Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gyakuten Saiban - Game Vocabulary

One very popular game that almost everyone knows from a certain meme is Gyakuten Saiban 逆転裁判, also known as Ace Attorney, where the lawyer Naruhodo Ryuuichi 成歩堂龍一, a.k.a. Phoenix Wright goes around lawyering miraculously. Since this is really fun game with a lot of Japanese text to read and that requires actually understanding the phrases to win, I decided to compile in this post some of the vocabulary you need to play the game in Japanese.

Before anything else, I want to say that the game isn't that hard to understand to someone who's been learning Japanese for some time. Of course you need some knowledge of the language, and at least be able to read a mangao r another in Japanese. But it's a lot easier than reading a light novel, for example.

The style of the game is a visual novel. There's no action in real time, only text. So you can relax and use a dictionary as much as you want. Personally, I think it's a very fun story, and the interactions between the protagonist and other characters are great. Really an excellent series.

Atention: the first and second game has been adapted into an anime. Do NOT watch the anime! It's full of spoilers. The game is based on showing the right evidence at the right time, and the anime will tell you which they are, that is, it won't be challenging to play after that.

(besides that, whose idea was it to adapt a game a game where you stay in a court interrogating people for hours?)

Anyway, let's start with the most important vocabulary:

igi ari 異議あり in Japanese and its translation to English, "Objection", from the game and anime Gyakuten Saiban Sono Shinjitsu ni Igi Ari! 逆転裁判その真実に異議あり! (Ace Attorney), said by character Naruhodo Ryuuichi 成歩堂 龍一 (Phoenix Wright)

  • gyakuten 逆転
    Reversal. (from losing to winning)
  • gyakuten saiban 逆転裁判
    Judgement of reversals.
  • sono "shinjitsu" ni igi ari その「真実」に異議あり
    [I] have an objection to this "truth."

(obs.: never translate titles)

People and Their Titles

  • hikokunin 被告人
    Accused. Defendant. (you help this guy)
  • higaisha 被害者
    Victim. (who died)
  • shounin 証人
    Witness. (who saw the crime)
  • kenji 検事
    Prosecutor. (who's convincing the judge the accused is guilty)
  • bengonin 弁護人
    Attorney. Defender. (who's convincing the judge the accused is not guilty)
  • saibanchou 裁判長
    The judge. (of the trial being held)
  • saibankan 裁判官
    A judge. (any judge)
  • bengoshi 弁護士
    An attorney. (not specifically the one defending)
  • kawa
    Side. (suffix)
  • kenji-gawa 検事側
    The prosecution. (side of the prosecutor)
  • bengo-gawa 弁護側
    The defense. (side of the defender)
  • irai 依頼
    A commercial order for a given service. A task. (like the one to defend someone)
  • irainin 依頼人
    Client. (in the case of a bengoshi, probably the hikokunin)
  • kankei 関係
    Relation. Relationship. (of someone with someone, something with something, etc.)
  • kankeisha 関係者
    Someone related. (to the crime, a witness etc.)
  • hakken 発見
    Discovery. First sight. (of the dead body of the victim, for example)
  • hakkensha 発見者
    Someone who discovered something for the first time. (the person who saw the dead body first)
  • keisatsu 警察
    The police.
  • keikan 警官
    One police. (policeman)
  • keiji 刑事
    Detective. (of the police)
  • keibi 警備
    Guard. (of the court, for example)
  • okasu 犯す
    To commit. (a crime)
  • hannin 犯人
    The criminal.
  • shin han'nin 真犯人
    The true, real, actual criminal.

Elements of a Crime

  • shitai 死体
    Dead body. Corpse.
  • shiin 死因
    Cause of death.
  • genba 現場
    Location of the crime. (where it happened)
  • douki 動機
    Motive. (to commit the crime.)
    (You need this because apparently there are no psychopaths in the game who kill without motive)
  • buki 武器
    Weapon. (with which the victim was murdered)

Proofs, Testimonies and Evidences

  • shouko 証拠
    Proof. (that something happened)
  • shoukohin 証拠品
    Physical proof, Evidence. Object that proves something.
  • shougen 証言
    Testimony. What the witness said.
  • shougen suru 証言する
    To testify. (the act of a witness making a testimony)
  • shougen kaishi 証言開始
    Start of testimony. (shows before a witness speaks)
  • shougen chuu 証言中
    Testifying. During the testimony. (shows while the witness speaks)
  • kettei 決定
  • ketteiteki 決定的
    Decisive. Conclusive.
  • ketteiteki na shoukohin 決定的な証拠品
    Conclusive proof. Conclusive evidence. (with this we can basically stop the trial 'cause we're done)
  • ketteiteki na shounin 決定的な証人
    Conclusive testimony.
  • kiroku 記録
    Record. Registry.
  • houtei kiroku 法廷記録
    Court records. (where you can see the shoukohin in the game)
  • shitsumon 質問
  • shitsumon suru 質問する
    To ask.
  • kotaeru 答える
    To answer.
  • jouhou 情報
  • hakken suru 発見する
    To discover something for the time.
  • mokushi 目視する
    To see (something). To have seen something.
  • keisatsu wo yobu 警察を呼ぶ
    To call the police.


  • jinmon 尋問
    Interrogation. (of a witness)
  • tsukitsukeru 突き付ける
    To put in front.To thrust forward. To present. (an evidence)
  • yusaburu 揺さぶる
    To shake. (someone for more words)
  • igi ari!! 異議あり!!
    Objection!! (literally: "have objection")
    ("to object" and "objection" are court-lingo meaning "I don't believe any of this bullshit you just said")
  • matta!! まった!!
    Wait! Stop! (from the verb matsu 待つ, "to wait")
  • tsukkomi 突っ込み / ツッコミ
    Retort. Attack (when given chance).
    (of counter-attacking the prosecution through flaws in the evidences presented)

Truth and Lie

  • shinri 真理
  • shinjitsu 真実
    Truth. Reality.
  • shinsou 真相
    Truth. (yeah, don't ask me the difference between these three words)
  • shinjiru 信じる
    To believe. (in someone, or that something is the truth)
  • hon no X 本のX
    The true X. (ex.: the true criminal)
  • mujun 矛盾
  • mujitsu 無実
    Lack of truth. Innocence (untrue accusation).
  • uso 嘘 / ウソ
    A lie.


  • houtei 法廷
    Court. Where people are judged.
  • nyuutei 入廷
    To enter the court.
  • taitei 退廷
    To leave the court.
  • shinri 審理
  • saiban 裁判
  • bengo 弁護
    The (judicial) defense of someone.
  • bengo suru 弁護する
    To defend someone in court.
  • seishuku ni 静粛に
    Silence. Orderly. Order in court. (saibanchou says this after striking his mallet)
  • tsumi
    Crime. Sin. Guilt.
  • muzai 無罪
    No crime. No sin. No guilt. Innocence.
  • yuuzai 有罪
    To be guilty. To have crime, sin, or guilt.

Murder and Death

  • jiken 事件
    Case. Situation. Justice case.
  • satsujin 殺人
    Murderer. Killer.
  • satsujin jiken 殺人事件
    Murder case.
  • satsugai shita 殺害した
    To murder someone.
  • satsugai sareta 殺害された
    To be murdered. (passive conjugation)
  • koroshita 殺した
    To have murdered (someone).
  • korosareta 殺された
    To have been murdered (by someone)
  • nakunaru 亡くなる
    To die.
  • nakunatta 亡くなった
    To have died.
  • shindeiru 死んでいる
    To be dead.
  • shibou 死亡
    Death. (of someone)
  • sokushi 即死
    Sudden death. To have died instantaneously without time to scream or write a will.


For those who have read everything, here's some music!

About Some Intellectual Property


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  1. Just a small point. In the Interrogation section, 意義 should be 異議. You probably clicked on 意義 by accident with the IME when you were typing it.

    1. Yes, you're absolutely correct. Thanks for telling me :D