A teenager's decision to change his name spawned a viral tweet and led to a broader conversation online and in the media amid a trend for Japanese parents to give their children unusual given names.

The boy, who was ashamed of his given name — Oji-sama — which translates to Prince, is starting a new life as Hajime, a change which was legally endorsed by a family court last week.

Hajime Akaike, 18, from the city of Kofu, said he wants his decision to encourage other people who are embarrassed by their given names or find them to be peculiar. He urged prospective parents to think twice when naming their children amid a trend among parents of giving their kids so-called kira-kira (glittery) names with unusual readings.