Master the Phrase: How to Say King in Japanese – A Simple Guide

Are you interested in learning how to say “king” in Japanese? Whether you’re studying the language or simply curious, understanding this important vocabulary is crucial. In this section, we will walk you through the various ways to say “king” in Japanese, including the correct pronunciation and context. By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to confidently add this word to your Japanese vocabulary.

First and foremost, let’s explore the Japanese word for “king.” Knowing the correct term is essential to effectively communicating this concept. We’ll also delve into the cultural significance of kingship in Japan, including its historical and mythological roots. Additionally, we’ll provide you with useful tips on how to pronounce this word like a native speaker.

So if you’re wondering how to say king in Japanese, look no further. Let’s dive into this simple guide and master the phrase together!

Understanding Kingship in Japanese Culture

Before learning how to say “king” in Japanese, it’s essential to understand the cultural significance of kingship in Japan.

Kingship in JapaneseJapanese Translation of KingKing in Japanese Language
Historically, Japan had an emperor as its top leader, who was considered a divine figure and held great power.王 (ō) is the Japanese word for king.王 (ō) is pronounced like “oh” in English, with a longer vowel sound.
Unlike European kingships, Japanese kingship was more symbolic and less political in nature.Japanese Emperors were more like spiritual leaders than actual rulers with political power.The term “emperor” is also used in Japan to refer to its imperial ruler, a historical distinction that is important to understand.

With this background, you can better appreciate the Japanese perspective on kingship and their specific language use around royalty and power. Keep this context in mind as we explore how to express “king” in Japanese further.

The Japanese Word for King

Now that we have explored the concept of kingship in Japanese culture, let’s focus on the specific word used to refer to a king. In Japanese, the word for king is 王 (おう, ō). This word is typically written using kanji, which are Chinese characters used in the Japanese writing system.

The pronunciation of 王 in Japanese is relatively straightforward. The first syllable, おう (ō), is pronounced as a long “o” sound, similar to the English word “go.” The second syllable, ウ (u), is pronounced as a short “u” sound, similar to the English word “put.”

When using the word 王 to refer to a king, it’s important to keep in mind that this term is usually reserved for historical or mythical kings. In modern Japanese, the term for a reigning monarch or king is 国王 (こくおう, kokuō), which literally translates to “national king.” This term is commonly used to refer to the kings of other countries, such as the King of England (イギリス国王, igirisu kokuō) or the King of Thailand (タイ国王, tai kokuō).

It’s also worth noting that the Japanese language has several other words and phrases related to kingship or royal status. For example, 王族 (おうぞく, ōzoku) refers to the royal family or dynasty, while 王位 (おうい, ōi) refers specifically to the throne or position of the king.

Pronouncing “King” in Japanese

Pronunciation is key when learning a new language, and Japanese is no exception. Here, we will guide you on how to correctly pronounce the word for “king” in Japanese. The Japanese word for king is 王様 (おうさま / ousama).

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To pronounce 王様, first say “oh” like you are surprised, then “sa” as in “saw,” and finally “ma” as in “mum.” Put them together and you get “oh-saw-ma.”

It’s important to note that the emphasis in Japanese is on the first syllable. In this case, the emphasis is on “oh.” Practice saying “oh-saw-ma” with the emphasis on the “oh” until it feels comfortable.

Additionally, keep in mind that the “o” at the beginning of a word in Japanese is often silent, so “ousama” is pronounced more like “sama” in everyday speech.

If you’re struggling with the pronunciation, try listening to audio examples or speaking with a native Japanese speaker to get feedback on your pronunciation. With practice, you’ll soon be able to pronounce “king” in Japanese with ease.

Expressing Regal Authority in Japanese

Beyond the specific word for “king,” there are various ways to convey regal authority in Japanese. Understanding these additional terms can deepen your understanding of Japanese culture and history.


In Japan, the emperor is considered the highest authority and is seen as the symbolic leader of the country. The Japanese word for “emperor” is “tennō” (天皇). This term has been used for centuries to refer to the emperor and was historically thought to mean “heavenly sovereign.”

It’s important to note that the Japanese emperor is not an active ruler but rather serves as a symbolic figurehead.


Another important term related to kingship is “shogun” (将軍), which means “general” or “military commander.” In feudal Japan, the shogun was the highest military authority and held considerable power over the emperor and the country as a whole.

During the Edo period (1603-1868), the shogunate became the de facto ruler of Japan, with the emperor serving as a figurehead. Today, the term “shogun” is primarily used in historical contexts, but it remains a significant part of Japan’s cultural legacy.


The term “daimyo” (大名) refers to feudal lords who held considerable power and land in pre-modern Japan. Daimyo had their own armies and were required to provide military service to their higher-ups.

While not directly related to kingship, daimyo were a crucial part of Japan’s feudal hierarchy and helped shape the country’s politics and culture.

Understanding these additional terms related to regal authority can enrich your knowledge of Japanese language and culture.

Cultural Significance of Kings in Japan

Kings have played a significant role in Japanese history and culture. In ancient times, the Japanese emperors were considered divine, and their reigns were believed to have been ordained by the gods. The emperor was not only the head of the government but also the country’s religion. The emperor did not have absolute power, and he was often influenced by his advisors, known as the Tennō (天皇), meaning heavenly sovereign.

In Japanese mythology, there are several stories about kings and their heroic deeds. The most famous of these is the tale of Prince Yamato Takeru, who defeated many monsters and saved his kingdom from disaster. The story is a symbol of the ideal Japanese king, a brave and strong warrior who defends his people against all odds.

Kingship in Japanese Literature

The Japanese have a rich tradition of literature that focuses on the king’s life and works. One of the most famous books from this genre is “The Tale of Genji,” written in the early 11th century by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady-in-waiting at the imperial court. The book is a masterpiece of Japanese literature and provides a vivid depiction of the life of the Japanese aristocracy, including kings and emperors.

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Throughout Japanese history, the king has been an essential figure in literature, art, and music. Many works of art depict the king’s life and the customs and traditions of the royal court. Japanese traditional music, such as Gagaku, often features music played at court ceremonies and festivals.

Japanese Term for King

The Japanese term for king is “ō” (王). While the term “tennō” (天皇) is used to refer to the current emperor of Japan, “ō” is used when referring to a foreign king or ancient Japanese kings. For example, the King of England is “Ingurando no ō” (イングランドの王) in Japanese.

In conclusion, kings have always been important in Japanese culture, history, and literature. From ancient emperors to modern-day monarchs, the kings of Japan have been revered and celebrated for their bravery, wisdom, and leadership. Learning about their cultural significance and the Japanese term for king can deepen your understanding of the Japanese language and culture.

Expand Your Japanese Vocabulary

Congratulations! You now know how to say “king” in Japanese and understand its cultural significance. But why stop there? Continue to improve your language skills by exploring related words and phrases.

Other Monarchs

The Japanese language has a rich vocabulary to describe various other monarchs. For example, if you want to say “emperor” in Japanese, the word is “tennō.” Similarly, “queen” is “joō,” while “prince” is “ōji.” By expanding your vocabulary, you can better describe different types of rulers and royal figures.

Royal Titles

When referring to royalty in Japanese, there are various terms and titles to keep in mind. For example, a “princess” is referred to as “hime,” while a “duke” is “kōshaku.” There are also unique titles that signify different levels of nobility and hierarchy. By learning these terms, you can gain a deeper understanding of Japanese society and history.

Cultural Concepts

Learning about cultural concepts related to royalty can also enrich your understanding of the language. For example, the Japanese concept of “enryo” emphasizes modesty and restraint. This can have implications for royal behavior and expectations. Additionally, the concept of “omotenashi” is often associated with Japanese hospitality and can be relevant when discussing royal diplomacy and etiquette.

Overall, expanding your Japanese vocabulary can enhance your language skills and cultural knowledge. Use these resources to continue building your understanding of Japanese royalty and related concepts.


Q: How do I say “king” in Japanese?

A: The Japanese word for “king” is 王 (おう, ō).

Q: How is “king” pronounced in Japanese?

A: The pronunciation of “king” in Japanese is “ō”. It is pronounced like the “o” in “open” and the “u” in “loop”.

Q: Are there any alternative ways to express kingship in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are alternative words and phrases that can be used to express regal authority in Japanese. Some examples include “kokuō” (国王) which means “monarch”, “ō-sama” (王様) which means “king”, and “teiō” (帝王) which means “emperor”.

Q: Can you provide examples of how to use the word for “king” in Japanese?

A: Certainly! Here are a few examples:
– 王国 (おうこく, ōkoku) means “kingdom”.
– 国王 (こくおう, kokuō) means “monarch”.
– 王位 (おうい, ōi) means “throne”.
– 王子 (おうじ, ōji) means “prince”.

Q: What is the cultural significance of kings in Japan?

A: Kings have played important roles in Japanese history, mythology, and culture. They are often depicted in folklore, literature, and art. Their stories and symbols are deeply rooted in Japanese traditions and are celebrated in various forms of artistic expression.

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