The Names of Japanese History Makers

Proper Noun Trivia

*This series explains the meanings of proper names, including names of places, companies, people, brands and others.
Name 卑弥呼
Romaji
Hiragana
Himiko
ひみこ
Kanji meaning lowly / increasingly / call
In an ancient Chinese text it is written that when more than 100 tribes were at war with each other in Japan, to stop the unrest, Himiko was chosen to be their queen. Her kingdom was called “Yama’taikoku,” but its location is not known for certain. (She lived around the middle of the third century.)

 

Name 源 頼朝
Romaji
Hiragana
MINAMOTO no Yoritomo
みなもとのよりとも
Kanji meaning source / trust / dynasty (morning)
He established the first samurai shogunate in Kamakura, ending the rule of the emperor and beginning military rule. To strengthen bonds with his allies, he vanquished his brother Yoshitsune, the greatest hero of the war for total domination of Japan. (1147-1199)

 

Name 織田 信長
Romaji
Hiragana
ODA Nobunaga
おだ のぶなが
Kanji meaning weave / rice field / faith / long
In the Warring States period, he tried to unify Japan with his unconventional strategizing. He was eager to adopt western culture, and opened free markets to encourage trade. After he had conquered most of Japan, he was assassinated by his subordinate. (1534-1582)

 

Name 豊臣 秀吉
Romaji
Hiragana
TOYOTOMI Hideyoshi
とよとみ ひでよし
Kanji meaning bountiful / retainer / excel / good luck
Brought up as a farmer, ODA Nobunaga recognized his talent. After Nobunaga’s death, he unified Japan and carried out a survey of its farming land. By confiscating their swords, he separated the peasantry from the samurai classes. He also invaded the Korean peninsula. (1536-1598)

 

Name 徳川 家康
Romaji
Hiragana
TOKUGAWA Ieyasu
とくがわ いえやす
Kanji meaning virtue / river / house / ease
Initially an ally of ODA Nobunaga, he later served TOYOTOMI Hideyoshi, waiting for his chance to rule Japan. Later he destroyed the TOYOTOMI clan, and established his shogunate in present-day Tokyo. His regime continued for 265 years. (1542-1616)

 

Name 坂本 龍馬
Romaji
Hiragana
SAKAMOTO Ryouma
さかもと りょうま
Kanji meaning slope / main (book) / dragon / horse
This hero of the Meiji Restoration replaced the military regime by bringing the emperor back to power. He put his energies into creating an alliance of anti-shogunate forces and was the architect of the modern Japanese government, but was assassinated. (1835-1867)

[From Hiragana Times article]

Pocket
LINEで送る


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *