With empty stadiums and no cheering fans, the eagerly anticipated and postponed sporting event in 2021 will look a little different this year.

But don’t let that stop you from cheering on your favorite athletes! For those who want to experience the event at home, our Japanese language experts here at Busuu have created a guide on understanding Japanese commentary.

You’ve looked at the words most commonly associated with the event – think of words like “medal”, “gold”, “medal” and “gold” to niche sports vocabulary like “velodrome” for cycling, ” Pool ”for swimming and“ Track ”for all races.

And to help sports fans everywhere get a grip on Japanese pronunciation, our experts have provided phonetics. also.

English speakers will find that some of the words on our master list are pretty easy to pronounce. For example, “gold” is pronounced “kin”, “silver” is “gin” (as in gingham) and bronze is “dou”.

In the meantime, others are a little trickier. The winner is pronounced “yuushousha” and the velodrome is “berodoroomu”.

Japanese language expert Maiko Miyoshi from Busuu shares her thoughts on the upcoming celebrations: “The event will be much more cautious this year, but we can still enjoy all the great sporting moments from the comfort of home.

“What those who normally attend the sporting event in person miss is experiencing Japanese culture – being in a different environment, experiencing a different way of life, trying new foods and drinks and of course learning the language.

“That is why we have compiled this guide. It gives an armchair audience a chance to learn about the language, and hopefully when they hear a word or two in Japanese they will understand it too.

“Japanese is one of the hardest languages ​​to learn for English speakers, but this is certainly a good starting point to enjoy all that this highly anticipated event has to offer.”

Here are 18 Japanese phrases you can’t watch the sport without

English Japanese Japanese phonetic transcription
gold relationship
silver Gin (NOT like tonic, like gingham
bronze do you
medal メ ダ ル medaru
athlete ア ス リ ー ト asuriito
swimmer ス イ マ ー (or 水 泳 選手) suimaa (or suiei senshu)

Interesting Fact: The word “senshu” is a useful word and means “someone chosen to play sports”, etc. So everyone who takes part in the Olympics is “senshu”!

track ト ラ ッ ク torakku
swimming pool プ ー ル puuru
marathon マ ラ ソ ン marason
spear や り 投 set
relay リ レ ー riree
Baton バ ト ン Baton
Velodrome ベ ロ ド ロ ー ム Berodoroomu
National anthem 国歌 kokka
Gymnast 新 体操 選手 Shintaisou senshu
Long jump 走 り 幅 跳 び hashiri habatobi
winner 優勝者 Yuushousha
flag 旗 (or national flag = 国旗) Hata (or Kokki)

Your Japanese learning journey doesn’t have to stop here …

Learn Japanese with Busuus App

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Whether you’re learning hiragana or katakana from scratch, or learning a few Japanese phrases, we have the course for you.


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