Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 7 years ago

Should I take a Japanese name in addition to my Chinese and English names?

So I have taken three semesters of Chinese in college, and next semester I will be taking a fourth. I will also be taking my first semester of Japanese that same semester. I have chosen a Chinese name (approved by my teachers, who are native to the Guangdong and Hebei provinces, respectively) to A.) help me show my respect for that culture B.) let them know that I am serious about studying Chinese, and C.) because I love my Chinese name.

I know that Japanese Kanji is Chinese characters with Japanese pronunciation, so I know that my Chinese name would be pronounced differently there, and possibly have a different meaning as well, which would greatly bother me, as meaning matters.

My main questions are these:

Should I use my Chinese name in Japanese, knowing that I would *insist* on Chinese pronunciation?


Should I take a Japanese name in addition to my Chinese and English names?

If I do take a Japanese name, do you have any tips for me?

Some background knowledge:

My major is Anthropology, and my minor is Chinese Studies. My work (and love of travel) will take me to many countries in Asia, including China and Japan. I have a deep love of languages- in high school, I took both Spanish and French (Latin was only offered through an awful online course). In French, I went by Laurance Lorenz (Lorenz is my last name- these names are pronounced almost the same, with a French flair, and it was always both of them combined, never just Laurance, haha) to my classmates and Blanche Neige (a joke about my extremely pale skin) to my teacher. Anytime I meet up with classmates I still go by Laurance Lorenz. XD My Spanish class wasn't cool enough for me to be able to take a name there, lol.


mtwelles, to answer your questions: I think my English name is beautiful, and it fits me very well. Asking if my name isn't good enough for me is a very douchebag question, fyi. Also, I don't know if you've ever studied any Chinese culture, but traditionally the Chinese have taken many names, for different periods in their life (beginner's info can be found here:

If a heavily-accented person came up to me and said his name was Tom Johnson, do you know what I'd call him? Tom Johnson. I would think that he was a recent immigrant trying to fit in by taking up an English name, and also to keep Americans from mispronouncing his real name. Do you think I want to walk around China being called "Weiduolia"? No, I most certainly do not.

I'm not taking up another name to "sound cool", thank you very much, nor am I trying "to be one of them". And I'd love for you to tell Dr. Jin that she was ind

Update 2:

-dulging me to her face, especially since she asked the entire class to take on a Chinese name. Taking a name of a different culture increases cultural immersion and helps cultural understanding, and let's the native person know that I respect their culture. I am not some snotty tourist who enters a country and doesn't bother to learn a damn thing about it or it's history.

Update 3:

The Normal One, your experiences sound hilarious! XD All three of my French teachers insisted on taking a French name- only in my middle school one did I get to go by Victoire (the French translation of my name, Victoria), in my other two classes it got snatched up before I could lay claim. My one Spanish teacher didn't insist at all- she was an older crabby woman who just wanted her paycheck and to retire. My Chinese teacher didn't *make* us, but she really wanted us to do so. :)

Yes, I would imagine that the Japanese wouldn't like any other culture that stands up to their imperialist ways. The Chinese don't like the Japanese that much either, and I'd have to agree with them on why they don't.

Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with me, I'll definitely take them into consideration, and what will probably end up happening is me picking out a few acceptable Japanese names and having them ready, just in case. If not, Victoria works for me. :

3 Answers

  • TNO
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Do whatever you want, really.

    I don't know if your teacher will insist on cultural immersion via name changes... some language professors do, some don't. You certainly can if it's not part of the class, though I don't know if you want to stand out that way.

    Actually, truth be told, the Japanese would probably insist on pronouncing your name as is in it's English form. The Japanese like to do that. I would stay away from a Chinese reading, since 1. It'll probably confuse them initially if you write it out and 2. They sometimes don't like the Chinese that much. It is also possible that it has a Japanese reading too, that works as a name, so I'd wait and see as well.

    My Sensei kept our names. I walked into class and had to find my name in Katakana on the third day (Katakana is a more alphabetical writing system utilized in Japanese). It's likely yours will do that too.

    I've taken multiple languages myself. In Spanish 1, all the way back in Middle School, my Colombian teacher required us to adopt one, I went by Javier because my real name, Dean, isn't so translatable, and Daniel and Diego were already taken. Apparently my Mexican junior year teacher in High School thought that Deán would be alright, since it means the same thing (as in a college dean, though), as it was my name with a slight difference in vowel pronunciation. My Panamanian friend disagreed with it, though, saying "you can't do that", so I don't know what I'd do when I go back to a Spanish speaking nation. I took Hebrew in College, and one professor kept Dean (which can be a Hebrew name, in the same way Hope is a name, as Din is the word for "Justice") but another insisted that I use "Dan", which derives from Hebrew and is off by one letter in both languages (Dan also means "Judge" or "Law", so it's related anyway). I've also taken Japanese, and while I had names picked out, my Sensei decided to keep our names. Though, I was prepared on adopting "Daisuke" if needed. Japanese doesn't have a lot of names beginning with "D", so I was also looking at other names that I liked too, but it all turned out to be for nothing in the end when I was simply "Dean-san".

  • 7 years ago

    Why would you ever take another name? If your name not good enough for you?

    Imagine an obviously foreign person coming up to you in your city and saying "Hello. My name is Tom Johnson" in heavily-accented English. What would you think? You would probably think he was putting you on.

    I live in Korea. If I used a Korean name, Koreans wouldn't think I was cool. They would think I was trying to be one of them, and that would be very disrespectful. In Asian cultures in general, there is a very strong sense of who is native and who is not. Your Chinese teachers may have been indulging you, but if you went to China and used a Chinese name, it would most likely be very awkward for you.

  • 7 years ago

    of course you should i think that would be awsome!!!!!!!!

    Source(s): other
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.