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In many cultures, it’s common for parents to name children after a relative, or sometimes even themselves. My dad, oldest brother, and nephew, for example, all have the exact same name, which is pretty convenient when my mom wants to call them all for dinner at the same time.

Japan, though, doesn’t have this sort of custom, which means parents’ options are wide-open when picking out a name for their kids. Given this sort of freedom, a recently conducted survey asked Japanese respondents the following question: If you were going to name your baby after a manga character, who would it be?

The poll was done by digital manga provider eBook Japan Initiative, which received answers from 701 participants (171 men, 530 women) in their 20s and 30s, all of whom are registered eBook Japan users. No divisions were made on the basis of whether or not the respondents are in a romantic relationship or otherwise gearing up to start a family, so there’s probably at least some free-form daydreaming that went into the responses.

That said, the participants seemed to keep their imaginations more or less grounded in reality, as there’s nothing as outlandish as Son Goku or Usagi on the list. In addition, the top results consisted entirely of Japanese names, showing that while Attack on Titan fans are devoted enough to Captain Levi to celebrate his birthday, they don’t necessarily want their kids to share the giant-slayer’s name.

Let’s take a look at the results:

-Top names for boys (as chosen by female respondents)-

3. Shota (Kimi ni Todoke)

Friendly, patient, and with eyes only for his one true love despite being very popular with his female schoolmates, Shota grabs the number-three spot.

2. Ren (Nana)

Being abandoned as a newborn, becoming addicted to drugs, and dying young in a car crash all seem like things you’d prefer not happen to your own son. On the other hand, Ren is a handsome and talented musician, which is apparently enough for him to claim the silver medal here.

1. Ko (Blue Spring Ride)

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Kind, troubled, and mysterious, Ko, the complex male lead of Blue Spring Ride no doubt got a boost from the franchise’s live-action theatrical adaptation, which was just released in December.

-Top names for boys (as chosen by male respondents)-

3. Jotaro (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)

Fittingly, Jotaro is one of the more unusual names on eBook Japan’s list, but enough guys like the long-running manga’s most popular hero to land him in the top three.

2. Kaede (Slam Dunk)

Kaede, which means “maple,” is generally considered to be a girls’ name, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see it on the list of top answers for boys from male respondents. The cool and tough forward from Japan’s most popular basketball manga has a lot of fans thinking it should be a unisex moniker, though.

1. Tsubasa (Captain Tsubasa)

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Sticking with the sports theme, guys made the top pick for their sons Tsubasa, after the hero of the eternally popular soccer saga that’s named for him.

-Top names for girls (as chosen by female respondents)-

3. Futaba (Blue Spring Ride)

The other half of Blue Spring Ride’s central couple makes her appearance, in the form of Futaba, who like romantic interest Ko has a bit of an identity crisis.

2. Chihaya (Chihayafuru)

Earnest, hardworking, and cultured, Chihaya finishes in second place, which would no doubt vex the competitive player of the Japanese card game known as karuta.

1. Sawako (Kimi ni Todoke)

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Painfully shy yet purehearted and unobtrusively beautiful, the object of Shota’s affections topped the list of girl’s names submitted by female respondents.

-Top names for girls (as chosen by male respondents)-

3. Sakura (Naruto)

What guy wouldn’t want his daughter to grow up to be a strong ninja warrior?

2. Chihaya (Chihayafuru)

As the only character to show up in the top choices from both men and women, we’d say Chihaya has the best chance of actual babies being named after her.

1. Minami (Touch)

Women’s top choice for girls, Sawako, is an old-fashioned name. Minami, on the other hand, comes from an old manga, the high school baseball classic Touch. Every other character on the list is from a franchise with chapters published in the 21st century, with some, like Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure and Captain Tsubasa still in serialization. Touch, on the other hand, had its last installment published in 1987.

Still, Minami’s got a lot going for it as a name, and not just because of its connection to the kind, graceful, and level-headed female lead one of the most popular manga and anime series of all time. Simple and feminine, Minami has been a popular name for generations, yet has managed to avoid picking up any sort of musty or unfashionable image.

Of course, Minami didn’t show up in the top three responses from women. So while it’s got a good chance of pleasing both the child herself and her grandparents, plus Dad if he’s one of the guys who voted for it in the poll, in the interest of compromise and marital harmony, Chihaya might still be the better choice.

Sources: eBook Japan, PR Times
Top image: Wikia, Alter Vista, Libero, Zerochan (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert images: Wikia, Alter Vista, Libero, Zerochan
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