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Some Notes on the Usage of Dictionary of Aikido Terms (ATS) and Japanese

How to Use the Dictionary of Aikido Terms (ATS)?

Entries in the Dictionary of Aikido Terms consist of 8 sections; term, kanji, hiragana, explanation, note, related terms, reference, derived words. This article aims to explain the sections and to provide basic linguistic information regarding the Japanese.

1) Term
All the headwords in the dictionary are in Japanese except for 1 term (baduanjin is in Chinese and doesn’t have a hiragana or katakana). As ATS is a dictionary for terms, the main purpose is to give the terms’ kanji, hiragana, Turkish and English translations, explanations, related terms and derived terms. As aikido terms’ meanings may differ in various schools and dojos, describing the aikido techniques and giving technical details about the concepts have been purposefully avoided.

Japanese has a huge number of homonymous words and these words have been numbered with a square bracket (e.g. ai[1], ai[2], ai[3], shin[1], shin[2]). Those which are homonymous with other words have not been numbered if they only exist in 1 term in the dictionary. For example, the ki in kiba dachi (騎馬立ち) and the ki in kiza (跪座) does not appear anywhere else in the dictionary, so, are not numbered. Though, some words of this kind have been numbered nevertheless, such as chi[1], [2], ken[3]. The terms have a plus sign attached from the right if they are a prefix (e.g. fu+, +) and a hyphen attached from the left if they are a suffix (e.g. –sha, –gi[1]). Long and combined terms have not been included in the dictionary if their meanings are easily comprehensible. For example, as the terms kote, kaeshi, kote gaeshi and shomen uchi, omote have been glosses and explained individually, glossing long terms such as shomen uchi kote gaeshi, shomen uchi kote gaeshi omote, ai hanmi kote gaeshi, chudan tsuki kote gaeshi would have been redundant. Headwords that include a slash symbol show the kanjis that have 2 different Chinese readings in aikido terminology. For example, the kanji 行, which means “walking, carrying out, line” has 2 Chinese readings; gyō and kō. Gyō reading can be seen in the term shugyō[1] and the reading can be seen in the term shikkō.

2) Kanji
An important point regarding the kanji is that a term can be spelled in multiple ways with kanji depending on whether it contains furigana or not. For example, the term irimi nage can be spelled 入身投げ or 入り身投げ. The difference is the り hiragana in the latter one, whose purpose is to denote how the kanji on its left is read. This case applies to many terms and it is advised that both versions, with and without furigana, should be considered when searching for a term. 

Some kanji underwent a process of simplification in China and Japan. Some kanji can appear both with their traditional form and their simplified form in the dictionary, like the term ki, which means “life energy”. Kanji for ki is the traditional one (氣) in the term Aikidō Maki No Ichi and the simplified one (気) in rest of the terms. The kanjis were spelled without space (except for personal names).

3) Hiragana
As the pronunciation of a kanji cannot be understood just by looking at it, hiragana plays a key role in the dictionary. The kanjis are ideograms and they represent a word, not a letter or a syllable. On the other hand, hiragana represents syllables and can be read without any ambiguity. All the headwords in ATS are provided with their kanji and hiragana on the left column. Hiragana are spelled without space. The letters Ç and J denote how the kanji are read. The letter Ç denotes the Chinese reading (onyomi) and the letter J denotes the Japanese reading (kunyomi) of each kanji. Adverbs and particles usually don’t have a kanji in Japanese and are spelled in hiragana. Words from Western languages are generally spelled in katakana in Japanese and the term zubon is the sole example in the dictionary.

4) Explanation
– When translating the terms, the Japanese infinitive verbs were translated into English as “to infinitives”. E.g. 入れる (ireru) “to enter”.
– Verbal nouns in Japanese were translated into English mostly as gerunds. E.g. kaesu ➞ to bring back, to return, to turn; kaeshi ➞ bringing back, returning, turning; utsu ➞ to hit, uchi[1] ➞ hit, blow
– Literal translation was used on some occasions to present the core, unfigured meaning of the Japanese term.

5) Note
Linguistic and historical notes, remarks and sometimes references have been given on this section regarding the terms and the concepts.

6) Related Terms
Antonyms, synonyms and terms with close meanings have been shown in the Related Terms section. If the kanji of the headword has another reading that is also a headword, it is shown in the Related Terms section on the right column. For example, 身 is the kanji “body” with a Chinese reading of shin and a Japanese reading of mi. So, mi[1] has been given in the Related Terms section of the entry for shin[4] and vice versa

8) Reference
The printed books, online books, articles and videos referenced in the Reference section show the sources used during the writing process of the dictionary and serve as further reading suggestions. Though ATS is a bilingual dictionary, sources in Turkish have been given priority when possible in the Reference section. Sources in English have been referenced when no eligible content in Turkish is available. (note: Renew the browser page if the page of the book in Google Books is not displayed.)

9) Derived Terms
Term(s) that contain the headword of the entry have been listed in this section. The title “Derived” is inaccurate on the notion that the terms listed are either compound words or phrases. Yet, because of the necessity to keep the title short, as the right-hand column isn’t wide, the title was simply called “Derived Terms”. In the cases where the number of terms that contain the headword are plenty, certain terms were listed in the given entry and some terms were listed in related entries. For example, terms that contain the term ai[1] such as aiki, kiai, aite were listed in the ai[1] entry. Yet, aikibudō, aikijō, aikijū, aikidō[1], aiki-jūjutsu were listed in the aiki entry and aikidoka, aikidō ichiro, enbu no aikidō were listed in the aikidō[1] entry.

Dictionary of Aikido Terms - aikido[1] entry

aikidō[1] entry

Some Key Concepts on Japanese Orthography

See this study (in Turkish) for further information on concepts regarding Japanese orthography; Hiragana ve Katakana’nın Kanjilerden Evrimi ve Japon Ortografisi ile İlgili Bazı Kavramlar ve Terimler (by: Ümit Duran, 2021)

kanji: The writing system and the characters the Japanese imported from China in the 5th century AD. Kanji characters represent words, not letters or syllables. The pronunciation of a kanji cannot be known just by looking at it, thus, they must be memorised. Japanese took many words from Chinese and the kanji characters represent both Japanese words and Chinese words. As kanji represent more than 1 word, they are read for more than 1 word, that is, they have multiple readings/pronunciations. Furigana are used to indicate how the kanji should be read/pronunced. For example, the kanji 座 can be read suwari as the Japanese reading (kunyomi) or za as the Chinese reading (onyomi) and both mean “sitting, seat”. The hiragana symbol ri り can be added as furigana to the kanji 座 to indicate that the kanji should be read suwari, not za. As Chinese is a monosyllabic language, the Chinese reading of most kanji are monosyllabic words.

hiragana – katakana: Hiragana and katakana scripts, evolved from the kanji system, are Japanese syllabaries. As opposed to kanji, hiragana and katakana characters do not stand for a meaning, they only have phonetic values, which makes them readable phonetically like an alphabet. Katakana is mostly used for writing loanwords from Western languages.

onyomi – kunyomi: Pronouncing a kanji with its Japanese reading is kunyomi and with its Chinese reading is onyomi. For example the original word for “sword” (刀) in Japanese is katana, whereas the synonymous word is a loanword from Chinese. Hence, the kanji 刀 can be read in 2 ways. The reading is the onyomi (Chinese reading) while the katana reading is the kunyomi (Japanese reading). Some kanji may have more than 1 onyomi or kunyomi reading and some kanji may not have an onyomi or kunyomi reading at all.

furigana: Hiragana characters that attach to the kunyomi kanji to indicate grammatical inflection/derivation. For example, 回り can be read mawari and 回し can be read mawashi in Japanese. The kanji 回 is the verb stem mawa and り and し are the inflectional/derivational suffixes –ri and –shi.

rōmaji: Writing of Japanese in the Latin script. The romanization of ATS uses the macron sign (◌̄) for long vowels. Labial consonants such as /b/ and /p/ sometimes assimilate the /n/ consonant before them in pronuncaition, which which causes the an /n/ ➜ /m/ change (e.g.: sen + paisempai, hon + buhombu, en + buembu). However, as ATS focuses on spelling, not pronunciation, the words have been glossed with their unassimilated forms (e.g. senpai, honbu, enbu). In rōmaji, ch represents the sound /t͡ʃ/, sh represents /ʃ/ and j represents /d͡ʒ/ (The /ʒ/ sound is absent in Japanese). see IPA Chart

rendaku: In compound or prefixed words, the first consonant of the second word gets voiced if it is unvoiced. The sound changes are k ➜ g, s/ts ➜ z, t ➜ d, h/f ➜ b/p, sh ➜ j. Rendaku does not occur in compounds where all words are Chinese and in some other special cases.

sokuon: The smaller form (っ) of the hiragana for “tsu” (つ) is called “sokuon” in Japanese. The small tsu indicates that the following consonant is doubled in pronunciation. This happens in 2 different ways;
1) In some compound words, the last vowel of the first word drops and the consonants of the 2 words come together. For example; ichi + kyō = ichikyōikkyō, roku + = rokuhōroppō. In these examples, the final consonant of the first words assimilates to the initial consonant of the second word.
2) In some compound words, the initial consonant of the second word doubles in reading (and in romaji). For example; ga’ + shuku = gashukugasshuku, ji’ + te = jitejitte. A “t” comes before the consonant /t/ (e.g.: jitte), and an “s” comes before the consonants “s” and “sh” (e.g.: massugu, gasshuku). 

An apostrophe on the right of some words in romaji (as in ga’ and ji’ given above) shows that these words end with a glottal stop, which is the cause of the consonant gemination. For the usage of apostrophes in the middle of some compound words, see the note in the goshin’yō no te entry.