21 Asian Names That Will Make Your Child Proud of Their Culture
It's not uncommon for Asian Americans to tend toward choosing more Americanized or Western baby names. For instance, while the name Ying is the most popular name for boys in China, it's rarely seen in the U.S. But it doesn't have to be that way.
More families are opting to give their children names that honor famous Asian Americans, Asian names that are more universal in nature, or have already crossed over from Asian countries to the U.S. Here are just a few of the many Asian baby names growing in popularity to consider on your search.
Popular Asian Names in the U.S.
A few Asian names have already made it relatively high on the American popularity charts—these names are all in the top 500 baby names in the U.S.
Kai A top 100 baby name for boys that's also becoming popular for girls–Kai means "ocean."
Kali A top 250 baby name, Kali means "black one" in Sanskrit.
Ren The meaning of this Japanese name is "water lily," and its usually more popular for boys than for girls.
Bodhi This popular name with South Asian Sanskrit roots means "enlightenment."
Zara An Indian name, Zara means "blooming flower."
Mira This Sanskrit name means "ocean."
Names Inspired by Famous Asian Americans
If there's a particular historic (or current) Asian or Asian American figure you admire, consider giving your child a name that honors that person (even if it's more Americanized than not).
Jhumpa Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri boasts this name, which means "charming."
Ming-Na Actress Ming-Na Wen now goes strictly by Ming-Na, a name that means "enlightenment."
Mazie Hawaiian senator Mazie Hirono is of Japanese descent, and her name is considered a variation on Maisie, a Margaret nickname that means "pearl."
Ang Oscar-winning director Ang Lee was born in Taiwan and moved to the U.S. Ang is an anglicization of An, which means "peace" or "tranquility."
Yo-Yo Famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma has a name that means "friendly."
Nora The real name of comedian Awkwafina, Nora means either "honor" or "light," depending on the source.
Anna Anna May Wong was the first Asian actress to achieve fame in Hollywood. Anna could actually be a Chinese name as An Na, which means "peaceful and graceful."
Hiram The first Asian senator was Hiram Fong from Hawaii—the name Hiram is Hebrew meaning "my brother is exalted."
Kamala The first female vice president Kamala Harris is also the first Asian vice president and first African-American vice president of the U.S. Her name means "lotus."
Asian Sound-Alike Names
These names are Asian, but sound similar enough to Western names making them a little more accessible.
Jin As any true BTS fan would tell you, this Korean name means "precious."
Dara This Cambodian name means "stars," and sounds a lot like Kara or Daria.
Ali Comedian Ali Wong has this name, which sounds like a shortened version of Allison.
An Meaning peaceful, this single character of a Chinese name means "peaceful."
Mei Pronounced like the Western baby name "May," Mei means "little."
Li One of the most common names in China, Li (pronounced Lee) means "pretty" or "powerful."
Joon/Jun This Korean name, which sounds like June, means "handsome" or "talented."
Written from the western eurocentric imperialistic perspective of a white author. Many Asian Americans and other members of the Pan-Asian community still hold or eventually find pride in their ethnic names but articles like this perpetuate the idea that Asian names are foreign and need to be made accessible to westerners, as opposed to westerners learning the names of the global majority.Read More