Sunday, August 7, 2011

Japanese Name Order

Today, I'll introduce my confusion for the "Japanese Name Order"
My name is Miyako Yamada (first name, last name),  in Japan the order is opposite Yamada Miyako (last name, first name). Normaly we call each other with family name (close friend or nickname base relationship; exception)
 I took these pictures from the scool textbooks I am using now and I used before,
      Sato Takao (last name, first name) new book                      Keiko Tanaka  (first name, last name) old book
Western style order has been taught in the textbook of junior-high school students (for 12years old) for a long time until recently. When you use English, using its style might be natural. However, recent textbook started using Japanese style (last name, first name order). I thought this sitehere is interesting having the same opinion with me. I'm afraid this new instruction may cause unnecessary confusion if western people still use the “old” name order for us when introducing each other orally.

Let me add one thing;  as for the reason of our name order,
In Japanese culture,  a male child will supposed to take over the family and family is imprortant to succeed. It is only my supposition but it might represent our patriarchal system. 


  1. Hi Orchid (I mean Miyako!). Thank you for another interesting post about Japanese culture. I agree with you, that it could be confusing with some using the old way, and some using the newer way! Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

  2. I had heard that about Japanese using last name first etc. a long time ago. It seemed confusing to me but cultures are so different throughout the world. I always enjoy learning new things about others so keep these lessons coming! Have a wonderful week!

  3. Good morning my friend! I had heard this before as well. Is this the same for Chinese culture?

    Your name is beautiful.

  4. Hello Orchid, I also thought that the letters "-san" were added to the name as a sign of respect? Is that no longer in use? I think when teaching English/Western culture, the names should be written as they are here. You are right, confusing for the students! (((hugs))) xo

  5. Good afternoon...

    I knew this! I learning it from watching Ice Skating and Olympics! Nice explanation... I Love learning about other cultures. My sons watch Anime all the time...

  6. Orchid...thanks for sharing this info! I'm glad you explained this as I could never figure out which was the first name and which was the last name.

    I love hearing about your culture.

    Hugs xxxxx

  7. What a lovely post and wonderful explanation of your name...and the history behind the way it is presented. I love your name..Miyako...however you'll always be Orchid in my mind!


  8. Hi Miyako san! It's a very interesting post. I've seen new orders here and there as well. It may be quite confusing!

  9. Hi Orchid - It's me again! I just noticed your lovely little blog button, so I have put it on the sidebar of my blog. Hugs.

  10. Thanks for the informative post about your culture. I like to learn new things of other countries and always enjoy what you share.

  11. With my husband having lived in Japan, I learned quickly about the naming system, Orchid. Some of our Korean clients do the same thing. Intriguing the different cultures.

    How have you been. We finally got rain here yesterday & today. Very high humidity so it is unbearable outside.

    Hope all is well with you & your family.
    Have a beautiful week ~
    TTFN ~

  12. Orchid...this I knew from a Friend when I worked..she was from Japan. she called me Ann san !!But,she did not introduce herself with her last name first.(maybe because she had been in U.S. for some time and worked here. She wore a beautiful kimono to a mutual friends daughter's was breathtaking!! I so enjoy learning from you about your culture! xo

  13. Dearest Orchid,

    Oh my, I had a long reply and then the power went off. So I will make it short instead because it is already very late. You are right! Why add to the confusion?

    Have a great week ahead and love to you,


  14. Ohh I have to show my daughter Memphis your post, today she was so excited because they have some Japanese students coming in to spend the day at her school tomorrow & she was learning some Japanese language (speaking not writing) today & was so excited she was telling her sister Trinity & I about it on the way home, should be fun!!

  15. Dear Miyako san, you are a sweet and wonderful person. I enjoyed seeing the text book pictures...what a clever idea. I also have added your button to my side bar so I can visit much easier.

  16. Thank you so much for explaining this information and educating us in the Western part of the world. Have a beautiful weekend, my sweet friend.

  17. I also had heard that in Japan you use your surname first followed by you given name(first name) I didn't know that in schools you are also taught the western way of saying things. I do like to read abour your country and culture