Risuko — Glossary

Read the opening chapters of Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale

We are in the process of compiling a glossary of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese words that occur in Risuko. If you have questions about any of these translations or about any words you’ve encountered in the book, please let us know!

-chan — Child

-ko — Ending meaning that the word is a girl’s name

-sama — My lady or lord (respectful)

-san — Sir or ma’am (respectful)

-senpai — Senior student (respectful)

Baka-yarou — Complete idiot (offensive)

Daikon — A large, white, mild radish

Dozo — You’re welcome (informal)

Go — A Chinese game of strategy

Hai — Yes

Hanyak — (Korean) Herbal medicine

Ichi — The number one

Katana — A samurai’s long, curved sword

Kimchee — (Korean) Pickled cabbage, often spicy

Kitsune — A mischievous, nine-tailed fox spirit

Ku or kyu — The number nine

Kumiho — (Korean) Mischievous fox spirit (similar to a kitsune)

Kunoichi — “Nine in one”; a special kind of woman

Kwan-um — (Korean) The Buddhist saint (boddhisatva) of mercy and beauty; called Kwan-yin in China and Kannon in Japan

Miko — Shrine maidens; young women who assist at Shinto festivals and ceremonies

Mochizuki — The full moon

Mogusa — Mugwort; an herbal medicine formed into pellets, burned (with the lit end away from the flesh) as a stimulant and as a way to celebrate children’s aging during the New Year festival

Mukashi, mukashi — “Long, long ago” (traditional beginning to Japanese folktales, similar to “Once upon a time”)

No — Of or from

Oka-san — Mother

Oto-san — Father

Risuko — Squirrel (a girl’s name or nickname)

Samisen — A long-necked, five-stringed instrument, similar to a guitar or banjo

Sensei or –sensei — Teacher (respectful)

Shakuhachi — A long flute carved from bamboo

Tatami — A straw mat that is traditionally used to cover floors in Japan

Torī — A large arch or gateway usually found at Shinto shrines or temples

Wakazashi — A samurai’s short sword; traditionally used for defense and for committing hara-kiri (ritual suicide)

Wihayeo — (Korean) Cheers!

Yang — (Chinese) The male force

Yin — (Chinese) The female force

Read the opening chapters of Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale

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