A beautiful Dutch seaside resort has become well-known to Japanese people over the years and unfortunately it’s not due to any special campaigns or travel commercials.

It’s all due to the unfortunate way it’s written and pronounced, according to Japanese language conventions. The town is called Scheveningen, which seems innocent enough to western ears, but in Japan, the way it’s transliterated means it’s pronounced “Sukebeningen,” which happens to mean “lecherous people” in Japanese.

Even among people in Japan with no interest in geography and who have never travelled abroad, many know the name of the small resort town on the other side of the world. It’s a name that sticks in their memory from childhood studies of atlases and maps which record the area as スケベニンゲン, read “Sukebeningen” in Japanese.

▼ No sukebe ningen here


Since the revolution of digital technology, however, new information sources such as Google and YouTube hint at a new, much less naughty (and comical) pronunciation for the beachside resort area. Our Japanese reporter, Yuichiro, decided to make the trip to Holland to get to the bottom of the story, asking locals to confirm the name of their town.


Travelling by tram from the Hague, the Scheveningen coast looked beautiful on approach. The great scenery makes this one of the top resort areas in the Netherlands. After gaining such notoriety in Japan, it was something of a revelation to step off the tram and finally be in the land of Scheveningen!


Yuichiro quickly got to work, asking the friendly locals to help him pronounce the name of their town. Sure enough, it was a pronunciation he’d never heard of before and wouldn’t quite know how to replicate using Japanese katakana characters. Do you think you know what it’s really called? Check out the video below to find out!

Mystery solved. Although our cheeky reporter couldn’t resist the urge to ask locals if this was the land of “sukebe ningen”, the correct pronunciation is, thankfully, entirely different. Now there’s only one more place for Yuichiro to visit – a small outback town in Queensland, Australia. The furthest town from the sea.

▼ Since its name is spelled just like the Japanese words for “pornographic comic books.”


Photos: © RocketNews24,  Norfolk Nomads
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