辞書と用語集 (Jisho to yogo-shu) 

Dictionary And Glossary

Practicing a Japanese martial art is not just a physical activity but also about philosophy, with this in mind a person should need to understand the terms and the language used within the Art.

Aikido uses a perticular set of Japanese words and terms to describe its activities, techniques and exercises this glossary will help understand some of it.

Japanese is made of words 単語篇 (Tango) and numbers番号(Bango) which are written in a combination of 3 written forms Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana. The approximate pronounciation for english is called romaji.

 Japanese alphabet has :

14 consonants (k, s, t, n, h, m, y, r, w, g, z, d, b, p)

5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

But are only the vowels and n can be pronounced/ written individually, all other syllables, are made up of 1 consonant and 1 vowel. 

Pronouncing the syllables is done with equal stresses but the sounds of the vowels are like this: There are no silent letters.

A pronounced the same as cat

E pronounced the same as egg

I pronounced the same as the vowel sound in seat

o pronounced the same as pot 

u pronounced the same as put

ai pronounced the same as the vowel sound wine

ae pronounced “ah eh”

ei pronounced same as the vowel sound way

The main uses of hiragana are to aide pronouncing written words and to modify kanji to create verbs and adjectives and grammar.

When it was first developed, hiragana was not accepted by everyone. The educated or elites preferred to use only the kanji system, it was used by women, then Hiragana was used for unofficial writing such as personal letters, later they were combined into one set. The modern hiragana syllabary consists of 46 base characters:

  • 5 singular vowels
  • 40 consonant–vowel unions
  • 1 singular consonant
  • hiragana
  • Daikuten: Some consonants can be modified to produce another set of syllable  k to gts/s to zt to dh to b and ch/sh to j indicated by mark
  • Handakuten : changing the h to a p indicated by ° mark
  • yōon: Changes the i sound into a long y sound where it is followed by ya, yu, yo these 3 characters are written smaller
  • sokuon: these create double consonant sounds it is used in all except the na, ni, ne, no, nu which are modified by n. These sounds are marked with a small tsu 
  • Wo is often pronounced “o”, and when ha is a particle is pronounced wa;  wi and we are considered obsolete.

The main uses of katakana is for transcription of foreign words(called gairaigo . Similarly, katakana is usually used for country names, foreign places, and foreign personal names, sometimes also for Japanese company names.

When it was first developed, Katakana was used for official writings such as government letters, from China. Like the modern hiragana syllabalry consists of the same 46 base characters:

  • 5 singular vowels
  • 42 consonant–vowel unions
  • 1 singular consonant
  • Katakana
  • Daikuten: Some consonants can be modified to produce another set of syllable  k to gts/s to zt to dh to b and ch/sh to j indicated by mark
  • Handakuten : changing the h to a p indicated by ° mark
  • yōon: Changes the i sound into a long y sound where it is followed by ya, yu, yo these 3 characters are written smaller
  • sokuon: these create double consonant sounds it is used in all except the na, ni, ne, no, nu which are modified by n. These sounds are marked with a small tsu ッ
  • chōonpu: This is a modifier elongating vowel sounds marked by short line ー following the direction of the text
  • Wo is often pronounced “o”, and written as hiragana を

Kanji is a wide used written language composed of iconographs there are over 85,000 though the commonest are about 3000 in number and many more combinations. For this reason we wont go int a lot of detail here just some background.

The Japanese  had no written language when Chinese started trading so their characters were introduced. For a long time texts were written and read only in Chinese.

Later, the Japanese speakers restructured the Chinese sentence characters and added  particles and verb endings, in accordance with the rules of Japanese grammar, some characters were used for their sounds rather than meaning to fit spoken Japanese.

As kanji is not phonetic based it can be difficult to learn at first. indeed the characters may not only have different meanings but different sounds. The reading meaning is called “kun yomi” and the sound meaning “on yomi”. This is why when translating martial arts terms some of the meanings sound different this is common in counting.

As with other kanji there are 2 pronounciations for Japanese numbers

Kanjion yomi

kun yomi

Rough Translation

rei 

 

zero 

ichi

hito 

one

ni

 futa

two

san

mitsu 

three


shi

yon 

four

go

itsu 

five

rokku

 mu

six

shichi

 nana

seven

hachi

yaa 

eight

kyu

 kokono

nine

jyu

tou 

ten

十一

jyu-ichi

 

eleven

 

jyu-ni

 

 twelve

 

ni-jyu

 

 twenty

 

ni-jyu-ichi

 

 twenty one

 

hyaku

 momo

 one hundred

 

sen

 chi

 one thousand

man

yorozu 

 ten thousand