About Duke of Nikko

Email: dukeofnikko@gmail.com (I am in U.S. Central Time Zone (UTC – 6/5)).

Instagram: nikkoduke
Ravelry: Duke of Nikko Designs
LoveCrafts: Pattern Store
Etsy: Duke of Nikko Etsy Store

Who is Duke?

After nearly 20 years of working as a project management professional in Automotive, IT Services and Banking industries. Duke decided to branch out and apply his life experience into the world of knitting.

Duke was born and raised in the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan. After completing his college degree, he moved to the U.S. to pursue a graduate degree in business administration.  

He and his partner of 20 years Daniel met in Tokyo, and have lived in Austin, TX, Detroit, MI, and New York, NY. They’ve been married since 2004 (they drove from Detroit to Toronto, Canada, where the same sex marriage was legal then).

He’s a big fan of Mariah Carey, and enjoys listening to R&B, Gospel, and Neo Soul music. Duke also runs marathons and eats Ramen regularly.


The Origin of the Name “Duke”

Duke is an adopted American name when he started working in the U.S., when people had a difficult time pronouncing his birth name – Daisuke. When he was brainstorming a name to adopt, he did not want a common name like David, and he wanted to preserve the essence of his birth name. Dick sounded too much like a dick, Daisy was a little gender non-conforming, Dice, Dike, Duck, Suck… Aren’t there any complimentary name that sounds like his name??

Then it hit him – Duke. If you remove “ais” from “D-ais-uke”, it becomes “Duke”. “What a manly, eloquent name!” he thought, although he himself was far from manly, or eloquent. The fact that he was living in Texas at that time made a mental connection with the iconic John Wayne cowboy character in many people’s minds. (This Duke, by the way, has never seen a John Wayne movie)

Duke was also easy to pronounce by his Japanese friends. Soon the Japanese friends started calling him “Duku-san” (Mr. Duke).


Nikko, the city, the cat and the entity

Nikko means Sunlight, and is the name of a scenic tourist town in Japan, about 90 miles (150km) North of Tokyo. It was a place Duke had many fond memories in growing up.

When he adopted his very first kitty in 2000, he named her Nikko. Nikko the Cat was the sunshine of his life until the very last moment of her life in 2016. About a month before her passing, Duke founded his own single-person consulting company. He decided to name the company “Nikko Consulting Services,” so that the name Nikko would live on.

Then in 2019, when Duke was thinking of coming up with a name as a knitwear designer, he came up with “Duke of Nikko.” Nikko, pronounced like Knit-Co, sat well with his vision of becoming a premier knit designer.

The word “Nikko” can mean many things in Japanese. For example:

  1. 日光 Sunlight. This is probably the most common meaning. The town of Nikko, and his cat has this connotation.
  2. 日航 Japan Airlines (short of “Nihon Koukuu”). The Nikko Hotel chain may be recognized by many travelers.
  3. 日興 Japan Industrial (short of “Nippon Kougyou”). The Financial Securities company that once belonged to Citigroup. Now part of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation group.

As you can see, all of the above has a common first Kanji character – 日. 日 is a widely used character in Japan because it is a part of the country name Japan (日本, Nippon – the Origin of the Sun). It can also mean Day, and Sunday.