東:ひがし v. あずま

i was wondering about the difference between the ひがし and あずま readings of 東. do you use あずま when modifying a larger landmass, like a continent? thanks.

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I’ve actually never seen or heard the あずま reading. I’m looking it up in Daijirin and Weblio. It looks like it mostly refers to eastern provinces in Japan up to around the Edo period, like provinces east of the capital. It’s also an abbreviation for 東琴 (an ancient Japanese zither) and 東下駄 (ancient women’s geta with tatami insoles).

I could be wrong, but I’d be really surprised if you encountered the あずま/ あづま reading anywhere except media aimed at an audience that knows a lot about Japanese history. There are some readings that I’ve only ever seen along with furigana, and I’d venture to guess that this would be one of them.

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i encountered it because i was looking up the Japanese for “Eastern European Jew” (which is my ethnicity), and 東ヨーロッパのユダヤ人 apparently uses the あずま reading for 東.

edit: Jisho does recognize " アシュケナジム" as well for the ethnicity, which is probably more accurate anyway. but i’m still curious about the あずま reading in 東ヨーロッパ.

Interesting; now you got me curious too! I can’t find a Japanese Wikipedia article about your ethnicity but the Japanese Wikipedia article for Eastern Europe uses ひがし. I did find a Weblio page, though, and it looks like you might be better off using a jukugo reading: 東欧ユダヤ人. I’ve had pretty good success with Weblio; what it gives me has always been what native speakers actually say, which has been a problem with other dictionaries in the past!

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Where did you find that reading in that compound? Wikipedia’s 東ヨーロッパ article gives the reading as ひがしヨーロッパ, which is what I would expect.

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Google, which i know is notoriously bad. so i guess this was just a Google machine-translation error. nevertheless, it introduced me to あずま, which I certainly had never seen before, so it wasn’t a total loss.

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Mmm, I think I’ve only ever seen it as the name of a type of train here in the UK, never in actual Japanese. EDICT marks あずま as ‘archaic’; it might come up in historical novels if you read those. Like @Brand_S says, I’d bet it’ll always be furiganaed.

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what made me curious is that, usually, when you see a machine-translation error it’s because the AI is using a normal reading or translation, failing to recognize a particular reading or translation that applies to the specific context. that’s why, when Google came up with this highly-specialized reading, i thought maybe there was a reason behind it

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I’ve only ever known people named あずま as a surname.

I once had a class where the teacher was named あずま and there was a student named ひがし.

Another one of those names where you can’t know for sure how to read it without asking.

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Ah, I misspoke. I meant to say that I couldn’t find “Eastern European Jewish” but I was sure there was a page for Ashkenazi. I’m sorry about that. It’s Monday and I’m dead tired! But I never knew about the あずま reading. I’m glad you made me aware of it!

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東屋 is probably the only time you’ll see あずま. Its not a rare word and I’ve even seen 四阿 so it’s not a bad one to learn, but you don’t need to be on the lookout for other words that use that reading imo

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i’d come across 東屋 before but there’s this spelling too?! well, time to edit an anki card…

In one of those odd coincidences that seem to crop up all the damn time with vocab learning, 東屋 turns out to be in the jpdb prebuilt deck I’m currently working through for a book in my to-read pile. (Word appears twice in the book; jpdb claims “top 27800” in their corpus, for what that’s worth.)

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Beyond books, it’s just a normal thing at a lot of parks and nature spots in Japan.

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I’ve stayed in a minshuku on the Kumano Kodo called あづまや荘. It’s not written in kanji on the place’s sign, but according to Jisho, it’s possibly 東谷.

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