In pre-modern Japanese naming practices, familial relationships were frequently demonstrated systematically through personal names, but with changing lifestyles, family structures and naming trends, such systematic ways of creating familial ties through personal names have largely been lost. However, personal names may still express familial ties, but in different ways than in previous times. To consider this, this article utilizes a unique data set of 303 messages in municipal newsletters from parents about how they chose their child’s name, focusing on who was listed as choosing the name; whom the child was named for; and common elements within parent–child pairs and sibling sets. Parents themselves were most frequently noted to have selected the name, followed by the child’s older siblings; in comparison, grandparents were listed rarely. The use of a shared kanji
‘Chinese character’ between parents and children was also not common; however, it was more frequently observable in siblings’ names. Although the data set is small in size, the data strongly suggests that contemporary families are focused more on creating intragenerational connections between siblings, rather than intergenerational familial ties, which may be a result of the nuclearization of contemporary families.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited