Japanese Terms

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Glossary of Japanese words used in The Gatekeeper's Son Series:

(Explanations from Wikipedia)

Bokuto - The bokutō 木刀 is a Japanese wooden sword used for training. It is usually the size and shape of a katana, but is sometimes shaped like other swords, such as the wakizashi and tantō.  Sometimes called A bokken (木剣, bok(u), "wood", and ken, "sword") in the west.

Iaijutsu -  Iaijutsu (居合術), a combative quick-draw sword techniques. This art of drawing the Japanese sword, katana, is one of the Japanese koryū martial art disciplines in the education of the classical warrior (bushi)

- Izumo - Izumo-taisha (出雲大社 Izumo Grand Shrine?, also Izumo Ōyashiro) is one of the most ancient and important Shinto shrines in Japan.

Kannushi - A kannushi (神主 god master?, originally pronounced kamunushi), also called shinshoku (神職?) kannushi were intermediaries between kami and could transmit their will to common humans. A kannushi was a man capable of miracles or a holy man who, because of his practice of purificatory rites, was capable to work as a medium for a kami, but later the term evolved to being synonymous with shinshoku, that is, a man who works at a shrine and holds religious ceremonies there.

Katana - Historically, katana (刀) were one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (日本刀 nihontō) that were worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan, also commonly referred to as a "samurai sword".

Kenjutsu or Kendo - Kenjutsu (剣術) is the umbrella term for all (koryū) schools of Japanese swordsmanship, in particular those that predate the Meiji Restoration. The modern styles of kendo and iaido that were established the 20th century included modern form of kenjutsu in their curriculum too. Kenjutsu, which originated with the samurai class of feudal Japan, means "the method, or technique, of the sword." This is opposed to kendo, which means "the way of the sword".

Kunoichi (Japanese: (くノ一) is a modern term for a female ninja or practitioner of ninjutsu (ninpo). The most accepted interpretation amongst the Japanese of Kunoichi is: ku (く) meaning "nine"; no (ノ) meaning "plus" and ichi (一) meaning "one". "Nine-plus-One" is supposedly referring to orifices in the human body. Males have nine while females have one extra.

Matsue, Japan - Matsue (松江市 Matsue-shi?) is a city in Japan, located in Shimane Prefecture of the Chūgoku region of the main island of Honshu. It is the capital city of Shimane Prefecture.

Miko - A miko (巫女) is a Shinto term in Japan, indicating a shrine (jinja) maiden or a supplementary priestess who was once likely seen as a shaman but in modern Japanese culture is understood to be an institutionalized role in daily shrine life, trained to perform tasks, ranging from sacred cleansing to performing the Kagura, a sacred dance.

Ninja or shinobi - A ninja (忍者?) or shinobi (忍び) was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of the ninja included espionage,sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, and open combat in certain situations. Their covert methods of waging war contrasted the ninja with the samurai, who observed strict rules about honor and combat. The shinobi proper, a specially trained group of spies and mercenaries, appeared in the Sengoku or "warring states" period, in the 15th century, but antecedents may have existed in the 14th century, and possibly even in the 12th century (Heian or early Kamakura era).  

Okaasan - Mother (おかあさん Okaasan)


Shimane Prefecture, Japan - Shimane Prefecture (島根県 Shimane-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūgoku region on the main Honshu Island. The capital is Matsue. It is the second least populous prefecture in Japan, after its eastern neighbor Tottori. The prefecture has an area elongated from east to west facing the Chūgoku Mountain Range on the south side and to the Sea of Japan on the north side. It is divided into the Izumo Region in the East, the Iwami Region in the West and the Oki Region, a small group of islands off the northern coast. Most of the cities are near the shoreline of the Sea of Japan. Izumo Taisha in Izumo City is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan.


Wakizashi - The wakizashi (Kanji: 脇差 Hiragana: わきざし) meaning "side inserted sword" is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords worn by the samurai class in feudal Japan.