Family name origins & meanings
- Japanese : an archaic word used to mean ‘east’, originally applied to the fifteen northern and eastern provinces of Japan. According to legend, the hero Prince Yamatotakeru, on his mission to conquer the eastern barbarians, was badly homesick and cried ‘Azuma wa ya!’ (‘Oh, my wife!’) when he viewed the Kantō Plain from a high pass, and this incident gave the name to the region. The family name is most commonly written with the character for ‘east’ (higashi), but some families write it using different characters phonetically. The name Azuma is found mostly in western Japan and the Ryūkyū Islands, while the name Higashi is more common along the southeastern seaboard.