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Thread: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

  1. #1
    Vegan Vixen
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    Default Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Does anyone know how to spell Vegan in Japanese? If you do please reply to this post.

    thanks vv

  2. #2
    raw vegan cafevegan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan


  3. #3
    Vegan Vixen
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    I'm getting a Vegan tattoo and wanted to make sure that what I think spells Vegan is correct.

  4. #4
    Zero Cool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Wow, thats interesting. Every Japanese person I asked told me there was no word or phrase for vegan. I always ended up saying "sugoku vegetarian" Which is like "really vegetarian" or "very vegetarian." I'll have to try that phrase out when I go back this month. Will let you know how it goes.

    Did you get the tattoo yet? You should post a picture. Maybe I'll get that too. I already have vegan in english on my back though.

    Earl
    What do you mean, "why am I vegan?"

  5. #5
    VeganJedi
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    The Japanese have a type of food called "shojin ryori" which translates to something like "devotional food" which is used to describe a strict manner of buddhist monastic cooking involving no animal products, not much spice, and no garlic or oniony foods. It is what I'd call "vegan plus" since its intention is to avoid harm and to avoid sexual desire by abstaining from aphrodisiacs. Totally acceptable for our kind and widely known in Japan. It is actually an art form of cooking. I suggest the reading of Dogen Zenji's book Tenzo Kyokun, or Instructions for the Cook. Mount Koya is a Shingon Buddhist Mountain of 123 temples that all serve this style food (from what I understand) and also offer lodging at 54 of them. I once saw an episode of iron chef that had a shojin ryori master chef as a challenger. I know you just wanted a single word but I thought I'd tell you about all this since.

    Todd

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    Zero Cool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Thanks for the info. I have yet to try the shojin ryori as it is so expensive. At least in Tokyo anyways. I'm gonna check out that book though.
    What do you mean, "why am I vegan?"

  7. #7
    Lover of ducks Mila's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Whenever I have to describe my diet in Japanese, I usually say 「動物から物を食べることが出来ません。」 ("doubutsu kara mono wo taberu koto ga dekimasen" - [I] cannot eat that which derives from animals). To describe vegan food, I say 「動物から物がない食べ物」("doubutsu kara mono ga nai tabemono" - food which is not comprised of that which derives from animals). Of course, I usually use ビーガン (biigan), which yields many a quizzical look, to which I respond 「ビーガンは動物を使わない人。」("biigan wa doubutsu wo tsukawanai hito" - [A] vegan is a person who does not use animals.)

    Is it just me, or are alot of Japanese words inherently offensive? 家内 (kanai), the word for wife, is spelled with the kanji "house" and "inside". (ご)主人 ([go]shujin), the word for husband, is also the word for the master of a servant or slave. And of course, 動物 (doubutsu), the word for animal, is spelled with the kanji "moving" and "object". I outright refuse to use the first two words, but haven't found a suitable replacement for the last one yet.
    I'm just a love machine and I won't work without a union contract.

  8. #8
    Mrs. Beane fondducoeur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Mila, you seem to know a lot about the language. Do you travel to Japan often or is it spoken much in California?
    tabbouleh-bouleh

  9. #9
    Zero Cool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    I'm reading a book right now called "The Japanese Mind". It mentioned something about those words. I'll have to look it up when I get home.
    What do you mean, "why am I vegan?"

  10. #10
    pavotrouge
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Huh?
    I also thought there is no Japanese word for vegan. I have a vegan Japanese cookbook in which this is mentioned- written by a Japanese. Will look it up later at home.

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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Mila,
    No, it's not just you. "Husband" and "wife" totally bothered my feminist sensibilities when I began learning Japanese. Although, once my husband introduced me as his kani (crab) by mistake. That was pretty funny.

  12. #12
    Lover of ducks Mila's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Fuzz Bunny - Hehe, "Kani." At least I'm not alone. I once got in an argument with my Japanese language instructor over this. In a nutshell, she told me that I was being immature; I told her she was a coward.

    Fondducoeur - I actually don't hear much Japanese around here. I'm told it has something to do with the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, so most Japanese-speaking families in San Francisco have moved here since the 1950's. I was lucky enough to become an exchange student to Japan during high school, though. I'm also taking classes in the language at school, though I've already gone though all the speaking classes they offer and am trying to finish learning all these damned kanji.

    Pavotrouge - Unfortunately, there isn't an official word for vegan in Japanese, but if enough people start using ビーガン (biigan) or another similar loanword, it may become commonplace. Until then, 菜食主義者 ("saishokushugisha" - vegetarian person) is the closest we can get to being understood. =(
    I'm just a love machine and I won't work without a union contract.

  13. #13
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Does ビーガン actually mean anything?

  14. #14
    Lover of ducks Mila's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Some dictionaries actually have started to recognize ビーガン as the appropriate loanword for vegan. One of which is the ever-popular Jim Breen's WWWJDIC. I haven't heard it in popular use, however, but really any word you take from any language and put it in katakana will retain its definition due to the flexibility of the Japanese language.
    I'm just a love machine and I won't work without a union contract.

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Thanks!

    Maybe some of these sites/books/restaurants use some localized versions of vegan....?
    http://www.veganjapan.net/index_engl.html
    http://www.childrenofthecarrot.info/
    http://www.vegetarian-restaurants.net/Asia/Japan.htm
    http://www.happycow.net/asia/japan/tokyo/
    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-106422317.html

    I've never been to Japan, but have herd that many Japanese recognize the (English) word vegetarian, so if enough people use the word vegan when they're in Japan, but it will be established at recognized after a while. This site suggested this solution:
    There is no Japanese word for it. Vegetarian is "saishokushugi". But lots of Japanese people know it if you just say "vegetarian" or "vegan".

    In a pinch (if they don't know the English word "vegan"), even better than saishokushugi, is "Shojin-Ryori” -- Buddhist cuisine -- which is...usually vegan, unlike saishokushugi.
    Of course establishing a word for vegan with a reference to Buddhism would be misleading/wrong...

    In some Asian areas 'v' and 'b' seem to be rather... interchangeable, but: If ビーガン is pronounced biigan, how would one write something that is pronounced the way we pronounce vegan?

  16. #16
    pavotrouge
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    there are certain rules for transcribing words from other languages into Japanese. The katakana system, which is used to mirror foreign words, does not have any syllables including the letter "v"- in fact, there is no "v" sound in the Japanese language.

    By the way, it's not only that way in Asian languages. Spanish also has a totally different approach to "b" and "v", as have some ancient European languages

  17. #17
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    I see.. that explains a lot! ビーガン makes a lot of sense then, and Google Translate already translates it correctly. However, translating each of the syllables results in "Rain!Moth-"....

  18. #18
    ♥♥♥ Tigerlily's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Mila, how exactly can one properly pronounce 菜食主義者? Do you mind writing it out in an easier way or point me a website with an audio file?
    Thanks!


    I love the Japanese language. I really should start practicing again.
    Peace, love, and happiness.

  19. #19
    Casper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    I saw a thing on t.v the other day about tattooing, that said because of the characters in the Japanese language and how they are drawn. That many people whom have these tattoos actually do not say what they wanted them too. Why don't you just get a fancy script that says Vegan? Or get the cruelty free bunny? Then many people would know what it ment.

  20. #20

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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Hey guys! I'm a vegan living in Japan, so perhaps I could give you the low-down on some of the terminology and the extent of its usage.

    菜食主義 is "saishokushugi." The characters, from left to right, literally mean "vegetable", "food", "mastery", and "faithfulness/duty", respectively. "菜食" (saishoku) also was used to mean a vegetarian diet or vegetable dishes, and can even be used as a verb "菜食する" (saishoku suru), meaning "to subside on vegetables," though I've never heard this, so I'm guessing it's a little outdated. The second part of the word, "主義" (shugi) means cause, doctrine, or "ism." Thus, altogether, you have the old-fashioned equivalent of "vegetarianism," with 菜食主義者(saishoku-shugi-sha, "a person of vegetarianism") meaning "vegetarian." However, the meaning is more similar to "vegetarian."

    The word 完全菜食主義者(or "kanzen-saishoku-shugi-sha", when divided by dashes for ease of reading) has more of the meaning, "a completely vegetarian person," or "vegan." This rather long phrase is sort of old-fashioned, and I don't think most people would understand it. In fact, many people might not even understand "菜食主義者" without having the clarification of the characters with which it is written. But any person competent in Japanese would have a good understanding of the word, or at least its general meaning, if they were to read the characters. All of that being said, none of the words, though very beautiful and aesthetic, are not in extremely common usage or understanding to my knowledge, except maybe amongst older people perhaps.

    I'm not a fan of Japanese tattoos in general (they are too often botched up by artists who have no clue what they're doing and, even when done well, they often look absolutely ridiculous to most Asian people), but if I were to get one, I might go with "菜食主義者" or merely "菜食主義," since, although not in common usage today, isn't too long, and does have a sort of traditional appeal and is aesthetically quite nice since it is composed of Kanji, or the older, more complex characters borrowed from Chinese. That being said, the characters' complexity might also make them easy for a tattoo artist to mess up, so I'd use extreme caution, if you intend to really undergo this at all.

    The words ベジタリアン (bejitarian, "vegetarian") and ビーガン (biigan "vegan"), or the less common variant ベーガン (beegan), are the more modern words for the same things. Amongst young people, and most educated middle-age people, "ベジタリアン" is pretty commonly understood, or at least the general concept of it... some people might not know if ベジタリアン includes fish, etc. but I find it's much the same in the US. Unfortunately, ビーガン is not at all in widespread usage or understanding, but it appears in many different modern dictionaries, and is gaining popularity thanks to the health food movements that are popping up a bit. When talking with my friends and teachers, many understand ベジタリアン, but ビーガン often takes a bit (or a lot) of explaining. However, if you're in more hippie-ish circles or in a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, you can often throw the word about a bit more and be understood. I live in Kyoto, though, which is a larger city. In the country, I've heard that most people don't understand these English loanwords.

    Also ベジタリアン and ビーガン are not written in Kanji, but in the more simple, often rectilinear characters of Katakana, which is a set of characters used for writing foreign names and words, and often sound effects, etc. Although these also have a very long history in Japan (though their usage has changed drastically over the years), to me they seem somehow less aesthetically beautiful, but it's all according to your taste, I guess.

    I hope this huge load of information has brought some clarity to everyone, though it might just make everyone more confused. To sum it up, 菜食主義 and its variations are slightly archaic. In my everyday life in Japan I'll use ベジタリアン in a pinch, followed by a description of the foods that are verboten for extra clarity, and saying I'm a "more strict vegetarian," or if I'm feeling educational/have time, I'll ask my conversational partner if they know the word ビーガン, and if they don't, explain it in detail. That way I'm helping to spread its usage, which is still in its early infancy. If anyone needs advice on how to explain the concept of veganism in Japanese, or any vegan terminology, I'm your man! Just ask.

    Now, a brief pronunciation guide (this won't be perfect, nothing beats a native speaker pronouncing things for you, of course). Also, since I don't know anything about international phonetics, I'm going to have to give the pronunciation approximations in with American English examples. Sorry!

    菜食主義者 "sai-shoku-shugi-sha"
    sigh show coo shoo ghee shuh

    ベジタリアン "bejitarian"
    beh jee tah ree ahn

    ビーガン "biigan" 
    bee (extended a little) gahn

    Okay, those might not turn out so well, but they'll give you a very rough idea of pronunciation. I'll consider making and uploading a sound file, perhaps.

  21. #21

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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Oh yeah, and the comment about using the term 精進料理 (shoujin-ryouri) is also a good one. You can use this if all else fails... it refers to the traditional vegan Buddhist cuisine and it's a term that's very widely understood, so it will get the idea across.

    精進料理 is soooo divine, I just had it last week. It can be pricey, but if you do some research and get a smaller set and dine at lunch, it's usually not abominable... maybe 3000円 or 4000円, roughly the equivalent of $30 or $40 per person, which sounds bad but it's most definitely worth it. A large sized dinner set will set you back hundreds of dollars and have you dining for hours... a very special treat, perhaps.

  22. #22
    Lover of ducks Mila's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    ライアンさん、日本のどこに住んでいますか。動物から物がない食べ物を探すのが大変ですか。
    I'm just a love machine and I won't work without a union contract.

  23. #23

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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    今京都に住んでる。ベジタリアンのレストランや精進料理があるお寺が多いから、ビーガン料理を見つけるのは そんなに難しいと思わない。基本的に、日本語を分かったら、平気だよ。実は、普段僕は自分で料理を作るから 、生活心配ない。 驚いたことに、日本のもっとも伝統的な料理はすごくビーガンフレンドリーけど、カツオ出汁に気 をつけてね。

    ライアン

    I'm living in Kyoto right now. There are lots of vegetarian restaurants and temples that have shoujin ryouri, so I don't think finding vegan food is all that difficult. Basically, if you understand Japanese, you'll be all right. Actually, normally I just cook my own food, so I have a worry-free existence. Surprisingly, Japan's most traditional cuisines are awfully vegan friendly, but look out for fish stock!

    Ryan

  24. #24
    VeganJedi
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Ryanvegan, could you give your translation of Shoujin (as in shoujin ryouri)? I've read it as meaning something like 'soaring spirit' or something but I would like a more accurate translation, if you don't mind. Thanks.

    Todd

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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    The word 精進, or "shoujin" actually has several definitions. It can simply mean "devotion" or "close application" to something, such as study, research, etc. The other definition has the a strong denotation of abstinence from animal food, and can be used in the compound 精進する "shoujin suru," which means "to abstain from fish and flesh." Strangely, this second definition is not just used when talking about Buddhist eating practices. It can also be used when talking about many types of dietary-related religious purification, such as the dietary restrictions associated with Lent, Ramadan, etc.

    If you want a cut and dried definition that's basically denotation, I'd say "devotion." The "soaring spirit" definition is a little odd. Even if you're reading the meanings of the characters on their most basic level, the most convoluted it would get would be "advancing/raising the spirit," because the first character means "spirit" or "essence," and the second means "advance, raise, promote."

    "Shoujin ryouri" seems to translate roughly to "Food of the devoted," but if I'm feeling quirky, I'll use my own alliterative interpretation, "Food of the faithful." Of course, the best thing of all is to simply use the Japanese term and preserve all of the nuances connected with it.

  26. #26
    Vegan Vixen
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Here is what I've been told spells Vegan in Japanese. If anyone can verify this for me I'd greatly appreciate it. I need to get my TAT...



  27. #27

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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Uhm, yes, that does mean "Vegan," but check out my previous posts in this thread for more info.

  28. #28
    Russ
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    ?????????? ????????????????????????????
    ??????? ???????????????????????
    ?????????????????????

    Not as hard as I thought ...

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Cool! Fluent Japanese Speakers! I'm learning as well. I should consider getting a Kana Keyboard, since it sucks writing in Romaji.

    Watashi no namae mo Raian desu. Nyuu Youku no Japan Sosaeti de Nihongo o benkyoushite imasu yo. Nihon ni ikitai desu ne! Nihon no ryori ga totemo oishi desu!

  30. #30
    Lover of ducks Mila's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Ryan, Mac computers have Japanese built-in if you have one; it's under the language settings. You type in Romaji and it gives you hiragana (katakana if you're using shift) and offers you the option to select which Kanji you want to replace the hiragana with. You have NO idea what a big help it was to me. =D

    If you have Windows, you can buy NJ Star for it to do the trick.
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  31. #31
    Ian0723's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese Spelling for Vegan

    Ahhh, thanks for the Advice. I'll consider it considering I have to buy it, seeing as how I have Windows ^_^

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