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A brief glossary of Inuyasha terms

Because Japanese sounds aren't exactly the same as English ones, there are different systems for writing Japanese words using the Roman alphabet (the alphabet we use in English). One system uses the "ou" sound to stand for a long "oh"—so, for example, hanyou is pronounced "han-yo" (with the yo like in "yo-yo"), not "han-yu."
Most long-time Inuyasha fans read the weekly translation by Chris Rijk (pronounced "Rike"), which uses that transliteration system. Because of that, many Inuyasha fanfictions use that system of spelling.

 

Ah-Un, Ah-Uhn, Ah and Un
Sesshoumaru's two-headed dragon thing. The name's a joke—many Shinto shrines, for example, have pairs of statues, one with the mouth opened as if to say "ah," the other as if to say "un." Both "ah" and "un" are used to mean "yeah" or "uh-huh" in Japanese. In the anime, Higurashi shrine has a pair of these statues.
 
Air rip
Chris Rijk's term for the black hole in Miroku's right hand.
Blades of Blood
see Hijin Ketsusou
Boomerang bone
see Hiraikotsu
-chan
Affectionate suffix added to given names of children or loved ones (rather like adding "-y" in English, such as "Johnny" for "John"). Teenaged girls often use this for their female friends, as well; Kagome and Sango call each other "Kagome-chan" and "Sango-chan".
 
Claws of Blood
See Hijin Ketsusou
Claws of Exorcism
see Sankon Tessou
Demon Begone!
see Sankon Tessou
Fang, The
Often used in the English translations to refer to the Tessaiga/Tetsusaiga.
Four Soul Jewel
see Shikon no Tama
 
Hanyou
"Half-demon" (Actually, a better translation is "half magic." You with me, Edward Eager fans?) What Inuyasha is: half youkai, half human.
Hellhole
see Void
 
Higurashi
Kagome's family name. In the Japanese version of Inuyasha, this is the only name Houjou-kun ever uses for Kagome. It's also the name of the shrine where she lives, and translates as "sunset" or "evening."
Hijin Ketsusou (Airborne Blade Blood Claw)
Inuyasha's attack that uses his own blood to form flying blades.
Hiraikotsu
Sango's giant boomerang weapon, made of the bone of an exterminated youkai.
Hojo-kun, Hojou-kun, Houjo-kun, Houjou-kun
The boy in Kagome's school who keeps trying to date Kagome. "Hojo" is his family name (Japanese boys older than elementary school age follow the traditional English custom of calling one another by family name, rather than given name). "-kun" is a title used to address people (almost always boys) at one's own level. Beyond adolescence, the polite "-san" is usually used instead of "-kun". Like Kagome in The Hero in the 21st Century, we've never heard his given name, although some of us have theories.
houshi, houshi-sama
A term used for a certain type of Buddhist monk (Miroku, for example). As of Chapter 318 of the manga (Vol 32 no 10), Sango has never called Miroku anything other than "Houshi-sama."
Inu no taisho
Leader of the dogs. A term used in the manga and Japanese version of the anime to refer to the father of Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru, who is never named.
 
Inutaisho
Cat Who first gave this name to Inuyasha's unnamed father, and all the rest of us have borrowed it since then, many of us with her gracious permission. Thanks, Cat, you're terrific.
Inuyasha, Inuyasya, Inu-Yasha, InuYasha, Inuyaksa
Dog-boy. Star of the show. All of these are pronounced the same way. I think "Inuyasya" sounds the closest to the Japanese pronunciation.
inuyoukai
Dog-demon, like Inuyasha's father.
Iron Reaver, Soul Stealer
see Sankon Tessou
Jaken
Sesshoumaru's youkai retainer. We've never been told exactly what sort of creature he is, but most of us call him a toad-demon.
 
Jewel of Four Souls
see Shikon no Tama
 
Jii-chan
"Grandpa." What Kagome calls her grandfather.
Kaede
elderly priestess, sister of Kikyou and one of the companions.
Kagome
Really, it's pronounced "Kah-go-meh," three equal syllables (I'd say a slight accent on "Kah"), not "Kuh-go-mee".
Kikyou, Kikyo
Pronounced "Kee-kyoh, " with a long O sound. The priestess (miko) who shot Inuyasha, and then some.
kitsune
Pronounced "kit-soo-neh." A fox spirit.
Kohaku
Little brother of Sango. Pathetic freckles—if Dickens had been drawing comics, Little Nell would have had them, and so would Dora Copperfield.
Koinu
Pronounced "Koh-ee-noo." Japanese for "puppy" (literally, "child-dog"). In The Hero in the 21st Century, Houjou-kun's given name is Inuyasha, but his family members and childhood friends call him by the nickname Koinu.
 
Kouga, Koga
Wolf-youkai who loves Kagome.
Mama
Kagome actually calls her mother Mama, not, for example, Okaa-san.
miko
Sometimes translated as "priestess," which isn't really accurate. A miko is a virgin girl associated with a Shinto shrine. Nowadays, it's the equivalent of altar boys and girls in the Catholic church, or acolytes in many Protestant churches. At one time, the miko was, apparently, perceived as having more power. In Inuyasha, the miko has special magical/spiritual powers.
Miroku
Buddhist monk (houshi), companion of Inuyasha and Kagome, has a black hole ("void", "air rip", "hellhole") in his right hand.
Musashi domain
The area of Japan where the well is located, now part of Tokyo.
Myouga, Myoga
The flea demon, Inuyasha's personal servant.
Naraku
The Bad Guy. The name means "Hell" or "Abyss," or, as Babelfish amusingly translates it, "Basement."
osuwari
"Sit"—the command Kagome uses to nullify Inuyasha's power and send him crashing to the ground. Translated for the anime as "Sit, Boy." Osuwari is only used to tell a dog to sit, and is not the same word used to talk about a person sitting. (So when fanfic writers have Kagome saying "Let's sit down" and Inuyasha crashing to the ground, they're wrong. Not the same word.)
Rin
Pronounced "Reen" (but the English anime uses the English short-i, like it looks). Human girl who becomes one of Sesshoumaru's companions.
 
Sacred Jewel
see Shikon no Tama
 
-sama
An old title of high respect, no longer used in Japan (modified to, and replaced by, "-san"). Viz translates, for example, "Kagome-sama" as "Lady Kagome."
-san
Modern-day honorific, used with the family name as we would use "Mr." or "Ms." So, for example, Kagome's friends might refer to her mother as "Higurashi-san." Older adolescent or adult friends are sometimes called by their given name followed by -san. When I worked in the American branch of a Japanese corporation, Japanese managers were called, for example, "Mr. Adachi" or "Adachi-san," as in Japan, but American managers were called by their given names, American style, so my boss was "Peggy" to the American employees and "Peggy-san" to the Japanese.
 
Sango
Demon exterminator, one of the companions.
Sankon Tessou (Soul Scattering Iron Claw)
Inuyasha's attack using his claws. Translated for the anime as "Iron Reaver,Soul Stealer." Originally translated in the English manga as "Demon Begone!" and later as "Claws of Exorcism".
Sankon Tetsusou
see Sankon Tessou
Sesshoumaru, Sesshomaru
Inuyasha's youkai half-brother.
Shikon no Tama
Literally, The Jewel of Four Souls or Four-Soul Jewel. Powerful jewel guarded by Kikyou and shattered by Kagome's arrow. Inuyasha wanted to use the jewel to become fully youkai, but at one point planned to use it to become human. Called "Sacred Jewel" in the English-language anime. My understanding is that the name is a pun in Japanese, that shikon no tama sounds very much like the Japanese term for "space/time" (referring, of course, to the well's disruption of the space/time continuum).
 
Shippou, Shippo
The kitsune (fox-spirit) child companion of Inuyasha and Kagome.
"sit"
see osuwari.
"sit, boy"
see osuwari.
Souta, Sota
Kagome's little brother.
taijiya
Demon exterminator. Sango, for one.
Tenseiga
Sesshoumaru's life-restoring sword.
Tessaiga
Inuyasha's sword. Viz calls it "The Iron Cleaving Fang" or "The Fang"—the translated name
Tetsusaiga
One way of writing the name of Inuyasha's sword—but it's pronounced "Tessaiga." The English-language anime uses this spelling, and the pronunciation "Tetsaiga."
Toukijin
Pronounced "Toh-kee-jeen." Sesshoumaru's evil sword, the one made from the fang of Naraku's offshoot, Goshinki.
Toutousai, Totosai
Youkai swordsmith who forged Tenseiga and Tessaiga.
Void
Black hole in Miroku's right hand.
youkai
"Demon", like Shippou, Sesshoumaru, Kouga, Inuyasha's father, etc. "Demon" is the translation Viz uses, but it's not a good translation. It has nothing to do with anything like the Christian hell, or with absolute evil. Youkai are magical creatures. The category seems to include what we in the west would call elves, fairies, trolls, goblins, ghosts, and totems.
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