Let me start by saying that details concerning Tama-Chan's kittens' names are available here. As for the rest of us and our Japanese names... The Japan connection comes from #1 who studied Japanese at university and then went on to live and work in Japan for 20 years. She has in fact lived longer in Japan than anywhere else, so it is a little bit her home, which is why we kitties all have Japanese names. Add to this the fact that #1's first-ever cat, also an Aby, was born in Japan. His name was Ikkyu, after one of Japan's most famous (15th century) Zen priests and poets.
Let me start with Tama, whose full-name is Tama-Hime which means the "Jewel Princess." Tama is actually quite a widely-used name for cats in Japan, and she is a real princess after all!
Sei's full name is "Edo no Sei-Shonagon." She was named after an amazing lady who lived a thousand years ago and wrote a wonderful book called "The Pillowbook of Sei Shonagon" (Makura no Soushi in Japanese).
My full name is Yuusuke, which is a fairly common boy's name in Japan and means "The Gentle One." It's obvious why I am called that!
Now for the "Chan" bit... Most of you probably know that when Japanese address one another, they always add "san" to the end of the name. It is an honorific suffix, with an even more honorific version in "sama." Children and loved ones, however, are not addressed as "san" but as "chan." It is a sign of affection. It is used for very small children of both sexes although boys often go onto be addressed as "kun" which is less cute but equally affectionate. Whether you stay "chan" forever or you go on to "kun" depends on how you are seen. Tommy, for example, is undeniably a "Tommy-kun" because he is such a sporty boy. I am pretty sporty too but I am such a total lovebug that I am likely to be Yuu-Chan for good!
When #1 went to cat show on her last trip to Tokyo, every single cat she met was a "Chan"!
And by the way, Tommy came with his name! It was given him by his English breeders and his siblings have names like Sam, Sophie and Elsie. Tom seemed like the perfect for him, so #1 decided to keep it!
I hope you were not bored by this long explanation, but now you know all there is to know about our names! In closing, here is a rather blurred flying ears action shot of Tommy!
It's an orange tennis ball he has in his mouth!