Japanese support for Ukraine took a linguistic turn last Friday when the government officially changed the transliteration of the country’s capital to キーウ (Kīu, Kyiv) from the Russian-derived キエフ (Kiefu, Kiev). Other new pronunciations include チョルノービリ (Chorunōbiri, Chernobyl), オデーサ (Odēsa, Odessa), ハルキウ (Harukiu, Kharkiv) and ルハンシク (Ruhanshiku, Luhansk).

The move came just over a week after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave an 演説 (enzetsu, speech) to Japan’s parliament, one of many he has given to governments around the world.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.