Just asking…

Are you, like me, confused and alarmed at the mispronunciation by media folks of common Japanese names or words?

I speak of a trio of often mispronounced names/words: Tokyo, Honda and panko.

Tokyo is a two-syllable word/name. It’s pronounced Toh-kyo, not To-ki-yo (adding a third syllable) as even the best of TV anchors and radio announcers here and abroad tend to do. If Kyoto can be said as a two-syllable word, why can’t Tokyo enjoy that privilege, too?

Then there’s the surname and automobile brand Honda. The proper pronunciation is Hohn-da, not Honn-da or Han-da. In the mispronouncers’ world, it would be spelled either as Hunda or Handa; I have friends named Honda who may or may not drive a Honda but know how to say it.

Further, celebrity chefs and foodies galore continue to perpetuate the mispronunciation of panko, the favored bread crumbs or flakes for tempura and tonkatsu. It’s pahn-ko, not pan (rhyming like can) ko.

Try Google-ing these words, if you don’t believe me.

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