Ogihara, Y (荻原祐二). (2021). I know the name well, but cannot read it correctly: Difficulties in reading recent Japanese names. その名前をよく知っているが、正しく読めない: 近年の日本人の名前を読むことの難しさ Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8, 151. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-021-00810-0
Previous literature has mentioned the difficulty in reading recent Japanese names correctly. However, this difficulty has not been empirically demonstrated. Thus, it is unclear to what extent and how it is difficult. Therefore, this paper provides empirical evidence of the difficulty in reading Japanese names correctly. Data including names of babies born between 2004 and 2018 were analyzed. The results showed that common writings have many variations in reading, which makes it difficult (or almost impossible) to choose the correct reading among many options. For example, one of the common writings for boys, 大翔 had 18 variations in reading, and for girls, 結愛 had 14 variations in reading. These variations differed remarkably in pronunciation, length, and meaning. Empirically reporting this difficulty in reading Japanese names correctly contributes to a better understanding of naming practices not only in Japan but also in vast regions where Chinese characters are/were used.