Guide on How to Say “Earthquake” in Japanese

Learning how to say “earthquake” in different languages can be useful, especially if you travel to regions prone to seismic activities. In this guide, we will explore how to express “earthquake” in Japanese, both formally and informally. We will also provide tips, examples, and discuss regional variations. So, let’s dive in and expand our Japanese vocabulary!

Formal Ways to Say “Earthquake” in Japanese

When using formal language, such as in official settings or when addressing someone of higher social standing, it is important to choose the appropriate term for “earthquake.” In Japanese, the formal word for “earthquake” is:

地震 (じしん – jishin)

The kanji characters for “地震” translate to “ground” and “quake” respectively, accurately representing the phenomenon. This is the most commonly used term and is easily understood throughout Japan.

Informal Ways to Say “Earthquake” in Japanese

In informal conversations or when speaking with friends, you can use a more casual term to express “earthquake.” The commonly used informal word for “earthquake” in Japanese is:

震度 (しんど – shindo)

The term “震度” combines the kanji characters for “quake” and “degree.” It refers to the intensity or magnitude of an earthquake. While it may not be the most accurate representation of the word, it is widely used in casual conversations.

Tips for Pronunciation

Pronouncing Japanese words correctly can be challenging for beginners. Here are some tips to help you pronounce “地震” and “震度” correctly:

  • Break the words into syllables: “じ” (ji), “し” (shi), “ん” (n) for “地震,” and “しん” (shin), “ど” (do) for “震度.”
  • Pay attention to the vowel sounds. In both words, the “i” sound is short, similar to the “i” in the English word “it.”
  • “じ” (ji) is pronounced with a soft “j” sound like in the English word “jeans,” while “ん” (n) is a nasal sound.
  • The “し” (shi) sound may be somewhat challenging for non-native speakers, similar to the “she” sound in English.
  • Practice the pronunciation with native speakers or use online resources to perfect your accent.

Examples in Context

To understand how to use these words in context, let’s explore some example sentences:

  • 今朝、大きな地震がありました。(This morning, there was a big earthquake.)
  • 話を聞いて震度5だったことを知りました。(I heard the story and found out it was an intensity 5 earthquake.)
  • 地震対策はしっかり行ってください。(Please take proper measures against earthquakes.)
  • 昨夜、小さな震度2の地震がありました。(Last night, there was a small magnitude 2 earthquake.)

Regional Variations

Although “地震” (jishin) and “震度” (shindo) are widely understood throughout Japan, it is worth noting that certain regions may have their own regional variations or dialects. However, these variations won’t significantly affect your ability to communicate about earthquakes in Japanese.


Congratulations! You now have the knowledge to express “earthquake” in formal and informal Japanese. Remember to use “地震” in formal settings and “震度” in casual conversations. Practice the pronunciation tips to sound more natural, and feel confident using these words in various contexts. Stay safe and continue expanding your Japanese vocabulary!

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