English speakers will change pronunciation and spelling of foreign words to make them easier to manage and we call this Anglicization. Japanese do this too, adding extra vowels to foreign words to make them roll off the Japanese tongue more easily. Is there a word for this, like "Japanization"? All I can find is "transliteration into Japanese", but that is awkward and sounds too mechanical.

  • 1
    Japanese loan word phonology is what I'd call it in English. Google on that to see lots of information. Jun 13, 2013 at 17:23
  • Transliteration is really the correct word to use.
    – icelava
    Oct 6, 2018 at 16:40

2 Answers 2


OED has

Nipponize verb

trans. To make Japanese in character.

1942   H. Mears Year of Wild Boar 82   We saw a modan-style movie-theater where the picture featured Harold Lloyd; but he was talking in Japanese, for they had Nipponized the sound track.

That's not quite the same as Anglicize and Anglicization, but Nipponization may suffice if you are using it in a similar context. OED mentions it can be spelled with or without an initial capital.

[Nippon is the Japanese name for Japan. Apparently Japan comes via Chinese.]

  • 2
    Nipponize may be in the dictionary, but that doesn't mean that people will necessarily have heard it.
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 13, 2013 at 22:59
  • Note that the definition involves Japanese in character and thus refers to say adapting Shakespeare not pronouncing names from Shakespeare in Japanese.
    – virmaior
    May 9, 2014 at 4:24

Urban dictionary gives katakanize:

To transcribe an English word into the Japanese katakana alphabet by splitting it apart into intonational syllables.

Would you katakanize 'Larry' as 'Rarii?'

  • That only fits some instances of this phenomenon, though. I doubt you’d find many people who consider Tōkyō a katakanisation, though it is without a doubt a Japanisation. Jan 31, 2017 at 19:25

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