Korean ballad singer, Lee So-ra

Origin: Japanese and Korean
Gender: Unisex in Japan and Female in Korea
Meaning: Japanese: "Sky"; Korean: "Conch Shell"
Pronunciation: SOH-ruh, SOR-ah
Other Forms: So-ra

For those who weren't aware, May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, so I thought it would be a wonderful idea to feature some Asian names! I admit to not knowing as much about them as I would like, so if any native speakers know the correct pronunciation, spelling, etc., please don't be afraid to let me know in the comments below!

Our first name of May is Sora. Sora, for the Japanese, is a unisex name meaning "sky". One of its oldest bearers is that of poet Kawai Sora, who famously wrote of his journeys with his Master, Matsuo Bashō, a renowned poet of the Edo period in Japan. His recordings of the middle of this period are seen as the most detailed and exact on record.

In Korea, it is more commonly So-ra, with Sora being the common Romanization. It has the lovely meaning of "conch shell". Conchs have all sorts of purposes, across many, many cultures. The nagak (also called na, godong, and, of course, sora) is an instrument made of a large sea snail's shell, that is played during military processions. They have similar ones in Japan, and in Hinduism they have the shankha, and its call is used as a victory over suffering. In Buddhism, it is one of eight auspicious symbols. Of course it has more material values as well, such has being made into jewelry (Bengali brides are adorned with conch shells and coral bangles), being used as shell money, and food.

Sora has two beautiful meanings, and a wealth of history, making it a poetic choice, especially for those drawn to the ocean.

Matsuo Bashō, being followed by Sora


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