Blackcabbit's World

Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.

Baby Celebrations – the Japanese Way 1 (Naming Ceremony)

Oshichiya Meimeishiki – Baby’s Naming Ceremony

In Japan, we have a naming ceremony for the newborn on the seventh night, known as the Oshichiya Meimeishiki (お七夜命名式). Since I was still serving time in my horrible 9-day hospitalization, we did our Oshichiya differently right from the start.

Typically… Once the baby’s name is decided, the father will have it handwritten in Japanese calligraphy on the Meimeisho (命名書 / Name Certificate). The Meimeisho can be in a form of a scroll, poster, or fancy cardboard, and will be displayed prominently in the house.

Relatives and friends will gather around the whitely dressed newborn and present their gifts or Shugibukuro (祝儀袋 / Monetary gifts in a special envelope). Then the celebratory dinner is served, and two auspicious dishes will definitely be on the menu: Sekihan (赤飯 / red rice) and Tai (鯛 / Sea Bream). More info on these dishes here.

As for us, we celebrated the Oshichiya three weeks later, on a Saturday afternoon where we had our annual Sakura-viewing BBQ with our relatives. Instead of Sekihan and Tai, we had a variety of grilled seafood and meat; beer and alcohol for lunch.

As for the Meimeisho, my mother-in-law got us a contemporary tri-fold cardboard type that is printer-friendly. Though my husband has beautiful handwritings, he was too nervous to flaunt his calligraphy skill in limelight. Hence, he succumbed to the temptation of using computer wordings.

As for Baby, he basked in so much attention that eventually exhausted him. He snoozed right through the event, which is perfect for us. Plus with so many relatives offering to babysit, my husband and I sneaked out for the Hanami (花見 / Cherry Blossom Viewing). Though I was excited with my first Hanami, I soon realized that I’m not a flower person, cos I ended up staring at food stalls instead of the Sakura! ^_^”


Baby Celebrations – the Japanese Way (Main Page)


8 comments on “Baby Celebrations – the Japanese Way 1 (Naming Ceremony)

  1. Lilly
    February 26, 2014

    Is there a blessing that Japanese people or Japanese religious figures say over the baby? If so, what is it, and what does it mean?

    • blackcabbit
      February 26, 2014

      For our family, we did not say anything over our first baby. (We had baby dedication in Church for second child). My father-in-law was more obsessed with writing the name of my second child the best he could. LOL.

  2. Claudia Baluta
    January 6, 2013

    My name is Claudia and I am from Romania. My daughter studies Japanese and she has to finish her graduated paper regarding customs on Japan’s children naming. There are only few articles about this subject. I hardly found your notes, which contains many important details for us.
    Please, if you are willing to, it is possible to give us some more information about this custom, especially about “meimeisho”? We will try to draw up one, as an example, but for this we need to know more…
    Thank you very much and wish you a very happy and wonderful New Year.
    Claudia Baluta

    • blackcabbit
      January 6, 2013

      Hi Claudia, Blessed New Year to you too!

      Oshichiya Meimeishiki (お七夜命名式) is basically a simple naming ceremony. Of which, Meimeisho is merely a form of display of the baby’s name. When I was writing about this event, I was also unable to find any comprehensive information in my books on Japan culture. So the above write-up is ALL I know or had learnt from my own Japanese family. Nonetheless, if your daughter has any questions, just drop them here. I will try to help her by asking my MIL. ^_^

      • Claudia Baluta
        January 6, 2013

        Uau… thank you so much. You are so kind to answer me so quickly.
        The main subject of the graduated paper is the Japanese given names and it will contain information about the “road” of them through the Japan’s history, how to name a baby (from a sound, an image, strokes and fortune tellers), about the suffixes (we even have a table with more then 100 names with their written in kanji and hiragana), about honorific titles and even posthumous name. It was very difficult for us to get information because there is nothing written in our language. There are 5 months now since we translate …and translate, especially from English
        It is a very difficult faculty (she is 100 km far from me, in Cluj Napoca, where there is a great Romanian University) and that’s why I try to help her (like any other mother in the world).
        I was very impressed reading about Japan’s personal names. It is fascinating!
        All what I read on your blog is very important for the paper, especially that image with your meimeisho and your so sweet child. I found out about this art frame custom from an article by Tomoko Otake, but I did not found anybody to give me more details… or the name of it.
        So please (I and hope you do not consider us very rude), give us the permission to use these information in the paper, with a note regarding your name and blog, in the bibliography. We will try to draw up a kind of meimeisho… but if we are not able to… can we ask for your help??

        Thanks again. You can not even imagine what a great thing was your answer for us…

        • blackcabbit
          January 6, 2013

          Dear Claudia,
          Your daughter had chosen a very interesting topic. Sure, go ahead. Your daughter has my permission to use the information from my write-up and the image of the Meimeisho above. I’m sure glad that I could be of some help to her essay. I really appreciate you asking (the world need more people like you). May the both of you continue to enjoy the Japanese language and culture! ^_^b

          • Claudia Baluta
            January 6, 2013

            Thank you very much. We were hardly waiting for your answer. You offer us an unimaginable help. The final exam will be this year, in July. I hope it will be a success.

            All my best,

          • blackcabbit
            January 6, 2013

            You are most welcome. I sincerely wish the best in your daughter’s exam and future endeavors. Gambatte ne! b^_^d

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This entry was posted on July 14, 2010 by in Baby Log, Life in Japan and tagged .
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