How to say music in JapaneseJapanese people would say “ongaku”. It is the Japanese word for ‘music’. In this blog post, I will explain it in detail based on its kanji expression. And also, I will explain how to use it through the example. Its kanji expression would be very interesting to Japanese learners since it implies the relation between Japanese people and music. Let’s get started!
- Definition and meaning of ongaku
- Kanji characters used in ongaku
- Example: how to use ongaku meaning ‘music’
- Kyoku meaning ‘track’ in Japanese
- Uta meaning ‘song’ in Japanese
Definition and meaning of ongakuFirst of all, let me start with the definition and meaning of “ongaku”.
- ongaku – 音楽 (おんがく) : a noun meaning ‘music’ in Japanese.
Kanji characters used in ongakuBelow are the ones.
- 音 – a kanji character widely used in Japanese words related to sound or music.
- 楽 – a kanji character widely used to mean joy, fun or comfort in Japanese.
Unfortunately, Japanese kanji expressions don’t always represent what they really mean. In this case, however, the kanji expression of “ongaku” is in line with what it means. And also, it tells us what music is for Japanese people.
Then, let me explain how to use the word, “ongaku”, through the example below.
Example: how to use ongaku meaning ‘music’
- anata – あなた : a noun meaning ‘you’ in Japanese.
- wa – は : a binding particle working as a case maker or topic maker. In the example, it’s put after the pronoun, “anata”, to make the subject word in the sentence. Honestly, the formed phrase, “anata wa”, can sound a bit weird, but is still understandable. Learn more about “anata wa”.
- nan – 何 (なん) : a pronoun meaning ‘what’ in Japanese. This kanji character can also be pronounced “nani”, but its meaning is more or less the same as that of “nan”.
- no – の : a case particle put after a noun to limit a meaning of its following word. In the example, it’s put after the pronoun, “nan”, to limit the meaning of its following word, “ongaku”. The formed phrase, “nan no ongaku”, can be literally translated as ‘music of what’. The role of “no” here is quite similar to that of the English preposition, “of”. In reality, the phrase has been translated as ‘what music’, though.
- wo – を : a case particle put after a noun to make the object word. In the example, it’s put after the noun, “ongaku”, to make the object word in the sentence. It’s written as “wo”, but its actual pronunciation is “o”.
- kiki – 聞き (きき) : one conjugation of the verb, “kiku”, which means ‘to hear’ or ‘to listen’ in Japanese. In the example, it has been conjugated for a better connection with its following word.
- masu – ます : an auxiliary verb put after a verb to make it polite. In the example, it’s put after the conjugated verb, “kiki”, to make it sound polite.
- ka – か : a sentence ending particle put at the end of sentence to make a question. In the example, it’s put at the end of the sentence to change it to a question.
In the next paragraphs, I will explain the related words of “ongaku”.
Kyoku meaning ‘track’ in JapanesePlease take a look at the definition and meanings of “kyoku” below.
- kyoku – 曲 (きょく) : a noun meaning ‘track’, ‘tune’, ‘song’ or ‘music’ in Japanese.
Compared to the first example, this example sounds more specific. While “ongaku” means music in a broad sense, “kyoku” means a particular track. So, this question expects us to talk about a particular track rather than music in general.
Uta meaning ‘song’ in JapaneseThe next one is “uta”. It’s similar to “kyoku”, but normally used to mean a particular song.
- uta – 歌 (うた) : a noun meaning ‘song’ in Japanese.
If the word, “ongaku”, in the first example above is replaced by “uta”, we are expected to talk about a particular song.
SummaryIn this blog post, I’ve explained the word, “ongaku”, in detail based on its kanji expression. And also, I’ve explained how to use it through the example. In addition, I’ve explained its related words, “kyoku” and “uta”. Let me summarize them as follows.
- ongaku – 音楽 (おんがく) : a noun meaning ‘music’ in Japanese. These two kanji characters literally mean joy of sound. This is the basic concept lying under its meaning.
- kyoku – 曲 (きょく) : a noun meaning ‘track’, ‘tune’, ‘song’ or ‘music’ in Japanese. Normally, Japanese people use it to indicate a particular track.
- uta – 歌 (うた) : a noun meaning ‘song’ in Japanese. Normally, Japanese people use it to indicate a particular song.
Engineer, Industrial Translator, Blogger
I am trying to spread the Japanese culture through teaching the Japanese language. One of my goals is to make Japanese learners feel the culture through the language.