As someone who studies Japanese budo you may have heard and wondered what is the difference between Jitsu, Jutsu and Jyutsu. While in English the words are used interchangeably in Japanese the difference is obvious. Jitsu (実) or to read it in the Japanese kana じつ actually means something real or whole and as such is not the word that should be associated with budo.
On the other hand, Jyutsu (術) in the Japanese kana is read as じゅつand can mean technique, method of art and IS the Japanese word associated with budo. Where some of the confusion comes from is depending in the Romanisation system being used (e.g. Hepburn, JSL, Nihon-Shiki etc). In this case, the extended vowels, such as じゅ can be written as ‘jyu’ or ‘jū’. In the latter case the long vowel is indicated by a dash above the given vowel or it is translated directly from the Japanese kana notation. Strictly speaking the 'ju' sound does NOT exist in Japanese - only 'jyu'.
To make things just that more confusing sometimes, as in the case of ‘judo’, although it should be written as Jyudo or Jūdo, it has moved into common English as Judo. But specifically speaking “judo’ is wrong as it ‘jujitsu’ - which should be written as jyujyutsu (柔術).
This all makes from mass confusion, especially if you are trying to have a conversation in Japanese and your sense hears you say Jitsu (実) when you actually mean Jyutsu (術)!!! So remember even if others don’t use the ‘jyu’ sound when talking about budo jyutsu, your sensei and those of us with a finicky Japanese disposition will appreciate your efforts at clarity.
There again, I live in ToKeyYo and practice kerayte!
Stay well, stay clear. Remember intercultural competence starts with trying our best to communicate clearly.
Okinawan and Japanese Budo
James M. Hatch
International Educator who happens to be passionate about Chito Ryu Karate. Born in Ireland, educated in Canada, matured in Japan