Generally, Japanese reads & sounds like Italian. You pronounce every single letter you see. Vowel sounds are: a (ah) i (ee) u (oo) e (eh) o (oh). Letter J is soft as in English "jump"; letter G is hard as in English “go".

Japanese Name (Pronunciation) English Translation/Explanation

Aiai ji (eye-eye jee)

"Lover" bridges (cut-away bridges that fit into each other when space is tight)

Bachi kawa (ba-chee ka-wa)

Protective half-moon paper (for where bachi hits shamisen)

Bachi (ba-chee)

Plectrum (for playing shamisen)

Chūzao (chew-zow)

Medium-thick necked shamisen, usually used for jiuta style music

Dō  (dough)

"Box", i.e. skin-covered portion of shamisen

Dō  gomu (dough go-moo)

Rubber pad used on brocade cover of shamisen (to prevent arm slipping)

Dō  gomu shiiru (dough go-moo shee-roo)

Rubber pad used on bottom edge of shamisen (to prevent it slipping off leg)

Dō  ita (dough ee-ta)

Wood board to protect skin of shamisen

Dō  kake (dough ka-kay)

Brocade (nagauta, jiuta) or lacquer (Tsugaru) cover on top edge of shamisen

Fuhon (foo-hon)

Sheet music book

Fukuro (foo-koo-roe)

Wrap-around style fabric protective sheath for koto or shamisen

Futozao (foo-toe-zow)

Thick-necked shamisen with big sound, usually used for Tsugaru-style music

Fumendai (foo-men-dye)

Music stand (used when playing in Japanese style, i.e. on the knees)

Gakufū  (ga-koo-foo)

Sheet music

Hasami (ha-sa-mee)

Paper-clip-like item used for holding koto pick sets together

Hibari ji (hee-ba-ree jee)

Five-step koto bridge (allows for multiple sound adjustments)

Hichiriki (hee-chee-ree-kee)

Small Japanese front-blown flute with reed

Hiza gomu (hee-za go-moo)

Small rubber lap pad (prevent shamisen from slipping off leg)

Hosozao (ho-so-zow)

Thin-necked shamisen with light sound, usually used for nagauta-style music

Ito (ee-toe)

Strings for instruments

Ito maki (ee-toe ma-kee)

Peg for tuning strings on shamisen

Itoshime ki (ee-toe-she-may-key)

Apparatus used to string a koto

Itoshime bo (ee-toe-she-may-bo)

Wooden dowel used to string a koto

Ji (jee)

Koto bridges

Jibako (jee ba-ko)

Box for koto bridges

Jiuta (jee-oo-ta)

Classical shamisen music, often played with koto accompaniment

Jūshichigen (joo-shee-chee-gen)

17-string bass koto

Kēsu (kay-soo)

Case (for instruments)

Koma (ko-ma)

Removeable bridge for shamisen

Koma ire (ko-ma-ee-ray)

Container for holding shamisen bridge(s)

Koto (ko-toe)

Japanese floor harp with 13 strings

Kuchimae sakku/kabā (koo-chee-my sack-koo/ka-bah)

Brocade cover at playing end of koto

Min’yō (meen-yo)

Japanese folk music

Nagauta (na-ga-oo-ta)

Long songs for shamisen, music from Kabuki

Neo (nay-oh)

Fabric knot at end of shamisen used to hold strings in place

Nijūgen (nee-joo-gen)

21-stringed koto

Ōgire (oh-gi-ray)

Brocade piece at foot end of koto that stops strings from cutting into wood

Rissōdai (ree-so-dye)

Stands used to elevate koto so performer can play seated in a chair

Ryūteki (ree-oo-tek-ee)

Side-blown flute

Sangen (san-gen)

Alternate name for "shamisen", the 3-stringed banjo

Sayōhime (sa-yo-hee-may)

Silencer to dampen sound of koto when practising

Shakuhachi (sha-koo-ha-chee)

Front-blown bamboo flute

Shamisen (sha-mee-sen)

3-stringed banjo

Shinobi goma (shee-no-bee go-ma)

Silencer to dampen sound of shamisen when practising

Taiko (tie-ko)

Drum, barrel or timpani type

Torii gata (toe-ree-ee ga-ta)

Stand used to slightly elevate head of koto off floor when playing on the knees

Torii dai (toe-ree-ee-dye)

Stand used to slightly elevate head of koto off floor when playing on the knees

Toronku (toe-run-koo)

Instrument "trunk" or hard case

Tsugaru (tsoo-ga-roo)

Region of Northern Japan especially known for its loud, fast folk shamisen music

Tsume (tsoo-may)

Plectra or picks worn on right hand to play koto

Wa (wa)

Bands used to hold the tsume (picks) on to fingers

Yokobue (yo-ko-boo-eh)

Side-blown flute

Yubi kake (yoo-bee-ka-kay)

Knit finger cover for left hand, used when playing shamisen

Yubi suri (yoo-bee soo-ree)

Knit finger cover for left hand, used when playing shamisen

Yūtan (yoo-tan)

Protective fabric that covers the top of the koto