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Japan and Japanese culture have gifted the world so many amazing things—from art to food to music and fashion, the Asian country’s rich heritage continues to inspire and infiltrate countries around the world. And the island country’s culture of kawaii, or “cute,” has spread colorful, creative designs in recent years. 

Dog owners can pay homage to their love of the country and its culture with one of many Japanese dog names. Especially if you have a Japanese dog breed, like Shiba Inus, Akitas, Shikokus, Hokkaidos, Kishus, or Tosas. We rounded up some of the top cute Japanese dog names to consider naming your pup.

Our Favorite Japanese Dog Names

If you’re looking to honor Japanese culture with your dog’s name, here are 12 names that would be the perfect homage.

Fuji: Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan, and one of the most scenic with its snow-covered peak. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013. This is the perfect moniker for adventurous dogs. 

Sakura: Sakura are the cherry blossoms in Japan. The beautiful pink flowers usually bloom for just one week between March to early May. We love this name for pretty, female dogs who bring joy all year long.  

Koi: Japanese koi fish are wild, colorful carp that are typically bred by rice farmers in Japan. If you have a ginger dog with an orange or reddish-colored coat, Koi is a playful and fun name. 

Shisa: Shisa are the traditional guardian deities that are a cross between lions and dogs that are used to ward off evil spirits, particularly in Okinawa. If your dog is a protector, this is the ideal name. 

Kimono: Kimonos may be the most identifiable garments in Japan. Kimonos, which mean “wearing things” in English,were first worn as early as the Heian period (794-1192) in Japan.

Shodo: Shodo is Japan’s famous calligraphy. It is one of the oldest and most traditional art forms in Japan, and has been used for over 3,000 years. We like this pick for an intellectual pup. 

Sumo: Sumo wrestling is the national sport in Japan, and its origins go back to the Yayoi period (300 BCE-300 CE). If your dog is big-boned or fluffy, this is a fun option.

Alternatives to Try

  • Manga
  • Hanko
  • Sensu
  • Koto
  • Bamboo

Japanese Female Dog Names

Japanese girl holding dog

Looking for the perfect Japanese girl dog name? Here are 10 options that we can’t help but love.

Maiko: Maiko are also known as geisha apprentices. Geisha are famous women throughout Japan, particularly in Kyoto, who are professional entertainers known for their hosting duties, dance, and beauty. If your dog loves to wow a crowd, this is a cute pick.

Nara: Nara deer are famous in Japan for freely roaming and inhabiting Nara Park. They’re known as ‘city deer’ and are beloved by visitors. Does your dog have deer-like spots or features? Then this is the name for you!

Yoko: Yoko Ono is the famous Japanese visual artist and singer from Japan that was married to Beatles member John Lennon. 

Haiku: A haiku is a Japanese poem that consists of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively. Its origins began in the 17th century.

Sailor: Short for Sailor Moon, the famous Japanese anime series about a group of schoolgirls with magical powers. Its episodes ran from 1992-1997, but it still holds a fandom following today. 

Other Japanese Female Dog Names

  • Mei
  • Luna
  • Melody
  • Aiko
  • Ume

Japanese Boy Dog Names

Japanese boy with dog

If you think your male dog needs the ultimate Japanese boy dog name, we’ve got 10 awesome options. Here are 10 of our favorite Japanese-inspired names for male dogs.

Pikachu: There may not be a more famous Pokemon character than the yellow, electric personality that is Pikachu. Pokemon originated in Japan in 1996, and debuted in the United States in 1998. If your pup has Pikachu’s spunk, we think it’s the best moniker.

Hachiko: Hachiko was the name of the famous Akita dog that loyally waited for his adopted owner, a professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo named Hidesaburo Ueno each day at the Shibuya train station. When Ueno died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage, Hachiko continued to wait 9 years at the station for his owner. If your dog is just as loyal, this is a fitting tribute. 

Miyagi: This name pays homage to Mr. Miyagi, the wise Japanese karate instructor played by actor Pat Morita in the movie The Karate Kid. If your dog is wiser than he seems, Miyagi is the way to go. 

Mario: While it doesn’t sound Japanese, the name pays homage to the famous Nintendo character. Nintendo, the famous gaming company, was founded in Japan in 1889 where it began as a card shop owned by Fusajiro Yamauchi.

Totoro: This name comes from the famous Japanese animated Disney film, My Neighbor Totoro by director Hayao Miyazaki. Totoro is the mysterious forest spirit that can only be seen by children.

Other Names for Males

  • Doraemon
  • Godzilla
  • Samurai
  • Haruto
  • Kuro

Japanese Food Names for Dogs

Couple eating Sushi with dog

Are you a foodie?! Well, we couldn’t possibly leave off the incredible cuisine of Japan as a source of dog-name inspiration. Try one of these food-inspired names for your pup.

Ramen: This popular noodle soup dish is beloved by people internationally. And although it was imported to Japan from China, it is now a mainstay in Japanese diets.

Sushi: There may not be another dish that is more synonymous with Japan than sushi. The name sushi comes from the rice used in it, sushi rice, which is cooked white rice that is flavored with vinegar.

Sake: This famous rice wine is brewed from rice, water, and koji mold. In Japan, sake is also the general term used for all alcohol.

Miso: There’s nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of miso soup. Miso is made from fermented soybean paste and is a synonymous flavor and condiment in Japanese culture. If your dog brings you comfort like a hot bowl of soup, this is a fitting choice!

Matcha: This bright, fragrant green color and flavor has gone international in recent years. Made from dried and milled green tea, matcha is also the tea that is used in Japanese tea ceremonies.

Alternative Japanese Food Names for Dogs

  • Sesame
  • Azuki
  • Mochi
  • Dumpling
  • Soba
  • Momo
  • Taiyaki
  • Kobe
  • KitKat

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