyomi came from Yamato Kotoba and onyomi from China. Using this will help you read the kanji used in your name.

5 Reasons to Have a Japanese Name

  1. If your child was born in Japan

If you live in Japan and you gave birth to your child there, you can give your child a Japanese name. 

  1. If you’re an Anime fan

Animes are Japanese animations with global recognition. If you’re an anime fan and a lover of the culture, giving your child a Japanese name is a wise thing to do.

  1. If your child is half-Japanese

If your child is half-Japanese you can pay homage to Japan by giving them a Japanese name with a good meaning. 

  1. Because they’re unique

Japanese names are unique in their pronunciation and spelling. They also have meanings that have impacts on one’s life. 

  1. Why not?

Japanese names are quite interesting, it won’t be a bad idea to have one. 


The right Japanese name has a good influence on your child’s life. You can get more creative and choose your kanji combinations.

Photo of author
Daisy Martinez, a Certified Financial Planner and mother of two, blends finance expertise from Ohio State and Anderson School of Management with hands-on parenting insights. Founder of "mamallove.com" and "cashsavvytips.com", she's passionate about guiding parents in financial and parenting realms.

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