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Is Eri a boy name?

Quick Answer

Eri is traditionally seen as a unisex name, used for both boys and girls in Japan. It has multiple meanings depending on the kanji used to write it, including “blessed advantage,” “collar,” and “benefit, profit.” While more common for girls in Japan, Eri is gaining popularity internationally as a name for boys as well. Ultimately, whether Eri is better suited as a boy or girl name comes down to personal taste.

What Does the Name Eri Mean?

The name Eri has different meanings depending on which kanji are used to write it. Some common meanings include:

  • 恵 – “blessing, benefit”
  • 衣 – “clothing, collar”
  • 絵 – “picture, painting”
  • 映 – “reflection, projection”
  • 英 – “outstanding, excellent”

So Eri can mean “blessed advantage,” “collar,” “picture,” and more depending on the underlying kanji. The most common meanings relate to blessings, benefits, and excellence.

Is Eri Used More for Boys or Girls?

In Japan, Eri is traditionally more common as a girl’s name, though it is used for boys as well. The name ranked at #31 for girls in Japan in 2015, compared to only #558 for boys.

However, internationally Eri is gaining traction as a boy’s name, especially in the United States. The name is still quite uncommon overall, but some parents are drawn to its soft sound and creative flair for their sons.

So while traditionally feminine in Japan, Eri works well cross-culturally as a boy’s name for those seeking something uncommon yet meaningful.

Eri for Boys

Here are some reasons why Eri can make a great name choice for a boy:

  • Creative and uncommon – Eri stands out from common boys’ names and provides something unique and memorable.
  • Japanese roots – Eri has an appealing Japanese origin and works well cross-culturally.
  • Soft sound – The “er” sound is gentle yet strong, striking a nice balance for a boys’ name.
  • Meaning – Eri’s definitions like “blessing” and “excellence” are very positive meanings for a boy.
  • Spelling – A short, simple spelling that is intuitive to pronounce and won’t be misspelled often.

For parents seeking an uncommon name from Japanese tradition, Eri has a lot of appeal for boys. The sound is approachable and friendly for a son. Overall it gives the opportunity for something special and different but not too far out there.

Eri for Girls

While less common internationally, Eri is a traditional girls’ name in Japan, and can work well for daughters too:

  • Feminine sound – The soft “er” ending sounds delicate and pretty for a girl.
  • Cultural ties – Has history of use for girls in Japan, ties nicely to Japanese heritage.
  • Simplicity – A simple, clean name with minimal syllables and letters.
  • Creativity – Stands out from common Western names without being too complex.
  • Meanings – Definitions like “blessing” and “picture” are poetic for a girl.

For parents looking for something feminine with Japanese flair, Eri checks a lot of boxes. It is easy to say and spell, while offering creative flair. Overall it makes for a lovely underused choice for girls seeking an uncommon but meaningful name.

Eri Name Popularity

While not yet a common name internationally, Eri is gaining some traction in the United States:

  • Girl’s name Eri – Currently ranked #5796 in popularity, with 116 baby girls named Eri in 2020. Has risen in rankings over time, up from #7238 in 2010.
  • Boy’s name Eri – Much less common for boys but gaining ground, up from #18,607 in 2010 to #9920 in 2020. 35 baby boys were named Eri in the US last year.

So while the numbers are still quite low, Eri is slowly increasing in use particularly for boys in the US. Parents drawn to its Japanese roots, creativity, and meanings are starting to discover it.

Famous People Named Eri

Some famous individuals named Eri include:

  • Eri Chiemi (1898 – 1970) – Japanese author of children’s stories
  • Eri Kamei – (1983 – ) Japanese pop singer, member of Morning Musume
  • Eri Hayward – (1912 – 1980) Japanese American baseball pitcher
  • Eri Ishida – (2001 – ) Japanese singer and actress

While still an uncommon name, some pioneers in music, writing, and sports have brought attention to Eri over the years. These include women and men, showing the name’s potential for both genders.

Eri Name Variations

Some creative variations and spellings of Eri include:

  • Erie – The English pronunciation, also a place name related to a lake in North America
  • Eyri – Slightly more unusual spelling
  • Eiry – An Irish spin, rhymes with the girl’s name Mary
  • Eari – An elaboration on the original spelling
  • Eeri – Spelling variation with double “e”

Eri also lends itself to many cute nicknames, including:

  • Eri – Stands great just as the full name
  • E – The first initial makes a fun, simple nickname
  • Riri – Cute rhyming nickname for Eri
  • Era – Means “era” or “time period” as a nickname
  • Rio – Part of the “ri” sound in Eri, reminiscent of the popular Rio name

There are endless possibilities to adapt Eri in creative ways while keeping its core sound and meanings intact.

Middle Names for Eri

Eri naturally lends itself to many middle name pairings. Some options include:

  • Eri James
  • Eri Michael
  • Eri Alexander
  • Eri Mae
  • Eri Louise
  • Eri Juniper
  • Eri Sophia
  • Eri Elizabeth

Names like James, Michael, Elizabeth pair great with Eri’s simplicity. Japanese middle names like Juniper, Mae also complement Eri’s origins. There are endless pairings that can surround Eri with tradition, strength, femininity or other attributes.

Is Eri Easy to Pronounce?

Yes, Eri is an intuitive name to pronounce in English based on its spelling:

  • Pronounced like “AIR-ee” – The “AIR” rhymes with “hair,” while the “ee” sounds like the letter E.
  • Emphasize the first syllable – Putting stress on the “AIR” part helps pronounce it properly.
  • Two syllables, three letters – Simple, minimal sounds to say.
  • Matches spelling – Pronounced exactly how it is spelled.

Eri follows basic English pronunciation rules, with each letter making its expected sound. The two-syllable cadence rolls off the tongue easily. These factors make Eri a very simple, intuitive name to say correctly on the first try.

How to Write Eri in Kanji

Eri has many options for kanji when written in Japanese, leading to its different potential meanings:

Kanji Meaning
Blessing, benefit
Clothing, collar
Picture, painting
Reflection, projection
Outstanding, excellent

So the kanji used can significantly change the implied meaning of Eri when written in Japanese. The pronunciation remains the same.


In summary, Eri is a creative Japanese name that works well for both boys and girls seeking something uncommon and meaningful. For boys it strikes a balance between soft and strong sounds, with uplifting definitions. For girls it provides a pretty, feminine name tied to Japanese culture. While still quite rare internationally, Eri is slowly gaining in popularity across cultures. With its ease of pronunciation and spelling combined with deep roots, Eri makes for an intriguing yet accessible name.