Learning how to introduce yourself is one of the essential aspects of studying Japanese. To do that, you need to know your name in Japanese. So, here’s a guide on how to write your name in Japanese!
In fact, there are 3 alphabets in Japanese – Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Although Japanese names are written in Kanji, foreign names are spelled in Katakana. To make foreign names sound phonetically similar to Japanese, they are usually transcribed in Katakana. For example, Andrew is written as Andoryuu (アンドリュー), Brad as Buraddo (ブラッド), and Carly as Kaarii (カーリー).
Writing foreign names in katakana has the advantage of making the reading and pronunciation of the name clear for Japanese speakers. Additionally, by using katakana, it is immediately apparent that the name is of foreign origin. Furthermore, for those with commonly occurring names, there may already be an established standard way of writing their name in katakana, which Japanese people would recognize.
To write your name in Japanese, you can use a Katakana chart that corresponds to the pronunciation of your name. For instance, if your name is “Erika,” you can find the Katakana character for E, which is エ, then the character for Ri, which is リ, and then character for Ka, which is カ. You can put them together and write エリカ for “Erika.”
Many foreign names have long vowels in them, like Emily (Emirī) or Joe (Jō). In katakana, the long vowels (ā, ē, ī, ō, ū) are expressed with a hyphen. Emily is エミリー and Joe is written asジョー. Keep in mind that L-sounds are turned into R’s in Japanese. So, Laura becomes Rōra (ローラ) and Tyler becomes Tairā (タイラー).
Now it’s your turn! Use a Katakana chart like the one provided above.
List of Common Names in Katakana
The following is a list of frequently used foreign names spelled out in Japanese katakana. Reviewing these examples can assist you in determining the appropriate pronunciation of your own name in Japanese.
- Anderson (Andāson) –> アンダーソン
- Brown (Buraun) –> ブラウン
- Davis (Deibisu) –> デイビス
- Garcia (Garushia) –> ガルシア
- Hernandez (Herunandezu) –> ヘルナンデス
- Jones (Jōnzu) –> ジョーンズ
- Martin (Mātin) –> マーティン
- Miller (Mirā) –> ミラー
- Smith (Sumisu) –> スミス
- Williams (Uiriamuzu) –> ウィリアムズ
- Alexandria (Arekusandoria) –> アレクサンドリア
- Brittany (Buritonī) –> ブリトニー
- Elizabeth (Erizabesu) –> エリザベス
- Emily (Emirī) –> エミリー
- Hannah (Hanna) –> ハンナ
- Jessica (Jeshika) –> ジェシカ
- Kelsey (Kerushī) –> ケルシー
- Lauren (Rōren) –> ローレン
- Meghan (Mēgan) –> メーガン
- Sarah (Sara) –> サラ
- Alexander (Arekusandā) –> アレクサンダー
- Bryan (Buraian) –> ブライアン
- Chris (Kurisu) –> クリス
- Daniel (Danieru) –> ダニエル
- Harry (Harī) –> ハリー
- John (Jyon) –> ジョン
- Kyle (Kairu) –> カイル
- Noah (Noa) –> ノア
- Tom (Tomu) –> トム
- William (Uiriamu) –> ウィリアム
Writing Your Full Name in Japanese
When writing both your first and last names together in Japanese, they are often separated by the symbol “・”. For instance, if your name is James Bond (jēmusu bondo), it would be written as ジェームス・ボンド, and if your name is Jose Hernandez (Hose Herunandesu), it is written as ホセ・ヘルナンデス. And there you have it! You now possess all the necessary tools to both pronounce and write your name in Japanese. Don’t forget to introduce yourself to new friends when you visit Japan!