My relationship with the Japanese people started way back in 1996 when I was an Electrical Engineering student at the Polytechnic, a constitutent college of the University of Malawi. Back then, I received a scholarship award from the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) because I emerged as the best student in my class. Since that time, I have never paid for my studies again. The WFWP paid for undergraduate studies. The African Network for Scientific and Technological Institutions (ANSTI) paid for my MSc studies and now the Japanese government is paying for my PhD studies.
The coordinator of the WFWP was Masako Morikawa and one of her aides was Michiko Someta. These two ladies were good friends of mine from 1996 to 1999. During this period, I used to think that the fact that both of their first names end with ko was just a coincidence. But now that I have stayed in Japan for 9 months, I have observed that most Japanese ladies’ first names end with ko. Apart from the two aforementioned names, names like Yumiko, Kimiko, Fumiko, Sachiko, Akiko, Keiko, Yuko, Mayuko, Tomoko, Noriko etc are very common. This pattern is very interesting. As a gaijin, who is very interested in understanding the Japanese people and culture, I would like to know why their names follow this pattern.