(Current) Magic the Gathering Vocabulary in Japanese

I wrote an interesting post a while back about vocabulary used while playing Magic in Japanese. If you’re living and playing here, planning on visiting the country for a while, or if you just want to study Japanese, please use this page! The majority of this information is copy and pasted from my original article, which you can find here (https://thejapanhobbyist.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/talk-the-talk-a-mtg-vocab-lesson-in-japanese-a-store-profile/)

I thought it would be useful to all those starting to play at Japanese hobby shops to know what each ability or term is in Japanese. With a basic understanding of hiragana, or even just the romanized version of the word, you should be able to play a match in Japanese. A good amount of the players will know some of the terms in English, and some of the judges will be able to speak English a little, but for the most part you will be on your own. In my own experience, if you already know the cards abilities by heart, it is incredibly helpful. Knowing the vocabulary in case you need to explain something or understand what the other player is doing is useful as well. Recently I’ve done entire matches speaking no other Japanese at all except for the card vocabulary, so don’t be too intimidated by playing in Japanese.

Also a warning before you continue reading. Make sure that your OS supports viewing of Japanese characters or else you won’t be able to see the kanji/hiragana characters that are used on the Magic cards. The examples are also entirely in Japanese hiragana. If you want the romanization for those please let me know and I will post an update later. If you see any mistakes in the Japanese spelling, please let me know! (for vocabulary from older sets, click on this link).

The Basics:

The main phases are pretty much all the same, such as untap, upkeep, main phase, 2nd main phase, end step. The vocab you will  need to know for attack is as follows. Most players know the other phases in English.

こうげき = (cougeki) attack. “Punch” is also used as an attack word. こうげきをします。(I am attacking.).

The following words are also used, with most of them sounding almost exactly the same in English.

  • Library = ライブラリ (raiburari)
  • Card = カード (kado)
  • Hand = 手札 (てふだ)(tefuda)
  • Turn = ターン (tann)
  • Game = ゲーム (gaymu)
  • Token = トークン (tokuun)
  • Counter (as in -1/-1 counter) = カウンタ (kaownta)
  • Trigger = ゆうはつ (yuuhatsu)
  • Play First = せんこう (senkou)
  • Play Second = こうこう (koukou)

Card Types:

The card types are all the same too. Artifact, Creature, Instant, Sorcery, mana, planeswalker, Enchant-Aura, Enchantment. The types are written in Katakana for those who can read it, but they are pronounced relatively the same way as their English counterparts. とち(土地 = tochi) is land. If you want to know what the land types are in Japanese, please look below. 

  • Island = shima (島)
  • Mountain = yama (山)
  • Forest = mori (森)
  • Plains = heichi (平地)
  • Swamp = numa (沼)
  • Wastes = arechi (荒地)

Card Abilities:

Here is a list of the abilities found on most cards, or at least those that are currently found in Standard play. If you have any to add, please leave me a message after the post. (Last updated 10/20/13 with kanji and corrected spellings in hiragana.)

Core set/basic vocabulary

  • むしょうく(無色)= (mushoku) Colorless
  • こうめい (高名) = (koumei) renown
  • いはく(威迫) = (ihaku) menace
  • まこう (魔巧) = (makou) spell Mastery
  • いけにえ (生け贄)= (iikayniae) sacrifice
  • ぼち(墓地)= (bochi) graveyard
  • える(ライフをえる)= (aeru – life oh aeru) gain- gain life
  • ゲームからとりのぞく/ついほう(追放)= (game kara tori no zoku/sueiiho) remove from the game/exile
  • はんこん = (hancon) lifelink
  • ひこう(飛行)= (hikou) flying
  • さいせい = (saisei) regenerate
  • ぼうえい (防衛)= (bouei) defender
  • はかい = (hakai) destroy
  • そっこう (速攻= (socou) haste
  • せっし (接死)= (seyshi) deathtouch
  • せんせいこうげき (先制攻撃)= (senseicougeki) first strike
  • けいかい (警戒) = (kaykai) vigilance
  • じゅごん (呪禁)= (jyugon) hexproof
  • しゅんそく(瞬速)= (shunsoku) flash
  • すてる = (suteru) throw away/discard
  • はかいされない (破壊されない)= (hakaisarenai) indestrucible
  • いかく= (iikaku) intimidate
  • にだんこうげき(二段攻撃) = (nidan cougeki) Double Strike
  • そうび (装備)= (soubi) equip
  • はずれる= (hazureiru) unequip
  • うちけされない = (oochikay saraynai) Can’t be countered
  • うちけす (打ち消す)= (oochikay su) counter
  • とうたつ (到達)= (toutatsu) Reach
  • しょうしゅう(召集)= (shoushuu) Convoke
  • せんじゅつ (占術)= (senjutsu) Scry
  • かかん (果敢) = (KaKan) Prowess

Kaladesh Block Vocabulary

  • 生成する (せいせいする) = create (seisei suru)
  • 機体 (きたい)= vehicle (kitai)
  • 搭乗 (とうじょう)= crew (tou jou)
  • 製造 (せいぞう)= fabricate (sei zou)
  • エネルギーカウンター = energy counter (energi counter)
  • 工匠 (こうしょう)= artificer (kou shou)
  • 飛行機械 (ひこうきかい)= thopter (hi kou ki kai)
  • 構築物 (こうちくぶつ)= construct (kou chiku butsu)
  • 霊気装置 (れいきそうち)= servo (rei ki sou chi)
  • 紛争(ふんそう)= Revolt (funsou)
  • 即席(そくせき)= Improvise (sokuseki)

Amonkhet Block Vocabulary

  • 不朽 (ふきゅう) = Embalm (Fukyuu)
  •  余波 (よは) = Aftermath (Yoha)
  • 督励 (とくれい) = Exert (Tokurei)
  • サイクリング = Cycling (Saikuringu)
  •  永遠  (えいえん) = Eternalize (eien )
  •  加虐 (かぎゃく) = Afflict (kagyaku)

Ixalan Block Vocabulary

  •  探検を行う (たんけんをおかなう) = Explore (Tanken wo okonau)
  •  強襲 (きょうしゅう) = Raid (Kyoushuu)
  •  宝物 (たからもの) = Treasure (Takaramono)
  •  激昂(げきこう) = Enrage (Gekikou)

Dominaria Vocabulary

  •  英雄譚 (えいゆうたん)= Saga (eiyuutan)
  •  歴史的な (れきしてきな)= Histortic (rekishi teki na)
  • 伝説 (でんせつ)= Legendary (densetsu). For various types of cards its ‘Densetsu no (x)’. X = Sorcery, instant, enchantment, etc.
  • キッカー = Kicker (Kicka)

Guilds of Ravnica

  • 諜報 (ちょうほう)= Surveil (chouhou)
  • 再活 (さいかつ)= Jump-Start (saikatsu)
  • 召集 (しょうしゅう)= Convoke (shoushu)
  • 教導 (きょうどう)= Mentor (kyoudou)
  • 宿根 (しゅくこん)= Undergrowth (shukucon)


It would also be useful to know how to attack, or should I say how to deal damage.

First are the numbers: 1-20

1=ichi / 2= ni / 3 = san / 4 = yon / 5 = go / 6=roku / 7=nana / 8 = hachi / 9=kyuu /10 =jyu

For 11-19, take 10 (jyu) and add the first number. 11(10+1)= jyu+ichi.

For 20-99, take the first number and add ten to the word. EXAMPLE: 20 = ni+jyu. 30= san+jyu. 44 = yon+jyu+yon

When you are dealing damage you will usually add てん(ten)(点)to the number. 10 damage equals 十点 (jyu ten) damage (10 points damage basically).

Playing during a certain phase:

Sometimes you might want to play an instant or activate an ability during a certain phase, or before one. As stated above, most of the Magic players use the English names of the phases while playing. When you want to do something, you can say “____ (phase name) no mae, ____ oh shimasu.” This means “Before ____  phase, I’m playing ___ spell”.

An example would be “End step no mae, Think Twice oh shimasu” (End stepのまえ、Think Twiceをします。)

Most Japanese players in the bigger cities should know these words, but if they don’t you can always ask for a judge to help.

I hope this explanation wasn’t too confusing. If you take anything from it, the vocabulary would be the most important. If you are a beginner of the Japanese language and living in Japan, this would be a good way to practice your Japanese. Good luck with your gaming!