Akiko Elizabeth @MakeYourJapaneseName

Akiko heeft wel een heel bijzonder project, ze schrijft niet-Japanse namen fonetisch in kanji, met de betekenissen die daarbij passen en maakt daar mooie plaatjes van voor op haar Instagram en Etsy.

“I’ve spent half of my life in Kanagawa Prefecture. I’ve lived in Southeast Asia and studied abroad in the U.S. I started MYJN in January 2021 because I remember my friends gave me an English name back when I studied abroad, so I wanted to create similar things for my friends in overseas! Through my work, I would like to introduce how interesting Japanese character system works especially we have hiragana, katakana, kanji, and romaji to use in our daily life.” 

Mr. McHugh loves boogie cars, so I picked a horse as a main character for his name. He wanted to have a masculine name, so I mixed and matched with his personality and “masculine” kanjis.  

Akiko’s Etsy shop
“You can order your request from Etsy telling me about your name, hobbies, and personalities! With $5, you can get 1 name in Japanese, and 2 names for $10. Each kanji is created with different meaning even though they may have exact same pronunciation. That is because we mix and match simple kanjis to create complex meanings. For example, sun (日) + moon (月) means “brightness” (明) However, “confusion/ getting lost” (迷) is pronounced the same, but with different kanji. It’s combined with different meanings: make way (辶) + tiny as rice (米).”

I made this for their welcome board for Mr. and Mrs. Masarsky’s wedding. They’ve been adopting dogs for a while, so I wanted to include them in this art. Since they’re religious, I chose these kanji characters: if you truly clean/ baptize, you’ll be more likable and polished.  

The Netherlands
Akiko is happy to be featured on a Dutch website, for, as she explains: “Dutch people introduced so many western culture and technology when Japan was supposed to ban any kind of foreign things in Edo era. To this day, you can find Dutch influence on Japan everywhere here: grade school students’ backpacks, castella cake, tulips, etc. Nagasaki and Yokohama are still popular as tourist’s spots and romantic spots for couples like the flower fields and Western style buildings. Today, we still get along in diplomacy, and I really appreciate our long-time friendship/ alliance. I hope I can visit there in the future, but I’m super short, so I feel like I have to bring a little step! LOL!”

This was for Valentine’s Day this year. “Love for love,” “Love always wins,” and these color scheme show support to LGBTQ community. I am passionate about social justice; I wanted to make something inclusive for the very important day. 
Since the pandemic has become rampant, my fellow Asian friends and I have been experiencing racism against Asians both in person and online. This art was used at #StopAsianHate campaign on Instagram and Facebook.  

“Finally, Martine, to explain, I made your name sample! I’ll introduce the meaning of each characters before explaining what it means as a whole:

円: circle, flawless 

艇: boat 

① Netherland was one of the only two countries that traded with Japan under lockdown during Edo period.  

② You’re helping others by building a bridge between our countries and among your friends. 

綉: embroidery work 

You’re coloring/ beautifying relationships once you build a bridge in 綉. 

→You’re very kind enough to help others. Also, the kanjis show your traditional side such as budo. Lastly, you’re very artistic by creating and making things more beautiful. Overall, you’re flawless. 😉”

Thank you so much, Akiko, for telling us about your lovely project and for this wonderful gift! Japan Fans, go check out Akiko’s Etsy to order your own Japanese name!

I am happy that I am not flawless! 😉