Officially, among Japanese names there are 291,129 different Japanese surnames (, sei),[1] as determined by their kanji, although many of these are pronounced and romanized similarly. Conversely, some surnames written the same in kanji may also be pronounced differently.[2] The top 10 surnames cover approximately 10% of the population, while the top 100 surnames cover slightly more than 33%.[3]

This ranking is a result of an August 2008 study by Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company,[3] which included approximately 6,118,000 customers of Meiji Yasuda's insurance and annuities.


  1. ^ 日本苗字大辞典 [Japanese Surname Dictionary]. 芳文館 [Houbunkan]. 1996. ISBN 4990058402.
  2. ^ Wolfgang Hadamitzky, ed. (2016). Japanese, Chinese, and Korean Surnames and How to Read Them. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 9783110969887.
  3. ^ a b "明治安田生命 全国同姓調査 [Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company - National same family name investigation]" (PDF) (Press release). Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company. 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2012-05-30.