Modern Japanese Names for Constellations

Modern Japanese Names for Constellations

By Steve Renshaw and Saori Ihara

February, 1996


Below are the modern Japanese names used for the 88 IAU constellations. Where the term Katakana appears, it indicates that the word is written in the Japanese script used for foreign words. In such a case, the constellation's name is pronounced much as it is in English, and there is no Japanese meaning for the term.

Modern Japanese Names for Constellations
CONSTELLATION JAPANESE NAME
(Pronunciation)
MEANING IN ENGLISH
Andromeda Katakana Same, "Andromeda"
Antlia Katakana Same, "Pump"
Apus Fuuchou (fuu-choh) Bird of Paradise
Aquila Washi (wah-she) Eagle
Aquarius Mizugame
(mee-zuu-gah-meh)
Water Jar
Ara Saidan (sigh-dahn) Altar
Aries Ohitsuji
(oh-heet-suu-jee)
Ram
Auriga Gyosha (geeyoh-shah) Driver
Bootes Ushikai (uu-she-kigh) Cowherd
Caelum Choukokugu
(choh-koh-kuu-guu)
Sculptor's Tool
Camelopardalis Kirin (kee-reen) Giraffe
Capricorn Yagi (yahg-ee) Goat
Carina Ryuukotsu
(reeyuu-coats-uu)
Keel (of a ship)
Cassiopeia Katakana Same, "Cassiopeia"
Centaurus Katakana Same, "Centaurus"
Cepheus Katakana Same, "Cepheus"
Cetus Kujira (kuu-jee-raw) Whale
Chamaeleon Katakana Same, "Chamaeleon"
Circinus Katakana Same, "Compass"
Canis Major OoInu (oh-ee-nu) Big Dog
Canis Minor KoInu (koh-ee-nu) Child Dog
Cancer Kani (kah-nee) Crab
Columba Hato (hah-toh) Dove or Pigeon
Coma Berenices KamiNoKe
(kah-me-no-keh)
Hair
Corona Australis MinamiNoKanmuri
(me-nah-me-no-kahn-mu-ree)
Southern Crown
Corona Borealis Kanmuri (kahn-mu-ree) Crown
Crater Katakana Same, "Cup"
Crux MinamiJuuji
(me-nah-me-juu-jee)
Southern Cross
Corvus Karasu (kah-rah-suu) Crow
Canes Venatici Ryouken (reeyoh-ken) Hound
Cygnus Hakuchou (hah-kuu-choh) Swan
Delphinus Iruka (ee-ruu-kah) Dolphin
Dorado Kajiki (kah-jee-key) Marlin or Swordfish
Draco Ryuu (reeyuu) Dragon
Equuleus Kouma (koh-uu-mah) Child Horse
Eridanus Katakana Same, "Eridanus"
Fornax Ro (row) Fireplace
Gemini Futago (fuu-tah-go) Twins
Grus Tsuru (tsuu-ruu) Crane
Hercules Katakana Same, "Hercules"
Horologium Tokei (toe-kay) Clock
Hydra UmiHebi
(uu-me-heh-bee)
Sea Serpent
Hydrus MizuHebi
(me-zuu-heh-bee)
Water Serpent
Indus Katakana Same, "Indus"
Lacerta Tokage (toe-kah-geh) Lizard
Leo ShiShi (she-she) Lion
Lepus Usagi (uu-sawg-ee) Rabbit
Libra Tenbin (ten-bean) Balance
Leo Minor Kojishi (koh-jee-she) Child Lion
Lupus Ookami (oh-kah-me) Wolf
Lynx YamaNeko
(yah-mah-neh-koh)
Mountain Cat
Lyra Koto (koh-toh) Japanese Stringed
Instrument
Mensa Katakana
"Table" san
Mr. Table
Microscopium Kenbikyou
(ken-bee-keeyoh)
Microscope
Monocerus Ikkakujyuu
(ee-kah-kuu-jeeyuu)
Unicorn
Musca Hae (hah-eh) Fly
Norma Jyougi (jeeyohg-ee) Square or Triangle
(Tool)
Octans Hachibungi
(hah-chee-buung-ee)
Octant
Ophiuchus HebiTsukai
(heh-bee-tsuu-kigh)
Snake Charmer
Orion Katakana Same, "Orion"
Pavo Kujyaku
(kuu-jeeyah-kuu)
Peacock
Pegasus Katakana Same, "Pegasus"
Perseus Katakana Same, "Perseus"
Phoenix Houou (hoh-oh) Chinese Phoenix
Pictor Gaka (gah-kah) Painter
Piscis Australis MinamiNoUo
(me-nah-me-no-uu-oh)
Southern Fish
Pisces Uo (uu-oh) Fish
Puppis Tomo (toe-moe) Stern (of a ship)
Pyxis Rashinban
(rah-sheen-bahn)
Compass
Reticulum Katakana Same, "Reticulum"
Sculptor Choukokushitsu
(choh-koh-kuu-sheet-suu)
Sculptor
Scorpius Sasori (saw-so-ree) Scorpion
Scutum Tate (tah-teh) Shield
Serpens Hebi (heh-bee) Serpent
Sextans Rokubungi
(row-kuu-buung-ee)
Sextant
Sagitta Ya (yah) Arrow
Sagittarius Ite (ee-teh) Archer
Taurus Oushi (oh-uu-she) Ox
Telescopium Bouenkyouu
(bohehn-keeyoh)
Telescope
Triangulum Astrale MinamiNoSankaku
(me-nah-me-no-sahn-kah-kuu)
Southern Triangle
Triangulum Sankaku (sahn-kah-kuu) Triangle
Tucana Kyoshichou (keeyoh-she-choh) Toucan
Ursa Major OoGuma (oh-guu-mah) Big Bear
Ursa Minor KoGuma (koh-guu-mah) Child Bear
Vela Ho (hoh) Sail (of a ship)
Virgo Otome (oh-toe-meh) Maiden or Virgin
Volans Tobiuo (toe-bee-uu-oh) Flying Fish
Vulpecula Kogitsune (kohg-eet-suu-neh) Little Fox


References

Izuru, S. (Ed.) (1994) Koujien. (Japanese Etymological Dictionary). Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo.

Nakano, S. (1995) Hyoujun Seizu 2000 (Standard Star Atlas 2000). Chijin Shokan, Tokyo.

Ootawara, A. (1995) Tentai Kansoku Hando Bukku (Astronomical Observer's Handbook). Seibunsha, Tokyo.

Ozaki, U. et al(Eds.) (1993) Dai Ji Gen (Great Origins of Words). Kodokawa Shoten, Tokyo.

Shunichi, U. et al (Eds.) (1991) Nihon Zenshi; Japan Chronik. Kodansha, Tokyo.


Please send comments to

Steven L. Renshaw

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