My predictions for the top 5 Japanese names

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Whilst we’re waiting for Meiji Yasuda Life, Tamahiyo and Cookpad Baby to release their 2017 survey for the most popular names in Japan (which wouldn’t come out until the start of December), here are my predictions on what the top 5 Japanese names may look like.

For this predictions post, I will be focusing on names by sound, rather by reading (kanji and kana). Also, from this point onward, when I publish a post regarding the top Japanese names from surveys, I will be excluding Cookpad Baby from my sources and aggregate survey.

Let’s start off with the boys. Here’s what the Meiji Yasuda Life and Tamahiyo aggregate survey tells us about (most of) 2016’s top boy names:

Rank Name Number Percentage Rank change from 2015 %age change from 2015
1 Haruto 488 2.69% nch -0.22%
2 Sōta 346 1.91% +1 0.10%
3 Yūto 324 1.79% -1 -0.09%
4 Haruki 258 1.42% nch -0.03%
5 Sōsuke 217 1.20% +1 -0.11%

Not much of a change from the bigger aggregate survey with Cookpad Baby included. Here are my predictions and thoughts 2017’s list:

  • Haruto will remain the top boy name, judging by its longevity in the charts and its number/percentage difference between that the 2nd most popular name of a given year.
  • The next 3 names below will keep their positions.
  • It is likely Sōsuke will leave the top 5, with two contenders that I have in my mind:
    • Aoi is probably the most likely contender owing to its rise over the past several years.
    • Minato is another contender, though I feel as if this is the less likely contender to replace Sōsuke owing to its very small percentage gain despite the uplift in rankings.

That’s the boys done. The girls list is next:

Rank Name Number Percentage Rank change from 2015 %age change from 2015
1 Hana 283 1.63% +1 -0.04%
2 Sakura 263 1.52% +5 0.28%
3 Yui 260 1.50% -2 -0.18%
4 Akari 233 1.34% +4 0.14%
5 Rio 228 1.31% new* 0.26%
* – new from top 10

The names all look the same, but the positions of Hana, Sakura and Yui have changed when only using Meiji Yasuda Life and Tamahiyo.

At first, I did find it a little hard to make up my predictions for girl names, but it became easier when I looked at the names’ positions and numeral differences over several years. That said:

  • Hana will probably remain the top girl name.
  • There is a close battle over Yui and Sakura, however as Yui was falling for the past few years, I’m betting for Sakura to remain in her position at 2nd place.
  • With Yui falling, there is a good chance that Akari will take over in 3rd place, resulting in Yui falling in 4th place.
  • It is likely that Rio will leave the top 5 owing to its rise and fall pattern taking place for a few years now. Like the boys, there are two contenders that I have in my mind:
    • Aoi (yeah, I know) is probably the most likely contender since this name has the opposite pattern to Rio‘s.
    • Koharu is another contender but this name is less likely to replace Rio owing to the drop in rankings in 2016.

Do you have any predictions of your own about what the top 5 Japanese names will look like in 2017? Leave them in the comments section below the sources.

Sources (both in Japanese):
Tamahiyo – https://st.benesse.ne.jp/namae/
Meiji Yasuda Life – http://www.meijiyasuda.co.jp/enjoy/ranking/

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