Kiko Mizuhara as Midori in "Norwegian Wood"

Origin: Japanese
Gender: Female
Meaning: "Green"
Pronunciation: MEE-DOH-REE
Other Forms: N/A

Today's name is long-standing guilty pleasure of mine - Midori!

Midori comes from the word midori, which first came into the Japanese language during the Heian period (794 AD-1185). Before that, there was no word for green in Japanese, and the word ao, which is used for blue or a blue-green color, is often used to refer to green plants and vegetables and even the green light at an intersection! Midori originally represented the "freshness" of newly grown things, and people who are young and inexperienced are called "blue" instead of green, like we say. In fact, students weren't taught the word midori as something separate from ao until WWII!

I think it is very pretty, especially once you know the history behind it. Midori brings to mind the character from Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood, as seen in the photo above from the 2010 adaption of novel. But there is a wealth of namesakes, from violinist Gotō Midori to Itō Midori, who won Silver at the 1992 Olympics for figure-skating, and the young actress Midori Francis. 

For most English-speakers Midori is probably recognized as a type of green liqueur with a melon taste, which I've noticed some count as a mark against the name. Personally, I never even heard of the stuff until after becoming interested in the name, so I wouldn't let that keep you from using it!


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