Pronunciation Guide

Return to: Samurai Empire

I was asked if I would like to write a guide to show people how to say all the Japanese words that came into the game with Samurai Empire. So here I am, writing a guide. I’m sure I’ll have missed out lots of things, so please reply here and tell me if there is anything else you want me to clarify. [smile]The format is:

English UO name, Japanese UO name if different, (pronunciation), English meaning

Lastly, note that these translations are short and dirty, and don’t explain the whole story some of the time.
Islands & Placenames

Tokuno Islands, Tokuno Shoto, (TOK-oo-no SHOW-tow), The Islands of Virtue

Makoto-jima, (mah-KOH-to JEE-ma), Truth Island

Homare-jima, (ho-MAH-ray JEE-ma), Honour Island

Isamu-jima, (ee-SAH-moo JEE-ma), Courage Island

Zento, (ZEN-toe), City of Zen

Mt. Sho, (mount SHOW)

Professions & Skills

Ninja, (NIN-ja/NEEN-ja), Ninja

Samurai, (SAH-moo-rye), Samurai

Ninjitsu, Ninjutsu, (NIN-jit-soo/NEEN-jit-soo/NEEN-joot-soo), the art of the Ninja

Bushido, (boo-SHEE-doe), the way of the warrior (Samurai)

Monsters & Animals

Bake Kitsune, (bah-KAY keet-SOON-eh), roughly means demon fox

Gaman, (GAH-man), the word means patience or tolerance, putting up with, but it the connection is unknown

Hiryu, (HEAR-you), flying dragon. This one is extremely hard for English speakers to say properly, because we don’t have the “ry” sound in English. “HEAR-you” should make for a decent approximation, though.

Kappa, (KAP-pa), a goblin-like monster. Japanese has double consonants, which are rare in English. The double “p” in Kappa is long like the “n” in penknife.

Kaze Kemono, (KAH-zay KEH-mow-no), wind monster

Lady of the Snow, Yuki Onna, (YOO-key ON-na), snow woman. This one I included just to show you what they call the Lady of the Snow in Japanese.

Oni, (AW-knee), Japanese ogre/demon

Rai-Ju, (RYE-JEW), thunder monster

Ronin, (ROW-nin/ROW-neen), a masterless samurai

Tsuki Wolf, (tsoo-KEE WOLF), moon wolf

Yamandon, (yah-MAN-don)

Yomotsu, (yoh-MOTT-soo)


Shoji Screen, (SHOW-jee screen), a screen made of paper

Bokuto, (BOK-toe), a wooden sword. The “u” is almost totally silent – voiceless, for those of you who know a bit about phonetics.

Fukiya, (f-KEE-yah), a blowpipe. The “u” is almost totally silent – voiceless, for those of you who know a bit about phonetics.

Tetsubo, (tett-s-BOW), an iron rod. The “u” is not at all stressed.


Mempo, (MEM-poe), a face mask

Do, (DOE), a tunic

Hiro Sode, (he-ROE SAW-deh), the arms of a samurai’s armour

Suneate, (SOO-nay-AH-tay), leg guard

Haidate, (HA-ee-DAH-tay), thigh guard?

Hatsuburi, (HAT-soo-BOO-ree), a type of metal helmet

Jingasa, (jeen-GAH-sah), another type of helmet

Kabuto, (kah-BOOT-oh), yet another helmet

No-dachi, (know-DAH-chee), a long sword

Wakizashi, (wah-kee-ZAH-shee), a medium length sword?

Lajatang, This word does not look Japanese, hence I don’t know the correct pronunciation.

Daisho, (DIE-SHOW), big and small, referring to the samurai’s long and short sword set

Tekagi, (tay-KAH-ghee), some sort of hook-type weapon (?)

Shuriken, (SHOO-ree-ken), I think we all know this already ^^;>

Kama, (KAH-ma), a scythe, or in this case scythes

Sai, (SYE), small blades

Tessen, (TESS-sen), an iron fan. As with Kappa’s “p”, the “s” here is a double consonant.

Bowcraft and Fletching

Fukiya Dart, (f-KEE-yah dart), blowpipe dart. The “u” is almost totally silent – voiceless, for those of you who know a bit about phonetics.

Yumi, (YOO-mee), a bow


Wasabi, (wah-SAH-bee), horseradish paste

Sushi, (SOO-she)

Miso, (MEE-soe), bean curd paste

Awase Miso Soup, (ah-WAH-say MEE-soe soup), Miso Soup made from both red and white miso


Nunchaku, (NOON-cha-k), or what many people are used to calling “nunchucks”. The “u” is almost totally silent – voiceless, for those of you who know a bit about phonetics.

Shoji Lantern, (SHOW-jee lantern), a type of paper lantern. Not sure exactly how this differs from the paper lantern, because shoji usually means made out of paper in a wooden frame…

Wind Chimes, Furin, (FOO-REEN). I thought I’d provide you with the Japanese word for these since they’re so cute, and the word is too. It literally means “wind bells”.


Kasa, (KAH-sah), an umbrella-like Asian hat

Kamishimo, (KAH-mee-she-moe), formal samurai dress dating from the Edo period

Hakama-shi-ta, (HAH-kah-mah sh-TAH), I think it means the clothing worn under a hakama. The “i” is almost totally silent – voiceless, for those of you who know a bit about phonetics.

Kimono, (kee-MOE-no), the famous traditional Japanese clothing

Jin-baori, (JEEN bah-OH-ree), a piece of clothing worn over armour

Hakama, (HAH-kah-mah), Japanese trousers, as worn by students of many martial arts styles, such as Kendo, Kyudo, and Aikido.

Tattsuke-hakama, Tattsuke-bakama(taht-s-KAY HAH-kah-mah), a type of hakama. This one is also not at all easy to say, I think. The “u” is almost totally silent – voiceless, for those of you who know a bit about phonetics. Also, note that in Japanese there is a sound change and the correct word is actually Tattsuke-bakama.

Obi, (OH-bee), the fancy sash/belt that goes with a kimono. In real life these usually have very fancy decorative bows tied at the back, and are famous for being extremely difficult to put on; most Japanese women need help from their mothers or a friend in order to put a kimono on.

Goza, (GOH-zah), a straw mat very similar to a tatami mat. Goza differ from tatami in that they are usually moveable, portable mats; some come in the form of roll up mats that in Britain would be used as picnic mats.

Ninja Tabi, (NIN-ja TAH-bee), tabi are socks made from cloth, usually white, that are worn in many forms of traditional Japanese dress

Waraji and Tabi, (WAH-rah-jee and TAH-bee), straw sandals and tabi

(See blacksmithy for the leather and studded armour names)
Thanks to ThePict for the link, and thanks to Ianstorm for the item list I used here. Also thanks to Astuur for getting me to do this in the first place.

Finally, you should have seen the look on my girlfriend’s face when I started asking her about all these words and what they mean. She’s Japanese, but she looked at me as if I were crazy or something! It seems that most of these are not everyday words even in Japanese :-)

Turin Turambar of Hokuto

Last modified: May 7, 2011

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