Meanings and stories of Japanese company names

Update: Much expanded and improved version of this now here:

Japanese company names explained


  1. markogts said,

    May 4, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Nitpicking: Pleiades are an open cluster, not a constellation in their own. They are part of the constellation of the bull.

    Very interesting overall.

  2. tudza said,

    February 26, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    The Subaru logo has only six stars, check it out. I believe it was six companies that merged and not seven.

    ( and no, I didn’t just look at wikipedia for this, I’ve looked at many sources )

    This puzzled me since we do indeed call it the Seven Sisters, but then when you look at descriptions of the Pleiades you find that there are at least 9 significant stars in there. I reconcile this by imagining that different cultures might just count the number of significant stars differently, but I’ve not found a source that says why that might be.

    Interesting to me too was that, when I was looking through old family photos from Taiwan I saw these signs saying “Seven Stars Bicycle” which I though might also refer to the Pleiades, but now I believe it refers to Ursa Major.

  3. tudza said,

    February 26, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    And more looking around. Some sources say five companies, so that would be five little stars and the one big one for the combined set I suppose. That wikipedia article seems to list five.

    Also, other sites point out that subaru means unite in Japanese. I can’t confirm that myself since my puny Japanese dictionary does not come up with this when I enter “unite” except maybe one word down the list that does start with “suba”

  4. tudza said,

    February 26, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Ah, this would seem to be a good source:

  5. jack said,

    April 15, 2010 at 2:27 am


  6. Japanguest said,

    August 30, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    How about ‘Sansui’? Please tell us what it means if you know the meaning.

  7. Yoshi said,

    January 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    That’s pretty cool, actually this whole site is a gold mine of info. Kudos !

  8. crella said,

    January 11, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I think the ‘dai’ of ‘Daihatsu’ is not ‘car’ but ‘big’…..I could be mistaken though.

  9. Alex Case said,

    January 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    You’re right (he says checking the content of one wikipedia page with another wikipedia page):

  10. Alex Case said,

    January 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    In answer to older comments I totally missed (sorry!):

    Sansui seems to mean mountain + water:

    SK is the third largest company in Korea, but I’d never heard of them until I lived there:

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