Do You Have Older Brothers?


Unneeded question in traditional Japan.

Ichirou (一郎) is a fairly common name, meaning ‘first born son’. Jirou (二郎) means ‘second born son’. Saburou (三郎), Shirou (四郎), Gorou (五郎), etc, go on from there. This system is not used so much today, but was very traditional.

An elderly chrysanthemum grower was interviewed on TV one night. His name is Juushirou (十四郎). Can you read the kanji? He is probably the fourteenth son in his family. I thought I posted on this naming system before, but my search is coming up empty. Perhaps I will write a little about women’s names in the future.


2 Responses to “Do You Have Older Brothers?”

  1. kevenker Says:

    They must not have had a lot of ‘first born’ killing campaigns like in other cultures. It would be hard to conceal your status if your name was bascially ‘first born son’!!

  2. びっくり Says:

    Perhaps they did have the campaigns, but were very successful. (Come to think of it, I haven’t met many old people named Ichirou…)

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