英語で説明する将棋囲碁 に続き、今回は日本の伝統的な遊びである「かるた」「百人一首」「花札」「羽根突き」「けん玉」「お手玉」などを英語で説明する表現をご紹介していきます。



かるたは英語で traditional Japanese playing cards といいます。

Karuta playing cards consist of two types of cards with pictures or writing drawn on them.

“Iroha karuta” is the most traditional version.
(「いろはかるた」は、最も伝統的なかるた です。)

The reading cards are printed with proverbs.

The picture cards have the illustrations of the same proverbs.

When playing, the dealer reads out “yomifuda (a reading card)” and the other players compete to get “efuda (a picture card)” that matches it.

The player who takes the most cards is the winner.

The name karuta came from the Portuguese word meaning “card.”



Hyakunin-isshu generally refers to the poetry anthology entitled Ogura-hyakunin-isshu that a poet Fujiwara Teika compiled by choosing a tanka (poem) for each one of the one hundred outstanding poets from collections of waka poems such as Kokinshū, Shinkokinshū and so on.

From the time of the Edo Period, it became popular as poem cards with pictures.

The poets express thoughts of love, nature and the seasons with a beautiful refinement.

Even now, a championship tournament of Hyakunin-isshu is held during the New Year’s days in Japan.



playing cards with pictures of flora such as pine, Japanese apricot tree, cherry blossom, wisteria, willow, and paulownia representing the four seasons

The playing cards that the Portuguese introduced to Japan in the 16th century developed into Hanafuda.

Hanafuda, a traditional Japanese card game, consists of 48 cards, twelve sets of four cards corresponding to each month of the year.
(花札とは、日本の伝統的なカードゲームで、4枚1組をそれぞれの月ごとにあてた計48枚のカードから成っています。→ corresponding「対応する・一致する」)

A popular game player with Hanafusa cards is called “koi koi.”

Players compete to form special card combinations called “yaku” (or sets).



英語では traditional Japanese badminton などと訳され、羽根突きやバドミントンに使われる「羽根」は、shuttlecock といいます。

Hanetsuki is played by young girls at New Year, resembles badminton.

Hanetsuki is a play similar to badminton that uses boards like rackets and a wing.

Hanetsuki is a traditional Japanese play similar to badminton without a net, played with a rectangular wooden board/paddle called “hagoita” and a shuttlecock.



英語では、凧は kite で、凧揚げは kite-flying といいます。

a kite made by pasting Japanese paper on a bamboo framework

Japanese kite is made with paper glued on a bamboo frame, and pictures of samurai or Kabuki actors are drawn on the surface together with Japanese writing.

One flies a kite high into the sky using the wind force.


けん玉は既に英語化していますので、Kendama でも通じますが、英語では cup and ball または ring and pin などと言います。



A kendama consists of a hammer like handle, three cups and a ball with a hole.

Kendama is a wooden toy consisting of a stick crossed with one of its tips sharpened, the other three end dish-shaped, and a ball with a hole in it connected to the handle by a string.

One tries to get the sharp/spike into the hole or to catch the ball on each of the cups.

Kendama championships are held and it is fun entertainment to watch splendid techniques of good players.

Players compete with each other in their skill at landing the ball on each of the cupped surfaces of the handle and on the spike on its top.



一般的に、お手玉は英語で tossing beanbags と訳されます。

Otedama is said to have originated in ancient Greece and it came to Japan in the Nara Period from China.

Otedama is played with small bags which are made of cloth and filled with adzuki beans or rice.

Otedama is a traditional Japanese children’s game with bean bags of the size comfortably held in a hand, which are tossed and juggled in a game similar to jacks.

One plays by tossing up bean bags continuously to a song, and it is a game similar to a street performance, juggling.



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