Nihongo Phonopoeia

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Japan Sugoi writes:

“If you live in Japan or are learning Japanese, one thing you’ll pick up very quickly is theJapanese fondness and common usage of onomatopoeia. This is especially true if you are a manga comics reader. In English, as in Japanese, onomatopoetic words are those that imitate natural sounds. In Japanese, however, there are literally hundreds of such words, and they are used much more frequently than in English. Words that represent actual sounds (e.g., animal noises) are called giseigo e.g.

Frog Croaking: English, ribbet ribbet, Japanesekero kero 
Dog Barking: English, woof woof, Japanesewan wan 
Cat Meowing: English, meow, Japanesenya nya

In addition, Japanese recognizes two additional types of onomatopoeia: one that basically suggests states of the external world (gitaigo) and another that basically names internal mental conditions and sensations (gijoogo).

Examples include the word “bashi-bashi” (the natural sound of smacking some one across the head), “ton-ton” (knocking on a door) , “guu-guu” (depicts someone in a deep sleep accompanied by snoring),
“gocha-gocha” (a state of disorder common to apartments) and “pika-pika” (which depicts a shiny object)”

I recommend the book, Nihongo Phonopoeia, written by an African-American IT specialist and Japanese linguist, Harry R. Lawrence III. Here is a blurb on Harry’s book:

“Nihongo Phonopoeia” is an entertaining guide to learning, remembering, and using Japanese onomatopoeias. Hilarious illustrations coupled with a phonetic- based memorization system entertain you while allowing you to quickly and easily commit the onomatopoeias to memory. Included are expanded notes and over 150 practical sample sentences to assist you with building usage skills. Nihongo Phonopoeia is the fastest, simplest, and most entertaining way to learn Japanese onomatopoeias.

You can hear some of the Japanese onomatopoeias used in Nihongo Phonopoeia by clicking here. For you visual learners, this may help.

Here is a list of some common Japanese onomatopoeia found in manga.Japanese Onomatopoeia in Manga

A

a = general interjection: oh, uh, ah
a! = exclamation of surprise, alarm, amazement, relief, frustration, fury: Oh! Ack! Agh! Ah! Argh! Also inarticulate sound of pain or passion: Ah! Oh!
aaaa! = same as above, but more so
aa = yes, okay, sure
aa(aaa)n = opening the mouth wide, as in “Say ah!” Used when feeding or being fed by someone.
aan, an = cry of passion (see a!)
acha = remorse
agi agi = bite bite, gnaw, sink your cute little fangs into (see also agu agu, kaji)
agu agu = bite bite (see also agi agi, kaji)
ahaha = laughter (see also ha ha ha for masculine laughter, and ho ho ho for refined feminine laughter)
arayotto, hoisatto = K-san: “These are used when one is doing some physical task and finishing it easily. One uses either or both of them at a time.”

B

ba = sudden impact. English equivalents would be: bam, bang, crash, ka-boom, thump, thud, wham, whomp, etc. (See also bagu, baki, ban, bashi, bata, batan, bokan, bun, dan, doka, don, doshin, dote, ga, ka, kon, paka, pan, pashi, patan, poka, pon, to, ton, among others.)B
bachi = crackle (see also bari, biri)
bagu = impact
baki = impact (one of the most common impact sounds) or other very loud sound
ban = bang! bam!
ban = sometimes added to a scene for dramatic effect, to show that something astonishing or important has happened (see also don)
bara bara = rattle rattle (see also chara chara, gara gara)
bari bari = crunch, as in eating. K-san: “Pori pori is the quietest crunching. Pori pori is for cookies; bari bari is for chips. Kori kori is for broccoli and asparagus.” (see also kori, pari, pori)
bari bari = scratch scratch (see also giri giri, kiri kiri)
bari bari = rip rip (see also biri biri)
bari bari = crackle, crackle? Anyway, energy or electricity, just like biri biri. Pari pari is a quieter crackle, just as pori is a quieter crunch than bari. (see also bachi)
basa = rustling, e.g. cloth sliding, paper moving (see also pasa)
bashan = medium splash (see also zabun for a very big splash)
bashi, bashito = impact (see also nashi, pashi)
bata, batan = impact, often used for falling down
batan = door slamming (see also patan)
batchiri = precise, proper, accurate
becho = dropping something. K-san says it means dropping something sticky (and see beto beto), but we’ve seen it used for Yuusuke dropping Kuwabara. Maybe Kuwabara was sticky at the moment.
bee, bee da = rudeness, what you say when you stick out your tongue and pull down your eyelid at someone. From ‘Bero bero akkan-bee (or akanbei).’ Like the mocking Western ‘nya nya!’
bero = peeling back
bero bero = licking over and over, stronger than pero
betari = people or objects that stick together (physically or metaphorically)
beto beto = sticky, gummy
bi, biiii = highpitched sound: shriek, wail (see also kiiii)
bicha bicha = small splash (see also bashan for medium splash, zabun for big splash)
bichi bichi = flopping, smacking
biku, bikun, bikkun = surprise (see also piku)
biri = electricity, energy
biri biri = tearing, as in ripping cloth, opening a potato chip bag (see also bari, piri)
biron = tongue hanging out
bishi = whip, slap, smack, depending on the degree of power
bo = flame, fire (see also gooo, guooo, po). W-san: “‘Bo’ is like the ‘whoosh’ of a gas range turned on.”
bo = sluggish and exhausted (see also doyon)
bochan = kerplunk (see also pochan)
bochi bochi = something happening steadily, as in water dripping
bokan = sudden impact
boketto = gazing vacantly
boko = boiling, bubbling. Can also be any ‘pop’ or bursting sound. (see also buku)
bon = sound of magical transformation or appearance, often seen with a puff of smoke (see also pon/pom, dororonpa)
bosa bosa = unkempt, also sitting around lazily
boso boso = muttering, speaking in a hushed, unclear voice. M.J. says of boso, busu, and musu: “All of them what muttered sulky Japanese sounds like–’bananas bananas’ said through the nose, so to speak; because you don’t complain out loud.” (see also busu, guzu, gyaa, musu)
bota = dripping, possibly something thick dripping, like blood. Compare to pi, picha, po, pota. (see also dara dara for thick liquid dripping)
boto boto, bote = falling
botsu = whoosh
buchi = snap. Can be used metaphorically, such as when Hiei snaps under the pressure of learning he’s a father.
buchi buchi = ripping, tearing
buchu = kiss (see also chu, nchu, uchu)
buku, bukubuku = swelling, something swollen (see also puku)
buku, bukubuku = boiling, bubbles
bui = ‘V’ for victory. Sound of fingers making the V-sign.
bunchchacha = music. Yes, really. Bun is a slow beat and cha cha quick beats. (see also runtata)
bun, buun = swish
buun = buzz, whir, as of an insect
buran = hanging, dangling
burororo = sound of a loud motor, as of an automobile (see also oooo)
Buru = a head being shaken violently in the negative
busu busu = the sound of something smoldering or smoking. Used for the embers after Hiei’s fire attacks. (see also pusu pusu)
busu, busu busu, usuto, butsu = muttered complaining (see boso, guzu, gyaa, musu)
buwa = explosion
buyo buyo = squishy and swollen, waterlogged
bwahaha = evil laugh, same as fwahaha, gahaha, gwahaha
byu = quick movement, such as the leaps Hiei makes (see also hyu, gyu, pyu)

C

chapon, chapu = plunk (water sound) (see also shapu)
chara chara = rattle, clatter, jingle (see also bara bara, gara gara)
chi, ch’ = Various translators: “I think of it as a tongue-clicking noise.” “It means ’shit.’” “I think it’s better translated as ‘damn’ since it’s about the equivalent in vulgarity.” “Probably a–mm, vocal referent, would you call it?–to chikushou, another of the ‘oh shit’ words.” You can see why we decided to leave it as ch’. ^_^
chichichi = how you call a cat
chi chi = high shrill noise
chira, chirari, chiron = quick sideways glance
chiri chiri = curly, frizzy
chiri chiri = tingle of heat, shiver of cold (see also zoku for shiver)
chirin = chime
chiyahoya = fuss over, butter up
choki choki = cutting, as with knives or scissors
chokon = small and quiet
chu = kiss (see also nchu, uchu)
chu = suck (as through a straw)
chun chun = chirp chirp (see also pii pii for peep peep)

D

da da da, daaaaaaaa = running away (see also do do do, ta, ta ta ta)
dan = bang, boom, sudden impact
dara dara = continuous dripping of thick liquid, like blood, sweat, saliva drool (see also jo, jururu, zururu)
dere dere = sloppy, loose. Also to go goofy over someone, to fawn.
do = big impact
do = heartbeat, the loudest kind! (see also doki doki, dokun, tokun)
do do do do = footsteps, especially heavy footsteps, running (see also da)
do do do do = quick punches
Dobi = missed kick
doka = impact
doki doki = heartbeat (see also dokun, tokun)
dokun = harder heartbeat (see also doki, tokun)
don = BIG impact
don = sometimes added to a scene for dramatic effect, to show that something astonishing or important has happened (see also ban)
dondon = continuous action
dopyu = spurting (as in blood) K-san: “The ‘pyu’ is the spurting (quick action, just like ‘pyu’ on its own), and the ‘do’ emphasizes it, just as in ‘dosu.’”
doron, dororonpa = the sound of magical transformation (see also bon, pon, pom)
dorya = what to yell as you attack; a fighting taunt or war cry. (see also ora, orya, sorya, uraa)
dosa = thud of something heavy (often a person or body) hitting the floor
doshin = impact
Dosshu = a cut through bone
dosu = spurting. K-san: “The ’su’ is the spurting, and the ‘do’ emphasizes it, just as in ‘dopyu.’”
dotabata = running around wildly, as in panic or confusion (compare to jitabata for flailing)
dote = impact, falling. W-san: “This sound is often used in reference to the frequent, usually comical falls toddler are always taking. With adults it means a careless, slapstick fall.”
doyon = sluggish and exhausted, depressed (see also bo)

E

e! e? = what! huh? We usually translate this as ‘eh?’ although the Japanese ‘e?’ is less colloquial and informal than the Western ‘eh?’
e, eeee = cry, wail (see also hu-e, miiii)
ee = yes, okay, sure
eeto = (said by a character) um, er, uh. What you say while you’re thinking of what to say.
ehen = we’ve had this translated as both ‘ahem!’ and ‘haha!’
ei = shriek

F

fua, fuwa, fa = yawn
fu, fua (hu hua) = sigh, blowing breath out (as in blowing out a candle)
fu fu fu (hu hu hu) = a strange laugh. M.J.: “The evil chuckle in the back of the throat.” (see also ku ku ku, pu pu pu)
fuki fuki = wiping
fumi = step, stomp
fumu (humu) = hmmph, hmm, uh-huh (see also umu)
funka funka (hunka hunka) = sniff sniff, inhale (see also nku, kunka)
fura = yawn (see also fua)
fura = drift
fura = dizziness (see also kura)
fura, fura fura = wobble, totter
fura, furi, furu = tremble, quiver (see also puru)
fusa = abundant, soft hair. (Or, in these stories, somebody touching it.)
fuwa, fuwato = gentle movement, lifting or floating
fuwari, funwara = even gentler, calmer movement than fuwato
fwahaha = evil laugh, same as bwahaha, gahaha, gwahaha

G

ga = yet another impact word
gaba = grab (see also gashi, gu, gui, gya, gyu, ku, kyu)
gaba gaba = gurgling
gaba gaba = too big (as of clothes)
gacha, gachari = the click of something opening, such as a latch, a door, or even a belt (see also kacha)
gahaha = evil laugh, same as bwahaha, fwahaha, gwahaha
gakin = clash
gaku = shaking, wobbling (see also kaku, kakun)
gakun, gakunto, gakuri = to collapse, fall
gapu = big bite, chomp (see also paku)
gan = revelation, usually horrible
GAAA-N = BIG revelation, always horrible
gangan = strong or violent action
gara gara, garan = clatter, rattle (see also bara bara, chara chara)
gasa, goso = rustle, stealthy movement
gashan = crash, impact (see also gashin, gochin)
gashi = grab (see also gaba, gyu)
gashin = crash, impact (see also gashan, gochin)
gasshiri = solid
gata, gatan = to reel in shock from a revelation
gata, gatan = to fall or collapse
gatsu gatsu/gatu gatu = gobble food (see also hau hau, paku)
gaya = excited crowd sound
gebo = throwing up
gefu = belch, burp
geho = cough (see also goho, kehen, kon, koho)
gennari = exhausted
geshi geshi = not sure about this. At times it seems to be a wiping sound like goshi ; at others either a squashing or rustling sound. Maybe a general cloth sound?
gi gi, giiee = sounds Kurama’s plants (and other evil plants) make. (for other menacing sounds see go go go and uzo uzo)
giku, gikuri = surprise (see also biku, piku)
gin = glare, stare at (see also giro)
gira = twinkle, shine, glint (see also kira, kiran)
giri giri = scratching, grinding, more vigorous than kiri (see also bari bari)
giri giri = at the limit, to have no time or space to spare
giro = glare, stare at (see also gin)
gishi = creaking (see also kishi)
Gitai-go = not a sound effect, but the Japanese word for onomatopoeia, or sound effects.
go go go go = general menace, a threatening atmosphere. (for other menacing sounds, see gi gi and uzo uzo)
gochin = impact. W-san: “Another comical collision sound.” (see also gashan, gashin)
gofu = cough
goho, gohon = a deep, wet cough, also vomiting up water (see also geho, gofu, kehen, kon, koho)
goku, gokun = gulp, swallow (see also kokun)
goooo = a roar. Can be a fire sound, often used for Hiei’s fire attacks (see also bo, guooo, po)
goro goro = purr purr
goro, goron = rolling over. It’s supposed to be something heavy rolling over, but we’ve seen it used for tiny little Hiei rolling. Maybe it means he’s rolling heavily.
goshi = scrubbing, rubbing, wiping (see also koshi)
goso = rummage, rustle
goun = the sound of a washing machine. Really. At least, we’ve seen it used for that specifically by two different djka. The sound of a dryer, however, is guon (see the difference?)
gowa gowa = stiff, rigid?
gu = grabbing, pulling (see also gaba, gui, gyu)
gu = what you sound like when you’re sleeping (see also supigu, ku, suka, suya, gussuri.) Gu and ku are similar to zzzzz. Supigu is peaceful sleep. K-san says “it’s sort of a whistling sound.”
gu = stomach growling (see also ku, kyururu)
gucha = smashing, crushing (see also gusha)
guchi guchi = wet sound? twisting sound? We’re not sure.
gui = grab (see also gaba, gu, gyu)
gui = gulp
Gunya = sudden mental realization
guon = the sound of a dryer. For the sound of a washing machine, see goun
guooo = a roar. Can be a fire sound, often used for Hiei’s fire attacks (Cf. bo, goooo, po)
gura = stagger, move shakily (see also zuru)
guri = to give noogies
gusha = squeeze, grab, crush (see also gucha)
gussuri = deep sleep (see also gu, ku, suka, supigu, suya)
gutta, guttari = droopy, wilted, limp. Used to describe people or plants. (see also kuta)
gutto, guutto = extreme concentration, also strong emotion
guzu = whine, grumble (see also boso, busu, gyaa)
gwahaha = evil laugh, same as bwahaha, fwahaha, gahaha
gya = shriek (see also kya)
gya = grab (see also gaba, gyu)
gyaa gyaa = whine, grumble (see also boso, busu, guzu)
gyo = shock
gyu, kyu = grab, squeeze, twist (see also gaba, gya)
gyuu, gyuun = fast motion (see also byu, hyu, pyu)

H

ha! = sound of surprise or realization. Can mean catching breath in shock or panic.
ha, haa haa = panting, exhalation
ha ha ha = laughter (masculine laughter, as opposed to ho ho ho, which is refined feminine laughter) (see also ahaha)
hakkiri = clear, unambiguous
hamu = bite, chew, glomp, as in Lively Little Hiei-chan glomping onto a spoon
hara hara = to fall gently, like a flower petal….
hata = soft, quiet landing noise. (for a louder rattle see gata)
hau hau = gobbling (see also gatsu, paku)
he he he = heh heh heh (laugh)
hena hena = worn out, exhausted. (see also heto heto)
henshin = transformation (as from Tsukino Usagi to Sailor Moon). We’ve seen it used at least once as a sound effect.
hero hero = spineless, limp, or pliable (see also mero, pura, puran)
heta = collapsing, sitting down in despair or exhaustion
heto heto = worn out, exhausted. (see also hena hena)
hiee = exclamation: eek, yikes
hiii, hiiie = shriek
hihiin = high-pitched whinny, as of a horse
hiku, hiku hiku = shaking, as with anger or sobs (compare to shiku)
hiku = hiccup
hiri hiri = continuous pain or irritation
hiso hiso = whisper whisper
hiya hiya = fear, worry
hn = huh, hrumph, humph. Traditional spelling of Hiei’s traditional interjection. When anybody else says it, we’ve rendered it huh or humph..
hoisatto, arayotto = K-san: “These are used when one is doing some physical task and finishing it easily. One uses either or both of them at a time.”
ho ho ho = laughter, specifically, refined feminine laughter. (see also ahahaha, ha ha ha for masculine laughter)
hoka hoka = warmth, heat (internal or external)
honobono = peaceful, harmonious, tranquil
hooo = wind
hote hote = toddle toddle (see also tote)
hu, hua (fu, fua) = sigh
hu hu hu = (or fu fu fu) a strange laugh
hu-e = cry, wail (see also e, miiii)
hun = huh, hrumph, humph (see hn)
hunka hunka (funka funka) = sniff sniff
hyoi = popping up suddenly, quick movement such as reaching
hyoko = popping up suddenly
hyu, hyun = quick movement, such as the leaps Hiei makes, or Kurama’s whip moving (see also byu, gyu, pyu)
hyuuuuu = cold wind, lonely wind

I
icha icha, ichakura ichakura = displaying affection in public. K-san: “touching and carrying on.” Acting spoony. ^_-
ira ira = fume fume. It’s also been suggested that this is the sound of clenched or grinding teeth.
iso iso = moving blithely, happily

J

>ja, jaaaa = water/liquid flowing or rushing, or any other hissing sound (see also jo, ju, zu)
ja ja ja = hiss hiss hiss (such as the sound of Kurama frying something)
jabon = big splash (see also shapu, zabu, and bashan, picha, pisha for smaller splashes)
jaki = glint of something sharp
jan, jan jan = tada!
jiiiiii, jiiiin, jiiiito, jiiiton = the sound of staring, of silence, or of remaining frozen/ motionless. Often used in djs to indicate that a character is moved beyond words, stunned beyond words, or just generally beyond words. (see also shiiiin) As a word, jitto emphasizes being motionless, jiitto emphasizes the duration of being still.
jiku jiku = numbness
jiro, jiro-jiro-to = a hard look. ‘Jiro-jiro-to’ means ‘in a fixed, staring manner.’
jiri, jiri jiri = something scraping on the ground. Sometimes used for a charater inching forward or backward
jitabata = flail one’s arms and legs (or one’s tail, in the case of ‘The Mermaid Princess’ ) (compare to dotabata for running around in confusion)
jiwa = tears welling up
jiwa jiwa = slowly but steadily
jo, joro joro = water/liquid flowing or pouring (see also dara dara, jururu, zururu)
jururu = drool (see also dara dara, jo, zururu)

K

ka(a) = light (see also pa, po)
ka, kan = heels going click, footsteps
kaa = face turning red, blushing (see also po)
kacha = the click of something opening, such as a latch, a door, or even a belt (see also gacha)
kaji = bite, gnaw, sink your little fangs into (see also agi, agu, kari)
kaku = scratching, running a hand through hair, paddling a hand in water
kaku, kakun = shaking, wobbling, losing balance (see also gaku)
kapan = rattle, open (compare to batan, patan for closing)
kara = empty
karakara = bone dry
karan = rattle, open
kari kari = something scratching on something else, e.g., a pen on paper, somebody’s little fangs on your head
kasa, kase = rustle. Commonly used for a quiet footstep in the grass, also can be paper, cloth, or other material rustling.
katsu katsu = clomp clomp
kehen = cough (see also geho, gofu, goho, kon, koho)
kerori = unaffected, casual, unimpressed
ki = glare, the glint of a dagger eye
kii = squeak, high-pitched sound, as in a door squeaking
kiiiii! = long high-pitched sound: brakes squealing, hysterical scream (see also biiii for shrieking)
kichi kichi = full, jam-packed
kichin, kichinto = meticulously, carefully
kin kon, kan kon, kin koun (and other variations) = ding dong, as of a school bell (see also pin pon)
kippari = flatly, definitely, clearly (to say something this way)
kira, kiran, kirari = twinkle, shine, glint (see also gira)
kiri kiri = scratching or scraping, less vigorous than giri
kiri kiri = business, haste
kishi = creaking (see also gishi)
kochoku = frozen, paralyzed
koho = cough (see also goho, kehen, kon)
koi = come on (as a fighting phrase)
koi koi = come, come, beckoning
kokun = swallow (see also goku, gokun)
kokuri, kokkun = nod
kon = quiet impact, such as knocking at a door
kon = soft cough (see also goho, kehen, koho)
kopo = pouring
kori = crunch, as in eating. K-san: “Pori pori is the quietest crunching. Pori pori is for cookies; bari bari is for chips. Kori kori is for broccoli and asparagus.” (see also bari, pari, pori)
kori kori = scraping
koro, koron = dropping something, something rolling or tumbling (see also poro)
koshi koshi = rubbing, wiping (see also goshi, geshi)
koso, kossori = sneaky, doing something stealthily
koto, kotsun = little clink, like the sound of a glass being put down or a tear gem falling.
kotsu kotsu = slowly but surely
ku = sleeping (see also gu, supigu, suka, suya)
ku, ku ku, ku ku ku = giggle in the throat
ku, kukyururu, kyururu = stomach rumbling, tummy growling
kudo kudo = repetitive
kuha = yawn (see also fua, fa)
kukaa = sleepy breathing
kukuri = distinct, clear
kun kun = smelling
kune kune = wiggling like a snake (see also nyoro nyoro)
kunka kunka = sniff sniff (as of smelling). (see also funka, hunka, nku)
kura = dizziness (see also fura)
kurin = curling (as in the movement of tentacles or an unhappy dog’s tail)
kuru = turning
kusha, kushu, kushun = sneeze: ker-choo!
kusu = little laugh
kuta, kutari = droopy, wilted, limp. Used to describe people or plants. (see also guttari)
kya = shriek (see also gya)
kyapi kyapi = happy noisy girlish chattering
kyoro kyoro = looking this way and that, searching for something with the eyes
kyu, gyu = grab
kyururu, ku, kukyururu = stomach rumbling, tummy growling

M

meki meki = quick progress
mero mero = limp, floppy (see also hero, pura, puran)
meso meso = whimper, sniffle
miii = cry, wail (see also e, hu-e)
Miin miin = The sound of cicadas in the summer
mishi mishi = creak creak
moji moji = shyness
moku = eating, munching (see also mugu)
momi = groping (this one comes up a lot, sadly)
mu, musu, mumuu, muun = grimace, anger, sulkiness. It’s been suggested that the sound of ‘mu’ is a sort of closed-mouth grunt–perhaps similar to the sound of disapproval Marge Simpson makes?
mugu, muku = eating, munching with closed mouth (see also moku)
muka muka = sick, nauseated
muku = getting up, sitting up
munyu = The sound of groping–usually a girl’s chest
mura mura = sexual arousal

N

n? = Hm? Huh?
n = a grunt, as of surprise, effort, sleepiness, pain, or passion. We’ve had translators render the actual sound in different ways: mm, n, nh, ngh, ng, ung, unh. Lately we’ve been going with nh or ng.
nade nade = stroke stroke, pet pet
nashi = smack (see also bashi, pashi)
nchu = kiss (see also buchu, chu, uchu)
ni, niko, nikori = smile, grin (see also nipa, nita)
nipa(a) = brilliant smile, grin (see also niko, nita)
nisho = effort (see also nsho, nshotto, yoisho)
nita = sinister smile (see also niko, nipa)
niyari, nyari = leer
nku = sniff sniff, inhale (see also funka, hunka, kunka)
nnuuu = see nuuu
noro noro = slowness
nsho, nshotto = effort (see also nisho, unsho, yoisho)
nukenuke, nukenuketo = nonchalantly (to speak or act that way)
nuru, nuru nuru, nurun = greasing, soaping, making slippery
nuuuu = menace. W-san: “‘Nuu’ is often used when something unknown, mysterious, or big appears out of nowhere.”
nyari, niyari = leer
nyoro nyoro = W-san: “Something long and thin like a snake moving along with a wriggling motion.” (see also kune kune)

O

oi = hey!
oisho, yoisho, nsho, nshotto, nisho = effort, strain: Oof! Umph!
oo! = approving exclamation: Oh! Whoa!
oooo = wind howling
oooo = menacing roar, animal or mechanical (such as the roar of an engine) (see also buroro)
ora ora = what you say when you punch somebody repeatedly. A fighting taunt or war cry; we’ve had it loosely translated as “Take that!” “Try this!” (see also dorya, orya, sorya, uraa)
oro oro = shock, surprise, befuddlement, confusion. (You don’t usually say it, though, unlike Kenshin.)
orya = what to yell as you attack; a fighting taunt or war cry. (see also dorya, ora, sorya, uraa)
osoru osoru = timidly

P

pa(a) = light, shining (see also ka, po)
pachi = K-san: “A sharp, snappy sound.” Can be click, crackle, clap, crack, etc. We’ve seen it used for opening eyes, bursting veins, clapping, and indeterminate ominous things happening.
paka = opening, separating. W-san: “A sound describing something opening in half. Like when Peachboy came out of his giant peach, the sound the peach made was ‘paka.’”
paka = snap
paku = closing mouth on food, chomp (see also gapu)
paku paku = opening and closing mouth, eating, gobbling. This is where Pac-man came from! (see also hau, gatsu)
pan = sudden impact
pan pan = pat, pat or smack, smack, as of dusting hands (or oneself) off
pari = crunch, as in eating (see also bari, kori, pori)?
pari pari = crackle, as of energy or electricity. Quieter than bari bari.
parin = crash, clash
pasa = rustling, e.g. cloth sliding, paper moving
pasha = splashing, as with the hand (see also pisha) For a big splash, see zabun.
pashi = impact: smack! click! (see also bashi, nashi)
pata pata = flap flap
patata = spatter spatter
patan = door slamming (see also batan)
pechanko, peshanko = flattened, crushed
peko = bow
peko peko = bow over and over (grovel)
pero, pero pero = licking (see also bero)
peron = rolling up or down, or flipping
petan, petanto = smooth, flat. Also, to flop down on the floor.
pi = beep, peep, any other short high-pitched sound
pi, picha, pichon = drip (see also po, pochan, pota)
pichi = flap, bounce, snap (see also bichi)
piiii = shrill sound, beeper, telephone, whistle
piii piii = chirp chirp
piku, pikuri = blink, noticing something. May be from piku = twitch = pricking up the ears.
piku = twitch
pin pon = ding dong, bell (see also kin kon)
piri = tearing, as in ripping cloth, opening a potato chip bag ) see also biri
piri piri = sharp sensation, as of pain, electricity, spiciness. Can be the sharpness or electricity of a glare.
pisha = splashing, as with the hand (see also pasha) For a big splash, see zabun.
pishi = crack (as of a whip), smack (see also bishi)
pita = stopping
pito = gentle touch
piyo = peep
po, pochan, pota = drip, plunk. Pochan = kerplunk! (see also pi, picha, pichon, pochi)
po = flame, light. Can also be blushing. For other fire sounds see bo, gooo, guooo. Other light sounds include paa, kaa.
Po = Po’s nom de plume. Has nothing to do with sound effects, and everything to do with Tinky Winky, Dipsy, and Laa Laa.
pochi pochi = something happening steadily, as in water dripping
poi = throwing or tossing something
poka = impact
poka poka = warmth of the sun
pon = impact, fairly quiet
pon, pom = sound of magical transformation or appearance, often seen with a puff of smoke (see also bon, dororonpa)
pootto = dazed, obsessed
pori pori = eating, crunching, softer than ‘bari bari.’ K-san: “Pori pori is the quietest crunching. Pori pori is for cookies; bari bari is for chips. Kori kori is for broccoli and asparagus.” (see also bari, kori, pari)
poro, poto = dropping something, something rolling (see also koro, koron)
potsun = aloneness, separation
puchi puchi = pop pop, crackle crackle
puku, pukupuku = swelling, something swollen (see also buku)
pun pun = bad-smelling
pu pu pu, upupupu = yet another strange laugh (see also fu fu fu)
pura pura, puran = limp, floppy (see also hero, mero)
puri puri = anger (see also puuu)
puru = shake, quiver (see also puri, furu)
pusu = puncturing, penetrating
pusu pusu = the sound of something smoldering or smoking (see also busu busu)
puu = puff
puuuu = anger (see also puri puri)
puutto = snort, honk, toot (from a horn or any bodily orifice ^_^)
pyu = fast motion (see also byu, gyu, hyu)

R

runtata = music. In this case, used for something Hiei-chan is humming. Run is a slow beat and tata quick beats. (see also bunchacha)

S

sa, saa = hissing, rain, water running (softer sound than zaa, which can also be rain)
sa, saaaa = rustling, wind
sa, sasa = quick motion
sa, saku = step
sara sara = smooth, light, dry
sasu sasu = rubbing
sawa, sawayaka = cool, refreshing, something that makes you feel refreshed (see also suka)
sesseto = working steadily
shaaa = something slicing through air: whishhh!
shaka shaka = scrape scrape
shapu shapu = splash (see also zabun)
shiiin = the sound of staring, of silence, or of remaining frozen/ motionless. Often used in djs to indicate that a character is moved beyond words, stunned beyond words, or just generally beyond words. (see also jiiiin)
shiku shiku = sobbing, whimpering
shire = shrug (we think) Definitely a strange ‘don’t look at me’ look.
shittori = moist. Also calm, soothing.
shizu = move solemnly
shobo shobo = sadness, moping
shu = quick movement, fabric rubbing, swish
shuuuu = fog, mist, steam
shubo = the sound of a flame igniting, e.g. lighting a lighter. (Maybe shu = quick movement/rubbing plus bo = light.)
shun = W-san: “This sound describes something wilting. It can be used for people, to describe being sad.”
shuru, shururu, shurun = snaking motion. Often used for Rose Whip or other vines or tendrils snaking around.
sorya = what to yell as you attack; a fighting taunt or war cry. (see also dorya, ora, orya, uraa)
sosokusa = running away quickly, beating a hasty retreat
sowa sowa = restless, fidgety (as in ‘Ammari sowasowa shinaide!’ (Don’t get so fidgety!), the first line of ‘Lum no Love Song’)
su = breathe in (compare to fu, breathe out)
su = slow movement, e.g. cloth slowly slipping off, someone moving smoothly
sube sube = smooth
subu = see tsubu
sui = smooth movement, as of a good skater
suka = whooshy sound. K-san: “the sound of swinging a baseball bat and missing.” Togashi frequently uses it for punches missing.
suka = something sparse. K-san: “When you get a big box which is light for its size, and you shake it, and the packing material makes rustling sounds, that’s suka suka. Or when you put on a big pair of jeans, you say ‘These are suka suka (too big).’”
suka, suya = sleeping (see also gu, ku, supigu)
suka, sukari, sukkiri, sukato = feeling of refreshment. K-san: “for example, when you drink a carbonated drink on a hot day.” (see also sawa, sawayaka)
sukon = plunk, plonk
suku = getting up, standing up
sunari = slender, smooth, graceful (see also surari)
supa, supari = cutting or breaking something (see also zuba)
supigu = peaceful sleep, a whistling sound (see also gu, ku, suka, suya)
suppa suppa = puff puff
supo = pop? Anyway, the sound of tight something being pulled off (or pulled out), such as Hiei’s boot coming off his foot, or an arrow coming out of Hiei-chan’s head.
surari, surarito = long and straight, slim, slender (see also sunari)
suru = slow movement, e.g. cloth slowly slipping off….
suta = landing (as in after you’ve jumped)
sutatata = running
suten = falling
sutetete = a little kid running fast
suton = sits

T

taaaaa = dashing, running (see also da, do do do, tatata)
tappuri = full, stuffed
tatatata = running lightly
tehe = teehee, giggle
teka teka = shiny, smooth surface
teku teku = walking (see also to to to, toko toko)
ten ten tenmari tentemari = traditional song to accompany bouncing a ball
tere = abashed. K-san: “Embarrassed in a happy way. Like when you’re asked out on a date by somebody you like, you go ‘tere.’”
to = quiet impact, e.g. a soft landing from a jump
to to to = walking (see also teku, toko)
to, ton, tonde = jumping
tobo tobo = dejected walking
toko toko = walking (see also teku teku)
tokun = harder heartbeat (see also dokun)
ton = fairly quiet impact
tontonton = chopchopchop (as of food) or any other light continuous action (see also dondondon)
toppuri = night falling, the sun disappearing
tote = toddle toddle (see also hote)
tsu = A small tsu on its own in a word balloon puzzled us for a while. We tried various things, but finally M.J. came up with what we think is the best solution. “I hear it as a slightly high-pitched ‘uh’ made by catching your breath in your throat.” So from now on we’re translating it as ‘uh.’
tsu, su = rain
tsu, tsuuuu = bzzzzzzzz (insect sound)
tsubu = eyes (and only eyes) closing
tsun tsun = bad-smelling, stinky (see also pun pun)
tsuru, tsurun = sliding, also used for something smooth or slick
tsutsutsu, sususu = sliding
tsuya tsuya = shining, glowing (the way Kurama looks in the morning ^_^)

U

u = ugh, urgh, ulp! A grunt or growl of surprise, pain, or anger.
uchu = kiss (see also buchu, chu, nchu)
ugogo = choking
uka uka, ukkari = daydreaming, not paying attention
ukkun = swallow, gulp (see also gokun, kokun)
umu = uh, uh-huh, hmm (see also fumu)
uni = the noise you make with your mouth when you’re waking up
unsho = effort (see also nsho, yoisho)
unzari = bored, fed up
uraaa, uryaaa = roar, war cry (see also dorya, ora, orya, sorya)
ura ura = swaying
uto = nodding off
utsura = half-asleep
uttori = enraptured by beauty
uuu = sound of anger: Urrgh!
uwaaaa! = exclamation: Auuugh!
uzo uzo = menace. A sound that evil creatures and nasty plants make. (see also gi gi and go go go)

W

wa! = (a character saying it) Wow! Ack!
waa, waaa waaa = (a crowd’s) excited roar (see also wai wai, wara wara)
wai = (a character saying it) feminine exclamation of delight. M.J. says of ‘wai’ and ‘wai wai,’ “Both are also kid’s language for delight, is why female characters say it to be cute, I think.”
wai wai = (as a background effect) noise, excitement, lots of people talking (see also wa, wara wara)
waku, waku waku = excitement. K-san: “Happy cute excitement.”
wan wan = bow wow
wara wara = crowd noise (see also waa, wai wai)
wasa wasa = rustle rustle?
wata wata = flap flap

Y

yaho, yahoi = yoohoo! hey! hi!
yakimoki = fretting, worrying
yanwari = soft, gentle
yare-yare = one of the words/phrases we’ve left in the original. What you say when you’re frustrated, exasperated, or giving up: Oh, well. What the heck. Good grief.
yoisho = effort (see also nsho, unsho)
yoji = the sound a cockroach makes when crawling up your back. May be related to jiri jiri, which is inching.
yoro, yororo = stagger, waddle, walk shakily
yusa = shaking (something)

Z

za, za za za = footstep on grass, walking quickly or running through grass or bushes
za = generic white noise sound, can be tv static, etc.
ZA! = strong, energetic movement.
za za, zaa zaaa = rustling, e.g., wind rustling in leaves, grass
zaa = rain (louder rain than saa)
zaba, zabu, zabun = big splash (see also jabon, shapu, and bashan, picha, pisha for smaller splashes)
ZAKU! = cross between za and zoku?
zashu = lash, slash
zawa = rustle. May be specific to plants, we’ve seen it used for trees and Kurama’s power rising.
zawa = crowd noise
ze, zei = wheeze, gasp
zoku, zotto = chill or shiver (see also chiri)
zooon = rumbling, shaking
zu = drool or other liquid flowing
zu = sip, slurp (see also zuzu)
zu, zun = vigorous motion
zu(uu), zu(uu)n = disappointment, sadness. W-san: “It often describes things sinking, and can mean a sinking heart.”
zuba, zubari = to slice or cut with a single blow (see also supa)
zugagaga, zugogogo = combination of vigorous action and menace? Anyway, loud drastic things happening.
zuki = sharp pain
zumo, zumomomo = menace, looming
zunguri = dumpy
zuri, zuriri, zuru = stagger when walking, or fall back in shock (see also gura)
zuru = sip, slurp (see also zuzu)
zuru = strong movement, more vigorous than ’suru’
zuru, zuru zuru = something heavy dragging or being pulled
zururu = slurp (see jururu)
zusasa = zu (vigorous) plus sasa (quick motion). We’ve seen it used for a quick scuttling recoil.
zuzu = sip (see also zuru)

list compiled from oop-ack

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