Glossary of Japanese Terms
Compiled by T Newfields

aho - (Literally: "fool"). Anyone who believes the mass media.
banzai - (Literally: "10,000 ages"). Depending on the context, this can mean something like "long live" or "go all out". An apt expression for those who are not going to live much longer or those who feel really alive.
budo - (Literally: "the way of the warrior"). The pursuit of physical and spiritual victory by any means. A quality admired among workers.
daimyo - (Literally: "big name"). Once regarded as feudal lords, now best described as the governing heads of Japan's largest corporations.
gaijin - (Literally: "outside person"). Any person of any nationality who is considered "unJapanese".
ganbatte - An admonition to "tough it out" in rough times.
geisha - Literally, a "person of art" - now it seems that anyone who puts on (or take off) a kimono or yukata while smiling artfully.
koan - (Literally: "public statement"). Any attempt to hack through ordinary conscious filters to obtain deeper insight. Sometimes in the form of riddles or questions, some koans involve no words.
Jiminto - (also known as Jiyuu Minshutou or simply the LDP) Sort of like the Republican Party of Japan: the place where big money makes big corporate dreams come true.
mushin - (Literally: "no heart"). A Buddhist ideal of detachment akin to exulted apathy.
ninja - Former feudal spies or assassins, now stealthy intelligence experts or covert data collectors.
roshi - Any kind of dried bean which is well-roasted. Vulture Peak varieties are especially delicious.
sake - A gift from Inari, the god of rice, which among mortals promotes happiness and good will.
samurai - Any Japanese business executive skilled at weilding cell phones, computers, sake cups, stock investments, and secrets.
shogun - The "top gun" of Japanese feudal society. In recent times the shogun is likely to have the title of "prime minister".
Sokka Gakkai- Basically, Ikeda Daisaku worship. A powerful cult with 12 million adherents in Japan and perhaps 3 million elsewhere that's loosely based on some Nichiren Buddhist concepts. Though Soka Gakkai denies any connection with Japan's New Komeito Party, most leaders of that party are Soka Gakkai members.
tanuki - The spirit of playful mischief in all beings. Although sometimes appearing as racoon-dogs, tanuki are more apt to manifest as intoxicated barflys who let their tongues rip until sobering up.
tenri-kyou - A religious group known for its baseball team. With proper purification rituals and faith, even ordinary people can achieve home runs - or at least make it to third base. Sometimes described as a Shinto–Christian medley, it has perhaps two million members worldwide.
zen - the end of logic and all words