てじな [tejina] – ‘Hand’ (手) plus ‘wares’ (品) gives us the Japanese word for sleight-of-hand. The word 奇術 [kijutsu] is similar to ‘illusion’ and is typically used for larger-scale magic tricks. 魔術 [majutsu] (‘magic’) is a bigger word still, because it can also refer to mystical spell casting in addition to performance magic.

Older Japanese words include 手妻 [tezuma] and 品玉 [shinadama].

Too much to remember? Don’t worry, the Japanese understand マジック [majikku], which is equivalent in meaning to the broadly-defined 魔術.


Words for magician, based on the words explained above.

  • 手品師 [tejinashi]
  • 奇術師 [kijutsushi]
  • 魔法使い [mahouzukai]
  • マジシャン [majishan]

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Posted under Vocabulary Bank by Nihonshock.

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