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How to pronounce Fukushima

Important memo to all newscasters, newsreaders, broadcast journalists, reporters, and anyone else appearing on TV or radio or on a podcast who has to pronounce the name Fukushima, the Japanese city whose nuclear reactors are in trouble after the March 2011 earthquake:

Fukushima is not pronouced fuu kuu SHEEE ma.

You don’t pronounce it as though you were a slow child sounding it out one syllable at a time with your finger. There is no really strong American stress in the word. It isn’t like Moo Goo Gai Pan. The word doesn’t go bang-bang-bang-bang! There is no English vowel “ee” as in “feel” anywhere in the word, and there is no heavy stress anywhere.

It’s pronounced fu KUU sh’ma. The apostrophe represents a schwa. There’s light stress on the second syllable.

If you can read real phonetics, it’s as follows: [fuˌkuʃɘmʌ]

(That means Hiroshima is not and was never pronounced hero SHEEE ma.)

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