Glossary of English and Japanese Terms
- Pronunciation keys of Japanese terms are given in parentheses.
- How to read Japanese in English alphabet (rōmaji):
- English vowels a=ah, i=ee, u=oo, e=eh and o=oh
- A macron or a line over a vowel indicates that it is pronounced for twice the length of the vowel without a macron or a line. Sometimes an “h” is added instead, as in Mr. Ohshima’s name. The first “o” in Mr. Ono’s name, on the other hand, is not lengthened. Ohno and Ono are two different names. However, these sounds are just approximations and there are some exceptions.
- Please note that the pronunciation keys given here are only approximations and are primarily designed for the members in the U.S. and Canada. They may not necessarily be helpful for the members of international affiliates.
When Shihan or Sensei is used as an honorific or a title, there are a few important things one needs to be aware of:
- Shihan or Sensei is attached to the end of the person’s family name, e.g., Ohshima Shihan (not Shihan Ohshima), Ohshima Sensei (not Sensei Ohshima)
- According to the Japanese culture, it is not appropriate to call oneself Shihan or Sensei, or introduce oneself with the title Shihan or Sensei, e.g., Instructor John Doe shouldn’t call himself Shihan, Sensei, Doe Shihan or Doe Sensei. His students can, but he shouldn’t.
- The same thing applies to the honorific san (meaning Mr., Mrs., or Miss). Mr. John Smith shouldn’t call himself Smith-san or John Smith-san. San can be attached only to the end of others’ names.
Adapted from Shotokan Karate of America website. Revised and adapted by Hiroko Mori (September 2004, audio added October 2009, updated to HTML5 Sept 2014) Audio voice recordings by Hiroko Mori. Conversion to MP3 and linkages by John Schoneboom & Mike Lyon.