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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

How do you pronounce "Ryugu?"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

07-10-2015 14:06 CDT

Topics: asteroid 162173 Ryugu, Hayabusa2, fun, asteroids

Two days ago, I posted about Hayabusa2's target asteroid being named "Ryugu." Yesterday, astronomer Elizabeth Tasker tweeted:

I realized that I need to know how to pronounce Ryugu too, and I also realized that I wasn't sure how Japanese speakers pronounce the name of its spacecraft, Hayabusa2. Fortunately, Tasker had access to a roomful of astronomy graduate students at Hokkaido University, several of whom carefully spoke the words for her and me: Hayabusa, Hayabusa2, and Ryugu. I thank them very much for helping me out!

Hokkaido University graduate students pronounce Hayabusa2 and Ryugu

Elizabeth Tasker

Their pronunciation of "Hayabusa" is pretty easy for an American to replicate. I'm fascinated by the fact that Hayabusa2 is not "Hayabusa-ni" but instead "Hayabusa-tsu", a Japanese pronunciation of the English "two".

As for Ryugu, that one is going to be challenging, because the initial consonant is that Japanese sound that's somewhere between an "R", a rolled "R", and an "L". I think I'll go with "Ree-yoo-goo" as a first approximation, but that's one too many syllables; I'll have to practice that initial sound quite a bit before I get comfortable with it!

See other posts from October 2015


Or read more blog entries about: asteroid 162173 Ryugu, Hayabusa2, fun, asteroids


plesh: 10/09/2015 11:04 CDT

Right, well, I've listened a few times and it sounds like "youu-(hard g)-uu" and "djyouu-(hard g)-uu". I might be hearing-impaired but I can't detect any traces of rolling r's. I'm going to say it with a rolling 'r'. Cool little story behind it and if things go acc to plan then this mission will be very interesting to follow.

Schrambo: 11/02/2015 07:13 CST

It's pronounced Ryu-gu or "ruu-gu"

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