If only I could make something like this up

The Japanese sound system is made up of 46 syllables. 21 additional sounds called "glides" are produced by combining certain of the main syllables, while 25 extra syllables result from "voicing" the sound of certain syllables.

Japanese Syllables

Glides : By combining syllables ending in "i" with either ya, yu, or yo, glides are produced. The sounds are slurred together, smooshing (to speak technically) into a single syllable. Examples would be "ri + yu" = "ryu" and "ni + ya" = "nya." When written, the modifying ya/yu/yo character is written small and to the lower right of the parent syllable.

Voicing : Syllables in the columns headed by ka, sa, ta, and ha all have alternate voicings (ga, sa, da, and ba/pa, respectively). If there are rules for when to voice, I don't know them, and choose not to worry about them for the purpose of making up a character's name. Whichever of the pronounciations fits aesthetically, I use. When written, these syllables are marked by a double dash mark to the right and above the parent (the "p" modification to the ha series is noted by a small circle, in case you were dying to know).

Sound complicated yet? It isn't! All told, there are only approximately 96 sounds in the Japanese language. That sounds like a lot, until you consider the more-than-I-want-to-calculate number of possible sound combinations in English, where any given pair of letters may sound different together depending on what's before or after... Lord, I pity people learning English! Creating a name in Japanese comes down to simply mixing and matching syllables, from a limited pool of options, that sound good to you. While care might be taken to double-check that you haven't inadvertently reproduced the word for "slimy half-eaten worm," simply picking something that pleases your ears works for the casual roleplayer.

Things to skim through:

Examples Meaning

Male Names

  • Shinichi
  • Koushi
  • Mitsukage
  • Hajime
  • Takahiro
  • Tenchi
  • Shinobu
  • Yuuki
  • Akira
  • Yoshimitsu
  • Tamahome

Female Names

  • Sachiko
  • Tomoe
  • Aiko
  • Ryouko
  • Misato
  • Ijiko
  • Yuuko
  • Mariko
  • Rei
  • Takako
  • Kaoru


  • Takeda
  • Saito
  • Fujimoto
  • Matsuda
  • Watanabe
  • Miyamoto
  • Minamoto
  • Fujiwara
  • Kanzaki
  • Yurinoki
  • Kawaguchi

Male Names

  • One truth
  • Successor
  • Three shadows
  • Beginning
  • ?
  • Angel
  • Rememberance
  • Courage
  • Clarity
  • ?
  • ?

Female Names

  • Happiness girl
  • ?
  • Love girl
  • Understanding girl
  • ?
  • Memory girl
  • Courage girl
  • ?
  • Cold
  • Hawk girl
  • Sweet fragrance


  • Warrior, field
  • ?
  • Wisteria, town
  • Longing, field
  • ?
  • ?
  • Origin
  • Wisteria, arbor
  • ?
  • Tulip, tree
  • River, mouth