Ten Japanese Hospital Vocabulary Words You Should Know

Tsukuba Medical Center

So today, I was back at the hospital again, because for some reason I’ve been having a nagging pain every time I sit for the last month now. It makes blogging (one of my favorite things) a bit hard to do, but I’m not letting that stop me. For the last month, I’ve also been told to lay off of the physical activities, which means I’ve been putting on a bit of unwanted pounds. I am dreadfully close to disregarding the doctor’s advice, because it’s not getting any better, so I can at least lift my spirits with some exercise.

When I went today, I was able to get more thorough testing done, still no answers. They used that same Sonogram machine again and did a more thorough search. We were pinpointing where the pain was, and seemingly it was just below the underwear line. The doctor checked, and checked, and checked but couldn’t find the cause. I had to sit, stand, do muscle resistance checks and so on. In the end he decided to have me come back and do a CT scan on the 23rd. A CT scan, Computerized Tomography Scan, is a when the doctors inject you with a special dye that that helps a machine to capture a clearer, colored image of the inside of your body.

After deciding to do that, the doctor sent me to go to have blood drawn. This blood test was to check for normal renal function. For people with abnormal renal function, doing a CT scan isn’t advised by medical professionals. I’m guessing it must be an issue with the body being able to expel the dye after the procedure takes place.

While I was sitting and waiting for the paperwork, I looked down at my watch 10:20, and looked at how many people were waiting…quite a few. My hopes of going back to work to salvage half the day were fading. I went to the bathroom and called my scheduler to let her know what was happening, and that things were running later than I had planned. She told me that it might be better to miss the day, that my health comes first.

I went back to my seat, and when I did, I heard a man say “Donald?” For some reason when people do try to say my name right in Japan, instead of sounding like “dah-nald” it sound like “DO-nald.” I can’t fault him for trying, though.

When I turned I saw that it was a former AEON student of mine, Mitsuaki. He was also getting blood testing done. Mitsuaki sat with me and we chatted a bit about how English classes were going, and my elementary school job, etc.. He sat with me the entire time, and made sure I knew exactly where to go and what to do. Mitsuaki at times, when I was working at AEON, seemed to be a bit strange, but I was happy to sit and talk to him. Because we were waiting for a little while I asked about some of the kanji around me, and ended up making a small, impromptu Japanese lesson out of it.

Sorry for the long-winded intro, but after talking with Mitsuaki, I made a list of

Ten Japanese Hospital Vocabulary Words You Should Know

1. Uketsuke (うけつけ or 受付)

Reception Counter/Reception desk- When you walk in this the main area you’ll probably see a number of staff members handling patient paper work. You go here to fill out a form (many hospitals have both English and Japanese) saying what your symptoms are, medical history, medication allergies, etc.. The kanji for uketsuke, 受付, can be translated to mean booth. So when you see this kanji at a hospital or doctor’s office, think “booth.”

2. Shoushinuketsuke (しょうしんうけつけ or 初診受付)

First Time Visitors Booth- This is probably going to be a subsection of the reception area, if your local hospital has it.

3. Yoyakuuketsuke (よやくうけつけ or 予約受付)

Reservation Booth- Go here to schedule appointments, or if you have an appointment already scheduled. So we have uketsuke again which means…YEP, that’s right…booth. Yoyaku means reservation. Oddly enough I could recognize this kanji from the post I did on How to Use a Japanese Washing Machine. Mitsuaki was telling that the first kanji “yo,” 予, of yoyaku means in advance. The second, yaku (or 約) means promise. What is a reservation? A promise in advance! I thought that was cool.

4. Kyukyuuketsuke (きゅうきゅううけつけ or 救急受付)

Emergency Booth- Again, the name says it all. The word Kyuukyuu, 救急, means first aid or emergency and like we saw earlier, uketsuke means booth.

5. Hokenshou (ほけんしょう or 保険証)

Insurance card: Japan is on a public health care system, so for most people you should have one of these from your employer, it makes medical costs much much cheaper. I had one with my previous employer but am now on a plan with a private insurance company. Hoken, 保険, means insurance or guarantee while shou, 証, in this case means evidence, proof or certificate.

6. Shinsatsuken (しんさつけん or 診察券)

Hospital Membership Card: Any time you visit a new clinic for the first time, whether you have an insurance card or not, you’ll be issued one of these. Shinsatsu or 診察 means medical examination. Ken, 券, can mean ticket or card.

7. Shinsatsushitsu (しんさつしつ or 診察室)

Examination Room: The place where the doctors check you out and diagnose your sypmtoms. Look! It’s Shinsatsu again, 診察, which means medical examination and shitsu, 室, means room.

8. Saiketsushitsu (さいけつしつ or 採血室)

Blood Testing Room- I think the name says it all here :) Saiketsu, 採血, means drawing blood and room is Shitsu, 室.

9. Kaikeimadoguchi (かいけいまどぐち or 会計窓口)

Accounting window/Payment Booth- This is where you go to pay those hospital fees, which can very dramatically from clinic to clinic. For example the emergency room here in Tsukuba runs a bout 5000 yen per visit, whereas as my first visit to St. Luke’s was over 9000 yen! The good news is I’ll get the majority of that money reimbursed. Kaikei, 会計, means accounting. Madoguchi, 窓口, means window or booth.

10. X sensatsueiuketsuke (エックスせんさつえいうけつけ or X線撮影)

The X-Ray Room- Hmm…I wonder what happens here. Satsuei, 撮影, means photography. When you put the X in the front it’s like X-ray photography.

Mitsuaki thanks for the quick hospital Japanese lesson!

Donald Ash

P.S.-If you have any that you want to add, please feel free. This is BY NO MEANS an exhaustive list.

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  • Amanda

    Oh this is really useful, thanks! Actually it was from your blog that I learned about “atatamemasuka” too :). You’re so helpful!

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