Haikyuu and dialects safe for new japanese reader?

I want to start reading haikyuu but I am aware that karasuno are in a place other than tokyo so they must be speaking some sort of dialect. So I’m wondering who speaks dialect and who speaks standard japanese so I will know what sentence to study and which one to be careful of.

That said I do have little grammar and vocabulary and Ive watched haikyuu before so I kinda know what they are saying but I’m going to be relying on furigana the majority of the time

You need to be a bit sceptical of the language used in manga anyway, as the dialog tends to be a bit exaggerated afaik.


You should check out the book club:

There’s a lot of info in that thread already and you can ask questions up to the part we’re at even if you’re not reading along.


A quick Google search brings up ‘Miya Atsumu speaking Kansai dialect’, so my guess would be that anyone in the story who has a similar background is likely to speak a dialect, and that the main ‘non-standard’ dialect that will feature in the story is the Kansai dialect, which is basically the classic non-Tokyo dialect in such stories. If you’re just reading the manga though, you can’t hear the differences in intonation, so it might not be that obvious. Some things that are very ‘Kansai’ though:
ええ instead of いい
せやろ instead of そうだろう
や instead of だ
へん instead of ない, or a shortened negative form ending in ん instead of ない
な instead of ね (though this isn’t limited to Kansai, of course)

I’m pretty sure some of this is just stereotyping, and there’s probably at least a little exaggeration, but those are the main markers of Kansai speech in anime, IMO. It’s not really something to be afraid of. Given that you’re probably studying standard Japanese like most foreign learners, much of dialect grammar won’t make sense to you at first glance because it doesn’t contain the usual grammatical features, which is the point at which you realise it can’t be standard Japanese. That’s how you tell them apart.

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given that Haikyuu is set in Miyagi, which is in Tohoku, which is literally the opposite direction from Tokyo as Kansai, that sounds kind of weird?

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Ah, ok, I knew nothing about the story and frankly couldn’t be bothered to look into the story setting because I assumed that people familiar with the story would just automatically get curious about the accents and dialects that show up… That’s why I expected the dialects used to show up if I just searched ‘haikyuu dialect’. Anyway, thanks a lot! In that case, I retract what I said about the ‘main non-standard dialect’ being the Kansai dialect. That might not be true, even if I feel like Atsumu is still probably the token/unique Kansai character.

I’d suggest @Sprenzy look into the Tohoku dialect in case it shows up in Haikyuu. Here’s a short video with examples:

I have to say though, the ways that words morph from one dialect to the next, at least as far as the most common dialects that feature in anime and their source material are concerned, are fairly typical. For example:
It’s usually not that hard to follow provided you have some context, and perhaps some kanji to make the meaning clear.

Either way, even though I know this is a gross and probably inaccurate generalisation, given than Tohoku is in the Kantou region, I wouldn’t be surprised if much of the Japanese is standard or at least much closer to standard Japanese than the Japanese used in a Kansai setting. I wouldn’t expect the Tohoku dialect to show up unless the author is from Tohoku, since it’s probably not as well known as the Kansai dialect, which many people understand to an extent because it’s been made so famous by its presence in various stories. I’ve seen a manga with a really unique dialect being used that I could hardly understand, but that’s because the character was supposed to be a cute girl with a funny/strange dialect that set her apart from everyone else, because she had just transferred from another region. If dialect use isn’t important to the story though, then I think standard Japanese would be the main medium because that would make the story accessible to a wider audience.

The main volleyball team in Haikyuu plays a number of teams from different prefectures! There are a couple of characters in particular (they pop up in like season 3 of the anime I think, so probably a ways in to the manga) who do speak in kansai dialect, Miya Atsumu being one of them. There are lots of videos of it on youtube :slight_smile:

There are still instances of Kansai-Ben that come up because of people from there but also because kids can think it’s cool to use Kansai phrasing.

But really, I think the way that kids in general speak is going to be harder to parse than any dialectical stuff. :wink:

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I see. Well, either way, I don’t know Haikyuu, so I’m glad that people who do know the story are responding. Are there other dialects in the story though?

The main school that they follow in the series is located in Miyagi Prefecture so it’s not as an extreme of an example of Touhoku-ben than somewhere like Aomori would be, especially in written form.

However, the series does progress with teams from other prefectures but I don’t want to give too much away for anyone still reading.

So for the beginning of the series at least, you’ll really only see Kansai-ben pop up because it’s just a part of pop culture and because kids latch on to things that sound cool.

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Give the anime a try. I never even liked Volleyball before watching the series. :wink:

It’s honestly on my list of greatest anime of all time.

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Thanks for the information. That’s interesting.

Yeah, I’ve noticed that Kansai-ben seems to be the favourite when a non-standard dialect is needed. I vaguely remember an article somewhere – maybe it was in Tobira? – stating that almost everyone knows Kansai-ben thanks to the media, even if they don’t actually speak it themselves. I guess it is pretty cool! Then again, maybe I only feel that way because I have a friend studying in the Kansai region, and so I’ve picked up a few phrases from him too, since he uses them when we send messages in Japanese.

Now that sounds impressive. Hahaha. Perhaps I will.

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Aye, it even has the obligatory shaved-head Kansai character, and it’s kind of a running joke whenever he tries to speak Kansai-ben.

It’s really hard to avoid the hype around it right now, so don’t let that bother you. It’s just really well done. :smiley:

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