Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Japanese words in Russian language

  With Japanese culture now being so popular in many countries including Russia, it's no wonder that other languages borrow words from Japanese. Below are a few Russian words of Japanese origin.

Some such words are quite common. Most Russians know what kimono and karate mean. Others are better known amidst people who like Japanese culture, for example tanka and shamisen.

кимоно, сакура, икебана, бонсаи/бонсай, суси/суши, васаби, дайкон, мисо, соба, саке, цунами, катана, самурай, сёгун, харакири, камикадзе, ниндзя, банзай, боккэн/бокен, айкидо, дзюдо, джиу-джитсу, карате/каратэ, сэнсэй, сумо, тануки, кицунэ, гейша, сямисэн, кото, тайко, оригами, го, тамагочи, хокку, хайку, танка, синтоизм/синто, дзэн

Young Russians are often familiar with words related to manga and anime. Even those who don't watch anime usually know what kawaii and nya mean. Below are words mostly from young people's slang.

манга, аниме, анимешный (adjective: anime-related, like in anime), анимешник (a fan of anime), косплей, косплейщик (a cosplayer), отаку, сэйю, кавай/кавайи/каваий (adverb or noun?), кавайный (adjective), кавайно (adverb), кавайность (noun: kawaiiness), ня!, няшка (noun: something cute), няшный (adjective: cute), покемон, гайдзин, гайдзинка (female gaijin)

Вчера я и ещё одна гайдзинка отправились из Киото в Токио. - Yesterday I and one more gaijin girl went from Kyoto to Tokyo.
Он такой няшка! - He is so cute/nya!
Няяя, какой кавайный щенок! - Nyaa, such a cute puppy!
Тут столько кавая! - There is so much kawaii (cute things) here!
У тебя очень няшный прикид. - You have very cool/cute outfit.
Среди отаку много любителей косплея. - There are many cosplayers amidst otaku.
На нём был очень анимешный костюм, наверно, он косплейщик. - His costume looked very anime-like, perhaps he is a cosplayer.
Он читал вчера мангу про ниндзя. - He read a manga about ninja yesterday.
Ей очень нравятся катаны и самураи. - She likes katana swords and samurais very much.
Борцы сумо известны своим размером. - Sumo fighters are known for their size.
Гейша играет на сямисэне. - A geisha is playing shamisen.
У сакуры красивые цветы. - Sakura has beautiful flowers.


  1. Today's story is especially interesting to me. I'm impressed with the popularity of Japanese culture in Russia.

    1. You can find Russian translations of classic Japanese poetry and modern Japanese authors in bookstores, many young people love anime, cosplay and manga, and there are sushi-restaurants literally everywhere in Moscow :)

  2. I'm pretty sure косплей (cosplay) is an English word - short for "costume play".

    1. Just like anime, Pokemon and salaryman, cosplay (コスプレ kosupure) is a Japanese word made from English words.



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