As a country famed for its seafood, a lexicon on the countless varieties of fish you may encounter seemed to come in handy for English-speaking newcomers and long term residents alike.

The Japanese pronunciation is written first followed by the Chinese (Japanese kanji) characters and the English translations. Bear in mind that many fish have many names depending on the Japanese region. These are the common names.

 

Traditional Japanese Fish Classification

Akami/赤身: red-fleshed fish (tuna, bonito, etc)
Amago/アマゴ: fresh water red spotted masu trout, satsukimasu salmon
Gyoran/魚卵: fish roe (salmon roe, etc)
Hikarimono/光り物: “shining fish” (scabbard fis, etc.)
Nagamono/長もの: “long fish” (eels, etc.)
Saamon/サーモン: salmons
Shiromi/白身: white-fleshed fish (sole, etc.)

Fish varieties

Aburagarei/油がれい: a cheap variety of karei/鰈: righteye flounder, atheresthes evermanni Jordan and Starks

fish,fresh fish,hachibiki,

Aka saba/赤鯖/REd Mackerel( also called Hachibiki/葉血引: Bonnetmouth/Pacific Bonnetmouth)
Aodai/青鯛: “blue snapper”, paracaesio caeruleus (Katayama)
Atorantikku saamon/アトランティックサーモン: Atlantic salmon
Ainame/アイナメ、鮎並、愛魚女: greenling

fish,fresh fish,akahata

Akahata/アカハタ: an expensive variety of red grouper, epinephelus fasciatus
Aka isaki/アカイサキ、赤伊佐木、赤伊佐幾、赤鶏魚/Red chicken grunt
Aka jinmiidai/アカジンミーバイ、赤仁羽鯛 (also called Sujiara/筋): Red-spotted rockcod, Blue spotted grouper
Akakamasu/アカカマス、赤梭魚、赤梭子魚、赤魳 (also called Honkamasu/ホンカマス、本梭魚、本梭子魚、本魳): red barracuda, sphyraena pinguis Gunther
Aka kasago/アカカサゴ、赤笠子、赤瘡魚: rockfish, marbled rockfish, scorpionfish
Akamanbou/アカマンボウ、赤万包 (also called Mandai/万鯛): Opah,Moonfish
Aka mebaru/アカメバル: red Japanese sea perch-rockfish
Akamutsu/アカムツ、赤鱫、赤鯥 (also called Nodokuro/喉黒): rosy seabass, red gnomefish
Akou/アコウ、茂魚,石茂魚 (also called kijihata/雉羽太): redspotted grouper
Akoudai/アコウダイ、赤魚鯛: rose fish
Amadai/甘鯛: tilefish
Amenouo (Biwa masu)/岩魚, 鯇、天之魚(琵琶鱒): Biwa trout, Biwa salmon (fresh water), char
Aanago/穴子、海鰻: conger eel
Ankou/アンコウ、鮟鱇、鮟: frogfish, monkfish
Ara/: sawedged perch
Ayu/鮎、香魚: ayu, ayu fish (fresh water)
Bachimaguro/バチマグロ、鉢鮪 ・撥鮪(also known as Mebachi/目鉢 or as Mebachimaguro/メバチマグロ、目鉢鮪・眼撥鮪): big-eyed tuna
Bakemaguro/バケマグロ、化け鮪(also called Koshinagamaguro/腰長鮪): longtail tuna, longtailed tuna, spot-side tuna (the smallest tuna in Japan)
Binchoumaguro/びん長まぐろ、鬢長鮪 (also known as Binnaga/鬢長 and Tonbomaguro/蜻蛉鮪): Albacore
Binnaga/ビンナガ、鬢長 (also known as Binchoumaguro/鬢長鮪 and Tonbomaguro/蜻蛉鮪): Albacore
Biwa masu (Amenouo)/ ビワマス、琵琶鱒(岩魚, 鯇、天之魚): Biwa trout, Biwa salmon (fresh water), char
Bora/ボラ、鯔: mullet
Bouzu Konnnyaku/坊主蒟蒻 (also called Chikodai/チコ鯛 or Chidai/血鯛, although misleading): Chunky fathead, cubiceps squmixeps
Budai/ブ鯛: white-spotted parrotfish, Japanese parrotfish
Buri/鰤: yellowtail
Chidai/血鯛: Crimson sea-bream,Porgy
Chouzame/蝶鮫、鱘: sturgeon
Dojyou/ドジョウ、鰌:loach
Ebisudai/エビスダイ、恵比寿鯛: Deepwater squirrelfish, Ebisu perch, Giant squirrelfish
Ebodai (also called Ibodai)/えぼ鯛(疣鯛): Japanese butterfish, Melon seed, Wart Perch
Fuedai/フエダイ、笛鯛: star snapper
Fugu/フグ、鰒、河豚: Globefish
Fuka/フカ、鱶: shark
Funa/フナ、鮒: crucian carp (fresh water)
Ginzake/銀鮭: coho salmon, silver salmon
Gomasaba/ごまさば、胡麻鯖: blue mackerel
Goten anago/御殿穴子: a cheap variety of Anago/穴子: conger eel, arisoma meeki (Jordan and Snyder)
Hachibiki/ハチビキ、葉血引: Bonnetmouth/Pacific Bonnetmouth (also called Aka saba/赤鯖/Red Mackerel)
Hagatsuo/ハガツオ、歯鰹: striped bonito
Hakkaku (also called Tokubire)/八角 (トクビレ): a variety of poacher, Podothecus sachi
Hamadai/ハマダイ、浜鯛 (also called Onaga/尾長): flame snapper, longtailed red snapper, Onaga
Hamafuefukidai/浜笛吹鯛: a cheap variety of snapper, lethrinus nebulosus (Forsskal)
Hamo/鱧: pike eel
Hata/ハタ、羽太: grouper, the expensive variety
Hata hata/ハタハタ、鰰: a sandfish
Haze/ハゼ、蝦虎魚、鯊: goby
Hedai/ヘダイ、平鯛: goldlined seabream-tarwhine-stumpnose

fish,fresh fish,higetara,

Higetara/ヒゲタラ、髭鱈: snubnose brotula
Himedai/ヒメダイ、姫鯛: Crimson snapper,Sea-perch,Snapper

fish,fresh fish,himekari

Himekari/ヒメカリ、姫光: a rare deep sea fish found in Suruga Bay near Numazu City
Hirame/平目、鮃、比目魚: sole, flatfish
Hiramasa/ヒラマサ、平政: yellowtail amberjack
Hirasaba/ヒラサバ、平鯖: chub mackerel, Pacific mackerel, blue mackerel
Hirasoudagatsuo/ヒラソウダカツオ、平宗田鰹: auxis, variety of bonito, bullet tuna
Hirasuzuki/ヒラスズキ、平鱸: a variety of sea blackbass
Hokke/ホッケ: Okhotsk atka mackerel, Arabesque greenling
Honkamasu/ホンカマス、本梭魚、本梭子魚、本魳 (also called Akakamasu/赤梭魚、赤梭子魚、赤魳): red barracuda, sphyraena pinguis Gunther
Honmaguro/本鮪 (also called Kuromaguro/黒鮪): bluefin tuna
Hoshigarei/ホシガレイ、星鰈: “Star Turbot”,verasper variegatus (Temmink and Schlegel)
Houbou/ホウボウ、方々: red gurnard, red robin
Ibodai (also called Ebodai)/ 疣鯛(えぼ鯛): Japanese butterfish, Melon seed, Wart Perch
Ikanago/イカナゴ、玉筋魚: Japanese sand lance
Indomaguro/インドマグロ、印度鮪 (also known as Minamimaguro/南鮪): Southern Bluefin tuna
Irako anago/伊良子穴子: a cheap variety of Anago/穴子: conger eel, synaphobranchus kaupii Johnson
Isaki/イサキ、伊佐木、伊佐幾、鶏魚: chicken grunt
Ishidai/石鯛: striped beakfish, barred knifejaw
Ishigaki-Ishigakidai/石垣-石垣鯛: spotted knifejaw
Ishigarei/イシガレイ、石喰霊: stone flounder
Ishimochi/イシモチ、石持: silver croaker, white croaker, silver jewfish
Iso kasago/イソカサゴ、磯笠子、磯瘡魚: a variety of rockfish
Iwana/イワナ、岩魚、嘉魚、鮇: char, charr
Kaiwari/カイワリ、貝割: whitefin trevally
Kajikimaguro/カジキマグロ、梶木鮪・旗魚鮪 (also known as Makajiki/真梶木・真旗魚): spearfish (blue) marlin
Kagokakidai/カゴカキダイ、駕籠担鯛: Stripey, Microcanthus strigatus (Cuvier)
Kamasu/カマス、魳、梭魚、梭子魚: barracuda
Kanpachi/カンパチ、間八、環八: greater amberjack, Japanese amberjack
Karasugarei/カラスガレイ、烏鰈: Greenland halibut, Mock halibut, Bastard halibut, Black halibut, Reinhardtius hippoglossoides (Walbaum)
Karei/カレイ、鰈: righteye flounder
Kasago/カサゴ、笠子、瘡魚: False kelpfish, Marbled rockfish
Kasugo/カスゴ、春子鯛: young Madai/真鯛: Japanese seabream
Katsuo/カツオ、鰹: bonito
Kawahagi/カワハギ、皮剥: filefish, leather jacket
Kibinago/キビナゴ、黍女子、黍魚子、吉備女子、吉備奈仔: silver-stripe round herring,
Kibire/キビレ、黄鰭: yellowback seabream
Kihadamaguro/キハダマグロ、黄肌鮪 (also known as Kiwada/キワダ(Tokyo, Wakayama), Gesunaga/ゲスナガ(Shizuoka), Mashipi/マシビ(Osaka, Kochi) and Kinhire/キンヒレ: yellowfin tuna
kijihata/キジハタ、雉羽太(also called Akou/茂魚,石茂魚): redspotted grouper
Kinki/キンキ、金色魚: Thornhead, Idiot, Sebastolobus macrochir (Gunther)
Kinmedai/キンメダイ、金目鯛: splendid alfonsino
Kintokidai/キントキダイ、金時鯛: red bigeye
Kisu /キス、鱚、鼠頭魚: sand boarer
Ko Aji/コアジ、子鯵: very young horse mackerel (also called Mame aji/豆鯵)
Kochi/コチ、鯒、牛尾魚: flathead
Kohada (konoshiro)/コハダ、小肌(鰶・鮗・鯯・鱅): dotted gizzard shad
Koi/コイ、鯉: carp (fresh water)
Konoshiro (kohada)/コノシロ、小肌(鰶・鮗・鯯・鱅): dotted gizzard shad
Korodai/コロダイ、胡蘆鯛: a cheap variety of snapper, diagramma pictum
Kose/コセ: A variety of Stripped jack, also called Shima aji/縞鯵!
Koshinagamaguro/コシナガマグロ、腰長鮪 (also called Bakemaguro/化け鮪): longtail tuna, longtailed tuna, spot-side tuna (the smallest tuna in Japan)
Koshyo (Koshiodai)/コショウダイ、胡椒鯛: crescent sweetlips
Kuchimidai/クチミダイ、口美鯛 (also called Menada/目奈陀・目魚): haarder, redlip mullet, Liza haematocheila (Temminck and Schlegel)!
Other names I will have to add to the lexicon!
Kue/クエ、九絵、垢穢: longtooth grouper
Kurodai/クロダイ、黒鯛: Japanese black porgy
Kuromaguro/クロマグロ、黒鮪(also called Honmaguro/本鮪): bluefin tuna

fish,fresh fish,kuromebaru

Kuro Mebaru/クロメバル、黒眼張、黒眼張魚、黒鮴/Black Japanese sea perch
Kuromutsu/クロムツ、黒鱫、黒鯥: Black gnomefish
Kuro shitabirame/黒舌平目: Black Sole
Kyuusen/キュウセン、九線・九仙 (also called Bera/ベラ): halichoeres poecilopterus (Temminck and Schlegel) a cheap variety of snapper in Eastern Japan, but an expensive one in Western Japan
Maaji/マアジ、真鯵: Japanese jack mackerel
Ma anago/マアナゴ、真穴子 (also called Maru anago/丸穴子): a cheap variety of Anago/穴子: conger eel, conger myriaster (Brevoort)

fish,fresh fish,madai,

Madai/マダイ、真鯛: Japanese seabream
Madara/マダラ、真鱈: Pacific cod
Magarei/マガレイ、真鰈: flounder, yellow striped flounder, turbot, halibut
Maiwashi/マイワシ、真鰯: sardine
Makajiki/マカジキ、真梶木・真旗魚 (also known as Kajikimaguro/梶木鮪・旗魚鮪): spear fish (blue) marlin
Makubuu/マクブー (also called Shirokurabera/シロクラベラ): Okinawa Blackspot tuskfish, Choerodon shoenleinii (Valenciennes)
Mame aji/マメアジ、豆鯵: very young horse mackerel (also called Ko Aji/子鯵)
Managatsuo/マナガツオ、真魚鰹: butterfish
Mandai/マンダイ、万鯛 (also called Akamanbou/赤万包): Opah,Moonfish
Maruaji/マルアジ、丸鯵: “round horse mackerel”, decpterus akaadsi Abe
Maru anago/丸穴子 (also called Ma anago/真穴子): a cheap variety of Anago/穴子: conger eel, conger myriaster (Brevoort)
Marusoudagatsuo/丸宗田鰹: auxis, variety of bonito, frigate tuna
Masu/マス、鱒: trout
Masunosake/マスノサケ、鱒の介: king salmon, chinok salmon
Matoudai/マトウダイ、的鯛、馬頭鯛: John dory, St Peter’s fish
Matsukawagarei/マツカワガレイ、松川鰈: An expensive variety of Japanese Karei/鰈: righteye flounder, verasper moseri Jordan and Gilbert
Mebachi/メバチ、目鉢・眼撥 (also known as Mebachimaguro/目鉢鮪・眼撥鮪or as Bachimaguro/鉢鮪・撥鮪): big-eyed tuna
Mebachimaguro/メバチマグロ、目鉢鮪 ・眼撥鮪(also known as Mebachi/目鉢 、眼撥or as Bachimaguro/鉢鮪・撥鮪): big-eyed tuna
Mebaru/メバル、眼張、眼張魚、鮴: Japanese sea perch, Japanese rock fish
Medai/メダイ、目鯛: an expensive variety of Japanese snapper, hyperoglyphe japonica
Meichidai/メイチダイ、目一鯛: an expensive variety of Japanese snapper, Gymnocranius griseus
Meitagarei/メイタガレイ、目板鰈: Frog-flounder, Finespotted flounder, Seriola quinqueradiata Temminck and Schlegel
Mejina/メジナ、眼仁奈: largescale blackfish
Mejiro/メジロ、目白: young Buri/鰤: yellowtail
Mekajiki/メカジキ、眼梶木・眼旗魚: swordfish, broadbill
Menada/メナダ、目奈陀・目魚 (also called Kuchimidai/口美鯛): haarder, redlip mullet, Liza haematocheila (Temminck and Schlegel)!
Menuke/メヌケ、目抜: a Japanese variety of rock fish/sea perch, “flame fish”, sebastes flammeus (Jordan and Starks)
Minaimaguro/ ミナミマグロ、南鮪 (also known as Indomaguro印度鮪): Southern Bluefin tuna
Mizukamasu/ミズカマス、水魳、水梭魚、水梭子魚: a variety of Japanese barracuda
Mutsu/ムツ、鱫、鯥: gnomefish
Namazu/ナマズ、鯰: catfish (fresh water)
Nanyoubudai/ナンヨウハギ: blunt headed parrotfish, parrotfish, Chlorurus microrhinos (Bleeker)
Nishin/ニシン、鯡・鰊: herring
Nodokuro/ノドグロ、喉黒 (also called Akamutsu/赤鱫、赤鯥): Rosy seabass
Noresore/のれそれ: conger eel whiting
Oaka Aji/オアカアジ、尾赤鯵:Red tail horse mackerel
Ohyou/オヒョウ、大鮃: halibut
Okimebara/オキメバラ、沖目張 (also called Usumebaru/薄目張): sebastes Thompson (Jordan and Hubbs): a variety of Japanese sea perch, Japanese rock fish
Okoze/オコゼ、虎魚、鰧: velvet fish
Onaga/オナガ、尾長(also called Hamadai/浜鯛): flame snapper, longtailed red snapper, Onaga
Onigochi/オニゴチ、鬼鯒、鬼牛尾魚/a variety of sand borer

fish,fresh fish,onikasago,

Onikasago/オニカサゴ、鬼笠子、鬼瘡魚: Devil scorpion fish
Renkodai/レンコ鯛、連子鯛: Yellowback seabream
Saamon torauto/サーモントラウト: salmon trout
Sagoshi/サゴシ/Another name for Sawara/鰆/Japanese Spanish mackerel
Sake, Shake/サケ、鮭: salmon
Samegarei/サメガレイ、鮫鰈: roughscale sole, clidoderma asperrimum (Temminck and schlegel)
Satsuki masu/サツキマス、皐月鱒: Red spotted masu trout, Satsukimasu salmon
Sakura masu/サクラマス、桜鱒: seema, cherry salmon, masu salmon
Same/サメ、鮫: shark
Sanma/サンマ、秋刀魚、青串魚: mackerel pike
Sappa/サッパ、鯥: Japanese shad
Sawara/サワラ、鰆: Japanese Spanish mackerel
Sayori/サヨリ、細魚、針魚: halfbeak
Sennendai:センネンダイ、千年鯛: Emperor red sanpper
Shiira/シイラ、鱪、鱰: mahi mahi, dolphinfish
Shimaaji/シマアジ、縞鯵・島鯵: striped jack, white trevally
Shimanagatsuo/シマナガツオ、縞鰹: Striped butter fish (not to be confused with Suma/縞鰹: a variety of bonito found in South Japan/same kanji characters!)
Shinko/シンコ: young Kohada (konoshiro)/小肌(鰶・鮗・鯯・鱅): dotted gizzard shad
Shirauo/白魚: white bait
Shirasu/白子(Namasirasu/生白子 if raw): sardine whiting
Shirokurabera/シロクラベラ (also called Makubuu/マクブー): Okinawa Blackspot tuskfish, Choerodon shoenleinii (Valenciennes)
Shiro mebaru/シロメバル、白眼張、白眼張魚、白鮴: white Japanese sea perch-rockfish
Shirosaba Fugu/シロサバフグ白鯖河豚: a variety of globefish/puffer fish, lagocephalus wheeleri abe, tabeta and kitahama
Shishamo/ししゃも、柳葉魚: Shishamo (meaning willow leaf fish, a kind of Japanese smelt), Spirinchus lanceolatus
Soi or Kurosoi/ソイ、曽以、クロソイ、黒曽以: a variety of black rockfish, sebastes schlegeli, 1880
Sujiara/筋 (also called Aka jinmiidai/赤仁羽鯛): red-spotted rockcod, blue spotted grouper, plectropomus leoparadus(Lacepède,1802)
Suma/縞鰹: a variety of bonito found in South Japan. Not to be confused with Shimanagatsuo/縞鰹(same kanji characters!): striped butter fish

fish,fresh fish,suzuki,

Suzuki/スズキ、鱸: Japanese seabass, Japanese dace

fish,fresh fish,scabbard,

Tachiuo/太刀魚、魛: scabbard fish, cutlass fish
Tai/鯛: Seabream (in Japan, it means the best variety!), red snapper
Taiseiyoumaguro/大西洋鮪: Atlantic (including Mediterranean) bluefin tuna
Takabe/タカベ、鰖: Yellowstriped Butterfish
Tara/タラ、鱈: cod
Tobiuo/トビウオ、飛魚: flying fish
Tonbomaguro/トンボマグロ、蜻蛉鮪(also known as Binchoumaguro/鬢長鮪 and Binnaga/鬢長): Albacore
Torafugu/トラフグ、虎河豚・虎鰒: globefish
Tsubodai/つぼ鯛: pentaceros japonicus Doderlein (seabream variety)
Ugui/ウグイ、鯎、石斑魚: a Japanese dace, fresh water minnow
Umazura/ウマヅラ、馬面 (also called Umazurahagi/馬面剥): black scraper, Filefish, Scraper, a large variety of filefish
Umazurahagi/ウマヅラハギ、馬面剥(also called Umazura/馬面): black scraper, Filefish, Scraper, a large variety of filefish
Unagi/ウナギ、鰻: eel (only cooked)
Urumeiwashi/うるめ鰯: round Herring
Usumebaru/ウスメバル、薄目張 (also called Okimebara/沖目張): sebastes Thompson (Jordan and Hubbs): a variety of Japanese sea perch, Japanese rock fish
Utsubo/ウツボ、鱓: moray eel
Wakasagi/ワカサギ、公魚、鰙、若鷺: pond melt, Japanese melt (fresh water)
Yagara/ヤガラ、矢柄: trumpet fish

Robert-Gilles Martineau

Robert-Gilles Martineau

Robert-Gilles Martineau, a 40-year French resident in Shizuoka and japan has been blogging and writing about his love for Japanese gastronomy and tourism in three languages since 1998. His motto: "There is always a new place to visit and a new food to taste out there!"


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