Hanshin "Company"?

Just encountered the word 阪神 in my lessons, and the meaning description is “The slopes of the gods! What could this be? Well, it’s mainly just a company, known as Hanshin. They’re everywhere, though, and even have a baseball team (the Hanshin Tigers), so it’s good to know.”

… The word 阪神 refers to the section of Japan comprising the bits in between 大 and 戸. Like, the word is literally those two highlighted kanji glued together. While it’s true that the Hanshin Tigers take their name from the Hanshin Electric Railway Company, the company takes its name from the region, so this kinda seems like an odd way of defining it to me. Or does the great Crabigator believe the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995 was also named after the company?


Pretty sure the company coined it. Though now it’s used more widely.

And I’m pretty sure that calling the city of Kobe that name, Kobe, only came a few years before the company. It was historically 兵庫津

So there was like a 10 year period where Kobe existed with the 神 in the name for that major city, and the 阪神 company didn’t exist yet.

But I agree that adding the region as a meaning or making it the primary meaning would be fine.


[citation needed]

My search-fu is letting me down on this.

Did you try the Japanese Wikipedia article for 阪神?

Aha, not entirely.

That said, the article seems to imply correlation rather than causation. Unless I’m misreading?

They were the entity that solidified the 阪神 order. So, basically it may have been bandied around in both variations, but that settled it.

In any case, the fact that it is now solidly entrenched as the name for the region was settled by their usage of it.

So “coined” might be the wrong term, but it’s “thanks to” them.


Still, I feel like it’s time to march on the WaniKani lair with torches and pitchforks so we can get the text changed on the vocab item.


I guess. I’m a resident of the region and don’t feel strongly enough to send an email, but you go for it.


Mmm, as someone who doesn’t live in Japan and isn’t super familiar with the it’s geography, I found this discussion to be incredibly enlightening as to “why does this word matter”, which in turn should make it easier to remember, so I think at least adding the region as a meaning is a good idea.

Just my two cents.


Hi PkDragon,

I can assure you that Hanshin is a word you hear in Japan all the time, either to refer to the area just west of Osaka, the Hanshin Tigers baseball club, or one of the many railway lines and so on…

Japanese place names do this all the time. Another one you’ll encounter is Keihan (京阪)which is Kyoto (京都) plus osaka (大阪) to refer to another train company. There’s even a line called the Keihanshin (京阪神), linking Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, and one called Keihanna, I think liking Osaka and Nara (The Na is for Nara). That’s all I can remember now…


@anon20839864 I think it’s still beneficial to mention (either in the meaning or in the reading explanation) that 阪神 comes from the kanji of 大阪 and 神戸. It’s easier to memorize than the slope of gods.


Hah, I never got around to doing anything about this. Didn’t think of just plain tagging one of the Tofugu overlords.

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Just send a letter to hello@wanikani.com. The staff will always take your suggestion into consideration. Sounds like you’ve got a pretty good case!

ETA: It’s not like they’d need to change the meaning, just the meaning explanation. It’s currently defined as Hanshin which seems fine. Just maybe the explanation could be altered so that people understand that it refers to the Kobe-Osaka area as well as the railway/department store/etc.


I also think it’s a good idea to mention that 生保 is an abbreviation of 生命保険, just like they also explain that 自販機 is an abbreviation of (and more popular way to say) 自動販売機.


Thanks. I didn’t know this. And I agree that this would be very useful information for WK to include in the entry. They wouldn’t even have to make 生命保険 a separate vocabulary item. But knowing the origin of 生保 would make the meaning easier to remember. I wish they’d do this with all abbreviations.


Another abbreviation: 特急 is short for 特別急行列車 (列車 is not in WK but is also a pretty common kanji vocab to find).


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