Working in Japan

How to memorize Japanese name quickly

Many people are struggling to memorize names when you meet someone first time. And it must be super hard if you have to do it with Japanese names because they are basically not familiar for you. But what you can gain through remembering the names is actually enormous.

We’d like to introduce a super technique how to memorize Japanese names at the first meeting. As many of us forget names, it will make a positive change if you can do this. So don’t give up to memorize it, but try our technique from tomorrow on.

Repeat names during the conversation

Let’s come to the answer already.

THE THIRD RATE: Forget names
MEDIOCRE RATE: Try to give meanings to the names in order to memorize
THE FIRST RATE: Repeat names during the first conversation

How this will work?

Japanese language is so, that we can always say name of the interlocutor instead of using “YOU”.

“You” is あなた in Japanese. However, we hardly say あなた in daily conversation both on casual and formal occasions. What do we say instead? The name.


  1. 山本さん、初めまして。(Good to see you, Yamamoto-san)
  2. 山本さんってご出身はどちらなんですか?(Where are you from?)
  3. 山本さんどのようにお考えになりますか?(What do you think about it from your point of view?)
  4. 山本さんのご趣味もゴルフなんですか!Your hobby is playing golf, too!)
  5. 彼は山本さんを信頼されているんですね。(Ah, he trust you.)
  6. 山本さんが昨日会った方、私も知っています。(I know the person who you met yesterday.)

In each case, the “you” is not avoidable in English sentences, but it can be replaced with name when you talk in Japanese. It doesn’t matter if “you” is nominative, possessive, objective case or even relative pronoun. And this will even sound more natural than saying “あなた” when talking in Japanese.

The mechanism why repeating helps memorizing names

Repeating names is utilizing the forgetting curve.

The forgetting curve hypothesizes the decline of memory retention in time. This curve shows how information is lost over time when there is no attempt to retain it. A related concept is the strength of memory that refers to the durability that memory traces in the brain. The stronger the memory, the longer period of time that a person is able to recall it.  (quoted from wikipedia)

Nobody can memorize something at once. But by utilizing it and repeating the name at the first meeting, you will be able to remember the interlocutor’s name much easier than trying to memorize it by giving meanings or something.




Yuki Nagahori
BA in German / Japan Country Manager at editorial company → Sales → currently sales planner based in Hamburg, Germany