Kuma is the Japanese word for bear. These days one name has been mentioned often – Kumamoto. Kumamoto city and Kumamoto castle. You know, Kyushu, one of the big 4 islands of Japan, has experienced a series of strong earthquakes, followed by hundreds of aftershocks. There are victims and huge damages to the buildings and the infrastructure.
Kumamon. If you have been browsing the news about this disaster I am pretty sure you have seen one cute black bear with round red cheeks. This is Kumamon – the emblematic mascot of Kumamoto prefecture. And for sure one of the most favorite in whole Japan.
I decided this time to make a non-picture post – a list of the Japanese names of the animals (well, as many as I know myself so far!). I have received once compliments for knowing so many, but let me explain – working as a teacher in a Japanese nursery inevitably brings this knowledge to you! Kids know them all at very young age! Kids love animals, don’t they! 🙂
So if you want to know how to say some animal in Japanese, here they are:
Animals – doubutsu (literally “thing/creature in motion”)
bear – kuma wolf – ookami fox – kitsune rabbit – usagi hedgehog – harinezumi Japanese racoon – tanuki snake – hebi lizard – tokage squirrel – risu deer – shika (go in Nara and you’ll see hundreds of shika!) reindeer – tonakai (usually mentioned just around Christmas) monkey – saru (they do have wild monkeys in Japan, even there’s a popular monkey park in Kyoto!) bird – tori wild boar – inoshishi Japanese pit viper (a kind of forest snake) – mamushi and another poisonous snake in Okinawa – habu bat – koumori
Animals seen in the zoo (well, this is for Japan):
lion – rayon tiger – tora puma – pyuuma cheetah – chiitaa giraffe – kirin zebra – shimauma polar bear – shirokuma (literally means white bear) kangaroo – kangaru elephant – zou (actually sounds like dzoo) koala – koara penguin – pengin hippopotamus – kaba crocodile, alligator – wani gorilla – gorira chimpanzee – chimpanjii panda – panda camel – rakuda flamingo – furamingo ostrich – dachoo rhinoceros – sai racoon – araiguma
horse – uma sheep – hitsuji goat – yagi pig – buta duck – ahiru hen, chicken – ahiru cow – ushi chick – hiyoko donkey – roba
dog – inu cat – neko goldfish – kingyo hamster – hamustaa mouse – nezumi
Water animals (lakes and sea):
koi –Japanese carp (you have seen these awesome colorful carps in the Japanese garden ponds) fish – sakana turtle (also tortoise) – kame whale – kujira shark – same sea urchin – uni eel – unagi octopus – tako squid – ika shrimp – ebi jellyfish – kurage crab – kani frog – kaeru dolphin – iruka seal – azarashi
Insects: (generally they are all mushi including some tiny molluscs)
ant – ari butterfly – choochoo mosquito – ka cockroach – kokiburi (sometimes gokiburi) fly – mushi caterpillar – aomushi cicada – semi grashopper – batta preying mantice – kamakiri dragonfly – tombo ladybug – tentoomushi spider (I know it’s not an insect, but it always stays near them!) – kumo snail – katatsumuri (I mentioned it is put in the “mushi” group) rhinocerus beetle – kabutomushi firefly – hotaru bee – hachi cricket – koorogi wasp – mitsubachi roly poly bug – dangomushi Japanese poisonus centipede – mukade (really dangerous, its bite is painful and immediate hospitalization in necessary!)
The most famous Japanese crane – tsuru (they nicknamed the biggest castle Himeji like that) sparrow – suzume dove, pigeon – hato crow, raven – karasu seagul – kamome heron – sagi Japanese white eye – mejiro kingfisher – kawasemi eagle – washi owl – fukuroo wild duck – kamo
dinosaur – kyooryuu mysterous mythical creature living in ponds and has a …tiny plate on its head – kappa
DONE! 100! Phew!!!
And I want to mention Kuma – bear again. Because of Kumamoto.
While people there are struggling to survive in temporary shelters and rescue teams are looking for miracle survivors in the collapsed buildings, campaigns for support and donations have started. If you live in Japan the easiest way to donate is …buying the delicious vegetables produced in Kumamoto. You can easily recognize them in the shops when you see Kumamon – the smiling black bear, the official mascot of Kumamoto.
Sharing a beautiful art devoted to this current disaster and the hope we have in Kumamoto!