The Most Badass Japanese Name Ever

Japanese names fascinate foreigners because they are infused with deep meaning. With a seemingly endless amount of kanji combination, a simple name can represent anything. This is why a lot of foreigners try to turn their name into kanji. Who wouldn’t want to add an extra meaning boost to your name.

So are all Japanese names cool? Of course not. There are plenty of names that are considered old fashioned and out of style.

But there is one name, when I saw for the first time, I knew was special. A name so powerful that a mere greeting can turn into a fun confusing game of “Who’s on first?” I didn’t know this was a name until recently, and my new goal in life is to become best friends with someone with this name. Or if I can’t, name my child Genki.

Enough suspense.


You’ve gotta look like this to be able to pull off this name.

Name: 元気(げんき、Genki)

Meaning of 元気: vitality, vigor, energy.

Doesn’t sound bad at all.

But if you’ve ever turned to page 1 of any beginner textbook you will know that one of the first two phrases you will learn is:

元気ですか (How are you?)
はい、元気です! (I’m fine/great)

Which means these two sentences can also mean the following:

元気ですか (Are you Genki?)
はい、元気です! (Yes, I’m Genki)

But the possibilities for misunderstandings are endless.

元気がなくなった: I’ve lost my energy.
元気がなくなった: Genki has passed away.

元気出せ!: Get energized!
元気だせ!: Bring out Genki!

元気になりたい: I want my energy to return.
元気になりたい: I want to become Genki.

I think the beauty of the name is obvious. Can you think of any other great misunderstandings Genki will have sometime during his life?

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


The Most Badass Japanese Name Ever — 8 Comments

  1. “Genkiが退屈と思います。。。”
    以上イメージのこいつに言ってないですけど (笑)

  2. I just bought the last volume of DMC the other week. Such a funny manga, especially if you’re into Death Metal/Black Metal.

    The show and movie are also quite funny.

    • Agreed! It is one of the most fun manga I’ve read in a while. I would say it’s even more fun if you know nothing about death metal, because now this is how I perceive the death metal world to be like.

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