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What are some Japanese surnames and their meanings?

佐藤 (Satō) is the most common Japanese surname with an estimated 2,000,000 people having it! 佐 (Sa) means ‘to assist’, and 藤 (Tō) suggests the historic 藤原 (Fujiwara) clan from the Heian Period (794 – 1185). Back then, a great number of people used 藤原 ( Fujiwara) as their surname.

Are there Japanese surnames meaning ocean, sea or water?

There are about 120 people in the country who go by simply Umi or Kai (海) “ocean/sea”. There’s a list of names which use the character for water (水). The most common such family name is usually read Shimizu or Kiyomizu (清水), meaning “clean water”.

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