Baby Name of the Day: Akira

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Expecting a little samurai?

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Yeah I knew about this name already, that is what Japanese and male. To be honest, less common names at the bottom of the list will ALWAYS be more more popular for females since parents are likely to name their girls pretty much anything but will use more common names for boys – it’s a fact. Its probably why if a unisex name was #150 for boys and girls, I can guarantee you there were more boys named after it than girls.
Anyway, Akira strikes me as male for some reason, so I’m up for it. On girls for some reason it seems a lot more cheesy and common.

I instantly recognised this as a masculine name, despite being relatively unfamiliar with Japanese culture (my husband, on the other hand. . .). I actually really like the name, but as I told Mark when he suggested Reiko while we were expecting Roseanna, I just don’t think I can pull off having a child with a Japanese name.

Thanks so much for covering this Abby! My husband is a screenwriter and Akira Kurosawa is one of his idols; we would love to use Akira in the middle spot to honor him. In our circles, everyone would know it was a boy and that it was for Kurosawa. Just like they would assume Ingmar was for Bergman, Nolan for Christopher, and Arwen from LOTR 🙂

I think you put it perfectly: “a gamble in the first spot but powerful in the middle”. The meaning is so great too. For parents who don’t mind their son’s name being read as female, or for those with Japanese heritage, I think Akira makes a wonderful name!

I’m very familier with Kurasawa’s work and love his films even, however, I must disagree with you on people’s interpretation of where the name Akira was inspired from. I’m 37, meaning at an older age for pregnancy, yet at my generation and younger where Akira will be amongts his or her peers; we always assume this name is celebrated from the movie “Akira”, a beautiful, intellectual and stunning film well known as the film that is the forefront for Japanese animation and ideology. My husband and I are having a baby girl and before we knew the gender we had settled on the unique and special name Akira pronouced AH- kee – rah with the r almost silent!

There is a character in Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel “Artist of the Floating World” named Akira Sugimura. He was a wealthy artist who died and his house was then sold to the main guy. Although he is dead, he has a big influence in the novel.

The Oxford Dictionary of First Names listed Akira as unisex. I looked it up because I know an Akeerah and knowing her parents, I assumed it was Arabic or Western African. Of course Akeerah and Akira are not the same name, but like Isadora Vega mentioned, most English speaker will pronounce both names the same way.

If I read this name with a Japanese surname… like Akira Tanaka… I would probably assume they were male. But if I heard the name with a surname like Johnson, O’Brien or Ibrahim… I might think they were female.

My understanding is that Akira is unisex with a leaning towards the boys in Japan.

Also the pronunciation is tricky. Most English speakers would say “ah-KEER-ah” but to the Japanese it’s more like “ah-ki-rah.” They don’t emphasize syllables the same way we do.

I hate the idea of such a strong, unique masculine name like Akira going to the girls! I really hope it starts catching on among brave parents of sons.

I knew a guy in high school named Akira, he was half Japanese and half african american. His last name was a name of a japanese car/ motorcycle company, so it kinda sounded like he was named for two cars .. Acura and Suzuki. Nobody ever made fun of him, but it was a point that was brought up in conversation a lot.. an interesting combination, but now I see that it would probably be very normal in a Japanese crowd.

Akira was the name of the dog that just about opened my left leg from thigh to knee when I was 9. I remember that dog!

So Akira’s not for me. I can’t see it on any of the very caucasian kids in the neighborhood, either. But hey, someone could use it. Akira seems emminently usable; easy to say, easy to spell and simply catchy. Kind of cool, even. 🙂

I love love love Akira. I believe that I read somewhere that it means Anchor in scottish? This would make it doubly attractive in that my sons both have names with nautical meanings (totally coincidental). Husband on the other hand has reservations considering the feminine sound and so I would probably have to compromise and go the root of Akir or Akiro.

I’m not into anime so that reference totally escapes me; but I LOVE the sound of Akira, despite not being a big fan of the similar-sounding girls names you mentioned.