Every week, a professional Japanese teacher posts a new Japanese language blog. New Japanese audio blog added!!
Learn by reading the Japanese kanji version first, then scroll down to check the English translation.
Japanese vocabulary, phrases, and usage patterns appear in blue. Add a comment and check back often for the latest topic.
“Na Ku Yo Uguisu Hei An Kyo” : Japanese word games
(Lit. trans. = Singing Japanese Nightingale at Hei An Kyo)
The title is a word game that we play to remember the historical date and era of the relocation of capital to Kyoto in the Nara Period. We replace the numbers 794 with the words “Na Ku Yo” to make it easy to remember.
There are other word games to remember eras in Japanese history. For example 645 is changed to “Mu Ji Ko” , 894 is replaced with “Ha Ku Shi”, 1192 is remembered as “I I Ku Ni” et cetera. It is difficult to memorize numbers and dates by heart, but these word games are easy to remember and hard to forget, so when I was studying for entrance exams, I also learned a lot of dates using word games like these.
These types of word games are not just used for remembering numbers, ( for example; the Japanese 5 yen coin, is replaced with “Go En” which means destiny or karma) so these word games are also used in superstitious way as well . There are a lot of word games like this in Japanese.
Do you know any ? Are there any in your country's language too ? Write a comment below in English or Japanese.