Photograph by Katrin Kirojood

Meaning: “Pearl”
Gender: Female
Pronunciation: SHIN-joo (I think)
Origin: Japanese
Other forms of the name: N/A

Sometimes you just come across a name you really, really love. This one of those. But like most great things in the world, this name has a rather cumbersome association. When spelled Shinjū (and using different kanji) it means “double suicide” and is used for lovers who make a pact to kill themselves, popular in puppet shows. However that really doesn’t seem to be a problem for people in Japan. “Shinjū” is the name of a science-fiction novel written by Laura Joh Rowland in 1994 that tells the story of a yoriki or low-ranking police officer in 1689 Genroku-era Japan as he tries to solve the mystery of double murder disguised as a lovers suicide. A lot of Japanese dragons are depicted with pearls which can mean anything from good luck to prosperity or wisdom. Buddhists thought pearls were one of the eight treasures, the heart of Buddha, and pure intentions. The “Flaming Pearl” is recognized by both Buddhists and Hindus as the crystallisation of light, transcendent wisdom, spiritual consciousness, and spiritual essence of the universe. Christian also associate it with Heaven. The pearl is the only gem that can be worn in its natural form, it does not need to be cut or redesigned in any way.

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