Sunday, November 13, 2016

Names of Sports in Japanese

There are a lot of animes about sports, for some strange reason, and we all love to watch them showing the characters' hard work and sweat pay off while we're comfortably seated behind the screen. But what are those sports called in Japanese?

To begin with, the word "sports," or "sport," in Japanese is supootsu スポーツ. Most sports in japanese actually have two names. One written with katakana カタカナ, the other with kanji 漢字.

The difference between the usage of these two Japanese alphabets is that the katakana name will be a just a Japanese way of saying the English word, while the kanji name will be a more Japanese-esque word.


Sports that use a ball usually end with the word "-ball" in English. In Japanese, that ball suffix would be kyuu 球, the word tama 球 of same kanji meaning "ball." Here's a list of these ball sports:
  • Badminton
    badominton バドミントン
    ukyuu 羽球
    (feather 羽 + ball 球)
  • Baseball
    beesubooru ベースボール
    yakyuu 野球
    (field 野 + ball 球)
  • Basketball
    basukettobooru バスケットボール
    basuke バスケ
    roukyuu 籠球
    (basket 籠 + ball 球)
  • Billiards
    biriyaado ビリヤード
    doukyuu 撞球
  • Cricket
    kuriketto クリケット
  • Curling
    kaaringu カーリング
  • Dodgeball
    dojjibooru ドッジボール
    doddibooru ドッヂボール
    dojji ドッジ
    hikyuu 避球
    (evade 避 + ball 球)
  • Football & Soccer
    futtobooru フットボール
    sakkaa サッカー
    sakkabooru サッカーボール
    tamakeri 球蹴り
    shuukyuu 蹴球
    (kick 蹴 + ball 球)
  • American Football
    amerikan futtobooru アメリカンフットボール
    amefuto アメフト
    gaikyuu 鎧球
    (armor 鎧 + ball 球)
  • Gateball
    gettobooru ゲートボール
    monkyuu 門球
    (gate 門 + ball 球)
  • Golf
    gorufo ゴルフ
    dakyuu 打球
    (hitting 打 + ball 球)
  • Handball
    handobooru ハンドボール
    soukyuu 送球
    (send 送 + ball 球)
  • Hockey
    hokkee ホッケー
    joukyuu 杖球
    (cane 杖 + ball 球)
  • Ice Hockey
    aisu hokkee アイスホッケー
  • Field Hockey
    fiirudo hokkee フィールドホッケー
  • Roller Hockey
    rooraa hokkee ローラーホッケー
  • Ping Pong
    pinpon ピンポン
    takkyuu 卓球
    (table 卓 + ball 球)
  • Quidditch
    kuidicchi クィディッチ
  • Tennis
    tenisu テニス
    teikyuu 庭球
    (courtyard 庭 + ball 球)
  • Volleyball
    baree バレー
    bareebooru バレーボール
    haikyuu 排球
    (repel 排 + ball 球)
  • Water Polo
    suikyuu 水球
    (water 水 + ball 球)
(some names in kanji retrived from supootsu kanji hyouki deeta - zatsugaku deetabanku スポーツ・漢字表記データ>雑学データバンク)

Haikyuu Anime

Now, remember that anime about Volleyball, haikyuu ハイキュー?

It's an anime about Volleyball whose name, as you might have just learned, means literally "Volleyball."

I thought it was worth noting.

Fighting Sports

For names of fighting sports, see Names of Fighting Styles in Japanese.

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