A group that is at war in Syria can be called IS, ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh in English. In Japanese daily conversation, what is the best name that can be used for that group?

  • gohoo.org/15021303 you might find this interesting which shows what ive noticed myself too about media (NHK especially) changing how they call the group. not really about daily convo though. イスラム[国]{こく} is what i normally hear in convo but that might change in near future if more media shifts to different names
    – Robin
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 23:20

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure if it's the best way to refer to the group, which I think would depend on your motives, but my favorite journalist, [池上]{いけがみ}[彰]{あきら}, uses 「イスラム国{こく}」, and I think that's a pretty clear choice.

You can also use 「[ISIL]{アイシル}」 (which is what the Japanese Wikipedia article uses). Since "ISIL" is an acronym, it is more opaque in that sense, and more likely to not be understood by someone unfamiliar with the topic. I think the main reason to use this acronym would be to be in sync with what the American government is calling the group.

[IS]{アイエス} and [ISIS]{アイシス} are also both in use (possibly more than ISIL), but I think there isn't much of a reason to use them, since they are opaque, and if you're looking to be in sync with the American government's naming, neither is useful.


As @naruto points out in the comment section, 「イスラム国」 seems to have become quite a controversial name to use, at least within the mass media sphere.

In particular, it looks like media uses all sorts of longer expressions since around early 2015, such as

  • 「過激派組織IS=イスラミックステート」 (NHK)
  • 「イスラム過激派組織『イスラム国』(IS=Islamic State)」 (The Asahi Shimbun, The Tokyo Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun)
  • 「『イスラム国』を名乗る過激派組織=ISIL(アイシル)」 (TBS Radio)
  • 「イスラム過激派組織・イスラム国」 (Fuji News Network, Kansai TV)

in order to prevent misunderstandings (such as 「イスラム国」 meaning イスラム教の国), to be more in line with foreign media, and likely, as a political stance.

Perhaps this means it makes more sense to use an acronym like ISIL to avoid controversy, but I think 「イスラム国」 is probably still the most conversational way to refer to it.

  • ok. It looks like the chaos we have in English also exists in Japanese. The name to use just depends on context. thanks!
    – david.t
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 23:31
  • On most news channels in Tokyo at least I have seen an overwhelming use of イスラム国. Online (and in print) dailies like the Yomiuri and Mainichi use イスラム国 or provide either ISIS, ISIL or IS in brackets after the Japanese. Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 0:19
  • The simple イスラム国 used to be used widely on mass media, but they intentionally stopped using it, after some people claimed that it's a politically incorrect name. Take a look at the linked Wikipedia article and you can see how NHK and other media call them. Many people are still using イスラム国 in daily conversations, and ダーイシュ is rarely understood.
    – naruto
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 3:08
  • @naruto Thank you for pointing that out. I tried incorporating some of that information into the answer. Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 3:33

While in daily conversation イスラム国 is often used, in media like NHK I never heard anything different than 過激派{かげきは}組織{そしき}イスラム国{こく}, i.e. ISIS seems to never be referred to using only イスラム国.

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