Japanese Glossed Reading – Mount Fuji

Reading in Japanese

In this post, I’ll introduce you to a new method of approaching reading in Japanese. I often use it with my coaching clients. It’s what I call ‘Japanese Glossed Reading'.

It allows you to expose yourself to Japanese texts and gradually get used to its word order.

In this method, the original text is followed by its 'glossed' version. This contains the rōmaji transcription and a deliberately literal translation for each chunk of meaning that makes up a sentence.

On top of that, a more natural translation of the same sentence is provided.

There are very few learning materials available that adopt this useful system for getting used to reading a language "in context". This is likely because of the time it takes to create them.

Ilya Frank’s Reading Method

Reading in Japanese

For this post, I was inspired by the work of the famous Russian philologist Ilya Frank and his "Reading Method", and so decided to adapt it to the Japanese language.

On his website, you can find many books created in this way for various languages, but unfortunately they are aimed at native Russian speakers.

As far as Japanese is concerned, you will find a few folktales with a literal translation into English and a brief lexical commentary. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.  

Ily Frank's method is essentially based on massive reading and simple passive learning.

The psychological basis of this method is the fact that as you start mastering a foreign language,  you don’t treat it as an object of study, but use it as a tool (which is what it actually is).

Of course, this method alone will not improve your communication skills. However, it’s much easier to learn to speak when you already have a passive command of a language.

So, are you ready to dive into this new method and learn a bit about Mount Fuji?

Cool! Let's start right away with the first paragraph:


What Kind of Volcano is Mount Fuji?

Reading in Japanese

富士山(ふじさん)は、静岡県(富士宮市、裾野市、富士市、御殿場市、駿東郡小山町)と、山梨県(富士吉田市、南都留郡鳴沢村)に跨る活火山である。標高3776.12 m、日本最高峰(剣ヶ峰)の独立峰で、その優美な風貌は日本国外でも日本の象徴として広く知られている。数多くの芸術作品の題材とされ芸術面のみならず、気候や地層など地質学的にも社会的に大きな影響を与えている。懸垂曲線の山容を有した玄武岩質成層火山で構成され、その山体は駿河湾の海岸まで及ぶ。


富士山(ふじさん)は [fujisan (fuji-san) wa] Mount Fuji 、静岡県(富士宮市、裾野市、富士市、御殿場市、駿東郡小山町)と、山梨県(富士吉田市、南都留郡鳴沢村)に跨る活火山 [Shizuoka ken (Fujimiya-shi, Susono-shi, Fuji-shi, Gotenba-shi, Suntō-gun Oyama-chō) to, Yamanashi ken (Fujiyoshida-shi, Minamitsuru-gun Narusawa-mura) ni matagaru katsukazan] an active volcano that straddles Shizuoka Prefecture (Fujinomiya City, Susono City, Fuji City, Gotemba City, and Oyama Town, Sunto County) and Yamanashi Prefecture (Fujiyoshida City and Narusawa Village, Minamitsuru County) (ken – prefecture; shi – city; chō – town; gun – county; mura – village; katsukazan – lit. “active+volcano”).  である [dearu] is

Mount Fuji is an active volcano that straddles Shizuoka Prefecture (Fujinomiya City, Susono City, Fuji City, Gotemba City, and Oyama Town, Sunto County) and Yamanashi Prefecture (Fujiyoshida City and Narusawa Village, Minamitsuru County).



標高3776.12 m、日本最高峰(剣ヶ峰)の独立峰で、その優美な風貌は日本国外でも日本の象徴として広く知られている。

標高3776.12 m [hyōkō sanzen nana-hyaku nanajūroku ten jūni meetoru] With an elevation of 3776.12 m (hyōkō - elevation)、日本最高峰(剣ヶ峰)の独立峰で [Nihon saikō-hō (Kengamine) no dokuritsu-hō de] it is the highest independent peak in Japan (Kenga-mine), and… (saikō – the highest; hō – “peak” used in compound words; dokuritsu - independent)、その優美な風貌は[sono yūbi na fūbō wa] its graceful appearance (yūbi na – graceful; fūbō - appearance) 日本国外でも[Nihon kokugai demo] even outside of Japan (kokugai – lit. outside of the country; demo - even) 日本の象徴として [Nihon no shōchō to shite] as a symbol of Japan (shōchō – symbol; to shite - as) 広く [hiroku] widely 知られている [shirarete iru] is known (shirareru – to be known; passive form of “shiru” – to know)

With an elevation of 3776.12 m, it is the highest independent peak in Japan (Kengamine), and with its graceful appearance is widely known as a symbol of Japan even outside of the country.



数多くの芸術作品の題材とされ[kazuōku no geijutsu sakuhin no daizai to sare] It has been (made) the subject of many works of art, and… (kazuōku no – many, numerous; geijutsu – art; sakuhin – work; daizai – subject [of a work of art]; to sareru – lit. “to be made” = to be chosen as; to be regarded as) 芸術面のみならず [geijutsu-men nominarazu] not only in terms of art, (but also)… (men – aspect, point of view; nominarazu – not only, [but also])、気候や地層など地質学的にも [kikō ya chisō nado chishitsu-gaku-teki ni mo] …geologically, such as (for its) climate and geological formation (kikō – climate; chisō – stratification, stratification, rock layers; chishitsugaku teki ni – in terms of geology) 社会的に大きな影響を与えている [shakai-teki ni ōkina eikyō o ataete iru] (it) has had a great impact socially (shakai teki ni – socially; ōki na – great; eikyō – impact, influence; ataeru to have, to give)

It has been the subject of many works of art and has had a great social impact not only artistically but also geologically, due to its climate and geological formation.




懸垂曲線の山容を有した玄武岩質成層火山で構成され [kensuikyokusen no san'yō o yūshita genbugan-shitsu seisō kazan de kōsei sare] It consists of a basaltic stratified volcano with a catenary profile, and… (kensuikyokusen no – lit. “of a catenary curve”, the curve that an idealized hanging chain or cable assumes under its own weight when supported only at its ends; san'yō – lit. “mountain appearance”; yū shita – having; genbugan-shitsu – basaltic; seisō kazan – stratified volcano; kōsei sareru – to be made of)、その山体は [sono santai wa] its body (santai – lit. “mountain body”) 駿河湾の海岸まで [Suruga-wan no kaigan made] up to the coast of Suruga Bay (wan – bay; kaigan - coast) 及ぶ (oyobu) extends

It consists of a basaltic stratified volcano with a catenary profile, and its body extends to the coast of Suruga Bay.



The Cult of Mount Fuji

Reading in Japanese




古来霊峰とされ [korai reihō to sare] Regarded as a sacred mountain since ancient times (korai – since ancient times; reihō – lit. “sacred peak”; to sareru – to be regarded)、特に山頂部は[toku ni sanchō-bu wa] its summit in particular (toku ni – particularly; sanchō bu – lit. “mountain-top-part”) 浅間大神が鎮座するとされたため [asama ōkami ga chinza suru to sareta tame] because it was believed to be the seat of the Great God Asama (asama ōkami – great god Asama; chinza suru – to be enshrined, to be the seat of; tame – since, because)、神聖視された [shinsei-shi sareta] (it) was considered sacred (shinsei shi sareru – lit. “sacred-view” + the passive form “sareru” – to be made)

Since ancient times, Mount Fuji has been considered a holy mountain, and its summit in particular was considered sacred because it was believed to be the seat of the great god Asama.




噴火を沈静化するため [funka o chinsei-ka suru tame] In order to calm down its eruptions (funka – eruption; chinsei ka suru – to calm down) 律令国家により [ritsuryō kokka ni yori] by the Ritsuryo State (ritsuryō kokka – ancient government of Japan based on written legal codes called “ritsuryo”, a combination of “ritsu” [criminal penal law] and “ryo” [administrative law]) 浅間神社が祭祀され [sengen jinja ga saishi sare] the Sengen Shrine was built, and… (sengen jinja – Sengen Shrine, also called “Asama Jinja” = Asama Shrine; saishi sareru – to worship; to build a shrine) 、浅間信仰が確立された [sengen shinkō ga kakuritsu sareta] the Sengen faith was established (sengen shinkō – lit. “sengen faith”, in which Mount Fuji is deified as the Great God Asama; kakuritsu sareru – to be established)

To calm its eruptions, the Ritsuryo State (the ancient government of Japan) built the Sengen or Asama Shrine here. This led to the establishment of the Sengen faith.




また [Mata] In addition、富士山修験道の開祖とされる富士上人により [Fuji-san shugendō no kaiso to sareru Fuji Shōnin ni yori] by Fuji Shonin, the founder of Mount Fuji Shugendo (Fuji-san shugendō – lit. “fuji-mount asceticism”, a Japanese type of mountain asceticism-shamanism incorporating Shinto and Buddhist concepts; kaiso – founder; to sareru – to be considered; Fuji Shōnin - a Buddhist monk in the late Heian Period who performed mountain ascetic practices on Mount Fuji) 修験道の霊場としても [shugendō no reijō to shite mo] also as a sacred spot for Shugendo (reijō – sacred place; to shite - as) 認識されるようになり[ninshiki sa reru yō ni nari] (it) came to be recognized, and… (ninshiki sareru – to be recognized; yō ni narru – to get to the point of)、登拝が行われるようになった [tohai ga okonawareru yō ni natta] “tohai” came to be practiced (tohai – lit. “climb + worship” means Climbing Mount Fuji while worshipping its divine virtues; okonawareru – to be practiced)

In addition, the Buddhist monk Fuji Shonin, founder of a form of asceticism known as Mount Fuji Shugendo, recognized Mount Fuji as a sacred spot for Shugendo, so people began to climb and worship it.




これら富士信仰は [korera Fuji shinkō wa] These Fuji [forms of] worship 時代により [jidai ni yori] according to the times 多様化し[tayō-ka shi] have diversified, and…、村山修験や富士講といった一派を [Murayama shugen ya Fuji-kō to itta ippa o] …to groups such as Murayama Shugendo or Fujiko (Murayama shugen - Mount Fuji Shugendo centered in Murayama, present-day Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka Prefecture; Fuji-kō – Edo period Shinto sect dedicated to the worship of Mount Fuji; to itta = such as; ippa – school, group) 形成するに至る [keisei suru ni itaru] led to forming (keisei suru – to form; ni itaru – to lead to)

These forms of Mount Fuji worship diversified with the times, and came to form schools such as Murayama Shugen (Mount Fuji asceticism based in Murayama) and Fuji-ko (an Edo period Shinto sect dedicated to the worship of Mount Fuji).




現在 [genzai] Today、富士山麓周辺には [Fuji-san fumoto shūhen ni wa] around the foot of Mount Fuji (fumoto – foot of a mountain; shūhen – area around) 観光名所が多くある他 [kankō meisho ga ōku aru hoka] besides the many existing sightseeing spots (kankō – sightseeing; meisho – famous places; ōku aru - to be numerous; hoka – apart from, besides) 、夏季シーズンには [kaki shīzun ni wa] during the summer season 富士登山が [Fuji tozan ga] the climbing of Mount Fuji 盛んである [sakan dearu] is popular

Today, there are many sightseeing spots around the foot of Mount Fuji, and climbing this mountain has become popular during the summer season.


The Fame of Mount Fuji




日本三名山(三霊山)[Nihon san-mei-zan (san-rei-zan)] Three (most) famous mountains in Japan (Sanreizan)、日本百名山 [Nihon hyaku-mei-zan] (one of the) 100 (most) famous mountains in Japan、日本の地質百選に [Nihon no chishitsu hyaku-sen ni] as (one of the) 100 (best) geological sites in Japan (chishitsu – geological; hyakusen – kett. “100 + selection”) 選定されている [sentei sarete iru] has been selected

It has been selected as one of the three most famous mountains in Japan, one of the 100 most famous mountains in Japan and one of the 100 best geological sites in Japan.




また [Mata] Moreover、1936年(昭和11年)には [sen-kyūhyaku sanjūroku-nen (Shōwa jūichi-nen ni wa] in 1936 (11th year of the Showa Era) 富士箱根伊豆国立公園に [Fuji Hakone Izu kokuritsu kōen ni] as Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park (kokuritsu – national; kōen – park)  指定されている [shitei sarete iru] was designated

The area was also designated as Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park in 1936.




その後 [Sono go] After that、1952年(昭和27年)に [sen-kyūhyaku gojūni-nen (Shōwa nijūnana-nen) ni] in 1952 (Showa 27),特別名勝 [tokubetsu meishō] a special scenic spot (tokubetsu – special; meishō – scenic spot)、2011年(平成23年)に [nisenjū-nen (Heisei nijūsan-nen) ni] in 2011 (Heisei 23) 史跡 [shiseki] a historic site、さらに2013年(平成25年)6月22日には[sara ni nisenjūsan-nen (Heisei nijūgo-nen) rokugatsu nijūni-nichi ni wa] and also on June 22, 2013 (Heisei 25) (sara ni – moreover, also) 関連する文化財群とともに [kanren suru bunkazai-gun to tomo ni] along with related cultural assets (kanren suru – to be related; bunkazai – cultural assets; to tomo ni – along with)「富士山信仰の対象と芸術の源泉」の名で[‘Fujisan - shinkō no taishō to geijutsu no gensen’ no na de] under the name ‘Mount Fuji: Object of Worship and Source of Art’ (shinkō – worship; taishō – object; geijutsu – art; gensen – source; na - name) 世界文化遺産に [sekai bunka isan ni] as World Cultural Heritage (sekai – world; bunka – culture;  isan - heritage) 登録された [tōroku sareta] was registered

It was subsequently added to the World Heritage List as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty in 1952, a Historic Site in 201, and as 'Mount Fuji - Object of Worship and Source of Art' on June 22, 2013.



So, how did it go? Was it useful to you to read this text using the ‘Japanese Glossed Reading’ method?

If you found it useful, feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

As I said, creating texts like this one takes a lot of time, but I am happy to create more if you think they can help you make progress in your Japanese.

I am in favor of total immersion in a language and learning "in context", so I love helping people like you who want to read something in Japanese, even if they don't have the right level yet.

So I really value your opinion!

See you soon,



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