Home Podcasts Ichimon Japan What is that sound? (Funny/Wacky Japanese Onomatopoeia) | Ichimon Japan 55

What is that sound? (Funny/Wacky Japanese Onomatopoeia) | Ichimon Japan 55

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On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: What is that sound? This time we’re talking about Japanese onomatopoeia and yes, we’re talking about some really wacky ones too!

Topics Discussed

  • About onomatopoeia in Japanese
  • How onomatopoeia are used in Japanese
  • The difference between giongo and gitaigo
  • What giongo are
  • What gitaigo are
  • Examples of giongo
  • What donburako means
  • The story of Momotaro
  • What jirojiro means
  • What shīn means
  • What gān means
  • What utouto means
  • What pekopeko means
  • The multiple meanings of pekopeko
  • Some of the funniest and most confusing sound effects in manga
  • The crazy sound effects of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
  • And much more!

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If you enjoy Ichimon Japan and want to ensure that we’re able to produce more episodes, then please consider becoming a patron on Patreon.com. You can join for just $1 a month and that comes with perks like early access to episodes, a shout-out at the beginning of a future episode, bonus content, and discounts to Kimito Designs. For $3 a month you get all that plus access to Japanese Plus Alpha, a podcast produced by me (Tony Vega) that focuses on the Japanese language and its many quirks. Whether you are studying Japanese or just enjoy learning about language and linguistics, you’ll enjoy Japanese Plus Alpha.

And it goes without saying that if you sign up, you’ll also get my undying gratitude. Thanks in advance!

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Sources, Links, Videos, Etc.

If you want to learn more about Japanese onomatopoeia, you may want to check out the English language articles below.

This is the article that has the scans of the manga pages we used during the second half of the episode.

To listen to the Ichimon Japan episode about Momotaro, check out the link below.


Check out the JapanKyo Docs YouTube channel.

Don’t forget to check out the latest episodes of the Japan Station podcast via the links below.


You can support JapanKyo by buying a shirt from Kimito Designs!

Japanese Vocabulary List

Most episodes feature at least one or two interesting Japanese words or phrases. Here’s some of the ones that came up on this episode. All information is from Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC.

  • Giongo
    • 擬音語 【ぎおんご】 (n) {ling} onomatopoeic word
  • Gitaigo
    • 擬態語 【ぎたいご】 (n) {ling} (e.g., じめじめ、ゆったり) phenomime; mimetic word; word that mimics an action, condition, or manner that does not make a sound (e.g. “damp”, “calmly”)
  • Mukade
    • むかで (gikun) (n) centipede

We Want Your Questions

Is there something about Japan that confuses you? Is there something about Japanese culture that you would like to learn more about? Is there something in Japanese history that you would like us to explain? We’re always looking for new questions about Japan to answer, so if you have one, please send it to ichimon@japankyo.com.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing Theme: Produced by Apol (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Fiverr)

Ichimon Japan cover art: Produced by Erik R.

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Full Show Notes


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