Jiu jitsu or ju jutsu?

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by darrenlooby, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. darrenlooby Member

    England, English

    Over the years, us English speakers have argued the toss over which is the most suitable name for the art of Japanese origin.

    I’d like help exploring each of these words to better understand the debate and come to a good conclusion.

    For those who are not martial arts orientated but are good with Japanese – or even native (one hopes), I’ll give a little more information to help everyone contextualise.

    The most used translations for the art are, “compliant techniques” and “gentle techniques”.

    The emesis is on using as little of your own energy as possible, and utilising that of your opponent. It is also the mother art of both judo and aikido.

    Jiu jitsu or ju jutsu?
  2. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    The closest transliteration would be "jiu jiutsu." In Japanese kanji, it is written as 柔術, which translates into kana as じゅうじゅつ. Let's parse the letters:

    じ - ji
    ゅ - yu
    う - u
    じ - ji
    ゅ - yu
    つ - tsu

    If you use "jiu" for the first part, you have to use "jiu" for the second, as well. There's no such sound like "ju" in Japanese, therefore they use "ji+yu," which makes "ju."

    "jiu jitsu" would be じゅじつ, which is wrong. That's why, I'd vote for the latter: Ju Jutsu.
  3. SpiceMan Senior Member

    Osaka 大阪
    Castellano, Argentina
    There is such sound, you just need a digraph to represent it.
  4. darrenlooby Member

    England, English
    I'm not sure I'm completely following just yet, I'm sure it'll come to me as the discussion goes on.

    However, is there anyone that can add more etymology as to clear meanings of each word (if possible)?
  5. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    tender; weakness; gentleness; softness; yielding; soft; supple
    art; technique; skill; means; trick; resources; magic

    I agree, the correct Japanese pronunciation is jūjutsu. The first "u" with a macron (ū) is long.
  6. darrenlooby Member

    England, English
    Thanks Anatoli,

    Could you just confirm that the kanji you used are for ju jutsu?

    Also, could you please help explain why jiu jitsu is differnt, and what those words mean?
  7. SpiceMan Senior Member

    Osaka 大阪
    Castellano, Argentina
    It's not "different", it's just not Japanese.

    Just like taifuu in Japanese turned into typhoon or Jinrikisha turned into rick shaw in English, jiujitsu is some kind of attempt to say the word in English which is not accurate with the original word.

    In English (an other languages such as French or Portuguese) Ju Jitsu was widespread for so long that by now is correct. However, that doesn't mean that it also is a related word in Japanese.

    Just by chance, there IS a word "jujitsu" in Japanese but has nothing to do with martial arts. It's like the German word "handy": it's some kind of slang for "mobile phone". Does the word "handy" have a meaning in English? Yes. Is it related to mobile phones? Not at all.

    How is it said in Japanese? Jujutsu
    How is it said in English? From Wikipedia:
    PS: The kanji are correct.
  8. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Darrenlooby, Whodunit, already posted the characters, yes, of course they are for the "juujutsu" (柔術). Do I confuse you even more by adding an extra "u" to show the long pronunciation? (It's to show the Japanese pronunciation, not a proper English spelling) :) These characters can have different readings (like most other kanji) but in the word 柔術 that's how they are pronounced. じゅうじゅつ is the hiragana spelling, used only to show the pronunciation.

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