Japanese Pronunciation

Since Aikido is a Japanese Art, it uses a lot of Japanese words.
While training in Aikido does not include mastering the Japanese language, for those of you who are interested, this is a more in-depth guide for the pronunciation and meaning of Japanese words and terms related to our training.


Similar to Spanish, Japanese generally has only one sound assigned to each vowel:

  • a = “aw” sound as in raw, top, calm.
  • i = “ee” as in eel, meal, iguana.
  • u = “00” as in moon, tune, flu.
  • e = “eh” as in met, well, elevator.
  • o = “oh” as in open, tone, loan.

In Japanese, each syllable is pronounced for an equal amount of time. The word hakama is often pronounced in a more English way: “huh-KAW-muh”, but in Japanese would be closer to sounding like “hakka-ma”