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 Let's Learn Japanese 
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By the way, if you have trouble reading the kanji, just hold down on the Ctrl key and rolling up with your mouse or hit Ctrl and +, it makes the text bigger. If you want to reset it, just hit Ctrl-0

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So today we're doing Ka and Ga. Whoa wait, two katakana? But it's actually the same katakana but with a small mark to note that it's pronounced slightly differently. The mark is there to show that the consonant needs to be voiced. It looks like a quotation mark and is called a dakuten which means "voiced mark". Because of this, there's really not that much to learn in the Japanese alphabet, because a lot of it repeats. It's kind of a fascinating evolution of linguistics since Ka and Ga are related linguistically and someone must have figured that out a long time ago and created the writing system to reflect that.

That article also says that apparently the dakuten mark wasn't used until the Tokugawa era, so written Japanese didn't distinguish between voiced and non-voiced consonants before. Confusing?! Imagine replacing all your g's with k's and your p's and b's with h's, etc.

Don't get this confused with Chikara/Power 力 and Kyuu/nine 九

カー Ka-a (n) car, (P)
カブト Ka-bu-to
カノン Ka-no-n Yup, "no" is still that one line
ルカ Ru-ka Luka R for l, yada yada
ガイ Ga-i
バーガー Ba-a-ga-a Burger

Kanji:
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小 Shou Small. Don't forget the little hook in the middle line.

小さい Chii-sai Adjective for small. That's the hiragana for i by the way. い and イ

小学 Shou-gaku Elementary school

小型 Ko-gata Small model.

小人 Ko-bito Small person

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中 Naka/chuu Medium, middle. Box with a line through it, makes sense to me

中学 Chuu-gaku Middle school

中国 Chuu-goku China. Literally the middle kingdom. Hey, they developed kanji, after all

中国人 Chuu-goku-jin Chinese person. Yup, adding the kanji for "person" after something works this way.

中型 Chuu-gata Medium sized model

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大 Dai/Oo Big. Remember when I said 天 is a "person" under a line, it's actually "big" under a line. "Person" doesn't have that line through it

Is the Dai in DaiRanger big? I dunno, since DaiRanger is written in katakana. Also, this is the kanji that you sometimes see on fire in the Japanese mountains

大学 Dai-gaku College/university. By the way, high school is 高校 Koukou, from the kanji "high/tall" and "school"

大い Oo-i Adjective big.

大いなる力 Ooi naru chikara "The power which is big" or Grand Power as we translate it.

大獣神 Dai-Jyuu-Jin "Big beast god" or DaiZyuJin in ZyuRanger. Yeah, depending on the kanji, sometimes jin is god or it's person. I made that mistake just now, actually

大戦 Tai-sen Great war, great battle. Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Taisen 2010?!

大佐 Tai-sa 【たいさ】 (n) colonel, (navy) captain, (P)
Well, it's not always pronounced dai

中佐 Chuu-sa 【ちゅうさ】 (n) lieutenant colonel, commander (navy), (P)

少佐 Shou-sa 【しょうさ】 (n) major, lieutenant commander, wing commander, (P)
Note the line under shou, this is a different kanji. Used in familiar things like 少年 Shou-nen young man or 少女 Shou-jo young woman.

I just thought I'd point out that the rankings in Japanese are obvious which one is lowest rank and which one is highest. I don't know how the fuck the rankings work in English. I guess it's just something you have to memorize?

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最 Sai Most, extreme. Kind of a complicated kanji for this level, but I think it's worth noting. Just try to memorize its shape. On top you have the kanji for sun. On the bottom left you have the kanji for ear 耳 and on the bottom right you have the kanji for again又

最も Motto-mo most, extremely. The mo here is hiragana. I just thought I'd throw that in here to show how one hiragana can greatly change its sound

最小 Sai-shou smallest, least

最中 Sai-chuu OR sa-naka middle, midst, height of. I don't know if saichuu and sanaka are interchangeable since their definitions are so similar. There might be conditionals for which one is used during certain times

最大 Sai-dai Biggest, maximum

Now that that's out of the way...

宇宙最大の宝 U-chuu Sai-dai no Takara The Greatest Treasure in the Universe. Also could be interpreted as "the biggest treasure in the universe"

サイダイオー Sa-i-da-i-o-u Well, this is in katakana, so its meaning is open to interpretation. I mean, sai means rhino, which we know from OOO. But in this robot form, if it had kanji it's probably 最大王 sai-dai-ou or "the biggest king". Of course the pun for sai being rhino fits in there as well.

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Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:16 am
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キ Ki Just for comparison's sake, here's the hiragana ki: き
ギ Gi Remember yesterday's thing? Nice thing is that all the k sounds become g sounds in the same way.

ガイキング Ga-i-ki-n-gu Gaiking! And yeah, just because there's an extra u sound at the end doesn't mean it has to be pronounced. So things are more engrishy than others

ヒビキ Hi-bi-ki To get ahead, note that h can become a b in the same way. It can also be written in kanji: 響鬼 Hibiki The whole first kanji can be pronounced hibiki, I think. And the ki in this means oni or demon.

ギャラクシー Gi-(small ya)-ra-ku-shi-i Galaxy.

I guess this is a bit complicated to explain. Sometimes there's small vowels, tsu, or y sounds like ya after a katakana. This takes the gi sound and makes it a gya sound. Actually, I think Macaroni asked about this. When you see this, it's not just gi-ya as two syllables.

As for why this is necessary, try saying ga and then gya. Ga is more frontal in the mouth while gya is more towards the center of your mouth. It's just a slightly different sound. Bet you never knew you were saying galaxy like this before, did you? Just be glad that you don't have to write using the phonetic alphabet.

ジョー・ギブケン Oh, here it is with ji and yo. Jyo-u Gi-bu-ke-n Joe Gibken. Since they don't use spaces in Japanese, they put the dot in between to show when the first name ends and last name begins.

Kanji, let's talk about kanji for the body today. I don't really expect people to memorize all of these the first time through. It's just something to keep in mind since they're pretty useful and some of them are ridiculously easy.

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頭 Atama/zu/tou head. It looks complicated, but it has the radical for 頁 page/leaf and on the left... the kanji for bean 豆. Just memorizing the general shape of it is good. This is also the counter for large animals. So if you want to write two elephants, you'd write 二頭

頭痛 Zu-tsuu a headache. The second kanji is pain. When you hear people say "itai" or "ite" that's the kanji

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目 Me eye. We've actually encountered this a few times already. It's the same me in roku-nin-me sixth member. It does sort of look like sun 日 but there are two lines in the center. Sort of forms a pupil.

千里眼 Sen-ri-gan Still remember this one? It's the eye of 1000 ri or clairvoyance

一目 Hito-me Glance, brief look. Did I mention that ichi can be pronounced hito?

赤目 Aka-me Red eyes. Red eyed man?!

大目 Oo-me Big eyes OR magnanimous. Can you kind of see how this is the word for being generous

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耳 Mimi Ears. Got to love these box shapes for round things like parts of the face.

猫耳 Neko-mimi Cat ears

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髪 Kami Hair on the top of your head. I really don't have this kanji memorize. I just remember the generic shape and the three wavy lines on the side. If someone pointed a gun to my head and told me to write the kanji for kami, I'd be a dead man. But I can at least recognize it in stuff.

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毛 Ke Hair/fur.

髪の毛 Kami-no-ke Hair on the head. Note that the hiragana "no" is more like a lasso shape. You can see how the katakana is basically just the bottom curve with the rest of it thrown away

赤毛 Aka-ge Red head. K to g, there it is again! That's beautiful linguistics is a beautiful thing that has evolved the way we do because of the way human mouths work. Akake is harder to say than Akage, so that's probably how this word came about to being the way it is.

黒毛 Kuro-ge Black hair

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口 Kuchi/kou mouth. Easiest kanji yet so far, right? It's also a kanji for openings. (Spoilers, the kanji for "circle" looks nothing like a circle)

口炎 Kou-en mouth ulcer. Talk about en-flamed right?

手口 Te-guchi modus operandi; criminal technique; trick. Try and figure out why a hand and a mouth form this word. Oh yeah, don't get te/hand and ke/hair mixed up

火口 Ka-kou crater; caldera

口火 Kuchi-bi fuse; spark plug; cause (of war); origin (of a quarrel). Yup, word order. I also like how the pronunciation is different in both spots.

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Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:50 am
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ク Ku! Kukuku! The hiragana ku is a little easier to remember since it's just a less than sign く

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グ Gu

クーキー Ku-u-ki-i Cookie/kooky. Combines with the ki we learned yesterday

トリック To-ri-(small tsu)-ku Trick

ガイキング Ga-i-ki-n-gu Gaiking Uses a bit of everything we've seen before

Kanji, more body parts
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手 Te Hand/arm/means/technique. It's Eiji's favorite word! Don't get this confused with hair 毛 from yesterday.

手首 Te-kubi Wrist. The second kanji means neck, but you can see how it also works as a joint, right?

手羽 Te-ba Chicken wing. The second kanji is ha/wing. H to b, we'll get to that soon enough

手話 Shu-wa Sign language. Sometimes the hand kanji has a shu sound. And hanashi/wa means language, of course

手口 Te-guchi from yesterday Hand and mouth is modus operandi; criminal technique; trick

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足 Ashi leg. Sorta looks like a leg with the calf and the line as a knee and the feet.

足りる Ta-ri-ru To be enough. Kind of an important word. You hear it a lot in OOO about how there's not enough of everything.

手足 Te-ashi hands and legs

足首 Ashi-kubi Ankle. Yup, second kanji is still neck.

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胸 Mune chest/bosom/heart. Remember what I said about the moon kanji being used for flesh, here's an example of it. It just sits on the left side of the kanji typically. The right side of this kanji looks like a giant katakana ku and the middle part is a sideway version of this kanji 区 which is also pronounced ku. I just remember that x marks the spot

胸痛 Kyou-tsuu Chest pains

胸毛 Muna-ge chest hair. Note that muna instead of mune here

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首 Kubi head/neck. Let's do this one too. It's like the kanji for ji/oneself 自 with a hat. And oneself looks like eye 目with a dash on top

You always here phrases with kubi in them. Like you'll hear me threaten other people by telling them to wash their necks, that means they're coming to cut your head off.

Kubi also means "unemployed person". So you'll hear people get fired by being called "kubi". Odd, I always thought that was a verb, like "you're getting beheaded" as a metaphor for being fired. Not that "neck/head" itself is a euphemism for "unemployed".

自首 Jishu To give oneself up. There's the kanji for "oneself" again. I guess giving up your head is to give up. Memorizing kanji is all about making up these dumb stories to explain them XD

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Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:07 am
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ケ Ke Kekekeke. Hiragana ke け. I just remember it since it kind of looks like a K

ゲ Ge

ケーキ Ke-e-ki Cake

クーキー Ku-u-i-i Cookie

ゲーム Ge-e-mu Game

ゲキレンジャー Ge-ki-re-n-ja-a GekiRanger

Kanji More body parts!

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心 Kokoro/shin Heart/mind. Probably one of the most popular kanji. When in radical form I think this kanji is just a straight line going up and down with two dots on the side. If you remember Fushigi Yuugi, I think the main bad guy had this kanji on his forehead

心性 Shin-sei mind, disposition

心皮 Carpel (flower reproductive thingy). Just wanted to point this out because it's the kanji for heart and skin

心耳 Shin-ji To listen carefully. Remember ear?

心土 Shin-do subsoil

心気 Shin-ki 1: mentality; mood; sentiment; feelings; 2: fretfulness; tedium. That's the same ki as from DaiRanger

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血 Chi/ketsu Blood. I just remember as a dash on top of a plate 皿.

心血 Shin-ketsu Heart's blood

吸血鬼 Kyuu-ketsu-ki Can you guess what this is? It's the kanji for vampire. Or rather sucking-blood-demon. Left kanji for suck right kanji for oni/demon. Speaking of Fushigi Yuugi, didn't Tamahome have the kanji for oni on his forehead?

血眼 Chi-me bloodshot eyes; in a frenzy. Note that this me has a little more to it, but still means eye (Or rather more like eyeball, I think)

血道 Chi-michi Blood vessels. The second kanji is road. Remember GekiRanger? Its Chinese pronunciation is dao/tao

血気 Kekki vigor; ardor; ardour; vigour

血の気 Chi-no-ke hot-blooded, ruddy complexion, etc. Might be good to remember that kanji for ki/ke

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骨 Hone Bone. There's that flesh radical again, don't normally see that on the bottom. I just remember this by the box in a box. The only other kanji that I know of the top of the head that has that structure is sugiru 過 which looks pretty different

骨 Kotsu Knack, skill. Huh, so that's the kanji for it, huh?

骨身 Hone-mi Flesh and bones. The second mi is a kanji for body.

骨炎 Kotsu-en Osteitis. Still remember the kanji for flame Honoo/en?

気骨 Ki-kotsu (moral) backbone; spirit; soul; grit. Put some backbone in your spirit!

気骨 Ki-bone worry; care; anxiety. Same kanji, totally different pronunciations and meaning. What a world!

小骨 Ko-bone Little bones. H to b.

Just a quick overview of some of the secondary kanji from today:
皮 Kawa/hi Skin/hide. Kind of looks like something wrapping up another thing

身 Mi/shin Body. Neat because 自身 Ji-shin means "oneself, personally". Remember ji from yesterday?

気 Ki Chi/spirit KiRyoku?! Since you know katakana ka you know 力 chikara/ryoku KiRyoku! 気力

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Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:31 am
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コ Ko. The hiragana version こ. Both pretty easy

ゴ Go. Something you see a lot in Sentai

キングコング Ki-n-gu Ko-n-gu King Kong
バスコ Ba-su-ko Basco
ゴー Go-u Go
ゴーカイジャー Go-u-ka-i-ja-a Gokaiger
ゴーオンジャー Go-u O-n-ja-a Go-Onger
Kanji:
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白 Shiro/shira/haku white. Just remember sun with the dash on top
白髪 shiro-ga white hair
白毛 Shiro-ge white (horse coat color). Pretty good example of the difference between the hair kanji. The other one is more for head hair while this one is more for hair/fur in general
白身 Shiro-mi white of the egg, white flesh. Remember the kanji for "body"?
白目 Shiro-me pewter; solder
白眼 Shiro-me 1: whites of the eyes; 2: cold, unwelcoming eyes. Odd that the meanings are different since both the second kanji mean "eyes"
白土 Haku-do white clay
白人 Haku-jin white person
白骨 Hakkotsu white (bleached) bone; skeleton. Box in a box over the moon for bones
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赤 Aka red. Cross on many legs. By the way, crimson 紅 can also be pronounced aka, but it's more typically pronounced as kurenai
赤木 Aka-gi red tree
赤毛 Aka-ge red hair
赤日 Aka-bi menstruation. I can see that. Hi becomes bi since it's the following kanji
赤身 Aka-mi Lean meat, lean fish.
赤気 Sekki Sometimes the kanji has a seki pronunciation. Remember ki can be mind, spirit, but also things like gas or ethereal things
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青 Ao Blue sometimes green. It's just that three line thing over the moon. The mooooon
Also, you probably hear colors with the i at the end as in 青い aoi and 赤い akai. That's just color name being used as an adjective
青木 Aogi Japanese laurel, live tree. When it comes to nature, ao is usually green, as in youthful plants and stuff
青毛 Ao-ge black (horse coat color). So I guess it means black in this context, great
青目/青眼 Ao-me. Blue eyes. Westerner. Heh. Remember both those kanji mean "eyes"
青白 Ao-jiro Pale. Kanji for blue and white of course
青青 Ao-ao verdant; fresh and green; bright green; lush
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黄 Ki yellow
黄金 Ou-gon Golden. Like Garo's title Ougon Kishi, golden knight
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黒 Kuro black. I believe the bottom kanji is rekka or flame. The top one is ri. Anyway, just remember the generic boxy field kanji on top and the four dots on the bottom for black
黒毛 Kuro-ge black hair
黒身 Kuro-mi dark part of the fish meat
黒目/黒眼 Kuro-me dark eyed, pupil
黒眼鏡 Kuro-me-gane (n) sunglasses, shady glasses, dark glasses. See that metal radical in the third kanji? Notice that gane is a changed version of kane? And yeah, take out the kuro and it's just megane/glasses
黒土 Koku-do black soil
黒白 Kuro-shiro Black and white
黒白 Koku-haku Black and white, right and wrong. Different pronunciations
黒人 Koku-jin black person
黒金 Kuro-gane iron. From kane to gane.

Other kanji for colors:
紫 Murasaki purple, the color of madness. The radical on the bottom is for "thread"
緑 Midori green. Again, the radical on the left is for "thread". On the bottom right is like the kanji for "water". But I mostly remember it for the backwards E on the top right

Secondary kanji:
身 Mi/shin I mostly remember it as "oneself" 自 but with a hook and a curve line
気 Ki /ke Spirit/mood. Just a super useful kanji.

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Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:05 am
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キャ Kya
キュ Kyu
キョ Kyo
It's probably worth mentioning this now. That's just a big Ki with a small ya, yu, and yo
They're all katakana in their own right, but when small it's combined with the previous katakana's sound
Just think of it as a mutated combination Ki+ya = kya
Another thing that you notice is the pattern for these combinations is a Consonant's i version plus the ya yu yo
It may seem a bit weird at first, but it's something that you get used to
キューブ Kyu-u-bu Cube
You might ask, why not just use the ku we used before? It's basically just a slightly different sound than that. You make the ku sound with your pursed lips at the front of your mouth. Kyu is more like our Q and is more in the center
キャッチ kya-c-chi catch
Oh yeah, small tsu makes that hard sound. I dunno how to describe it, but it combines with the principals of the small ya
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人 Hito/nin Person. Watch where you put that second line since you don't want to accidentally write the kanji for enter: 入

人気 Ninki Popular. Still remember the kanji for ki?

人目 Hito-me public gaze

人士 Jin-shi well-bred man. Looks like the kanji for person and dirt right? Nope. 士 is longer on top, 土 is longer on the bottom. 士 means gentleman or samurai, it's also the kanji for Tsukasa's name in Decade.

人口 Jin-kou population, common talk. Second kanji is mouth

人骨 Jin-kotsu human bones

人心 Jin-shin human heart, human nature

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本 Hon Book, main/head/present, also the counter for long things. Yes, long things. Note that it's just the kanji for tree with a line through the middle

日本 Ni-hon Japan

本気 Hon-ki seriousness; truth; sanctity. You hear this all the time

本心 Hon-shin true feeling

本日 Hon-jitsu Today. Remember the sun is also day and can be pronounced as jitsu

本隊 Hon-tai (yeah, homonym) You probably recognize this tai from sentai. This word means "main body (of an army)". In a lot of these instances, hon is acting like you pointing at something and saying "this specific one"

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体 Karada/tai body/shape. Just add the radical for person on the side and your book is now body!
A lot of times we translate this as "health" since people will ask things like "karada wa dou desu ka/how is your health"

本体 Hon-tai real form, body

体力 Tai-ryoku physical strength

気体 Ki-tai vapor, gas

五体 Go-tai whole body, limbs

一体 Ittai "What the heck" "one object. You hear this a lot when people are upset

大体 Dai-tai general; substantially; outline; main point;
Remember one of Tsukasa's catchphrases was "Daitai wakatta/I've got the gist of this"

天体 Ten-tai Heavenly body

合体 Gattai Combine. The first kanji is au/to meet/to link together

変体 Hen-tai abnormality
Hen for change, like henshin
But no, the kanji for that body is the other one Henshin 変身

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Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:44 am
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Sorry about the lack of updates, Saturday night is weekly translation night and I was busy with other stuff on Sunday night.

Katakana
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サ Sa. Here's the hiragana sa さ which is like hiragana ki but with one line missing

ザ Za. Yup, the apostrophe looking thing makes s's into z's in Japanese. So we know that and we know k's become g's.

サンタ Sa-n-ta

インサーン I-n-sa-a-n Insaan

ザ Za The.

ザッツオール Za-(small tsu)-tsu O-u-ru That's All

For the kanji, I'd like to do something a bit more interesting. While I think all the words I presented last week are interesting and useful, I feel like it was a bit boring and academic. So what I'd like to do instead is talk about kanji that are related to a particular series.

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天装戦隊ゴセイジャー Ten-sou Sen-tai Go-se-i-ja-a

天装 Ten-sou
So we know Ten means heaven. The kanji for Sou装 means equip. So they fight by cladding themselves in heaven. Tensou with a different kanji 転送 means "to transmit, transfer" which is like the techniques/spells they use. So its meaning isn't totally clear, it's basically a made up word for the series.

戦隊 Sen-tai. Sen means war/fighting. It's the same sen you hear in Taisen/Great War. It's also pronounced Ikusa/war which is what IXA is a pun of.

Tai in this instance means a group/platoon. Like the Rider Vendor Tai means that. These two kanji together basically just mean a fighting platoon.

ゴセイジャー Go-se-i-ja-a
This actually has a kanji if you look at the bottom of their logo: 護星者

護 Go/Mamoru means to protect. Yes, it's yet another kanji with a "go" pronunciation; they basically exhaust all the "go" kanji to their full extent in Sentai. Chiba Mamoru's name also means "defense/protect" but it uses a different kanji than this one.

星 Sei/Hoshi means planet or star, basically any heavenly body.

者 Shaa/jaa While the -ger at the end is usually from ran-ger in some cases it's the kanji for jaa like ninja. It's basically the kanji for "person of this employment"

The whole thing together is "people who protect the planet". But in the story these guys come from Gosei World. So while Gosei means "Planet protector", it's also just another made up term for the series.

天知 Ama-chi. Normally the kanji for chi is land, heaven/earth. But in this case it's chi for knowledge, so the family name Amachi means "knowledge of the heavens"

幽魔獣 Yuuma-jyu Yuuma Beasts. So it turns out the official spelling of this is UMA Beasts, since UMA is a real acronym for Unidentified Mysterious Animal. The pronunciation through me since they do it as the letter U and combine the last two, so it sounds like You-ma. The Yuu is like yuurei ghost and ma means demon/devil.

救星主 Kyuuseishu/Messiah/savior. The first kanji is actually rescue, you hear it a lot in Tomica Hero stuff and I presume GoGo V. Normally this is written as 救世主 but the middle kanji replaces yo/world with sei/planet. And shu主 means lord/master/main. Just remember it as the king kanji with a dash on top. And you should know the kanji k

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Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:06 am
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Katakana
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シ Shi. What's this? Why isn't it Si? Probably because it's hard to say. Anyway, in some old romanizing formats you'll see this written as Si, but it's normally a Shi sound. As usual, the katakana version of Shi looks like a fragmented version of hiragana Shi: し

I suppose I should mention that Shi should not be confused with Tsu ツ. The two lines in Shi are slanted toward the diagonal line, while the ones in Tsu are more vertical up and down.

ジ Ji. Oh yeah, this is also an exception. S normally becomes a z sounds, but in this case it's a j. You can kind of see how Si/Shi and Zi/Ji sound similar right? All you can do is memorize this as an exception

And since it's a consonant that ends in an i, you can add ya/yu/yo to it to make:
シャ Sha
シュ Shu
ショ Sho

Annnnnd... same deal for Ji:
ジャ Ja
ジュ Ju (I sometimes write this as Jyu)
ジョ Jo

A lot to take in isn't it?

シンケンジャー Shi-n-ke-n-ja-a Shinkenger Shi and a Ji, what a bargain

シド Shi-do Sid. Probably one of those instances where an actual Si sound would be preferable

ニンジャ Ni-n-ja This actually has kanji, but it's a word that we can write using the katakana we know. Oh yeah, the katakana for Ni is the same as the kanji for two and has the same pronunciation. Kinda handy.

Speaking of Shinkenger, let's talk about their kanji today
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侍 Samurai. Remember the two lines on the left is the radical for "person". The kanji on the right means temple: 寺. You can break this up further by the kanji for land being on top and the radical for "foot/measurement" on the bottom. And to go further down that road, it's worth remembering this structure since toki/time uses it but replaces "person" with "sun" 時.

So in summary, the man next to the temple is a samurai. The sun next to the temple shows what time it is.

Thankfully we did the other face kanji before. But I've still got things to talk about:

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光 ShinkenGold! ...but his face kanji is hikari/light/ray. I have to admit, this choice always was strange to me. But then again, what kind of element is "heaven"? Since this kanji also means rays, I just remember the different lines coming out.

日下部彦馬 Ku-saka-be Hiko-ma Jii's full name. His last name means "Under the sun" and his given name means "boy-horse"

志葉 丈瑠 I actually don't see many themes in Takeru's name. Shi means hopes/aspirations. Ha/ba/leaf. Take means height/length/all one has. And ru means lapis lazuli.

池波 流ノ介 Ike-nami Ryuu-no-suke.

池 Ike means pond (Water radical with the kanji for land/land)

波 Nami means wave (Water radical with kanji for skin)

流 Ryuu means flow. Unfortunately, taking away the water radical doesn't form an interesting kanji by itself. Just try to remember the water radical and the river kanji (the three lines on the bottom) I guess?

介 Suke is just a common suffix for boy's names. I dunno, looks kind of like an up arrow.

But yeah, water motif galore! In fact, you can see the water radical on the left in all three of those kanji.

白石 茉子 Shira-ishi Ma-ko Not much to say hear. Family name means "white stone" and Ma means jasmine. Like suke, ko is a common suffix for given girl's names and it means "child".

谷 千明 Tani Chi-aki. Tani just means valley (a valley full of trees?!) Chi you know means 1000 and aki means bright.

花織 ことは Hana-ori Ko-to-ha Hana means flower, and ori means to weave. The rest is in hiragana

梅盛 源太 Ume-mori Gen-ta Plum-Boom Origin-Thick

薫 Kaoru Fragrance

黒子 Kuro-ko Literally "black-child". These are the guys in black who work as stage hands during theatrical productions of things.

血祭ドウコク Chi-matsuri Do-u-ko-ku The villains tend to have names with kanji describing them and then a name. Chi we know is blood, and matsuri means festival. So chimatsuri means a bloodbath

薄皮太夫 Usu-kawa Da-yuu Man, these body part kanji are useful today. Usu means thin, and kawa skin. Thin skin is beautiful, right? A Ta-yuu is a high-ranking courtesan and has a few other meanings. From the kanji for Thick and Husband, ironically.

薄雪 Usu-yuki Thin and snow. Skin as thin and white as snow?

骨のシタリ Hone no Shitari. Hone means bones

腑破 十臓 Fu-wa Juu-zou Fu = bowels, wa = destroy, juu = ten, zou = entrails

折神 Ori-gami Folding Gods. Normally the kanji for God is paper/kami which has the same sound. Puns

真 Shin/true I just remember this with the cross on the top, the legs on the bottom, and some boxy shape in the center.

And we can't do all the kanji, but let's try to do at least this one:

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真剣 Shin-ken. It means "real swords" (as opposed to practice swords) but it also means "earnestness/seriousness". While Shinkenger doesn't have a kanji, it's probably okay to guess that it'd be 真剣者 or at least this was what was used to make up the word. It's funny because this is the second Sentai series that makes a pun on being "serious". (MagiRanger and maji/serious being the other one)

If you look at the ken/blade kanji (Yup, same as from Kamen Rider Blade) you might try remembering the way I do. The left side has the ^ thing at the top with the two legs on the bottom. The radical on the right is for katana, probably a simplified form of 刀 so that it's just the two lines without the thing connecting them at the top.

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Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:38 am
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ス Su. It's just two strokes, the line on the left is one continus move. Hiragana Su is this loop thing: す

ズ Zu. Probably more advanced than you need to know, but tsu also becomes zu: ヅ. Don't worry about memorizing dumb asides like this, it's just stuff to keep in mind.

スーパー Su-u-pa-a Super! And Ha goes to Pa with that circle in the same way " change things.

トランスフォーマーズ To-ra-n-su-fo-u-ma-a-zu Transformers. Sometimes that s sound at the end is closer to a z sound.

Kanji:
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炎神戦隊ゴーオンジャー En-jin Sen-tai Go-u O-n-ja-a Engine Sentai Go-Onger

炎 Honoo/en Flame. Remember it's just two fire kanji on top of each other?

神 Kami/Shin/Jin God

So while it has a kanji, the sounds form "En-jin/Engine". Japanese has too many levels at times, don't you think? I guess that's why it's interesting though.

And of course Go-Onger is a made up word combining "go-on" and "ranger"

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The kanji for kuruma/car

江角走輔 E-sumi Sou-suke The sumi means corner. Sou means run/race. suke means help, seems like it's a common ending for boy's names. Note the radical for car 車 is in it.

香坂 連 Kou-saka Ren. Ren means to connect, join up. It has the car radical on top and the leg/movement radical on the bottom. I'm pretty sure it's derived from ashi/leg: 足

楼山 早輝 Rou-yama Sa-ki Rou means high building/watchout and yama means mountain. Sa/haya means fast, pretty easy kanji to remember, just sun on a cross. Ki/kagayaku means radiance/shine and is made of the kanji for light (remember yesterday) and gun(sound, not the weapon)/army. And you can remember "army" as it being a "covered vehicle".

城 範人 Jou Han-to. Jou/shiro means castle. Han means model/pattern and has the car radical in the bottom left. And to/hito/jin is just the kanji for person.

石原 軍平 Ishi-hara Gun-pei. Ishi means stone, hara means field. Gun means "army", if you remember, it's the "covered vehicle". It's probably also a pun on gun the weapon in this case since Gunpei is a cop and Gunpherd is a gun on wheels. Pei/hei means balance, like the kanji.

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The kanji for hane/feathers

須塔 大翔 Su-tou Hiro-to. The kanji for Hiro here is dai/big. The To in Hiroto is To/shou/kakeru which means to fly. I'm not too sure what the left radical is, although jisho.org implies it's sheep. The right one though is feathers 羽. So his given name sorta means "big flight"

須塔 美羽 Su-tou Mi-u Mi/bi means beauty. And I just covered hane 羽 meaning feathers. So her name means "beautiful feathers/wings"

害地大臣ヨゴシュタイン Gai-chi Dai-jin Yo-go-shu-ta-i-n

害 Gai means pollution

地 Chi means land/ground

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臣 Omi/Shin means retainer. You're a lot more likely to see this kanji in 姫 Hime/princess.

大臣 Daijin is Cabinet Minister.

So Gaichi Daijin means Minister of Land Pollution.

害気大臣キタネイダス Gai-ki Dai-jin Ki-ta-ne-i-da-su

気 Ki means air/gas/spirit, remember? So Gaiki means air pollution

害水大臣ケガレシア Gai-sui Dai-jin Ke-ga-re-shi-a Still remember the kanji for Sui/water?

害地副大臣ヒラメキメデス Gai-chi Fuku-Dai-Jin Hi-ra-me-ki-me-de-su

副 Only thing I want to point out here is "Fuku". Just something to keep an ear out for in titles since it means vice-, deputy-, assistant whatever. Basically the second in command. Do you want to know something useful but confusing? This is fuku: 福/fortune, and this is fuku: 幅/scroll. So if you see that particular radical, take a wild guess, it might be pronounced fuku.

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Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:58 am
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Katakana

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ソ So so so so, as Hibiki would say. Hiragana So is this squiggly line that looks like pursed lips: そ

And yeah, this looks a lot like N ン in the way tsu looks like shi. So is more straight while N is angled toward the curved line.

ゾ Zo

ソード So-u-do Sword

ゾイド Zo-i-do Zoids. And yeah, sometimes you have to do the pluralization for the word since Japan doesn't always understands how that works.

Kanji
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獣拳戦隊ゲキレンジャー Jyu-Ken Sen-tai Ge-ki-re-n-ja-a
Since this series has a Chinese theme, of course the kanji are going to be important. So much so that we're going to do this in two parts. Let's start with the good guys.

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獣 Jyu/Ju Beast/animal. Don't have any good tips to memorize this kanji, it's just a shape that I recognize from seeing it often. The left side has all that stuff (I guess the upper left three things look like a claw). And the right side is the kanji for dog, which is just big with a dot on it.

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拳 Ken fist. Looks complicated, but it's a pretty eas6y shape to remember. Just the two dots on the top, all the lines inbetween, and check the bottom kanji for te/hand.

So the Geki in GekiRanger. Which Geki is it? Well, here's the problem, Geki suffers from dwelling in homonym city. There are a lot of kanji that use Geki:

劇 Geki Drama/play. You see this kanji at the end of the series, if I recall. It said something like "end of the drama" or something.

The shape is horribly complex, it looks like the left side is a combination of tiger and pig. At least the right is just a simplified katakana radical. You just get used to seeing this kanji a lot since it's what they use to talk about movies. Like you'll see Gekijouban on the toku movie promos and that just means "movie edition"

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激 Geki Extreme/violent. Pretty complicated kanji. Water radical on left, white kanji on top, what looks like the kanji for 10,000 on the bottom with a dot, and on the right side is the radical for paper, I believe.

There's a few more that aren't as well-known as these two. But the Geki you know in this series is this one:

激気 Ge-ki. Yeah, it uses the previous Geki and combines it with the kanji ki/spirit and doesn't change the sound since it's the same one. Like most other Sentai series, this is a term made up for this series. It basically means "Fierce spirit"

心技体 Shin-gi-tai. You hear this pretty often in the series.
Jisho definition: three qualities of a sumo wrestler: heart, technique, physique.
You should know kokoro/heart and the last kanji karada/body (person + book).

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技 Gi/technique. Have I talked about the left radical before? That's the radical for hand (See how it's a simplified version of this: 手). The right one is support. It's probably useful to memorize this shape, which is mata/again 又 since you'll see it often.

So yeah, that's probably a lot to take in. Just remember the cross on that weird shape thing, let's call it Jesus, means support. And carrying the cross with the hands uses a lot of technique. ???

漢堂ジャン Kan-dou Ja-n
漢 Kan/Han = China/Sino- I have to admit that I didn't know that
堂 Dou = Hall
I don't know what kind of name Jan is, but the pronunciation is different from the American name, at least. I mean, it's like jan-ken-pon, Japan's rock-paper-scissors

宇崎ラン U-zaki Ra-n
宇 U for uchuu, spaaaace!!! I mean, I guess it has other meanings, but it's mostly used for space now. The top radical means roof, if that helps. Then you have that weird anchor looking thing on the bottom.

崎 Saki/Misaki means Small peninsula/cape. Just remember it as that mountain by all that other junk.

深見レツ Fuka-mi Re-tsu
深Fuka means deep. You ight recognize the water radical on the side, tree one on bottom

見 Mi means to see. It's just an eye on legs.

Retsu isn't in kanji, but it might be this one:
烈 Extreme, furious, violent

And if you take the first parts of each of their family names, you get Kan-fu-u Kung-fu

深見ゴウ Fuka-mi Go-u Same kanji as Retsu, no need to explain again

久津ケン Hisa-tsu Ke-n By the way, notice the pattern of the family name being in kanji and the given name in katakana? Are you guys doing okay reading them, by the way? I don't have much to say about the family name, just that it sounds like hissatsu/finisher. Ken is in katakana, but it'd probably be the kanji for sword.

So you might remember other kinds of Geki 激気 in the series:

過激気 Ka-ge-ki. Boxes? Is this the kanji for bone? No, it's the other kanji that has box in boxes. This one means "to surpass, to exceed, go beyond". If you recall, this is their power up energy/aura that they use. Man, those suits were so cool.

This is a pun on the real word Kageki 過激 which means "extreme, radical"

紫激気 Shi-ge-ki. Remember the kanji for purple? No, of course not, it's ridiculously complicated. Maybe you can remember the shape and that the radical for thread is on the bottom. But yeah, that's literally purple/violet geki.

This is a pun on a real Shigeki 刺激. It means "stimulus; impetus". See how useful knowing the kanji for hageshi/geki/violent 激 is?

七拳聖 Shichi Ken-sei. Still remember seven? How about ken/fist from earlier? This basically translates to the "seven fist saints". Let's talk about the last kanji for a bit, since it's pretty useful:

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聖 Sei/holy,sacred. From Saint Seiya to anything that you need to be made sacred. You might recognize the different parts by now. Ear and mouth (what a combination) and on the bottom is the kanji for king.

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Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:40 am
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Quote: Never go to bed angry, stay awake and plot your revenge.

I fight evil wherever it may be... except in dark, scary places.
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Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:38 am
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Katakana
Sha シャ Shu シュ Sho ショ
Ja ジャ Ju ジュ Jo ジョ

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Remember that these are written with the consonant plus an i and a small ya, yu, and yo.
ヤ Ya Just a straight line with that weird curvy thing
ユ Yu Kind of looks like a square U turned on the side
ヨ Yo Basically a backward E.

ジュウレンジャー Ju-u-re-n-ja-a ZyuRanger. Beast rangers?! The reason this Jyu is written as Zyu officially is basically because old romanization rules are dumb and they just don't make a lot of sense. Maybe there's some linguistic reasoning for them, but if you tried to romanize a song using those rules people would just be confused as to why what's written down is different from the sounds spoken.

ジュウケン戦隊ゲキレンジャー Ju-u-ke-n Sen-tai Ge-ki-re-n-ja-a Jyuken Sentai GekiRanger As you can see, sometimes I write ju as jyu because that's the way I romanized the kanji for animals for years, and old habits die hard. I think it's good to be consistent though since it helps people know that the same sound means the same word (animals/beasts) in the way Oh means "king" as in Yu-Gi-Oh or blah blah mecha-Oh

シャウタコンボ Sha-u-ta Ko-n-bo Shauta Combo

GekiRanger Part 2

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臨 Rin Means confrontational or advent or something. The meaning has never been very important since I think it's part of a pun which I'll explain later. You'll notice the left radical is that thing that means subordinate or whatever and appears in the kanji for "Minister" and "Princess". The 3 boxes on the right means "item". Add the cap on the top right side and you've got Rin.

Basically Rin is just the kanji they use to mark the bad guy stuff in the way the good guys stuff uses Geki. So Geki 激気 versuses Rinki 臨気

臨獣拳アクガタ Rin-Jyu-Ken A-ku-ga-ta. Remember JyuKen means Beast Fist, which are the animal styles that are the basis for their technique. Akugata is written in katakana, but it basically means "the villain's role"

激臨 Geki-Rin. So JyuKen used to be one style, GekiRin, before splitting into the two factions. While these two kanji don't mean anything together, they are a pun of 逆鱗 Geki-rin which loosely means "Imperial wrath" or "To infuriate the king". From the kanji for "upside down" and "scale". To make this more confusing, Gekirin comes from the story that if you touch the upside down scale that comes out of dragon's chin, that will make it angry and kill you. If you play the series Monster Hunter, this is usually translated as the rare drop, the something something Plate. Basically the story of the dragon somehow came to mean "infuriating the king/emperor".

Thankfully, most of the villains' names in this series doesn't use kanji. Sort of. Ignoring the regular characters, all the other villains' names are based on the Japanese word for the animal, but spelled in a pig latin sort of way. The first character is moved to the end of the name. So Co-bra, would be Bra-co. Kamakiri becomes Makirika.

三拳魔 San-Ken-Ma Three Fist Devils. So the three Kenma are like the opposites of the seven Kensei. Even their names follow the monster of the week format. Kuma/bear becomes Maku, Taka/hawk becomes Kata, and Kurage/Jellyfish becomes Rageku .

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魔 Ma Devil/demon/magic This is probably worth remembering, at least shapewise. You'll see it again and again because it's basically magic or demon depending on the context. It's just that outer border on the left with trees on top of an oni.

臨気 Rin-Ki

Aside, sometimes Japanese kanji are simplified forms of the Chinese kanji. For example:
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This is the same kanji as Ki, but it has the Rice kanji at the bottom instead of the X looking mark in the Japanese. Let's just call this Qi. It's essentially the same kanji though

怒臨気 Do-Rin-Ki Drinky? Haha. No, the kanji for Do/Ikari means "anger", but it can also be used as an intensifier. The most popular one right now is "Do-hade iku ze" when Marvelous wants to get EXTREMELY showy (His normal catchphrase is without the Do at the beginning)

幻気 Gen-ki Gen is a kanji that means phantom/illusion. Like TenGenSei Daigo. This is just a silly word since it's a pun of Genki which means "lively, cheerful"

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龍 Ryuu Dragon. Remember how Long is a dragon in the series, that's the kanji for his name. It's just simply the Chinese pronunciation of it. In Japanese it's "Ryuu" Like the Ryu from Street Fighter or 龍騎 Ryuki. Note that it's okay to drop the extra u for the official names.

竜 Ryuu Dragon. This is pretty much the same kanji as the one above, but more simplified.

昇竜拳 Shou-ryuu-ken Rising Dragon Punch

竜巻旋風脚 Tatsu-maki Sen-puu Kyaku Tornado Whirlwind Kick. Note that the first kanji in tatsumaki/tornado is dragon

滝 Taki Waterfall. A waterfall is basically a dragon made of water. See how everything comes together when you start memorizing radicals?

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Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:41 pm
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Go back and reread the previous posts, see what's still sticking. Continually revisiting these things is how they become ingrained in your memory.

In honor of Gokaigers:

派手 Ha-de Flashy, showy, gaudy. The te/de is the kanji for hand. The Ha means group/party/faction.

行く I-ku The left kanji is "to go". The right is hiragana Ku which is just a less-than sign <. It's worth memorizing the left part of the kanji because those three lines are used a lot in motion kanji

派手に行くぜ Ha-de ni iku ze Let's make this showy!
The Hiragana に Ni is a particle. Hiragana ぜ Ze is a sentence suffix is mostly superfluous. It doesn't mean anything by itself, it just makes the sentence sound more strong. A lot of tough guys use it.

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Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:54 am
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Katakana

By this point we know the vowels, K/G's, and S/Z's. We've covered almost half of the katakana that are in use?

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タ Ta. I remember hiragaina Ta た since it looks like an actual ta. Katakana Ta I dunno, looks kind of like a triangle/moon shape?

ダ Da. T's go to D's with the "

タトバコンボ Ta-to-ba Ko-n-bo Tatoba combo. Oh yeah, n is also the m sound in certain instances. You might notice Ba and Bo have the " on it and are Ha and Ho without. That's because h with " become b sounds.

タイムレンジャー Ta-i-mu Re-n-ja-a Speaking of triangles, look at how much of a triangle Mu is.

Note that phonetically, Ranger has a Re sound. This becomes an issues because sometimes Japanese write abbreviate it and it'll use Ren instead of Ran(ger). So stuff like Goren Gokai-Ou will come up or it'll show up even in Sentai website url:
http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/dekaren/

タジャドルコンボ Ta-ja-do-ru Tajador. Of course, since r/l are the same sound in Japanese, the official spelling is Tajadol

ガタキリバ Ga-ta-ki-ri-ba Gatakiriba

ダイレンジャー Da-i-re-n-ja-a DaiRanger.

Kanji:
Today's series is GoGo Sentai Boukenger
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轟轟戦隊ボウケンジャー Gou-gou Sen-tai Bo-u-ke-n-ja-a You probably can read this whole thing except for Bo. See how far you've come?

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轟 Gou here is the kanji for roar/boom. Two of them 轟轟 Gougou is the onomatopoeia for "engine sounds". A lot of onomatopoeia
in Japanese takes on the form of the same sound twice, like Dokidoki.

You know what it also is? The kanji for Todoro(ki) as in the Oni from Hibiki. It's a super easy kanji to remember if you know the kanji for car 車. Remember this from the Go-Onger update? In Gou it's just the car kanji written three times.

You know what it also is? A pun on Go Go the English words. If you paid attention, we represent both of these in the subs. The official series name is GoGo Sentai Boukenger. Whenever it's written in katakana, we used the term GoGo. Whenever there's kanji, like in the weapon name GouGouKen 轟轟剣 (Remember the Blade kanji?) we spelled it with the u's.

ボウケンジャー Boukenger is written in katakana, but it's a combination of 冒険 Bouken/Adventure and Ranger. Remember how Sha/ja 者 sometimes makes up the -ger in the Ranger name (like in Goseiger or ZyuRanger). In this case Boukenger does NOT use the kanji since 冒険者 is Boukensha/Adventurer, an actual word. The sha does not become ja here. The rule of thumb for whether the followup kanji changes sound is, is it harder to say the followup syllable in the original form, Boukensha versus Boukenja.

Red 明石暁 Aka-shi Satoru. Aka is a pun on red. In this case, the kanji for aka means bright (remember sun/moon?). The kanji for Satoru means dawn/daybreak and a homonym for "to obtain enlightenment"
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Ishi/shi is the kanji for stone, kind of a simple kanji (most rocks are square in shape, right?).

Black 伊能真墨 I-nou Ma-sumi Nou means talent. Ma uses the kanji for Shin/true (Ma being one of its alternate pronunciations). Sumi means "black ink" Are we seeing a theme here?

Blue 最上蒼太 Mo-gami Sou-ta Mogami could be pronounced Saijou to mean "very best" or lit. "the very top". Sou in his name means "blue", it's a fancy (sorta obsolete?) way of writing Aoi.
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Ue/jou Up. It's an arrow pointing up pretty much

Yellow 間宮菜月 Ma-miya Na-tsuki Na/sai means "vegetables". Tsuki means moon, of course. Not sure what the yellow is in this name. Maybe it's the pun on Natsu/summer?
リリーナ Li-li-i-na

Pink 西堀さくら Nishi-hori Sa-ku-ra Nishi means west. It looks like four Shi/yon 四 but there's a line above it and the two inside lines extend out. Sakura means "cherry blossoms" which is of course, pink. If Sakura had a kanji it would be this: 桜 Tree+claw+woman = pink flowers

Silver 高丘映士 Taka-oka Ei-ji Takai means high/tall. Oka means hill. Ei means reflection, and Ji means warrior/gentleman (remember the line on top is longer than for chi/land). I guess silver is reflective?

大神官ガジャ Dai-shin-kan Ga-ja We know Dai means big. Shin/kami means god and Kan means burecat/official. Put that together and we get "Great Priest".

創造王リュウオーン Sou-zou-ou Ryu-u-o-u-n Souzou means "creation". Ou means "king". So Creation King Ryuoun. If his name used kanji, it'd probably be 竜 for Ryuu and 王 for Ou. Can't really represent N.
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Ou/Oh King

風のシズカ Kaze no Shi-zu-ka Kaze means wind. Remember Ninja Gaiden, this is the kanji for the Wind Slash move power-up icon. It's that big 3-sided outside. The inside is sorta like the kanji for Mushi/bug 虫. Shizuka is in katakana, but if it had kanji, it'd be this: 静か and it would mean "quiet". Get it? It's ironic. Also, Shizuka the kanji has the kanji for "blue" on the left side 青. And oddly enough, the kanji for arasoi/fighting,war 争 on the right.
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Kaze/Fuu Wind

The windy city? Fuuto 風都. As fast as the wind, as silent as the forests, as ferocious as the fire, and as immovable from the mountain: FuuRinKaZan 風林火山

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Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:52 am
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The Eyes in the Skies
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takenoko wrote:
Silver 高丘映士 Taka-oka Ei-ji Takai means high/tall. Oka means hill. Ei means reflection, and Ji means warrior/gentleman (remember the line on top is longer than for chi/land). I guess silver is reflective?

Actually, I believe his name is supposed to be a play on "Ag", the chemical symbol for silver. Multilingual puns are fun!


Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:30 am
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