Friday, December 7, 2007


Johan and I had a good laugh at this website called Kanjix, where its motto is "A good KANJI name for you."

Besides the Engrish plastered all over the site, their kanji examples are not what I would call professional quality.

We are both curious who would pay $19 for 800 pixel size jpeg & additional $9.50 for PDF (Why not just use PDFCreator, it is FREE!).

I suggest their slogan should be changed to:

(Engrish + Eihongo) * $ = Kanjix!

Update: I find it to be very ironic that Google Adsense is posting an ad about Kanjix.


  1. I decided a while back I'd come up with some plausible-sounding kanji for my own name (admittedly this was just for shiggles, but anyway).

    I started by taking its kana representation (トマス) and jamming it into an online dictionary search with the idea of lopping a kana at a time off the end until I found something juicy. As it happens, 富ます 【とます】 is a verb "to make wealthy". I grabbed the kanji 富 wealth and lopped と off the word. Then I searched for words which read as マス.

    Turns out 増す 【ます】 is "to increase", and a valid nanori reading of 増 increase is ます (due to the okurigana the normal reading is simply ま). Thus the two-kanji only-slightly-bogus representation of my name, 富増.

    Any name can likely be manipulated to produce a kanji rendition in this way. Some workarounds/caveats:
    1) Using a shortened form of your name will probably give better results than the full name unless your name is quite short, like mine. "Schwarzenegger" gets shortened to Shuwa-chan to make an affectionate nickname; bear this in mind.
    2) If your name uses a kana-only formation like ティ or ヴァ you'll need to alter it to fit in the normal kana range - ヴァヴィヴゥヴェヴォ would become バビブベボ; ティ would be テ or チ. Imagine how an older Japanese speaker who doesn't know trendy new words like ググる and 億ション might render it.
    3) Don't be afraid to use helper kana in places; there's nothing wrong with placing a っ or a ゃゅょ between kanji, if you need to. Playing around is encouraged, and it's your name, so you should be happy with spelling it.
    4) Make sure the combination of kanji you end up with don't mean anything offensive, self-deprecatory or rude (unless that's your intent; a self-deprecatory name could be a source of amusement if used right).

  2. Well, I imagine that their PDFs are not just images saved as PDF. They are probably text-based, with an embedded vector font, essentially giving them infinite resolution. You could only do that yourself if you had the knowledge to input the symbol, had an appropriate font, and knew how to output such a PDF file.

    It's still a bit of a rip-off though!

  3. i love that kangjix is a sponsor (in the sidebar ads)!

  4. My name is Josh, and I've come up with some rather goofy stuff for my given name, like 女守 (woman protection), 除酒 (removing alcoholic beverages), and 助手 (assistant), plus I've had 城舟 (castle boat) suggested to me. I can't really come up with something I actually like. For a translation-based name, maybe 神介 or 神助 (both pronounced "kansuke") might work.

    Anyway, about the site, all the characters for "Mariko" are legit, and the second option for "Matthew" is all right. The names with katakana and kanji mixed, on the other hand, are just appalling. The balance is terrible; why not just use katakana?

    Also, translating 麻 as "linen" seems like a bit of revisionism. Strictly speaking, 麻 refers to hemp. It may also be used as a general term for similar fibers, such as flax (from which linen is derived), manilla hemp, jute, etc., but "linen" as a first choice seems to be a deliberate whitewashing (drugs are bad, kids).

  5. I found that site already through the google ads from this one. Fairly rubbish. And transliteration issues aside, did you see that they don't even let you choose your own style? They just pick the font they fancy at the time and you're stuck with it whether you like it or not. Nice!

  6. Also slightly ironic is that it's a Japanese operation (based in Tokyo's Ota district, although there's not a full address / company info - which IIRC is mandatory for online businesses in Japan).
    I wonder what they'd do with my name - Ian - where the only common Kanji rendering is "慰安" ("comfort", as in "comfort women"(!) ).


    (check out my modest Engrish collection)