If you’re ever looking for the Japanese equivalent to “John Smith,” the go-to name is decidedly “Tarou Yamada.” And yet, if you look at today’s population, neither of those names top the popularity charts! Yamada, though simple to write and stereotypically Japanese, isn’t even in the top five for family names!

Now that we mentioned it, we’re sure you’re all curious to know now, so here’s a list of the five most common family names in Japan, as announcement by the Meiji Life Insurance Company.

The following list was compiled from a sample of 5.96 million members of Meiji Yasuda’s clientele. Take note that these results are based entirely on the kanji used and can actually be pronounced in a multitude of ways.

1) 佐藤 – Sato

2) 鈴木 – Suzuki

3) 高橋 – Takahashi

4) 田中 – Tanaka

5) 渡辺 – Watanabe

According to the full report, the percentage of people with the name kanji for Sato is 1.54 percent. If we apply that number to the entire Japanese population, we can assume that almost two million people share the name!

It would appear that our very own Mr. Sato isn’t as special as we try to make him out to be…

Source: Mainichi Shinbun via Hachima Kikou (Japanese)
Image: Wikipedia