I began this dictionary as a small one-page list of words for my personal use. When I began to study Japanese in earnest a few years ago, I wanted to keep track of terms that I was running across in my reading and in my training.

You'll notice that a lot of the terms are related to ninjutsu / ninpou. I train in the Bujinkan Doujou, so I tend to lean in that direction. There are plenty of koryuu and general martial arts terms as well. I update the list on a semi-regular basis (about once a month). If you notice any questionable or downright incorrect entries, please let me know at the address below.


After a couple of years of tediously updating the web page, I began to delve into web programming - especially a programming language known as PHP. PHP integrates really well with databases of all kinds, so I developed a mySQL database of martial arts-related terms and added a front end written in PHP.

The pages are encoded using Shift-JIS and are best viewed using Internet Explorer 5+ or a real browser like Opera. If you are using Windows 2000 or Windows XP, you should be able to view these pages with no problems. If you are having problems, you can enable Japanese support for viewing and input by adding the appropriate input locales. If running Windows 98 or ME, I suggest using Microsoft's Global Input Method Editor (IME) with their Japanese font pack. It's the easiest to install and text entry is pretty simple and works with most Office applications as well.

UPDATE: You can now subscribe to the Materms Dictionary RSS feed.

If you have any problems viewing the dictionary, please let me know by sending me your comments.

My romaji entries are spelled mostly using the waapuro method. Some will argue that this is not really a romanization system, but I like it, since it makes chou'on (long vowel sounds) easier to remember. It also makes entry into the database much simpler.

You'll notice that the kanji for each entry are hyperlinked. Clicking on the link will search Jim Breen's excellent WWWJDIC database to return his entry for the kanji or string of kanji. Please remember that the translations in my dictionary are martial arts-related terms and the WWWJDIC entries may not reflect the particular nuance of the word as it's used in Japanese martial arts.

Don Houle

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November 24, 2007 07:03 pm