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Katakana / Kanji Question

Peter Milne

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Hello!

I'm trying to work out the correct way to write the name of my karate club in kanji / katakana. The name is Somerset Ryū Karate (Somerset being the County in England where we're based, and Ryū meaning dragon - the flag of Somerset features a dragon).

So far, I've written it as サマセット 竜 空手.

If this is wrong, what would be the correct way to present this? Thank you so much!
 

Toritoribe

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The translations of each word are correct, but "サマセット 竜 空手" looks like just an enumeration of independent words rather than the name of a club.
 

Peter Milne

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Thank you @Toritoribe, that's what I thought. Could you tell me if there's a way to write it so that it's more coherent? Thank you!
 

Majestic

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You need to be a bit more creative (and less literal).
Since the dragon on the Somerset County flag is red, you might use something like "red dragon" instead of just dragon. And then use a poetic/traditional word for gathering, group, or maybe a word that recalls a traditional building

サマセット赤竜道場
Samasetto Sekiryū Dōjō
Somerset Red Dragon Dōjō - using the specific word for a place of practicing the arts

if you didn't want to use dōjō, you could use

サマセット赤竜会
Samasetto Sekiryū Kai
Somerset Red Dragon Club. Accurate, but slightly boring if you ask me. Although it may be easy-ish for your members to pronounce it.
You could tart it up by using old-style kanji サマセット赤龍會

If the dragon on the flag has any other characteristics or legends that are meaningful to the people of Somerset, you could use that instead of "red". Or, if red is boring, you could call it the vermilion dragon or some such (朱龍, etc...)
 

Toritoribe

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my attempt:
サマセット赤龍空手道場
or
サマセット赤龍空手倶楽部
(龍 is more traditional and stylish than 竜. The meaning is completely the same, though.)
 

nice gaijin

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What style does your group practice? When you say club, are you a formal dojo or a group that meets up? There's a lot of ways to describe these groups and there's some nuance to the words you choose. For example, "~kai" may have a more formal "organization" sound to it. If your club is tied to a specific location, then dojo seems more appropriate in the name.

My first thought was if you were already married to the name "Somerset Ryu" and a "non-denominational" group, why not use サマセット流, as that "ryū" is the one used to denote a karate style, and it's a homonym for dragon. So, this would be the "Somerset-way/style" karate club. I'd then make a club logo that uses the red dragon from your county flag, making it a good pun to boot. This ryū does make it look a bit like a formalized system, but that confusion would only be from people reading the name on its own out of context; you wouldn't say that you practice Somerset-ryu the same as Shorin-ryu or Goju-ryu.

If the name is more flexible, you can tell us more about your club to give us a better chance to find a good one. I like @Toritoribe's suggestions, and the term 倶楽部/kurabu is the kanji transliteration of "club," which sounds like a somewhat serious regular meetup, maybe at the local community or recreation center. There's also circle/サークル which is like a club but less strict and formal. I was in a Wado circle in college, so i'm not sure if there's a "school" connotation to it or not. Bukatsu (short for kurabu-katsu, club life) is huge in school, comparable to fraternities and sororities in the amount of time and dedication they demand of their members. Circles are much more relaxed and easy-going.

Also, karate-ka in Okinawa seem to like the term "kenkyūkai" which literally means study or research group. They strongly see their practice as a study, research, investigation into the art, their own body, and self defense.

Lastly, if there isn't one already, you could just go with something like サマセット空手倶楽部, which is just "Somerset Karate Club," and save the dragons for the logo.
 
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Peter Milne

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Thanks so much for all your replies, really helpful and interesting!

We're a Shotokan club, and soon to have our own formal, full-time dojo. We've got a dragon in our logo, I've put my website below so you can see it! It's got a bit more information about us in there too.

I love this forum! I really appreciate all the thoughtful responses that you get.

www.somerset-ryu.com
 

Majestic

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Wow! Very impressive. Since your dragon is gold, you might shake it up a bit

サマセット金龍空手道場 Somerset Golden Dragon Karate Dōjō
サマセット金龍空手倶楽部
Somerset Golden Dragon Karate Club
etc.

Or bypass the color problem altogether and call it the crying/roaring dragon (club, dojo, group, etc..)

鳴龍 (Nakiryū)
 

nice gaijin

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Good work on the site, and the logo looks nice as well.

I have to say that linguistically and phonetically, "Ryū" can be a little problematic, as English speakers have difficulty in pronouncing it correctly, and they'll likely need to be told what it means (no, not the street fighter character!). I like the ring and partial alliteration of "Somerset Dragon Dojo" or "Somerset Golden Dragons," if you have a competition team... but while I may use the Japanese characters as a design element, I would stick to the English word for the official name, or use the name of the style as Majestic suggested. I understand if that ship has sailed, just thought I'd put it out there.
 

Peter Milne

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Yes, I've already discovered that problem with using the Japanese "Ryu" in the club name! I've heard the Street Fighter joke multiple times, and it's been pronounced in every way except the correct way ('rye-oo', or simply 'roo' are the two most popular). Funnily enough, the club used to be called "Red Dragon Karate", but it was changed as that's a bit too generic and overused in the UK. At least the new name is fairly unique! And hearing people tell me that they prefer Ken never gets old. :rolleyes:

I do really like Somerset Dragon Dojo though. Maybe when we finally get the keys to the new location!
 
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