I have the following translation I need to do for my introductory Japanese class.


So far I have the following.

Recently there have been a lot of traffic accidents so when you turn left, you have to watch out for bicycles and _____ and things like that (I'm telling you).

I am not sure what 通行人 means. I think 通行 means traffic (though how is that different than 交通?) And means person. So, traffic person. I can imagine this meaning either a pedestrian or a car driver. Or maybe even a traffic directing cop.

Also, how would you pronounce this word? That is, what is the hiragana? Is it just the combination of the two parts? こうつうにん?

  • 3
    Have you tried looking it up in a dictionary? Even if you have trouble understanding the definition, you can see how it is written in kana there.
    – user1478
    Nov 27, 2013 at 3:13

2 Answers 2


As a dictionary would tell you, it's 通行人【つうこうにん】. As kanji represent the meaning of a word, one way to understand kanji compounds is by changing each into its own word. In this case, 通行人 becomes 通【とお】り行【い】く人【ひと】 -- a person who goes by crossing.

Which is to say, a pedestrian.

  • Thanks so much. I wasn't aware of 通り being something. Good to know. :) Nov 27, 2013 at 3:41
  • 通り is the -ます form of the verb 通【とお】る, which is sometimes used for linking verbs. You could also say 通【とお】って行く人, which means basically the same thing.
    – rintaun
    Nov 27, 2013 at 3:56

通行人 means "pedestrians" and nothing else and it is read つうこうにん.

交通 means "traffic" whereas 通行 mostly means "passing". In other words, 交通 is more general and abstract, and 通行 is more specific and is used to describe the flow of the traffic in a limited area and/or for a limited time frame. Macro vs. micro, so to speak, though with some overlap.

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