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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 bangbangbangbang! 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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