Let’s Learn Japanese With Luna! Part 1

I’m sure a lot of you will remember that we launched our online ZenPop manga called FULL MOON MAGIC which you can read on Instagram.

It is drawn and written by a professional Japanese manga and therefore entirely in Japanese. Although we have begun to add translations to the photos and publish it for free so everyone can read it, we thought it would be a great idea to teach you Japanese with the manga. Here we go!

Frame 1 - The Legend of the Moon

Frame 1 - Full Moon Magic

月 の 話 を し っ て る か い?

Tsuki no hanashi wo shitteru kai?

"Have you heard the legend of the moon?"


Tsuki means “moon” in Japanese.

The kanji (Chinese character used in the Japanese writing system) comes from the image of the moon. It was initially drawn with two clouds drifting past the moon (hence the two lines in the middle).

Due to the Japanese legend of the bunny on the moon, we decided it would be an excellent name for ZenPop's lovable mascot. The world Luna originally comes from Latin and the Roman goddess of the moon. Any Sailor Moon fans may also recognize the name from Usagi’s black guardian cat, Luna.


月の話 - tsuki no hanashi - legend of the moon

月の話 (tsuki no hanashi) - means “story of the moon.” When 話す(hanasu) is used as a verb it means to speak. However, if it is used as a noun it means “story”, “speech”, or “legend”. の (no) is a possessive particle and is very similar to the word “of” in English. The only major difference is in English we would say “Story (A) of the moon (B), whereas in Japanese it is the other way round “月 (tsuki) の (no) 話 (hanashi).

When the Grandma in the Full Moon Manga says “tsuki no hanashi” in this case, she is referring to the legends of the moon.

月の話をしってるかい? - tsuki no hanashi wo shitteru kai? - Did you hear the legend of the moon?


しってるかい? - shitteru kai? - Do you know?

しってる (shitteru) comes from the verb 知ります (shirimasu) which means knowing something. When you ask someone “shitteru?” it means “do you know?”

Nee shitteru?

を (wo) is a direct object particle. That name seems pretty scary, but it is very simple. If you can replace a word with “it” (or the) in a sentence, then it is the direct object of the sentence. For example:

Do you know the legend of the moon? - In this case “the legend of the moon” (tsuki no hanashi) is the direct object of this sentence. を (wo) always comes after the direct object to mark it.

月の話知ってる? (tsuki no hanashi wo shitteru? Means do you know the legend of the moon?


But what does “kai” mean?

Putting kai or ka at the end of a sentence indicates that it is a question (usually a question that seeks a yes or no answer). The difference is that kai sounds like you are speaking from a position (moral or power) higher than others, so in everyday life, we would rarely use kai when addressing another person (unless it is in a joke). In the case of the manga, it is the child’s grandmother speaking, so it is entirely natural.

To bring everything together the frame in Luna’s adventure natural translation would be “Have you heard the legend of the moon?

Frame 1 - Full Moon Magic

Let’s continue this story together to learn more about Luna, her adventures on Earth and learning Japanese through it. See you next time!

Read Part 2

Article| 22/02/2019 | Pop culture