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Wado RyuJapanese Pronunciation Guide

Contrary to what many perceive, the Japanese language is one of the easiest languages to learn to speak correctly. For those of us who train in the first truly Japanese style of karatedo, learning the basics of Japanese, or Nihon, should be as actively practiced -on and off the dojo floor- as the basic techniques of Wado itself. By learning basic pronunciation, we not only add to our knowledge of the culture and country that gave birth to the art we practice, but in doing so, we show our respect for its origins and those willing to share its secrets with those of us outside its borders.

Japanese is essentially syllabic; which means that words are broken into individual syllables, much the same as those languages westerners are perhaps more familiar with. However, the inherent problem we westerners have with Japanese words is not in their syllables -- it's with their vowels; and once you get past those differences, you'll be on your way to correct pronunciation! So, as you explore and familiarize yourself with our Budo and Karatedo terminology, use the following vowel guide to aid you in your pronunciation.


a) Pronounced: ah. Example: rajah

e) Pronounced: eh -- as a short ay sound. Example: met

i) Pronounced: ee. Example: see

o) Pronounced: oh. Example: no

u) Pronounced: oo. Example: cool


ai) Pronounced: eye

ei) Pronounced: ayee

tsu) Pronounced: dzoo

ite) Pronounced: eetay

chi) Pronounced: chee


The letter 'g' is always pronounced hard -- as in the word go.

The letter 'j' is always pronounced soft -- as in the word jump

When used as the last letter, and when following the letter 's', the letter 'u' is not emphasized. For example; the word jutsu is pronounced, 'joots', leaving off the sound of the vowel 'u' at the end.

Basic Terms / Japanese Numbers and Counting / Class Commands / Anatomy / Stances / Striking-Hand Techniques / Kicking Techniques / Blocking Techniques

Terminology Home / Pronunciation Guide / Classical Budo


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