What is My Name in Japanese? Free Japanese Name Translation: Learn Japanese

What is my name in Japanese? Find it here with free English to Japanese name translation: Learn Japanese




Learn Basic Japanese


When you think of Japanese language, what comes up first in your mind?

Is it the complexity or the beautiful representation?
Perhaps, it is the difficulty to master the writings or grammars.


Many people think that Japanese is almost the same as Chinese as far as the language is concerned.

It is true that we utilize many of Chinese characters.
Nonetheless, most of the times, it is impossible to pronounce or make sense of them in Chinese. In another word, we Japanese do in fact use Chinese characters, however, the sounds and sometimes the formations are completely different from those in Chinese.


Moreover, we not only use Chinese characters called Kanji, but also use our own original character set such as Hiragana and Katakana words.

In this Learn Basic Japanese page, WhatisMyNameinJapanese will briefly illustrate as well as explain the core features of Japanse characters.

Japanese language is made up with three character sets as follows:
  • Hiragana
  • Katakana
  • Kanji
So, let's take a look at each character set one by one.


Learn Basic Japanese


First character set we look into is Hiragana.

So, what exactly are Hiragana in Japanese?

In the introduction, we learned Japanese language is broken into three different character set.

Hiragana is one of them.
First, refer to the list of Hiragana words below:

Hiragana listLooks complicated?

Well, not really.
The origin of Hiragana is to simplifying Kanji characters that were brought from China.

Hiragarana are phonetic characters created at the beginning of Heian period, which is more than 1000years ago in Japan.

When Kanji were first introduced, they looked so complicated that we developed our own character set out of them.

You can see the beautiful curvature of Hiragana characters and their simplicity.

As we mentioned, they are phonetic characters, so they do not have any meaning attached to them individually:however, we they are combined, they make the meanings.

Think of them as a set of alphabet in English.

For instance, the alphabet "A" does not mean anything till it is combined with some other characters, such as "RT." Only then, you can see the meaning of ART. You get the idea.

Likewise, if we combine the first Hiragana, which we also pronounce "A" as well, with the second character which sounds like "I," the word "AI" means "Love" in English.

So, we only have 46 Hiraganas while you have 26 alphabets, big deal, right?

In the next section, we will learn the basic concept of Katakana, so here we go.

Katakana in Japanese


So we mastered Hiragana.
It was not as bad, wasn't it?

Katakana is also less complex character set.
Let's take a look at the list of Katakana in Japanese.

Katakana listKatakana characters are made up of exactly the same number of characters as Hiragana, which is 46.

As you might have suspected, yes, each character corresponds to Hiragana phonetically.

Hence, the first letter is pronounced as "A" as well.

You may recall the movie, Matrix using Katakana words on the computer screen.

Why not Hiragana?

Well, it is due to the origin of Katakana.

Katakana, like Hiragana, are also characters adapted from Kanji used mainly for foreign words.

For so many years, Japan was isolated from other nations as it is surrounded by oceans.

When foreigners first arrived to Japan, they spoke English to us, and as you can imagine, the first thing we did was to put character in each English sound.

For example, when you say "Computer" in English, we heard, "Ko-N-Pyu-Ta-Ah."
Then, we applied each sound in those characters and came up with the words like this: Computer in Katakana

For that reason, when all the names in English, like Emily, Michael, Karen, Edward, Chris, Alex...etc, are translated into Japanese, the standard character representation is Katakana.

So, if you ask us to translate your name to Japanese, first thing we do is to find the letter that sounds like your name and replace it with Katakana.

Of course, now that you know Katakana is only phonetic, you will not ask "what does Karen mean in Japanese?"

However, after translating your name to Japanese, we can translate it again to Hiragana or Kanji.

Hiragana likewise does not have any meaning standalone, but Kanji does.

So, what WhatisMyNameinJapanese does is we introduce Kanji, Hiragana and also some Kanji characters to your name.

The next question is, "how would you translate Katakana to Kanji?"
Well, let's take a look in the next section.

Features in Kanji Characters


Unlike Hiragana or Katakana, Kanji do have meanings in each words.

How come it is not a singular "a meaning," but the plural "meanings?"

Well, often times, one Kanji character has different meanings as well as the pronunciation.

Now, it gets complex and difficult.

Memorizing 46 Hiragana + 46 Katakana?
Piece of cake.

Japanese Kanji now has over 50,000 characters.

No worries though, most of Japanese only memorize somewhere around 10,000 to 20,000 characters in their lives.

We are not getting too much in the details in Kanji, but here is how we are able to translate your name into not just Hiragana or Katakana but also to Kanji characters.

The step to translate your English name to Japanese, for example, with Karen is as follows:

1. We break Karen to individual Japanese sound, or pronunciation.

2. Karen sounds "Ka"+"Re"+"N" in Japanese.

3. Then, since it is a foreign name, we choose Katakana words to translate it into.

4. The Katakana for "Ka" is ka , "Re" is re and "N" is n.

5. Combining those characters produce Katakana version of your name: Karen in Katakana

6. Now, since Katakana is only phonetic characters, each character can be replaced with Hiragana.

7. Each corresponding characters make up the following Hiragana: Karen in Hiragana

8. Now, as we took a look, Kanji has huge amount of characters, and that means, there are hundreds of Kanji that sounds "Ka." Or, hundreds of Kanji that sounds "Re" or even "Ren."

9. So, WhatisMyNameinJapanese pick Kanji characters that sounds like your name sounds. In example, Karen can be Karen in Kanji. It sounds "Ka"+"Ren." Each Kanji character has its meanings, the first Kanji "Ka" means Glorious Flower and the second character "Ren" has a meaning of Love.

10. Of course, since there are hundreds of characters sounding Ka, Re, and N, we can pick and combine any way we like, and that is how WhatisMyNameinJapanese is doing with our huge database.

Now that we learned the basic Japanese, it is fun to take a look at your name!

Simply click the search button below to browse your name in Japanese!


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