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Rin, Ren top Japanese baby names in 2019; kanji from new era name less prevalent: poll

A mother holds her son, born on the first day of the Reiwa era, at Keiai Hospital in the Saitama Prefecture city of Fujimi, on May 1, 2019. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- Rin and Ren topped the list of the most popular names for girls and boys born in the first nine months of this year, a survey by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. has shown.

This year marked the beginning of the new Reiwa era, which came into effect on May 1. In the past, there had been a trend to name babies using characters from the new era name, but no such names made the top 10 this year, suggesting that this trend may have weakened.

The kanji most commonly read as "Rin" topped the company's list for the second time, after doing so five years ago. The character for "Ren," meanwhile, was the most popular name given to boys for the second consecutive year. It has appeared at the top of such lists a total of six times.

Himari was the second most popular name for girls, followed by Yua and An, which were tied for third place. Six out of the 10 most popular names given to boys used a single kanji, such as Arata, which came in second place, and Minato, in fourth place.

In relation to the era name Reiwa, names containing the kanji for "wa" reached no higher than 13th place for boys and the 49th place for girls. The boys' name Yamato ranked 13th and the girls' name Waka ranked 49th. Names containing the kanji for "rei" did not make it into the list of the 100 most popular baby names for either sex. The name Reiwa, using the same characters as the current era name, was the 600th most popular name for boys.

The survey was conducted by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance on 8,407 girls and 8,455 boys including children and grandchildren of subscribers.

The company also gathered statistics on past information and found that several names containing the kanji "sho" in the era name Taisho ranked among the 10 most popular names given to babies born in 1912. Multiple names containing a separate character also read as "sho" in the era name Showa were similarly among the top 10 popular baby names in 1927. In both periods, names containing a character of the newly introduced era name topped the list for boys.

When the era name Heisei came into effect in 1989, Narumi, containing the kanji for "sei" from "Heisei" was the fourth most popular name for girls and Shohei, containing the character for "hei," was the seventh most popular name for boys born between January and the end of September.

Meanwhile all of the top 10 names given to girls and boys born in the first year of the Reiwa era were unranked in the survey carried out during the first year of the Heisei era in 1989.

(Japanese original by Koki Mikami, Business News Department)

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