My Brood, Our New Addition in 2016   家族について、ハーフの子供の名付け


2016 was another big year for us; we welcomed a new member to our brood.  Baby boy (LAST baby, this time, really, no, seriously) Luca.  We are officially outnumbered.  The photo?  All the babies at one week old.  I’m gonna have trouble explaining which photo belongs to which child later in life….

One of the difficulties of being a multicultural family, speaking several languages and having multiple identities starts before the baby even arrives.

How do we name our kids?

Especially when you have languages, such as Japanese and English, where the naming conventions are completely different. We also live in an English and Chinese speaking country.

At least with the girls, it was a little bit easier.  There’s a greater variety of girl names, especially in Japanese, and the rules are fairly flexible.  I insisted on a few things when we named our girls.

  1. They must have Kanji associated with their name
  2. The Kanji must give meaning to the name
  3. Anyone should be able to pronounce the name

And the bonus challenge, the Kanji in their name must link to the season they were born in.

Yeah, I made this harder for us than it needed to be.  Really.

So here’s the summary of the sisters’ names.

Nina(新菜) – Yes, new and green.  In Chinese, new vegetable.  Well, I hadn’t accounted for the Chinese use of Kanji.  As she was born in January, in the dead of winter, we named her “coming spring”. Nina is also a popular name in Marc’s family (his grandmother and two cousins), so this made perfect sense.

Mila (実良) – 実 is harvest. 良 is good.  There.  Good harvest.  In case there was any confusion, she was born in the fall.   We also applied the grander meaning of “harvest” to her name, since, as parents, we wish her to have a fulfilling life.

And here’s the boy.  There are not that many boy names that work in both Japanese and English. Honestly, I just couldn’t get into finding boys names.  So I left Marc to think about it for a while.  He came up with Noah.

Strangely enough, I liked the name Noah in English, but once I said it in Japanese (yes, with a Japanese accent, the only difference) I didn’t like it.  Sorry to all the half Japanese Noahs out there.  I know there are many of you, but it’s just a personal preference.   I tried to apply Kanji to Noah, then got depressed.  I prefer to use very simple kanji for names and not make it too complicated, and I couldn’t really find ones that appealed to me.

For some odd reason, “Noah” as a name is a recent import to Japan and has somehow been adopted as a more of a girl’s name.  The sound, I suppose, feels more feminine in Japanese.

After struggling with it for a while, we came up with Luca.  Another girl name only in Japan.  It’s apparently a very anime sounding name as well.  In fact, when I google it, a Final Fantasy character pops up. Well, I gotta see beyond that. I needed a name, and I needed it soon.

A more popular version of the English name Luca in the US would be Lucas or Luke.  Just so you can make the joke, “Luke, I am your Fatheeeerrrr” “NOOOOOOO!”

….Marc makes the joke anyway.

So it came down to the Kanji. Can we match Kanji to the name?  I ended up coming up with what actually fit in with the rest of my brood.


Neither Kanji is  commonly used.  琉 actually doesn’t really stand on it’s own and neither does 禾. So why use it?  Here’s the simplified reason. 琉 is the same character as 瑠.  They are just variations that developed over time.  瑠璃 is the only historical use of the Kanji, and though there are several theories on what 瑠璃 means, it is linked with lapis lazuri, which is a blue stone.   In Japan, it also stands for the September birth stone.  Wow, what are the chances?

“Ca” was particularly difficult and nothing really came to me. I actually didn’t know the character 禾 until my mother brought it up.  I looked it up and found that it means “rice crop”. The Kanji symbolizes the rice crop, heavy and ready for harvest.  OK, another seasonal term.  Perfect.  So put together, you get “September Harvest/Blessing”.  I was sold.  I pitched the spiel to Marc. He agreed that it worked, though he did think I let my personal predicament of having gestational diabetes, living the life without my favorite carb (RICE), affect how we named our son.

Marc did seem to like Noah better, but he couldn’t come up with the Kanji.  We also pitched the name to the girls (Their favorite was Christopher Robin Sky – from Winnie the Pooh and Sky, which is the name of a kid they play with in the playground) and between Noah and Luca, they preferred Luca.

Sure, right now, at 3 months, he looks more like “Konishiki – the Sumo baby” than “Luca”, but we like it.  So there.







  1. ファーストネームとミドルネームで日本語と英語(第二か国語)の名前を分ける
  2. 日本語と英語(第二か国語)両方で発音しやすい名前をつける
  3. 日本では日本ごの国籍を作り、まったく別の名前を第二か国語の名前でつける
  4. 言語の事は置いておいて、親が選んだ名前をつける。あまりハーフだから、とこだわらずにつける、という事ですね。

















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