A concern I am typically asked is, “What is the Japanese word because that ghost?” However, what seems a basic question is in reality complicated.

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Ghost. Spirit. Specter. Wraith. Revenant. Several words in the English language define souls that the dead who have not relocated on come the afterlife. Many of these come from other languages; favor ghost, which has actually its probable root in the pre-Germanic native ghoizdoz, meaning fury or anger; or heart from the Latin spiritus definition breath. Then there are more direct loan words, such as the dutch spōk (spook), or the French phantom, or the Scottish wraith. Each word have the right to mean “ghost,” but each word carries a various nuance or flavor.

Some words space even more specific. Poltergeist combines the German words poltern definition to rumble or to make noise and geist meaning spirit or ghost. Put the two words together and you have a very particular entity that cannot it is in mistaken for part other type of ghost. A poltergeist is only ever before a poltergeist.

A country as obsessed v ghosts as Japan is clear going come have more than a single word. Simply as in English, there are several words an interpretation “ghost,” however each with a different usage and also feel.

All(most) every Japanese words for ghost usage some sport on the kanji . 霊 deserve to be review as one of two people –rei or –ryō (or tama, or mitama, or –ki — no one ever said Japanese was easy). Every little thing the pronunciation, 霊 constantly retains the rough meaning of spirit.

Here is a perform and meaning of all the Japanese words for ghost that ns know. Ns am sure the list should be incomplete:


幽霊 – yūrei – 幽 (dim) +霊 (spirit) – most likely the most common Japanese word for ghost, yūrei translates pretty happy as…

For the entire list that Japanese words for ghost, please watch Zack’s full write-up on this page.

Finally uncover out the difference between 幽霊 and also 化け物. Find out i beg your pardon Japanese word for ghost is used when describing Hamlet’s father.

Then go discover the rest of his site. Uncover out i m sorry mysterious animal will come and also eat her dreams. Or maybe discover what those weird bobble-head creatures space in the movie Princess Mononoke. Many importantly, uncover out all around the ever-intriguing, um, Eyeball Butt.

Many thanks to Zack Davisson for enabling us to reprint a part of his article, “How perform You speak Ghost in Japanese?”

Good luck v your studies, everyone.

Keep swimming!


p.s. Here’s my complimentary course, bundled v awesomeness (and love):



Yo! I"m Niko, the founder the yellowcomic.com. I"m also a Japanese translator, writer, and also all-around language nerd.

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I produced this website to assist as many world master Japanese (any language, really) as possible.

Uh, what else? Well... I live in Tokyo, Bangkok, Sapporo, Saigon, mountain Diego, Tokyo, Chiang Mai, Portland, Oregon! for this reason if anyone wants to meet up because that a update nama beer, I"m probably down for that. Or a coffee. Discovering Japanese is tricky-tikki-tavi. Yet we"re in this together. ファイト!