Most common names for the common women in the late Edo period (a follow up to similar post)

Edo female

Several weeks ago, I bought a Japanese book from Amazon which details the history of female names in Japan called ‘Nihon no joseimei: rekishiteki tenbo’ by Bun’ei Tsunoda.

I got around to compile an overall rankings list from the lists that the book provided from the early and late Edo period. With regards to the early Edo period one, I only managed to find 4 lists, 3 of them from Kyūshū and 1 from Mutsu province (in what is now Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate and Aomori prefectures plus the municipalities of Kazuno and Kosaka in Akita Prefecture), so there will, obviously, be a southern bias in the data.

However, the late Edo period one is compiled from 22 lists (6 of them, the most, from Mutsu province, followed by 5 from Musashi province – covering Tokyo Metropolis, most of Saitama Prefecture and part of Kanagawa Prefecture) and most of them are on pages 376-391 in the historical archives section while 2 of them are on pages 588 and 589/90, so the larger amount of original lists plus the increased variety from places around Japan gives this compiled one a boost (edit: editions 2A and 2B includes data from pages 395-405).

Now, this goes back to the earlier post that I’ve done in which I’ve compiled the top 50 names (both female and male) from passenger lists provided by FamilySearch (albeit w/o any images provided) and I would like to add a note here, which I should have done when I put that up:

The passenger lists also feature people who originally came from Okinawa, which used to be called the Ryūkyū Kingdom (a vassal state of the Satsuma Domain) until it was abolished in 1879, and seeing as if there are no lists that I can find from there and the way the women were named are different, these most likely add a discrepancy to the earliest list I made.

Now, as promised, here are the 100 (not 50 as before) most common female names spanning south from Chikuzen and Awa (Shikoku) provinces all the way up north to Matsumae in southern Hokkaidō.

NOTE: This table is from the first edition – for the 100 most common names from editions 2A and 2B, click on the links to the PDFs below.

Rank Name %age
1 Kiku 1.566%
2 Matsu 1.533%
3 Sen 1.501%
4 Kin 1.468%
5 Hatsu 1.436%
6 Kane 1.338%
7 Yasu 1.240%
8 Tome 1.175%
9 Kiyo 1.142%
10 Tora 1.109%
10= Mume ==
12 Toyo 1.077%
13 Shige 1.044%
13= Chiyo ==
15 Tsune 1.011%
16 Hana 0.946%
16= Mitsu ==
18 Haru 0.914%
19 Kuma 0.881%
19= Natsu ==
19= Yoshi ==
22 Yuki 0.848%
23 Katsu 0.816%
23= Rin ==
25 Iyo 0.783%
25= Kan ==
25= Shun ==
28 Ise 0.750%
29 Tatsu 0.718%
29= Man ==
31 Saki 0.685%
31= Saku ==
31= Satsu ==
31= San ==
31= Toku ==
31= Hisa ==
37 Sayo 0.653%
37= Sono ==
37= Fuki ==
37= Yone ==
37= Riyo ==
42 Iso 0.620%
42= Ichi ==
42= Kichi ==
42= Sue ==
42= Tsuki ==
42= Nao ==
42= Masa ==
49 Iwa 0.587%
49= Kura ==
49= Chō ==
49= Tsuru ==
49= Fuji ==
49= Moto ==
55 Some 0.555%
56 Miyo 0.522%
57 Sato 0.489%
57= Shima ==
57= Taki ==
57= Take ==
57= Moyo ==
57= Roku ==
63 Kino 0.457%
63= Kuni ==
63= Kesa ==
63= Shime ==
63= Shimo ==
63= Seki ==
63= Soyo ==
63= Naka ==
63= Fumi ==
63= Raku ==
73 Kisa 0.424%
73= Kise ==
73= Kume ==
73= Sei ==
73= Tomi ==
73= Fuku ==
73= Yaku ==
73= Ryū ==
73= Waki ==
82 Kame 0.392%
82= Tami ==
82= Tsuya ==
82= Towa ==
82= Nami ==
82= Fusa ==
82= Maki ==
82= Riki ==
90 Etsu 0.359%
90= Shika ==
90= Shino ==
90= Tsuna ==
90= Teru ==
90= Mina ==
90= ==
97 Uta 0.326%
97= ==
97= Sata ==
97= Shū ==
97= Tori ==
97= Nui ==
97= Haya ==

The list below is different from the one that I posted in the earliest, examples being:

  • Kin – 35th place in the earlier post but 4th in this list
  • Iyo – outside the top 50 in the earlier post but 25th in this list
  • Kame – 6th in the earlier list but 82nd in this list (owing to the note I just made here since according to Dōsei Dōmei, ranked highly for name prevalance in Okinawa compared to that of all of Japan)
  • Sue – 9th in the earlier list but 42nd in this list

PDFs are available with hiragana added to these tables (for all editions) and a list of kanji that can be used on these types of names (for editions 1 and 2B).

Edition 1 – Edition 2AEdition 2B

What other observations can you make from this list (and, optionally, from the other list as well)? Send your thoughts in the comments section below.

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2 thoughts on “Most common names for the common women in the late Edo period (a follow up to similar post)

  1. Very interesting. The names are so short; mostly two syllables, none of the mixing of consonant sounds that’s popular right now in names like Airi. From your list, I can only find a handful that correspond with kids I taught in Japan: Mina, Maki, Hisa, Iyo, Yuki. None of the ‘ko’ ending names at all. The most popular names of girls I taught were Kana, Haruka, and Momoka.

    To my ears, the names on this list are all very ‘strong’ names. Certainly they don’t lend themselves to nicknames!

    Like

    1. Sorry for not responding to your comment. I was going to do it but I couldn’t think of something good to reply at the time.

      Anyway, I do agree in a way that they are strong names with them being short in length. For me, one of the names on there that I like best is Nui, mainly for its sound that it gives off.

      Like

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