What’s in a Name? Female Japanese Names Using the Character for “Summer” (Natsu – 夏)

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What’s in a Name? Female Japanese Names Using the Character for “Summer” (Natsu – 夏)

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Natsu (夏), which means “summer” in Japanese, like it’s English counterpart, has connotations of the hot and carefree season from which it takes its name. In most cases, the person with the character for “summer” in their name will have a birthday during the summer months as well.

While the name Natsu itself seems to have become less popular in recent years, as well as Natsuko (夏子), the character continues to live on, usually by using the Chinese (onyomi) reading “ka” or in combination with several other characters. Here is a look at some female Japanese names that feature the character 夏 (natsu) along with some pictures of the hot girls that they belong to! As it was done in the previous article, Romanized names will be in given name/family name order and Japanese names will be written in Japanese order (family name/given name).

In its simplest form, Natsu can be written with hiragana (なつ) or katakana (ナツ) but as previously mentioned, it has become less commonly used.

Natsu Amano - 天野 なつ - LinQ

Natsu Amano – 天野 なつ – LinQ

Perhaps one of the most popular names at the moment is Natsumi, which is written by adding the character for “ocean” or “sea” (海). It can also be written by adding the character for “beauty” 美 (mi) or “truth”, “reality”, “sincerity”, “honesty”, or “fidelity” 実 (mi). Natsumi written as 夏海 for “summer sea”, or 夏美 for “summer beauty”, or even 夏実 for “true/faithful summer”, sound like a good wish for parents to have for their daughter.

Another popular variation is Manatsu which can be written with the character for “true” (真) which when combined, forms the word for “midsummer” (真夏). It can also be written by combining with the character for “love” (愛), which would make the meaning “summer love”?

Konatsu (小夏), literally meaning “little summer” as well as one of the names for a citrus fruit from the southern prefectures of Japan available during the late-spring to early summer months, is another name for females born during the summer.

Konatsu Furukawa - 古川小夏 - UPUPGIRLS (KARI)

Konatsu Furukawa – 古川小夏 – UPUPGIRLS (KARI)

Natsuki is a name that often uses the character for “summer” but, that is not something that should be taken for granted as there are many variations possible! The historical character 紀 (ki) meaning “(geological) era” or “chronicle”, the poetic 季 (ki) meaning “season”, and even the alternate reading of the character for “life” (生, iku) would make 夏紀 as “summer chronicle”, 夏季 as “summer season”, and 夏生 as “summer life” respectively?

In the case where Natsuki is written without 夏, hiragana and other characters can be used instead. Isn’t language fun?

The character for summer has been receiving a lot of use as a suffix for given names, the most prevalent one probably being Ayaka written as 彩夏. Using the character 彩, in this case read as “ka”, and meaning coloring, paint, or makeup, can evoke images of a colorful summer?

Here are some other names using the character for “summer” as a prefix. As you can see, there are many possibilities!

Of course, 夏 can be put at the beginning of a name to represent a “ka” sound as well. Here are some of the most famous ones, you should probably recognize!

If you have read all the way to the end of this article and expecting a daughter any day, you may be excited at all of the possible ways of writing a beautiful Japanese name for them? These are only a small sampling of the names that use the character 夏. While there is the possibility of a person’s name having a deep and personal meaning, a lot of the names mentioned in this article seem to just be using the other characters to fill out sounds. That’s the great and sometimes frustrating thing about kanji though, there are so many readings in Japanese! At the very least, it might still be too early to bring back names like Natsuko?

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Kai Okudara

Writer, researcher, photographer, foodie, KSDD

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