Brand names in Japan

Brand names in Japan can be split into two categories generally.  Some companies and brands are named after the founder, while others are entirely made up.  Those which are made up can be further sub-divided into "Japanese Style" names and "Foreign Sounding Names".  Japanese names, whether from a family name or a made up brand name, often lose their impression and style when romanized for use in English or other languages using the roman alphabet.


Brand names based on Family Names:
  • Matsushita (松下)
  • Suzuki (スズキ) - Japanese automobile manufacturer named after the founder, Michio Suzuki.
  • Toyota (トヨタ) - Japanese automobile manufacturer named after the founder, Kiichiro Toyoda.
  • Yamada Denki (山田電気) - (Noboru Yamada's Electronics shop)
  • Tokyu Hands (東急ハンズ) - Do-It-Yourself retail store which is part of Tokyu group.

Japanese Sounding:
  • Mitsubishi (三菱) - Industrial Conglomerate (Three Diamonds)
  • Toshiba (東芝) - Electronics Conglomerate (Eastern Grass)
  • Hitachi (日立) - Electronics Conglomerate (Rising Sun)
  • Shiseido (資生堂) - Cosmetics Company (Difficult to translate)
  • Tokyu (東急) - Railway conglomerate - (Eastern Rush)
  • Rakuten (楽天) - Internet Company - (Fun Sky) 
  • Sogo (そごう) - Department Store
  • Seibu (西武) - Department Store
  • Takashimaya (髙島屋) - Department Store
Companies with Japanese Place Names:
  • Yodobashi Camera (ヨドバシカメラ) - Electronics retailer (Named after the Yodobashi ward of Shinjuku).
  • Isuzu ((いすゞ) - Automobile manufacturer named after the Isuzu river.
  • Tobu (東武) -Railway Conglomerate (East Musashi)
Japanese Brands with Foreign Sounding Names:
  • Panasonic (パナソニック)
  • Sony (ソニー)
  • Seven & i Holdings (セブン&BR・ホールディングス)
  • Softbank (ソフトバンク)
  • Sofmap (ソフマップ)
  • Bic Camera (ビックカメラ)
  • Don Quijote (ドン・キホーテ) - Discount Store (Many people mistake the name of this shop to be "Donkey Hotel", which is why the dot is inserted in the Japanese name to explicitly separate the words at the proper boundary.)
  • Uniqlo (ユニクロ) - A Japanese clothing retailer.