The first Japanese-Marshallese phrase book is on sale at MJCC in Delap and online on Amazon for only $25. The 248-page-long book was published last Thursday by Yakuji Nipposha, and began making its way around Majuro with co-writers Gaku Hashimoto and Mika Sato who visited the President’s Office Monday to deliver a copy.
The book, Japanese-Marshallese Phrase Book: Iokwe Marshall Islands, is also co-written by Yosuke Suematsu. All three authors have lived in the Marshalls for over a decade.
Hashimoto and Suematsu both speak Marshallese fluently and have immersed in many aspects of the local culture. Alfred Capelle, author of the Marshallese-English Dictionary and Marshallese Reference Grammar, says that the new book will benefit both Japanese and Marshallese in learning and understanding the language as well as the culture of either countries, and how the Japanese have influenced our way of life.
Although Suematsu has already left the Marshalls and Hashimoto is leaving this month, the book came from their iokwe for these islands that have shown them the warmth and kindness of a home.
Among other features, the Japanese-Marshallese phrase book, a three-year labor of love, lists 143 Japanese words that have been adopted into the Marshallese language. These include boya, a slang term for kids; jiookra, a type of food made from salted fish guts or clams; and jide, which comes from the word shitsure and is loosely translated as “sorry we didn’t mean for it to happen but it happened.”
Read more about this in the April 12, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.