Nihongo Lesson 08/11/17

Sharpen your Japanese language ability with these words!

By John Bae August 11, 2017

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Welcome to the Nihongo Lesson feature. We strive to give you useful manga-based Japanese language tips and maybe even a glimpse into the translation process. This week’s lesson will focus on some cool swords that have shown up in recent issues. Shonen Jump is famous for having exciting sword fighting, but the ones we’re highlighting this week are a little different!


ISANAKIRI is the name of Somei Saito’s sword in Food Wars! Maybe it doesn’t count as a sword since he uses it to cut fish for sushi, but it is very impressive looking. And the name is intimidating as well. KIRI means “to cut” or even “to kill.” You might remember HITOKIRI from Rurouni Kenshin, which was translated as “manslayer.” ISANA is an old word for “whale.” So Saito’s sword is the “whale cutter.” No wonder it’s so big!

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SHIRAUO (しらうお)

When it comes to sword fighting, the most important thing is technique. ISANAKIRI is intimidating, but has there ever been anything more terrifying than Amande in One Piece using her sword SHIRAUO? SHIRAUO literally means “white fish,” but it refers to an ice fish or a noodle fish. Usually, sword techniques are powerful because they’re fast. But Amande goes as slowly as possible. To quote her: “I only cut my victims at the most excruciating speed possible.” How merciless!

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