Common Japanese Phrases for Gamers – JapaneseUp

Common Japanese Phrases for Gamers


The Gamer’s Quick Start Guide to Japanese

Most gamers don’t bother with learning Japanese. But there are inevitably times when your favorite Japanese video games display Japanese words instead of romaji.

If you don’t know how to read these frequently used Japanese words, you’d have difficulties understanding the game. 

Don’t worry, learning how to recognize these key Japanese words used in games is not difficult. You only need to memorize them once and the more you play, the more you’d get used to them. 

Below is a list of Japanese words you’d encounter frequently in video games. 

By the way, you’d notice that there is quite a lot of katakana in this list. That’s because many gaming-related phrases are loan words from English.  

Before the game starts

The first screen you see will probably be the menu screen. Here are some typical Japanese words you might see:

1. Menu = メニュー Menyū

2. File = ファイル Fairu

3. Mode = モード Mōdo

4. Settings = 設定・せってい Settei

5. Option = オプション Opushon

If you click on mode, settings or option, you get to choose the bells and whistles that you want:  

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6. Select, choose = 選択・せんたく Sentaku

You can choose the type of music you want to have:

7. Music = 音楽・おんがく Ongaku

You can choose who you want to play as:

8. Gender = 性別・せいべつ Seibetsu  

9. Main character, hero, protagonist = 主人公・しゅじんこう Shujinkō

You can choose the level of difficulty of the game:

10. Level = レーベル Rēberu

11. Easy = 簡単・かんたん Kantan

12. Hard = 難しい・むずかしい Muzukashī

During the game

Now that you have chosen your preferred settings, you can start playing so you press this button:

13. Start = スタート Sutāto, or

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14. Load = ロード Rōdo

Throughout the game, you might see these Japanese words on the screen. Here is what they mean:

15. Mission = ミッション Misshon

16. Yay, I won! or Yay, I did it! = やった! Yatta!

17. Fight = 戦う・たたかう Tatakau

18. Attack = 攻撃・こうげき Kōgeki 

19. Item = アイテム Aitemu

After the game ends

This is an exciting set and you finish on a high. Next, you will probably see these Japanese words on the screen and you get to choose what you want to do next. You can:  

20. Save = セーブ (Sēbu) to your Memory card = メモリーカード (Memorīkādo),

21. Quit = 終了・しゅうりょう Shūryō,  

22. Continue = 続き・つづき Tsuduki, or

23. Retry = リトライ Ritorai


Hope this quick start guide to Japanese is useful to all you gamers out there. Have a great game! If you want to learn more, check out my mega post, Useful Japanese Phrases