Common japanese onomatopoeia word sounds found in manga

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Japanese onomatopoeia is fascinating.  After watching a bit of anime or reading manga in Japanese, it will quickly become apparent that the Japanese have words for sounds that cannot be heard.  It’s also very interesting to see how sounds change between languages, and what two languages are further apart than English and Japanese? For example, frogs say “gero gero” instead of “ribbit”, and dogs bark “wan wan”.

  • a = (whoah)
  • ba = (arrows shooting)
  • ba = (whoosh)
  • ba = (fling)
  • ba = (fwoosh)
  • ba = (shake)
  • ba = (tearing off clothes)
  • ba = (clench)
  • ba = (pushing curtains)
  • ba = (grabbing)
  • ba = (whipping)
  • bababa = (arrows flying)
  • baki = (crush)
  • baki = (bam)
  • baku baku baku baku = (chomp chomp chomp chomp)
  • bali bali bali = (crackle crackle crackle)
  • ban = (striking rock)
  • basa = (clothes dropping)
  • basa = (whish)
  • basa = (opening)
  • basa basa = (flap flap)
  • basha, bashan = (splash)
  • bashi = (smack)
  • bashi = (force field repelling)
  • bashi = (crackling)
  • bata = (footsteps)
  • bataan = (slam)
  • bi = (rip)
  • biku = (jolt)
  • biku = (shock)
  • bikun = (sudden twitch)
  • bo = (vwoosh)
  • boki = (cracking)
  • boko boko = (ground breaking)
  • boso = (mumble)
  • bosu = (boff)
  • bota bota = (thud thud)
  • bu = (ptooey)
  • buho = (splurt)
  • bun bun = (shake shake)
  • byu = (vwoosh)
  • byu = (flying blade)
  • byoooooo = (wind blowing)
  • byuuuu = (wind blowing)
  • chichi = (chirping)
  • chuiin = (spinning, cutting into clothes)
  • da = (dashing)
  • dan = (push)
  • dan = (bam)
  • do = (burst)
  • do = (piercing)
  • doooon = (da-boooom)
  • dogimagi = (flustered)
  • doka = (thud)
  • doka = (strike)
  • doka doka = (kick kick)
  • doki doki doki doki = (ba-dump ba-dump ba-dump ba-dump)
  • dokkun = (heavy heartbeat)
  • dokun = (ba-dump)
  • dokun = (heartbeat)
  • don = (burst of flame)
  • don don don don = (bam bam bam bam)
  • dosa, dosha = (thud)
  • dosa dosa = (falling objects)
  • dosu = (punch)
  • dota = (thud)
  • fu = (pressure letting up)
  • fu = (disappearing)
  • fu = (relief)
  • fu = (sudden movement)
  • fu = (heh)
  • fugo fugo = (hm hm)
  • fulu fulu = (tremble tremble)
  • fura = (falling)
  • fuwa = (float)
  • gaaaan = (goooong)
  • gaba = (rising)
  • ga ga = (grab grab)
  • gaaa = (a mystic sound)
  • gachan = (locking)
  • gachi gachi = (shiver shiver)
  • gaku gaku gaku = (tremble tremble tremble)
  • gala = (crumble)
  • gali = (biting lip)
  • gali gali gali = (scratch scratch scratch)
  • gan gan = (throbbing)
  • gara = (rocks falling)
  • gara = (door opening)
  • gasa = (rustle)
  • gasa = (someone shifting their weight)
  • gasa gasa = (flipping pages)
  • gashan = (crash)
  • gashi = (grab)
  • gatan = (chair clunking)
  • geho = (cough)
  • golon = (roll)
  • goo = (blast)
  • goooo = (roaring flames)
  • goshi goshi = (rub rub)
  • gi gi = (tightening)
  • gi gi = (pulling)
  • gii, giii = (creak)
  • giku = (alarm)
  • giri = (sliding)
  • giri giri = (tightening)
  • gishi = (bed movement)
  • gu = (stopping midstep)
  • gu = (clench)
  • gugu = (squash)
  • gugu = (grip)
  • gugu = (groan)
  • gugu = (choking)
  • gu gu = (tugging)
  • gui = (grab)
  • gui = (yank)
  • gui = (push)
  • gula = (faint)
  • gulu = (grrr)
  • gululu = (grrrowl)
  • guo = (blast)
  • gura, gurari = (swaying)
  • guri guri = (noogies)
  • gusa = (stab)
  • gushi gushi = (rub rub)
  • gusu gusu = (whimper)
  • gyaaaaa = (a loud scream)
  • gyu = (grasp)
  • gyu = (tremble)
  • gyu = (clenching)
  • gyu = (squeeze)
  • gyu = (hugging)
  • gyuuuu = (spinning, squeezing)
  • ha = (gasp)
  • ha = (surprise)
  • ha = (realization)
  • ha ha ha = (rapid breathing)
  • hahahaha = (hahahaha)
  • heta = (slump)
  • hihiiin = (neigh of a horse)
  • hiku hiku = (twitch twitch)
  • hiso hiso = (whisper whisper)
  • hyoi = (rising)
  • hyoko = (stumble)
  • hyooooo = (wind blowing)
  • hyu = (flash)
  • hyu = (flashing by)
  • jala = (chink)
  • jiiin = (overflowing emotion)
  • jiro jiro = (staring)
  • jitabata = (struggling)
  • ju = (sizzle)
  • jyu = (water sizzling and evaporating)
  • ka = (light flashing)
  • ka = (scorching heat)
  • kaaa = (energy blast charging up)
  • kaaaa = (glow)
  • kachan = (clank)
  • kachi kachi kachi = (ice forming)
  • kachi kochi = (body tensing up)
  • kala = (stumble)
  • karan = (dropping chopsticks)
  • karan = (klak)
  • kapo kapo = (clop clop)
  • kasha = (klink)
  • kashan = (clank)
  • kashan = (shutters closing)
  • katan = (clack)
  • katsuuun katsuuun = (clomp clomp)
  • ke = (ha)
  • ki = (glare)
  • kii = (door creaking)
  • kiiin = (“kreeee”)
  • kiiin = (piercing noise)
  • kira = (shining)
  • kolo kolo = (roll roll)
  • kopopopo = (glug glug glug)
  • koro = (turning)
  • koron = (clattering)
  • koso = (whisper)
  • kotsu kotsu = (clomp clomp)
  • kotsun = (kick)
  • kotsun = (konk)
  • ku = (straining)
  • kukaaa = (zzzz)
  • kuru = (a sudden turn)
  • kuwaaa = (burning)
  • kyaaaaa = (a scream)
  • kyu = (crunch)
  • kyu = (tightening)
  • kyu = (tying)
  • mosha mosha = (munch munch)
  • mu = (grr)
  • mugyu = (squeeze)
  • mushi = (ignoring someone)
  • musuu = (mrggh)
  • niha = (sneer)
  • niko = (smile)
  • nikkori = (smile)
  • niya = (sneer)
  • nya = (smirk)
  • pa = (light changing)
  • paa = (glow)
  • paaaaan = (burst)
  • pacchiri = (blink)
  • pachi pachi = (crackle crackle)
  • pachi pachi = (clap clap)
  • paka = (shell opening)
  • paki = (ice breaking)
  • paki paki paki = (ice cracking)
  • pan = (slap)
  • pan = (whack)
  • pan = (explosion)
  • pan = (breaking)
  • pasa = (light falling object)
  • pasha = (splash)
  • pata = (ka-tunk)
  • pata pata = (pitter patter)
  • patan = (door closing)
  • piiiii = (a musical note)
  • piki piki piki = (icing over)
  • piki piki piki = (shake shake shake)
  • piku = (jolt)
  • piku = (ping)
  • piku = (twitch)
  • piku = (surprise)
  • pishaaaa = (pshiiiiing)
  • pishan = (gleeming)
  • pishi = (crack)
  • pishi pishi = (ice breaking off)
  • pishi pishi pishi = (crumbling)
  • pita = (stop)
  • pita = (freezing)
  • poko poko = (pouring)
  • pora pora pora = (crying)
  • pota = (drip)
  • potsun = (whisper)
  • pou = (glow)
  • puchi puchi = (unbuttoning)
  • sa = (quick movement)
  • sawa sawa = (crowd sounds)
  • sha = (moving curtains)
  • shaka shaka shaka shaka = (shuffle shuffle shuffle shuffle)
  • shan = (ching)
  • shiiin = (silence)
  • shu = (flash)
  • shulu = (clench)
  • shuru = (feather movement)
  • shuru = (loosening)
  • shururu = (whirling)
  • shuuu = (attack energy disippating)
  • shuuu = (sizzle)
  • solooo = (tiptoe)
  • sou = (sneak)
  • su = (taking out arrows)
  • su = (raising hand)
  • su = (slipping off mask)
  • su = (disappearing)
  • su = (extending hand)
  • su = (standing up quickly)
  • su = (step)
  • su = (swoosh)
  • su = (motioning silently)
  • su = (rushing air)
  • su = (moving curtains)
  • su = (sudden appearance)
  • sulu = (slipping off clothes)
  • supo = (slipping on)
  • suta suta = (stomp stomp)
  • suto = (person ducking under an attack)
  • suto = (landing lightly)
  • suu = (fluid, circular motion)
  • suuu = (stroke)
  • suuu = (zzz)
  • ta ta ta ta = (pitter patter pitter patter)
  • ton = (thump)
  • ton ton = (footsteps)
  • toro = (slow movement)
  • tsu = (trickle)
  • tsuu = (drip)
  • waaa = (yaaagh)
  • waaan = (waaah)
  • wai wai wai = (crowd noise)
  • yoro = (wobbling)
  • yusa yusa = (shake shake)
  • za = (crunch)
  • za = (stopping suddenly)
  • za = (shovel)
  • za = (zoom)
  • za = (footstep)
  • zaaa = (whipping through)
  • zaaaa = (swirling)
  • zaku = (dig)
  • zaku = (crunch)
  • zaku = (hack)
  • zaku zaku = (dig dig)
  • zaku zaku = (footsteps)
  • zan = (a hard hit)
  • zawa = (leaves rustling)
  • zawa zawa = (chatter chatter)
  • zaza = (rustle)
  • zazaaaaa = (scarfing down food)
  • zee haa zee = (huff puff puff)
  • zekun = (tensing up)
  • zoku = (shudder)
  • zulu = (slump)
  • zulu = (slip)
  • zuki, zukin = (ouch, pain)
  • zukin = (zing)
  • zuru = (going to one knee)
  • zu = (removing)
  • zuzaza = (slide)
  • zuzazazaa = (sliding)

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4 Responses to “Common japanese onomatopoeia word sounds found in manga”

  1. ronin Says:

    1. wan wan – Starting with a simple one. wan wan, pronounced “WHAN WHAN” is the sound a dog makes. Sometimes kids will even refer to a dog as a wan wan.
    2. nyan nyan – This is the sound a cat makes. It’s a little tougher for us to pronounce, tho not hard. Say “NEE” then “YAH” then try to say them really fast so they become one syllable, “NYA” and then add the nasal “N” at the end.
    3. doki doki – This is a heart beating quickly. say it as “DOE-KEY DOE-KEY”. Usually Japanese people will pound their chest as they say it. It is used quite often when talking about being scared, surprised, or nervous.
    4. goro goro – The rumble of your stomach. “GO-ROW GO-ROW” (Tap your tongue behind your teeth for the “R”, like in Spanish, so it sounds more like an “L”, tho not exactly). Whenever someone is hungry, they will use this word.
    5. mou mou – The sound of a cow. Sounds like “MOE”. Japanese people get so confused sometimes when you talk about mowing a yard because of this (or maybe this just happens to me when I talk to them).
    6. zaa – This is the sound pouring rain makes. Stretch out the “A” a little, pronounced “AH”, so more like “ZAAAAAAH”. You guessed it, whenever people are talking about storms or rain, this word usually comes into the sentence somewhere.
    7. gero gero – The sound a frog makes. “GEH-RO GEH-RO”. Nothing like “ribbit”, but most frogs don’t make a ribbit sound anyways. Pretty much every kind of frog makes a different sound. gero does actually sound pretty close to the frogs they have here.
    8. guu/kuu – The sound of sleep. “KU” is a gentle, peaceful sleep. Kind of like what we represent with “ZZZZZZZZ” in comics, tho we don’t actually say it like they will here. “GU” on the other hand is a rougher sleep, maybe with a little snoring.
    9. shiiin – The sound of silence. “SHEEN” is used whenever one wants to indicate complete silence. Often when I tell American jokes to Japanese people I am greeted with SHIIIN. Can also be used when someone is completely stunned or startled into speechlessness.
    10. pera pera – The sound of fluency in a language. “PEH-RA PEH-RA”. Not sure if this is similar to how we got “barbarian” or not (All foreign languages sounded like “bar bar bar…” to the Romans, so they called foreigners “barbarians” as a result). A joke in a popular anime here has a foreigner approaching two women. One speaks English, one doesn’t. When the foreigner talks to them all he says is “pera pera pera pera…”. The woman who speaks English responds “pera pera pera pera…” while the other looks on completely clueless. Well, it’s a little more than that… just watch:

  2. Reecheru Says:

    I noticed that a lot of things are supposed to be repeated like Niko for smiling, is supposed to be niko niko. Not trying to sound rude, but just saying.

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