Photo/IllutrationThe giant panda cub born June 12 at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo shown Sept. 20. (Provided by the Tokyo Zoological Park Society)

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Xiang Xiang, the name for the giant panda cub born at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo, was chosen after a hugely popular campaign--but the public’s top choice of moniker was actually Lun Lun.

Of all 322,581 entries, Lun Lun, which means “excited,” was suggested the most, but it was rejected for the second time. The name was also the public’s first choice when another panda was born at the zoo in 1986.

“Although 12,154 applicants proposed the name Lun Lun, a panda in the United States already has that name so the suggestion was rejected,” said a zoo official at a news conference on Sept. 25 at the Tokyo metropolitan government office.

Ueno Zoo has had five panda cub births since the first panda came to Japan in 1972. Two of them died within days of their birth, and so Xiang Xiang’s arrival marked the third time that suggestions for a newborn panda’s name have been invited from the public.

The first naming campaign in 1986 received 273,000 entries, and 9,000 people--the largest number--proposed Lun Lun. But the suggestion was rejected in the first round of screening, partly because “no Chinese characters can express the name.”

After actress Tetsuko Kuroyanagi and others examined 15 suggestions in the final round of screening, the name Tong Tong was chosen from them.

Lun Lun likely garnered a lot of votes, largely because TV anime series “Hana no Ko Lunlun” was broadcast between 1979 and 1980.

The name was supported by most people again 31 years after the first campaign.

“Many people apparently felt excited at the fact that a new panda was born for the first time in many years, just as the word ‘lun lun' means,” said Tadao Futatsugi, 64, chairman of the Ueno tourism federation, who was also a member of the Xiang Xiang name screening committee.