Meaning and Origin of: Minamoto

Family name origins & meanings

  • Japanese : meaning ‘source’, ‘origin’. With the Fujiwara andTaira, this is one of the three most prominent clans in Japanese history. It is listed in the Shinsen shōjiroku. The name itself is not common today, as most of the descendant families have taken other surnames, usually from their places of residence. In 814, the Emperor Saga created the surname for those of his children who were to become commoners. Later emperors did likewise, so the various branches of the clan were distinguished by the names of their parent-emperors. The Minamoto are also commonly called Genji, from the Sino-Japanese pronunciation of minamoto plus the word for clan.