Friday, May 20, 2011

Naginata Terms in Hiragana

One of the things that has bothered me about Naginata information in English is that usually the romaji (English alphabetic interpretation of Japanese sounds) doesn't differentiate between the long and short vowels or include the glottal stops present in Japanese, plus romaji can't accurately convey the few sounds that don't exist in the English language.  I myself of guilty of this when writing this blog, because I am attempting to make it as accessible as possible to people who don't know Japanese.

A while ago I tried to order an English book about Naginata, but I actually accidentally ordered the Japanese version of it -- which I at first thought was a waste because I can't read much kanji (the thousands of Chinese-derived characters that standard Japanese uses).  But it has proven to be a blessing in disguise because I can look up the kanji words in the dictionary to get the correct, accurate pronunciation in hiragana (a much more simple syllabic script that is also used for some types of words in Japanese).

When I'm writing notes I use mostly English, except for hiragana or sometimes simple kanji for Japanese words.

Below is a list of some Naginata-related words in hiragana for those of you who know Japanese and want to pronounce them correctly (or if you don't know Japanese and still want to pronounce words correctly, here's a summary of hiragana). This isn't an exhaustive list, but it contains the words I have written in my notes or in this blog thus far or ones that I usually say in practice.

  • the name of the sport: あたらしいなぎなた
  • where you practice:  どうじょう
  • numbers 1-10: いち に さん し ご ろく しち はち きゅう じゅう
  • moving/positioning: みぎ ひだり まえ あと しょうめん
  • the naginata and parts of it: なぎなた きっさき は そり ものうち しのぎ せんだんまき え いしづき
  • uniform/armor:  ぎ けいこぎ おび はかま ぼうぐ
  • commands: もくそう れい はじめ やめ さいご
  • polite phrases: おねがいします ありがとうございます
  • how you sit:  せいざ
  • practice categories: きほん えんぎ しあい
  • かまえ (stances):  しぜんたい ちゅうだん げだん はっそう わきがまえ じょうだん
  • たいさばき (footwork): おくりあし あゆみあし ひらきあし ふみかえあし つぎあし
  • targets: しょうめん そくめん すね どう
  • きあい (cries): めん すね どう つき
  • ways to swing the naginata: ふりあげ  もちかえ ふりかえし
  • はっぽうぶり (practice swings): じょうげぶり ななめぶり よこぶり ふりかえし
  • doing うちかえし (partner exercise):  うち うけ
  • doing えんぎ (forms): しかけ おうじ いっぽんめ にほんめ さんほんめ[1] よんほんめ ごほんめ

[1] I don't understand why it's さんほんめ and not さんぼんめ, but it is.


  1. We say "sanbon" in our dojo. Perhaps the pronunciation is a regional issue.

    From you other post, Jikishinkage Ryu calls the "furikaeshi" technique "kazaguruma". It is one of the waza from the ryu that became part of the Zen Nihon Naginata Remmei catalog of techniques.

    Kiai from different ryu have different characteristics, so as you encounter different arts keep an open mind and reserve judgement because "different" usually just means different. If you'd like to read more about kiai, a good article was recently posted at the website "Classical Budoka" by Wayne Muromoto.

    Sorry to post anonymously. I ran across your blog and read your posts with pleasure at your enjoyment, but I try to keep my online interaction at a minimum and have no clue what the "Comment as" pull down selections mean.

    I am part of a Jikishinkage Ryu dojo in Hawaii.

    Enjoy your journey.



  2. Thanks for the info! I'll check out the article.