Unnecessary symbols in artists’ names


The Artist Formerly Known As Prince found it necessary to become symbol to escape from contracts, but in Japan there are a good number of people adding symbols to their stage names, which became the topic of this survey into who Japanese feel have unnecessary symbols in their names.

I’ll transliterate the artists’ names to English, but keep the symbols as is, just in case people who are less familiar with Japanese aren’t quite sure which is the strange symbol. Also note that some of the names are already in the Roman alphabet, so I’ll retain these as is. I’ve also noticed that WordPress has converted the first two people’s symbols to graphics, for some reason.

Gor☆geous (a space pirate, apparently), at least has a reason for the ☆ in his name, as you can see from this video:

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△□○ and other strange Japanese company names

I’m not sure how well this works as a translation, and I’m not sure how well my translations work, but this look by goo Ranking at over-stand-out company names that offer little clue as to what they actually do.

Number one seems an odd choice to me – it is just the present participle of one of the very first verb one learns, especially given the second name. Actually it comes from an innocent source; the company was originally “Sutematsu the Blacksmith”, which was shortened to “Yarisute”, based on the term(?) “Yari (spear) Sutei (not sure of what this means!)” and dropping the last “i”. However, in slang yari-sute is literally “to do and throw away”, or a One Night Stand.

On number 3’s website (a charter bus company, it seems) there is no explanation as to the origin of the “mokkori” part of the name, which is most well-known as part of the name of the pictured moss-ball character, Marimokkori:

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Roots of the names of Japanese and overseas companies

goo Ranking recently took a look at how the names of comapnies came about, ranked by how surprising people found them.

I guessed that Sony was from Latin “sonus”, but I was surprised to see that it also came from the “sonny” of “sonny boy”. Lotte coming from a Goethe novel is a story I want to hear more about!

Here’s a random, but perhaps interesting shop name:

Boo Boo House
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Japanese pet names: popular bird, rabbit and ferret names

Ouchie :(I’m sure there must be someone out there interested in this ranking survey from Anicom, a major pet insurance company, into the most popular names for birds, rabbits and ferrets. This survey was conducted on the 31st of March last year (2012) by looking at the pet names registered on pet insurance contracts. The names of 480 birds, 2,573 rabbits, and 1,900 ferrets were collected. If there is an appropriate English meaning for the names, I will put it in brackets after the Japanese pet name

By the way, I searched Flickr for Creative Common-licenced “rabbit injury” photos, and you can see what came up!

Popular Japanese bird names

First equal, with 2.5% of the vote, were Sora (sky) and Pii. Third was Hana (flower) at 2.1%, fourth equal were Sakura (cherry blossom), Piiko, Pippi, Momo (peach, or if it were a chicken, perhaps thigh…) and Lemon on 1.3%, and ninth equal were Koko, Nana and Hina (chick), at 1.0%. Note that Pii and its variants are Japanese onomatopoeic bird calls.

For boy birds, Sora was top at 2.7%, then Popo second at 2.2%, and third equal at 1.6% were Hana, Pippi, Pipi and Maro.

For girl birds, Hana and Pii were top equal with 3.2%, Lemon second with 2.6%, and third equal were Koko, Sora and Nana.

Popular Japanese rabbit names

First was Maron (chestnut) with 1.5%, second Momo (peach) with 1.2%, third Moko with 1.1%, fourth equal Choko (chocolate) and Mimi (ear) at 1.0%, sixth equal were Uu, Hana (flower), Moka (mocha perhaps), and Sora (sky) at 0.9%, and tenth was Koko at 0.8%. For rabbits, brown-related names seem quite popular.

For boy rabbits, Maron was top with 1.2%, Moka second with 1.0%, Sora third at 0.9%, Kotaro fourth at 08%, and Rabi fifth at 0.7%.

For girl rabbits, Momo was top with 1.7%, second equal were Hana and Mimi at 1.4%, and fourth equal Hime (princess) and Maron at 1.2%.

Popular Japanese ferret names

The top ferret name was Momo (peach) at 1.3%, second was Choko at 1.1%, Kuu third at 1.0%, Ten fourth at 0.9%, fifth equal were Moka (mocha), Kotaro and Sakura (cherry blossom) at 0.8% and eighth equal were Kokoa (cocoa), Sora (sky) and Hime (princess) at 0.7%

For boy ferrets, first was Kotaro at 1.3%, second Ten at 1.1%, third Kuu at 1.0% and fourth equal Kai, Sora and Ponta at 0.9%

For girl ferrets, Momo was first with 1.8%, second was Hime at 1.4%, third equal were Choko (chocolate) and Rin at 1.3% and fifth equal were Sakura and Hana (flower) at 1.2%.

I hope you all feel suitably enlightened now!

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How Japanese call their partners

Men in your forties, have you ever had a girlfriend? graph of japanese statistics

Note: Tofugu wrote a nice article on this survey.

Correctly-addressing even close friends in Japanese is a matter of some complexity that I won’t attempt to explain here. However, iShare recently tackled the subject of names partners use with each other as you can see here.


Between the 20th and 26th of November 2009 484 members of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 59.7% were male, 33.3% in their twenties, 32.2% in their thirties, and 34.5% in their forties.

One that I was suprised and disappointed didn’t have a category of its own was calling your wife “mother”. Many Japanese seem to adopt this as soon as they have a kid, so I’d have liked to have had concrete data on this.

The most popular kinds of mildly-embarrassing nicknames were adding “-tan” or “-nyan” after names.

We don’t bother with suffixes or nicknames in this house, and adding “-chan” after names usually indicates a request for something is coming soon…
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