Exploring the Fascinating World of Fish in the Japanese Language

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Do you know the name of fish in Japanese? Looking to increase your vocabulary with language? I propose we explore the fascinating world of fish in Japanese?

Japan is a country surrounded by water with a rich history and culture tied to the ocean. With a seafood-based diet, the Japanese have developed a wide and diverse vocabulary related to fish.

In this article, we'll explore different ways of referring to fish in Japanese, discuss some of the most common types of fish, and finally provide a comprehensive list of words related to fish, organized by category. Dive with us into this fascinating aquatic world!

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How to say Fish in Japanese

The Japanese often have different ways of referring to a single thing, see below some words that can be used to refer to fish in Japanese:

魚 (さかな, Sakana) – Fish

The most common word for "fish" in Japanese is 魚 (さかな, Sakana). This word is used both to refer to fish in general and to a specific fish, depending on the context.

The word 魚 is composed of the water radical (氵) on the left and the right part (与) which represents a fish with its tail down. This combination suggests the meaning of “fish” as an aquatic being.

魚類 (ぎょるい, Gyorui) – Pisces (plural)

When referring to fish as a group, we can use the word 魚類 (ぎょるい, Gyorui), which means “fish” in the plural sense. This word is useful when talking about a variety of fish species or about fish in general.

Other ways to say fish

海の幸 (うみのさち, Umi no sachi) – It literally means "blessings of the sea" and is used to refer to seafood, including fish, shellfish and other edible marine animals.

水生動物 (すいせいどうぶつ, Suisei dōbutsu) – It refers to aquatic animals in general, including fish, but also includes other living beings that inhabit the water, such as amphibians, crustaceans and molluscs.

魚介類 (ぎょかいるい, Gyokairui) – Refers to seafood in general, including fish, crustaceans, and molluscs.

海産物 (かいさんぶつ, Kaisanbutsu) – Refers to marine products, which may include fish and other seafood, as well as seaweed and other marine resources.

魚屋 (さかなや, Sakana-ya) – It means “fish market” or “fish seller”, where fish and other seafood are sold.

school of fish

Pisces Vocabulary in Japanese

Now let's look at some Japanese words related to fish:

Parts of a fish:

  • 魚の頭 (さかなのあたま, Sakana no atama) – fish head
  • 鱗 (うろこ, Uroko) – Scales
  • 背鰭 (せびれ, Sebire) – dorsal fin
  • 腹鰭 (ふくびれ, Fukubire) – pectoral fin
  • 尾鰭 (おびれ, Obire) – caudal fin

Fish at different stages of growth:

  • 幼魚 (ようぎょ, Yōgyo) – Young or young fish
  • 稚魚 (ちぎょ, Chigyo) – Immature or juvenile fish
  • 成魚 (せいぎょ, Seigyo) – adult fish

Specific species of fish:

  • 鯖 (さば, Saba) – Mackerel
  • 鰹 (かつお, Katsuo) – Beautiful
  • 鯵 (あじ, Aji) – horse mackerel
  • 鰈 (かれい, Karei) – Sole
  • 鰯 (いわし, Iwashi) – Sardine

Other words related to fish:

  • 水族館 (すいぞくかん, Suizokukan) – Aquarium
  • 漁業 (ぎょぎょう, Gyogyo) – fishing industry
  • 漁師 (りょうし, Ryōshi) – Fisherman
  • 魚市場 (うおいちば, Uoichiba) – fish market
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Types and Species of Fish in Japanese

Types of fish:

  • 骨魚類 (こつぎょるい, Kotsugyorui) – bony fish
  • 軟骨魚類 (なんこつぎょるい, Nankotsugyorui) – cartilaginous fish
  • 熱帯魚 (ねったいぎょ, Nettai-gyo) – tropical fish
  • 淡水魚 (たんすいぎょ, Tansui-gyo) – fresh water fish
  • 海水魚 (かいすいぎょ, Kaisui-gyo) – marine fish
  • 飛び魚類 (とびぎょるい, Tobigyorui) – flying fish
  • 深海魚 (しんかいぎょ, Shinkaigyo) – deep sea fish
  • 外来魚 (がいらいぎょ, Gairaigyo) – Exotic or invasive fish

Fish species:

  • 鮭 (さけ, Sake) – Salmon
  • 鯛 (たい, Tai) – red snapper
  • 鰤 (ぶり, Buri) – Lookout
  • 鯖 (さば, Saba) – Mackerel
  • 鰹 (かつお, Katsuo) – Beautiful
  • 鯵 (あじ, Aji) – horse mackerel
  • 鰈 (かれい, Karei) – Sole
  • 鰯 (いわし, Iwashi) – Sardine
  • 鰺 (あじ, Aji) – kingfish
  • 鱸 (すずき, Suzuki) – sea bass
  • 鮪 (まぐろ, Maguro) – Tuna
  • 鮎 (あゆ, Ayu) – sweetfish
  • 鰻 (うなぎ, Unagi) – Eel
  • 鱚 (きす, Kisu) – Whiting
  • 鯖 (さば, Saba) – Mackerel
  • 鰊 (にしん, Nishin) – Herring
  • 鯔 (ぼら, Bora) – mullet
  • 鮫 (さめ, Same) – Shark
  • 鱶 (ふか, Fuka) – Greenland shark
  • 鯱 (しゃち, Shachi) – orca
  • 鰐 (わに, Wani) – marine crocodile
  • 鮟鱇 (あんこう, Ankou) – rape fish
  • 魟 (ひらまさ, Hiramasa) – yellow kingfish
  • 鯨 (くじら, Kujira) – Whale
  • 鰆 (さわら, Sawara) – spanish fish
  • 鯰 (なまず, Namazu) – Catfish
  • 真鯛 (まだい, Madai) – Japanese red snapper
  • 鰤 (ぶり, Buri) – japanese eyelet
  • 鮃 (ひらめ, Hirame) – Plaice
  • 鱚 (きす, Kisu) – Hake fish
  • 鯖 (さば, Saba) – Mackerel
  • 鮟鱇 (あんこう, Ankou) – rape fish
  • 鯰 (なまず, Namazu) – Catfish
  • 鰰 (はたはた, Hatahata) – japanese sandfish
  • 鯰 (なまず, Namazu) – Catfish
  • 鰡 (ぼら, Bora) – gray mullet
  • 鰍 (どじょう, Dojou) – loach
  • 鱒 (ます, Masu) – Trout
  • 鯉 (こい, Koi) – Carp
  • 鰌 (どじょう, Dojou) – loach

Other aquatic beings:

  • 貝 (かい, Kai) – molluscs
  • 海老 (えび, Ebi) – Shrimp
  • 蟹 (かに, Kani) – Crab
  • イカ (いか, Ika) – Lula
  • タコ (たこ, Tako) – Octopus
  • クラゲ (くらげ, Kurage) – Jellyfish
  • マンボウ (まんぼう, Manbou) – sunfish
  • ネンブツダイ (ねんぶつだい, Nenbutsudai) – parrotfish
  • ダツ (だつ, Datsu) – Lion-fish
  • ナンヨウハギ (なんようはぎ, Nanyouhagi) – porcupine fish
  • クリオネ (くりおね, Kurione) – Clione, also known as the sea angel
  • アワビ (あわび, Awabi) – abalone
  • サンゴ (さんご, Sango) – Coral
  • ウミウシ (うみうし, Umiushi) – nudibranch
  • ウミガメ (うみがめ, Umigame) – Sea turtle
  • ウミヘビ (うみへび, Umihebi) – Sea-serpent
  • イルカ (いるか, Iruka) – Dolphin
  • マナティ (まなてぃ, Manati) – manatee
  • ペンギン (ぺんぎん, Pengin) – Penguin
  • ウツボ (うつぼ, Utsubo) – moray eel
  • オットセイ (おっとせい, Ottosei) – Sealion
  • アザラシ (あざらし, Azarashi) – Seal
  • ミズクラゲ (みずくらげ, Mizukurage) – fresh water jellyfish
  • ウミユリ (うみゆり, Umiyuri) – sea lily
  • ウミタナゴ (うみたなご, Umitanago) – kitefish

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