Translation Notes

For each item in the catalog (including names, words, phrases, poems) we provide independent resources so you can verify our translations for yourself. Often you can verify the translation for yourself with the simple click of a mouse!

And while we have attempted to provide details for all the items, if something is missing or if you have further questions about a translation, please just contact us and we will be happy to either update the site with more information or personally address your specific questions.

For Words

As a simple example the designs for Flower (hana), as most designs, begins with a summary line:

Flower in Japanese is Japanese for Flower (hana) which is read hana.

This includes the English, the Japanese and how the Japanese is read. Also the image and the reading give links to an independent dictionary so you can with one click confirm the translation. The dictionary used here is Jefferey's Japanese <-> English dictionary based on Edict data maintained by Dr. Jim Breen of Monash University. And for many designs we also provide links to Yahoo's Japanese dictionary (which requires Japanese fonts). Typically we summarize the translation items you can check for yourself on the page as:

Translation Check: To confirm the translation for yourself, click on Flower (hana) which links to the independent Jeffrey's Japanese English Dictionary. Or if you have Japanese fonts see Yahoo's dictionary entry Flower (hana).

We also will provide links to Namiko Abe's list of common Japanese words. For example, the word Family in Japanese is kazoku:

Translation Check: To confirm the translation for yourself, click on Family (kazoku) which links to the independent Jeffrey's Japanese English Dictionary. Or if you have Japanese fonts see Yahoo's dictionary entry Family (kazoku). Further Namiko Abe (from lists this as a popular kanji at Family (Kazoku).

We also will break down the word into individual kanji when this adds to the meaning. An excellent example is Way of the Warrior (bushidou):

Way of the Warrior in Japanese is Japanese for Way of the Warrior (bushidou) which is read bushidou.

The Japanese word bushidou means "Way of the Warrior" which is the Japanese Code of Chivalry. It is composed of the kanji (read bu) meaning "martial, military, warrior, arms", (read shi) meaning "samurai; gentleman" and (read dou) meaning "the way; teachings".

For more information see the Wikipedia article Bushido. Sarah Peterson also has an excellent overview of Bushido at

In each we give links to the individual kanji as well as to the entire word. Here we also provide a link to an appropriate Wikipedia article and a third-part website. With this information you can easily confirm that our translation is correct and you can learn more about the word.

For Names

The standard way that names are translated to Japanese is phonetically (by how the name sounds - not how it is spelled) to katakana. For some specific examples see:

??? When searching for "David" I find many options. Which is the right one to choose?

The first thing we do when translating a name is to decide which pronunciation of the name to translate. And we have developed a special Pronunciation Guide that once we settle on a pronunciation it applies rules to generate the proper rendering in Japanese. This way it is absolutely certain that if the pronunciation is proper then the rendering in Japanese is proper.

We then correlate our translation with other translations to confirm everything is correct. We use several other sources include Movie Goo which is a Japanese Movie database with film star names in English and Japanese (it requires Japanese fonts). As an example the name James (jE-mz) has

Translation Check: You can confirm the Japanese translation of James using Jeffrey's J/E Dictionary at James. People using this exact same translation are James Belushi (), James Brolin (), James Brown (), Lennie James () and Hawthorne James (). The popular Japanese site Movie Goo also has a list of celebrities named James translated to Japanese.

This allows you to easily check that the translation we use is common and standard.

We also provide further details about the name including book references and links to reliable internet sites. For example, using James again you will see:

NOTES: Learn more about the etymology of James at Babynamer and BehindTheName. James's meaning can also be confirmed on page 153 in The Comprehensive Dictionary of English & Hebrew First Names by Alfred J. Kolatch. James's meaning can also be confirmed on page 136 in A Dictionary of First Names (Oxford Paperback Reference) by Hanks, Hardcastle, and Hodges.

Our goal is to provide the detail and background so that you are completely comfortable with our name translations. And, as always, should you have any questions please let us know and contact us. We truly want you to be as happy with the translation as you are with Master Takase's beautiful art.

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