Pen Name

When I made the official application to be a calligraphy student, which means actually gaining ranks, I had to pick a name. My name in Japanese is usually written in katakana – most borrowed words and foreign words are. I thought I was just signing my name, but Sensei told me, If you’re going to make it official, it seems a waste not to use kanji (kahn-jee) for your name.

So I brainstormed some ateji (ah-teh-jee) for my name, Sean. Ateji are kanji used to make the sound of borrowed words, foreign words or words that don’t have kanji already associated with them. The original meaning of the word or kanji don’t have to mean the same thing as the borrowed word. In other words, pick a couple of kanji that sound like your name. Pick something cool. They can be whatever you want.

My name in katakana:


The long “O” sound is elongated. You can write that with a sideways bar in katakana.

My ateji?


Pronounced sho-un, it sounds like the katakana (the “u” replaces the sideways bar). The first kanji means auspicious, the next means cloud. How cool is that?


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