Some Japanese terms

Following are some Japanese terms from anime and from other areas of Japanese culture and history. This is, of course, not meant to be all-inclusive.

Airo: indigo wax

Ajiro: fabric woven with shaved bamboo or cypress trees.

Amaterasu: Shinto sun goddess

Ato-zome: the dyeing process is done after the weaving process and these are referred to as dyed kimonos

Atsuita: a Noh costume worn in portraying male roles

Atsuita Karaori: an especially fine Atsuita Noh costume

Aya: a material in which the design was woven by means of twills or plaited weaves

Baka. Technically this means fool or idiot, and is definitely an insult when used against someone you are not personally familiar with. With close friends, however, the term actually be a term of endearment or mild chastisement.

Bengara: Indian red

Bento. These are boxed lunches, prepared at home or bought already prepared at subway stations and department stores. This can be in very plain or very fancy box containers and differ considerably in their contents. Oftentimes we see in anime Japanese students eating lunch in the classroom using bento boxes. These are sometimes seen in Japanese anime

Bingata: a dyeing technique developed in Okinawa using a pattern and which results in various tones of colors.

Bowing. Bowing is done as a sign of respect for the other person, the more respect the deeper the bow. This can vary from a slight nod of the head to a deep and formal, long-held bow. Men bow with their hands and arms at their sides and women bow with their hands inter locked and held in front of them.(A Freudian way of looking at this is that women are hiding certain physical parts while men are almost flaunting theirs.)

Bugaku: court dancing

Bushido: code of honor followed by samurai

-Chan. Calling someone using their name and the suffix -chan is often heard in anime. This is generally used for young girls but can also be used for some girl a person is very close to. For example, in the anime series Ranma 1/2, when Ranma is called Ranma-chan when in girl form.

Chaya-zome robes: designs with thatch-roofed huts appropriate for the tea ceremony are set among ponds, flowing streams, bridges and brushwood fences. These robes were terribly expensive and were worn only by the highest strata of society.

Chirimen: crepe

Chokochokogi: an informal reference to a type of kimono

Chuburisode: a kimono with a sleeve length of around three feet

Chotto matte, kudasai. Basically means "please wait a minute.

Chuya obi: an obi with two distinct sides, one side black and one side patterned

Dadaiko: brass drum used for bunraku

Daokpki. Said to indicate a person is feeling ok.

Date-jime: a waistband to keen the nagajuban in place

Daikon: large Japanese radish

Dochu-gi: a hip-length overcoat for women designed to protect the kimono from dust and hold in warmth during the winter

"Domo": thank you

"Domo arigato gozaimasu": thank you very much (more formal language)

Donsu: silk damask with a design in satin

Echigo Chijimi: a hemp crepe of Echigo province

Eigata: a distinctive stencil dyeing technique using indigo dye

Fudangi: a kimono either with stripes or little decoration worn for shopping or casual visiting.

Fukuro-obi: a double-fold obi for formal and semiformal occasions.

Fukusa: a traditional cloth cover for gifts

Furisode: a type of kimono

Furoshiki: a square wrapping cloth used to carry items.

Gambatte. Basically means stick with it, hang in there, etc.

Gara-zome: designs dyed on white fabric

Geta: raised wooden sandals

"Gochisou sama deshita": said after finishing a meal, it means something like "thank you, it was a feast"

"Gomen nasai": terms for "I'm sorry"

Goshoguruma: oxen-pulled carriages

Habutae: Smooth and glossy silk textiles

Hadajuban: an undershirt worn next to the skin

Hai. Can mean yes as in agreement but can also be used just to indicate a person is paying attention. This can lead to misunderstandings by Westerners of what Japanese are believing in a conversation. They may think a Japanese person is agreeing with them when the person is just indicating that they are paying attention.

Hakama: A divided, pleated skirt worn by either men or women.

Hakkake: hem of the kimono

Hakogaki: signed or stamped artisan's name

Han-eri: half-collar sewn to the collar of the under kimono

Haori: Short silk jacket worn over a kimono

Hatohori: waves from the Isle of Eternity design

Hentai. Basically means a pervert. Happosai is a primary example from Ranma 1/2. Ataru from Urusei Yatsura is a younger version but shows great promise of beating Happosai at his own game.

Hira-nui: satin stitch

Hitoe: a type of kimono lacking back lining, usually worn in early and late summer

Hitotsumi: long kimono for an infant

Homongi: kimonos worn for festive occasions or formal visits

Ikat: the weft and the warp, either or both, are dyed before being woven

Iki: philosophical concept that real luxury is found in hidden places and did not necessarily need overt displays.

Inro: container hung from an obi and used to carry small items

"Itadakimasu": what is said just as one is starting to eat, sort of thanking everyone and everything involved in making the meal

Ita jime: a form of dyeing using boards to tightly clamp fabric to resist dyes

Jimbaori: coat worn over armor

Juban: under garment

Junihitoe: a court-lady's costume consisting of many layers of kimono

Jyofu: premium linen fabric

Kaga Yuzen: yuzen dyeing in graduated shades of colors

Kaiki: taffeta

Kakeshita: kimono worn under the uchikake during a wedding ceremony

Kame: turtle-symbol of longevity

Kambun designs: huge designs splashed across the shoulder or diagonally down the back

Kami. Spirit or spirits. The Japanese tend to look at things in a way somewhat similar to Native Americans, regarding that most things around them have spirits.

Kami shine: shelf with a miniature shrine used for praying and making offerings to the spirits of the dead

Kanoko-Shibori: a tie-dyeing technique resulting in dots looking somewhat like the markings on an infant deer

Kanoko: polka-dot design

Kanto brocade: flat-woof weave of mottled threads

Karaori: Chinese silk; brocades of gold and glossy silk threads of the Heian period; a very elegant Noh costume

Kasuri: a splashed design made by pre-dyed threads woven in silk or cotton materials

Katabira: summer kosode

kata-zome: stencil designs printed from woodblocks or dyed using stencils

"Kawaii": cute, in Japanese

Kesa: a priest's garment

Kihachijo: a thin, soft, plain-woven yellow silk in striped designs made on Hachijo Island

Kiku-sui: chrysanthemum and flowing water design

Kimono: a long robe of silk worn by men and women. Occurs in a variety of forms and variations

Kinran: gold brocade

Kodai-ji: a temple in Kyoto built by order of Kita-no-Mandokoro

Kofurisode: short-sleeved furisode

Komon: small, delicate designs

Konnichi wa. Means in general "hello" but is also used to indicate "good afternoon."

Koshimaki: a court-lady's ceremonial summer garment

Kosode: a short-sleeved kimono

Koto: Japanese harp

Koyonoga: Festival of Red Leaves

-Kun. As an ending used for the addressing younger males.

Kurobeni: dark brown

Magaki: bamboo fence

Matoi: twining

Michiyuki: a three-quarter length coat with a square neck, covered snaps and a front pocket

Misu: bamboo blind

Mofuku: a five-crested black silk kimono with no woven pattern or design. All parts are black except for the split-toed socks and a full-length under-kimono.

Mon: a family crest

Mukabaki: fur apron for horseback riding

Nagagi: a type of kimono that is medium formal in use

Nagajuban: full-length under-kimono for men

Nani and nan desu ka. Basically means "what?", usually as an element of surprise about something.

Nanga: southern school of Chinese painting

Nishiki: brocade

Nosebleed. Typical response in anime of Japanese young males to seeing nude women. In Futaba-kun change one character does this to extremes.

Nui: the general term for embroidery

Nuihaku: embroidery and gold-leaf applique

Obi: sash

"Okaeri nasai": terms said to someone returning home, meaning welcome home

Omeshi: an honorfic term for a kimono worn by people at the imperial court; a flat silk crepe in Kasuri or striped or plaid designs

Onsen: hot spring

Oriegaki: woven twig fence design

Oshima: a flat silk in Kasuri design originally made on Oshima Island

"Oyasume nasai": term for good night in Japanese

Rinzu: silk with geometrical woven designs

Saki-zome: the dyeing process is done before the weaving process and these are referred to as woven kimonos.

-Sama. Ending used for indicating great respect towards someone.

-san: term used indicating politeness, such as Watanabe-san

"Sayonara": goodbye in Japanese

Sempai. Used for someone in a grade higher than the one someone else is in schools. Kimagure Orange Road featured the main character of Hikaru referring to Kyosuke as sempai on various occasions.

Sensei. Used to indicate a teacher in particular but can also be used for non-teaching people who are respected in their own areas.

Seppuku: ritual suicide involving the slitting of ones abdomen. In most cases another person stands behind the person who is kneeling and committing Seppuku. This second person cuts the head off the person's body, preventing any screaming or drawn-out suffering. Considered a very honorable method of suicide.

Setsurin: snow ring motif

Sha: silk gauze

Shibagaki: brushwood fence

Shibori: a resist and dye process that uses a variety of methods to achieve a dimensional shaped cloth. Small areas of cloth are tightly stitched and set so that no dye can penetrate.

Shi chi go san: In November children who are seven(shi chi), five (go) and 3 (san) are brought to temples for blessing ceremonies.

Shiorido: a door made of woven branches

Sho-chiku-bai : pine-bamboo-plum design

Shusu: couching (thread wrapped with gold or silver foil and stitched into intricate patterns)

Surihaku: applied metallic leaf

Sysoyoke: a half-slip for use with kimonos

Tabi: white, lined, split-toed socks

"Tadaima": term used to say "I'm home" when returning home

Tamoto: hanging sleeve

Tatami. The floor mats used in many Japanese homes. This is one reason why shoes are removed upon entry into a Japanese home so that the tatami are not damaged by street shoes. People change into slippers that are provided or walk around in their socks. The size of a room can be measured in the number of tatami it would take to cover the floor.

takarazukushi: figures symbolizing treasures such as health, worth and comfort

Tatouchi: rice paper used when wrapping a kimono for storage

Tegaki-zome: hand-painted designs

Tomesode: The most formal of kimonos, worn by women at marriages and official celebrations.

Tori: wooden arch-like structure at the entrance to a Shinto shrine

Tsujigahana dyeing: a combination of Shibori dyeing and hand-painted designs

Tsukesage: from the hem line the patterns go up to meet at the top of the shoulders while those on the sleeves meet at the top of the sleeves.

Tsukezome: vat (immersion) dyeing

Tsukuroi: darning

Tsumugi: spun silk

Tsuru: a crane, the symbol of longevity and luck

Tsuzumi: Japanese drum

Tsuzure: linked-weave brocade or ancient silk tapestry

Uchikake: the ceremonial outer garment of court ladies in the Edo period, also referred to as the Kaidori. It differed from the kosode in that no obi was used and the back was completely covered with a very large, attractive design.

Uchishiki: temple cloths

Utsubo: a case for arrows

Wakari masu. Means "I understand." The negative version, I don't understand, is wakarimasen.

Yatta. Generally an excited feeling of accomplishment such as "we did it!"

Yoronotaki: a Noh play about a wood cutter who is devoted to his parents. Because of his virtue a spiritual spring appears in the country of Mino.

Yukata: light-weight kimono worn in summer

Yuzen: the art of painting on silk within a resisted area.

Zori: outdoor sandals

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