Japanese for Aikidoka

Since Aikido is a Japanese martial arts, we use the Japanese terms for the exercises and the techniques. This is helpful to describe the exams program and the tsuzukiwaza.
To look up what these terms mean, there is the vocabulary. If you know the meaning of the words, the designation of the exercises or techniques can be better memorized. Certain basic knowledge of the sounds which exist in Japanese are quite useful, e.g. to be able to pronounce these terms correctly. Here I make use of the so-called Hepburn transcription, which is used most frequently worldwide. Long vowels are marked with a dash above them, e.g. the ō in aikidō or zenpōnage.


Japanese basic sounds

The Hepburn transcription was developed in the late 19th century. The vowels sound like in Italian, the consonants as in English. At the top are the vowels a-i-e-o-u, that is a traditional arrangement, as well as the order of consonants on the left k-s-t-n-h-m-y-r-w.
Some syllables (scientifically correct: moras) seem a bit out of line: shi, chi, tsu, and fu. In the W series only the wa has survived, the (w)o is only used in the pronunciation o.
Separately in the last row is the n, which is used at the end of a syllable.



By adding two dashes " in the K-S-T-H series, the syllables starting with G-Z-D-B are written. By adding a ° in the H-row, we get the P-row.
In this way, almost all Japanese words can be written in hiragana or katakana.


Broken sounds

By adding ya, yu or yo in lowercase notation to the characters ki-shi-chi-ni-hi-mi-ri-gi-zi of the extended i column, further sounds can be written. This was mainly necessary for the Chinese loan words and also to write foreign language names in Katakana.
For Katakana there are a few more combinations that are not listed here and will be explained if needed.

This overview of the sounds, as they occur in Japanese and as they are written in the Hepburn transcription, thus allows us to pronounce words like ikkyō, shihōnage, jūji, zagi, etc. reasonably correct.