Wanting to get hold of unique Japanese cat names? Read on!
“Herro every-nyan!” said Chiyo's Dad in a memorable scene from Azumanga Daioh. Why is the father of the school's prodigy a giant yellow cat? Don't ask him that. And don't compare him to P.M. Mori either. (Or Bill Clinton if you only speak English.)
The manga turned anime Ranma 1/2 and Fruits Basket both feature humans who turn into cats under certain conditions. The Japanese word for cat is “neko” with “koneko” being the word for kitten. The sound a cat makes is described as “nyan” in Japanese, which is where the meme Nyan Cat got its name.
With the popularity of anime, manga and Japanese made video games; Japanese names have become very popular. There's just something about the melodious rhythm of the Japanese language with every syllable ending either in a vowel or a lightly voiced N.
Even before kawaisa became a thing, cats were featured in Japanese folklore as the mysterious nekomata and bakeneko. Because cats feature so prominently in Japanese culture, it's no wonder a lot of people want to name their cat something Japanese.
How to name your Cat from the Land of the Rising Sun
Would you consider using an honorary suffix in your cat's name? “San” is like calling someone Mister or Miss and has an air of formality. “Chan” is most often used when addressing pets because of its air of cuteness. “Kun” is used for pets that have more of a buddy feel than a baby feel.
“Sama” is only used when addressing the dead, gods, royalty or when asking someone for money. People who watch anime in Japanese may notice teachers and doctors are addressed as “Sensei”.
In Japan, someone stuck for a name may consult a form of fortune telling called seimei handan. The number of strokes in a name written in kanji can affect whether or not a name is seen as auspicious.
For example, someone with a name with fifteen strokes will be broad-minded and generous with many supportive friends.
The number four and its multiples are bad luck. In the past, a book or a fortune teller with knowledge of seimei handan was consulted. Today, it's all free on the internet.
Female Japanese Cat Names
It's been falling out of favor in recent years, but at one time “ko” was the most popular syllable to end a girl's name because it means “child”. Minako means “Beautiful child”. Yoshiko means “Good child”. Hanako means “flower child”. (Chanting this name in a public restroom is believed to summon a ghost, much like the Bloody Mary ritual.)
Tomoe or Takeko after two warrior women of Japan are good names if you have a combative girl. Sutematsu after the first Japanese woman to be college educated would be better for a contemplative kitty.
Calico cats are considered good luck in Japan. There is a folktale that a Japanese nobleman took shelter from the rain under a tree near a monastery. He soon saw a calico cat in the doorway making a batting motion with her paw. (In Japan, this gesture means “come here”.) Check out our full list of girl cat names too!
Thinking the cat was inviting him inside, the nobleman stepped inside. Seconds later, the tree he had been standing under was struck by lightning. Ever since, business owners have placed a beckoning cat statue in their window for luck. Kounna means “lucky” and would make a good name for your calico. Here are more great names.
Male Japanese Cat Names
Akira is a popular boy's name in Japan that means “bright”. It's also the name of an animated film set in a sci-fi dystopia that consists mainly of the characters screaming out the name of the title character.
If you name a cat Akira and go looking for him, calling out his name, anime enthusiasts might respond by shouting back “Kaneda!” the name of another character whose name got shouted out a lot. It’s also the name of director Akira Kurosawa, whose samurai movies can inspire some interesting names.
The anime Dragon Ball Z offers a lot of unique names like Goku, Krillin, Yamcha, Vegeta, Napa and Raditz. Most of the names are food puns. Gohan, for example, refers to rice or even just meals in general.
In the original Japanese, Jessie and James from the anime Pokémon were named Musashi and Kojiro, after two great samurai from Japanese history. You should also check out this list of cool kitty names.
Meowth and Mew are the best known cat themed Pokémon but there’s also Skitty, Shinx and Purrloin. Names for a strong boys are Kenta, (“Big and strong”) Kashi (“oak tree”) and Ryu.
(“Dragon”) Osamu is better for a contemplative fellow. It means “To study” and was the name of the artist credited for being the father of manga. Here are some more:
All in all, Japanese cat names offer a delightful and meaningful way to celebrate the beauty and charm of our feline companions. Whether inspired by nature, culture, or the unique personality of your cat, these names reflect the rich tapestry of Japanese language and tradition.
From elegant and poetic choices to playful and quirky ones, Japanese cat names can capture the essence of your furry friend and deepen the bond you share. So, when selecting a name for your beloved pet, consider the enchanting world of Japanese cat names as a source of inspiration that adds a touch of elegance and intrigue to your cat's identity. Hopefully, this has helped you name your koneko.
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