30 Popular Japanese Last Names With Meanings And Characters

30 Popular Japanese Last Names That Will Have You On The Next Flight To Tokyo

Last names are a great way to connect with our roots. Japanese last names show a particularly strong connection to the country’s breathtaking nature and clan history. In ancient Japan, clans were organized by the Kabane system, which determined each clan’s political and social standing. As clans began to devolve into individual households, the Kabane system went out of use, but the origins of many modern Japanese last names can be traced to it.

Depending on the characters used to spell them, names can have multiple meanings. Here, we’ve compiled a list of popular Japanese last names that breaks down each name’s Japanese spelling and the meaning behind it.

  1. Abe
    Japanese spelling: 阿部, 安倍安部, or 阿倍
    Meaning: A means peace while be means multiple times.
  2. Beppu
    Japanese spelling: 別府
    Meaning: Separate borough.
  3. Kiyama
    Japanese spelling: 木山, 喜山
    Meaning: Tree mountain.
  4. Nakaya
    Japanese spelling: 仲谷, 中谷 or 中矢
    Meaning: Between the valley, in the centre of the valley, or arrow in the centre.
  5. Aoki
    Japanese spelling: 青木
    Meaning: Blue tree.
  6. Sakai
    Japanese spelling: 境
    Meaning: Border or territory.
  7. Wakabayashi
    Japanese spelling: 若林
    Meaning: Young forest.
  8. Takao
    Japanese spelling: 高雄 or 高尾
    Meaning: Bulky man or warrior.
  9. Shima
    Japanese spelling: 志麻 or 志摩
    Meaning: Island.
  10. Nishikawa
    Japanese spelling: 西川
    Meaning: Western river.
  11. Masaki
    Japanese spelling: 真崎
    Meaning: Correct or tree.
  12. Kato/Katō
    Japanese spelling: 加藤
    Meaning: Increase and wisteria.
  13. Hamasaki
    Japanese spelling: 浜崎
    Meaning: Beach peninsula.
  14. Fujii
    Japanese spelling: 藤井
    Meaning: Well of wisteria.
  15. Chiba
    Japanese spelling: 千葉
    Meaning: Thousand leaves.

    Japanese last names, tree blossoming
  16. Aikawa
    Japanese spelling: 相河
    Meaning: Ai means together or mutual, while kawa means river.
  17. Ebina
    Japanese spelling: 蝦名
    Meaning: Shrimp and distinguished.
  18. Goda/Gōda
    Japanese spelling: 合田 or 郷田
    Meaning: Rice paddy or village rice paddy.
  19. Hagimoto
    Japanese spelling: 萩本
    Meaning: Bush clover and book/present.
  20. Sawai
    Japanese spelling: 沢井
    Meaning: Swamp well.
  21. Kutsuki
    Japanese spelling: 朽木
    Meaning: Decayed/rotted tree.
  22. Doi
    Japanese spelling:
    土井, 土居, 土肥
    Meaning: Earth town, earth residence, or earth fertilizer.
  23. Fueki
    Japanese spelling: 笛木
    Meaning: Wooden flute/pipe.
  24. Tachi
    Japanese spelling: 舘 or 立
    Meaning: Palace or rise.
  25. Baishō
    Japanese spelling: 倍賞
    Meaning: Double prize.
  26. Honda
    Japanese spelling: 本田, 本多 or 誉田
    Meaning: Root rice field, origin rice field, or honor rice field.
  27. Ishioka
    Japanese spelling: 石岡
    Meaning: Stone mount/stone hill.
  28. Kikumoto
    Japanese spelling: 菊本
    Meaning: chrysanthemum book.
  29. Okazaki
    Japanese spelling: 岡崎
    Meaning: Split rock.
  30. Yamaguchi
    Japanese spelling: 山口
    Meaning: The mouth of the mountain.

    Japanese last names, clouds passing through mountains

Related: First Names That Come From Last Names