Saturday, July 23, 2016

Animals in Japanese

If you watch anime, you might know that a neko 猫 is a "cat" and that an inu 犬 is a "dog", but what about the others? What are the animals' names in Japanese? Well, I've put together a list of them!

Names List

A

  • tsuchi-buta 土豚
    Aardvark.
  • wani
    Alligator.
    Crocodile.
  • arupaka アルパカ
    Alpaca.
  • ari
    Ant.
  • ari-kui 蟻食い
    Anteater.
  • rei-you 羚羊
    Antelope.
  • arumadjiro アルマジロ
    Armadillo.
  • saru
    Ape.
    Monkey.
  • yubi-zaru 指猿
    Aye-aye.

The anteater, arikui, is literally "anteater." The armadillo, yoroi-nezumi, is literally "armored rat." And an Aye-aye in Japanese is literally "finger monkey."

B

  • hihi 狒々
    Baboon.
  • koumori 蝙蝠
    Bat.
  • kuma
    Bear.
  • hachi
    Bee.
    Wasp.
  • shroi-ruka 白海豚
    Beluga, White Whale.
  • oochou-zame 大蝶鮫
    Beluga, European Sturgeon.
  • tori
    Bird.
  • shuton 種豚
    Boar.
  • usagi
    Bunny.
    Rabbit.
  • chou
    Butterfly.

Bee, hachi 蜂, is homonym with the number 8, hachi 八. "Honey" is hachimitsu 蜂蜜, by the way.

C

  • rakuda 駱駝
    Camel.
  • neko
    Cat.
  • niwatori
    Chicken.
  • shuryouhyou 狩猟豹
    Cheetah.
  • semi
    Cicada.
  • gokiburi 蜚蠊.
    Cockroach.
  • ushi
    Cow.
  • tsuru
    Crane.
  • wani
    Crocodile.
    Alligator.
  • karasu
    Crow.

(gokiburi are kimochiwarui!!! 気持ち悪い)

D

  • shika 鹿
    Deer.
  • kyouryuu 恐竜
    Dinosaur.
  • inu
    Dog.
  • iruka 海豚
    Dolphin.
  • roba 驢馬
    usagi-uma 兎馬
    Donkey.
  • hato
    Dove.
    Pigeon.
  • kamo
    Duck

Chances are you'll see the kanji for deer used more to say baka 馬鹿 than used to say deer.

E

  • washi
    Eagle.
  • hari-mogura 針土竜
    Echidna.
  • una
    Eel.
    unagi
  • zou
    Elephant.
  • hera-jika 箆鹿
    Elk or Moose.

A moose is also sometimes called oojika 大鹿, literally "large deer."

F

  • taka
    Falcon.
    Hawk.
  • shiroitachi 白鼬
    Ferret.
  • sakana
    Fish.
  • Hae
    Fly.
  • kitsune
    Fox.
  • kaeru
    Frog.

Don't mistake kaeru 蛙, the "frog", with the homonym kaeru 帰る, "to go back [home]", or kaeru 変える, "to change", or kaeru 買える, "to be able to buy", or kaeru 替える, "to replace", or kaeru 飼える, "to be able to keep as a pet."

G

  • suna-nezumi 砂鼠
    Gerbil, Mongolian.
  • arechi-nezumi 荒地鼠
    Gerbil, Lesser, Egyptian.
  • kirin 麒麟
    Giraffe.
  • buyu
    Gnat.
  • yagi 山羊
    Goat.
  • ushikamoshika 牛羚羊
    Gnu.
  • gachou 鵞鳥
    Goose.
  • Kondo Isao 近藤 勲
    gorira ゴリラ
    Gorilla.
  • batta 飛蝗
    hataori mushi 機織り虫
    Grasshopper.
  • raichou 雷鳥
    Grouse.
  • morumotto モルモット
    Guinea Pig.
  • kamome
    Gull.

The word "goose bumps" in Japanese is torihada 鳥肌 and it joins the kanji for "bird" and "skin". A goat is just a "mountain" "sheep."

H

  • hamusutaa ハムスター
    Hamster.
  • taka
    Hawk.
    Falcon.
  • hari-nezumi 針鼠
    Hedgehog.
  • sagi
    Heron.
  • kaba 河馬
    Hippopotamus.
  • inoshishi
    Hog.
  • mitsu-ana-guma 蜜穴熊
    Honey Badger.
  • suzume-bachi 雀蜂
    Hornet.
  • uma
    Horse.
  • ryouken 猟犬
    Hound.
  • ningen 人間
    Human.
  • hachi-dori 蜂鳥
    Humming Bird.
  • tategami-inu 鬣犬
    Hyena.

A "honey badger" is literally a "honey hole bear." And a "humming" bird is literally a "bee bird".

I

  • mushi
    Insect
    Worm.
  • J

  • kakesu 懸巣
    Jay (Eurasian).
  • kurage 海月
    Jellyfish.

K

  • kangaruu カンガルー
    Kangaroo
  • koara コアラ
    Koala

L

  • hamahibari 浜雲雀
    Lark (Horned)
  • kitsune-zaru 狐猿
    Lemur
  • hyou
    Leopard.
  • rama ラマ
    Llama.
  • shishi 獅子
    Lion.
  • shirami
    Louse, Lice.

What is a fox plus a monkey in Japanese? A lemur!!

M

  • hera-jika 箆鹿
    Moose.
    Elk.
  • mogura 土竜
    Mole.
  • saru
    Monkey.
    Ape
  • ka
    Mosquito.
  • nezumi
    Mouse.
  • raba 騾馬
    Mule.
  • masukuratto マスクラット
    nioi-nezumi 臭鼠
    Muskrat.

N

  • sayonaki-dori 小夜鳴き鳥
    Nightingale, Common.
  • uguisu
    haru-dori 春鳥
    haru-tsuge-dori 春告鳥
    Nightingale, Japanese.

The common nightingale is literally called "little night-chirping bird," while the Japanese nightingale is called either uguisu, a yellowish-green color, or haru-tsuge-dori, "Spring announcing bird," because its color is often uguisu and because its chirping is often heard through Japan in spring.

O

  • fukuro-nezumi 袋鼠
    Opossum.
  • dachou 駝鳥
    Ostrich.
  • kawauso 川獺
    Otter, River.
  • rakko 海獺
    Otter, Sea.
  • fukurou
    Owl.
  • oushi 牡牛
    oushi 雄牛
    Ox.
  • kaki 牡蠣
    Oyster.

An Ox is literally a "male cow."

P

  • panda パンダ
    Panda. (yep, panda is panda)
  • oumu 鸚鵡
    Parrot.
  • kujaku 孔雀
    Peacock.
    Peafowl.
  • pengin ペンギン
    Penguin.
  • buta
    Pig.
  • hato
    Pigeon.
    Dove.
  • kamo-no-hashi 鴨の嘴
    Platypus.
  • yama-arashi 山荒
    Porcupine.
  • nezumi-iruka 鼠海豚
    Porpoise, Common, Harbor.
  • sunameri 砂滑
    Porpoise, Black Finless.
  • megane-iruka 眼鏡海豚
    Porpoise, Spectacled.
  • kohari-iruka 小針海豚
    Porpoise, Burmeister's.
  • kogajira-nezumi-iruka 小頭鼠海豚
    Porpoise, Gulf.
  • possamu ポッサム
    Possum.
  • edatsuno-reiyou 枝角羚羊
    Pronghorn.

To have a sense of porpoise, they're also known as "rat dolphin." The word megane is "glasses" in Japanese, kohari 小針 means "small needles", kogajira 小頭鼠 means "small head." (can mean the manager of a part of an organization.)

Q

  • uzura
    Quail

R

  • usagi
    Rabbit.
    Bunny.
  • araiguma 洗い熊
    Raccoon.
  • tanuki
    Raccoon dog.
  • nezumi
    Rat.
  • tonakai 馴鹿
    Reindeer.
  • sai
    Rhinoceros.
  • kabuto-mushi 兜虫
    Rhinoceros Beetle

A rhinoceros beetle is literally a "helmet insect".

S

  • uni 海胆
    Sea Urchin.
  • kikiaru-rui 鰭脚類
    Seal.
    Walrus, Pinnipeds.
  • same
    Shark.
  • hitsuji
    Sheep.
  • sukanku スカンク
    Skunk.
  • hebi
    Snake.
    Serpent.
  • kumo 蜘蛛
    Spider.
  • risu 栗鼠
    Squirrel, the flightless ones.
  • momonga 鼯鼠
    musasabi 鼯鼠
    Squirrel, Flying.
  • hakuchou 白鳥
    Swan.

A swan literally stands for "white bird" in Japanese.

T

  • shiro-ari 白蟻
    Termite.
  • tora
    Tiger.
  • hikigaeru 蟇蛙
    Toad.
  • masu
    Trout.
  • shichimenchou 七面鳥
    Turkey.
  • kame
    Turtle.

A turkey is literally a "seven faces bird"!!

W

  • kikiaru-rui 鰭脚類
    Walrus.
    Seal, Pinnipeds.
  • hachi
    Wasp.
    Bee.
  • itachi
    Weasel.
  • kujira
    Whale.
  • byakko 白虎
    White Tiger.
  • ookami
    Wolf.
  • uonbatto ウォンバット
    Wombat.
  • kitsutsuki 啄木鳥
    Woodpecker.
  • misosazai 鷦鷯
    Wren, Eurasian.

Y

  • yaku ヤク
    Yak

Z

  • shima-uma 縞馬
    Zebra

A special thanks to ZooBorns for a list of animal names in English.

Animal Plurals

Due to how plurals work in Japanese, every word on the list above can be either singular or plural.

That is, a neko 猫 can be "a cat" or "the cats."
  • neko wa kawaii 猫はかわいい
    The cat is cute.
    A cat is cute.
    Cats are cute.

It's also possible to use a pluralizing suffix like -tachi ~達 to humanize a group of them:
  • neko-tachi 猫たち
    The cats.

Animal Kanji

If you are learning Japanese, don't worry about learning the kanji of animals. That's because a lot of them aren't jouyou kanji 常用漢字, and therefore aren't taught in the Japanese school system, so people avoid writing them altogether.

That is, instead of writing some animal words with kanji, natives tend to write them without kanji, with katakana, or maybe with hiragana.

For example: neko 猫, "cat," is usually written with kanji, but koumori コウモリ, "bat," is usually written with katakana.

ワンッワンッ でけぇ!! このデカさは… クマか!! 犬だって!! transcript from manga Aho Girl アホガール
Manga: Aho Girl / Aho Gaaru アホガール
  • wan' wan' ワンワンッ
    *woof woof*
  • dekee!! でけ!!
    Hugee!!
  • kono deka-sa wa... このデカさは…
    This huge-ness [is]...
  • kuma ka!! クマか!!
    [It's] a bear!!
    • In this phrase, "bear," kuma クマ, is written without kanji.
      Written with kanji it would be:
    • kuma
      Bear.
  • inu datte!! だって!!
    [It's] a dog!!

There are multiple reasons for this:
  1. You talk about cats more than you talk about bats, so the word shows up less, making learning how to spell it less important.
  2. A kanji for an animal usually has a meaning associated with that animal specifically, so it tends to show only in that word in the entire Japanese language.
    • There are exceptions.
      "Cow," ushi 牛, shows up in "cow milk," gyuunyuu 牛乳.
      "Zebra," shimauma 縞馬, contains "stripes," shima 縞.
      "Ant," ari 蟻, shows up in "anteater," arigui 蟻食い.
  3. The kanji for some animals are just too complex, koumori 蝙蝠, "bat," and kumo 蜘蛛, "spider," for how short the words are, making wasting time writing them not very cost-effective.

Manga that doesn't have furigana for all words may even add furigana for animal words specifically.

Example of furigana in manga Ajin 亜人 showing the readings of kanji of animals

Given all this, I've made a sub-site for the list above, bestiary.japanesewithanime.com, which also contains how an animal word is normally spelled, besides their kanji, in case you really need to know.

Word for "Animal" in Japanese

The word for "animal" in Japanese is doubutsu 動物, written with the kanji for "move" and "thing," so, animals are literally "moving things."

You might think this doesn't make any sense, but usually something that's moving is something alive. In English, the terms animate and inanimate separate living beings from nonliving objects. And the term reanimate means "to bring back to life." So there's that.

Zoo

The term for "zoo" would be doubutsu-en 動物園, literally a moving thing garden. A similar word is gakuen 学園, a term for a kind of "school."

Animal Genders

In Japanese, there are terms that are used specifically to talk about the animals' genders and aren't used toward people. If you call people by these terms, although you'd be correct, you wouldn't be right.

That's because people are animals, biologically, but you call someone "an animal" unless you're trying to disrespect them.

osu 雄【メス】

The word osu 雄, also spelled osu オス, means "male (animal)" in Japanese.

It's homonym with osu 押す, which means "to push," and the title of that game about clicking frantically like a lunatic who rejoices in breaking their finger index finger bones: Osu!

The term for "male" person would be dansei 男性. An adult "man" is otoko 男, a child "boy" is otoko no ko 男の子, and a term in the middle is danshi 男子.

mesu 雌【メス】

The word mesu 雌, also spelled mesu メス, means "female (animal)" in Japanese.

It's homonym with mesu メス, which means "scalpel," or, in manga with gangs, basically any sort of "shiv" used to stab other people.

Sometimes mesu is used derogatorily toward women, similar to how the term "bitch" can be used derogatorily in English toward a female human even though "bitch" actually means "female dog," mesu-inu メス犬.

Hermaphroditism

The word for "hermaphroditism" in Japanese is shiyuu-doutai 雌雄同体, which combines the kanji for mesu 雌 and osu 雄 plus doutai 同体, "same body," so, literally, "female, male, same body."

Note that the term above is used toward hermaphrodite animals. In case you really suck at biology: some animals are both male and female. I don't know how. Don't ask me. I sucked at biology.

Point is, animals like humans, with each sex in a different body, don't feature hermaphroditism, we feature "gonochorism," or shiyuu-itai 雌雄異体, literally "female, male, different body." This is the same i 異 as of isekai 異世界 by the way.

The term for people who are "intersex" is han'inyou 半陰陽.

Animal Body Parts

Regarding body parts: people have "teeth," ha 歯, but animals have "fangs" kiba 牙.

Animals also have "tails," which are called shippo 尻尾.

The nekomimi 猫耳, "cat ears," are a thing cats have, because they are cats, so obviously they're going to have "cat ears." Which is why people just call a cat's ears "ears," mimi 耳, when talking about them. Nobody is going to say "the cat's cat ears," neko no nekomimi 猫の猫耳.

"Pet" in Japanese

The word for "pet" in Japanese is petto ペット, the katakanization of the English word "pet."

A more native term, aigan doubutsu 愛玩動物, "cherished animal," also exists, but is less common.

Japanese also has a verb for "taking (something) as a pet," kau 飼う. From it you get words like "pet dog," kaiinu 飼い犬 and "pet cat," kaineko 飼い猫.

Don't mistake kau 飼う with the homonym kau 買う that means "to buy."

Pet Collar

The "collars" pets wear are called kubiwa 首輪 in Japanese, literally "neck," kubi 首, and "ring," wa 輪, together, so "neck ring."

Note that it isn't specific to pets or animals. A slave collar is also a kubiwa, for example. Note, however, that your necktie, the collar of your shirt, and your collarbones are not kubiwa.

By the way, rings people wear on their "fingers," yubi 指, are called yubiwa 指輪.

Pet Owner

There are two terms for "pet owner" in Japanese. One is kainushi 飼い主, literally the "lord of what's been taken as a pet." The other one, goshujinsama ご主人様, is trickier, and has meanings ranging between "lord," "owner," "master," and "husband."

Panel saying フフフ… おまえ、ご主人は どうした? どこかへ 行ってしまった のか…? from manga Zatch Bell!
Manga: Zatch Bell!! / Konjiki no Gash Bell!! 金色のガッシュベル!!
— Chapter 7
  • fufufu フフフ…
    *snickering*
  • omae, goshujin wa
    doushita?
    おまえ、ご主人は どうした?
    You, [what happened to] (where is) your owner?
  • doko ka e
    itte shimatta
    no ka...?

    どこかへ 行ってしまった のか…?
    Did [he] go somewhere?

Animal Food

The food animals eat is called esa 餌. That can be pet food, lure, feed, whatever, it's called esa.
  • neko de esa 猫の餌
    Cat's food.
  • inu no esa 犬の餌
    Dog's food.

In terms for products sometimes katakanizations are used instead, because katakana looks cooler:
  • petto fuddo ペットフード
    Pet food.
  • doggu fuddo ドッグフード
    Dog food.
  • kyatto fuddo キャットフード
    Cat food.

Animal Training

There are a few terms to refer to an animal's training in Japanese.

kunren 訓練

First off, kunren 訓練, "training (somebody)," is a term that can be used toward animals or people that you train.
  • inu wo kunren suru 犬を訓練する
    To train a dog.

This can refer to any sort of training, like training a guide dog for the blind, for example.

shitsuke しつけ

The word shitsuke しつけ, "discipline," also spelled shitsuke 躾, comes from the verb shitsukeru 躾ける, which means "to discipline."

It refers to the basic discipline of a pet dog or cat that lives with humans. Walking, sitting, going to toilet, etc.

This term can also be used toward people, like to talk about "disciplining" children. In anime, it's specially used to talk about undisciplined children who run around causing trouble, etc.

choukyou 調教

The term choukyou 調教 also means "training." Although it can be used toward dogs, pets, etc. it's mostly used to talk about "breaking" animals like horses.

The term choukyou-shi 調教師 refers to an "animal trainer," by the way.

"Puppy" and "Kitten"

The words "puppy" and "kitten" in Japanese are words koinu 子犬 and koneko 子猫 respectively. This prefix, ko, means "child," among other things, so the words are literally "child-dog" and "child-cat."

Onomatopoeia

Like all onomatopoeia, the sounds animals make in Japanese are different from the same sounds in English.

For example, "meow," the sound cats make, is nya ニャ, nyaa ニャー, nyan ニャン. While "woof," the sound dogs make, is wan ワン.

Sometimes, these words are used as morphemes of other animal-related words.

Bananya ばなにゃ, the banana cat anime character, is called bananya because it's a banana and because nya is "meow" in Japanese
Anime: Bananya ばなにゃ

The words nyanko にゃんこ and wanko わんこ, for example, are two cute ways to say "cat" and "dog" in Japanese. For added cuteness, throw in a chan ちゃん at the end, like nyanko-chan にゃんこちゃん.

(in Hajime no Ippo はじめの一歩, Ippo's pet dog is called Wanpo ワンポ, a mix of wanko with the po in Ippo's name)

From these words was also born this demoniac aberration fun website: http://www.nyan.cat/

2 comments:

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  1. One small note: Raccoon in Japanese is not tanuki. Tanuki, also known as a raccoon dog, is an animal that, while they share a likeness to raccoons, are not in fact raccoons. From what I can tell, raccoon in Japanese would simply be the word put into katakana as ラクーン(raku-n).

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, you're right. タヌキ is a raccoon dog, not a raccoon!
      I'll be reviewing this list soon to check for other mistakes.

      By the way, it seems the Japanese word for "raccoon" is usually araiguma アライグマ, written with the words "washing" and "bear." Probably because of their habit of washing their food before eating.

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