I'm reading a web novel and the author made up a nickname for a very rundown area of the city the characters live in:


There's no furigana so I'm not sure of the reading, but my guess is "Hinkongai" (ひんこんがい) so "gai" rather than "Machi" reading.

Is my assumption correct? If it is does it mean fictional place names using the 街 kanji as a suffix will always be pronounced "gai"?

  • 1
    If it's a generic noun (not a proper noun), you are right.
    – user4092
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 23:23
  • 2
    Hmm I doubt 貧困街 is a fictional place name... I think it's a generic noun (meaning "poverty area" or "slums"), not a proper noun...
    – chocolate
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 4:20

1 Answer 1


If the author didn't provide furigana for its reading, it could be pretty ambiguous.

According to Google Translate, it's read as ひんこんまち, but @user4092 has noted it would only be read that way as a proper noun.

However, "ひんこんがい" goes with all ONYOMI reading, instead of ひんこんまち, which goes with on-on-kun. (Kun short for kunyomi.)

A commenter who seems to be native has noted that your assumption of ひんこんがい sounds more natural.

  • Sure +1. Could you make your "Hinkongai" more prominent? Because we are so used to read 中華街 as ちゅうかがい, or 繁華街 as はんかがい, or etc.
    – karlalou
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 21:29
  • 3
    You don't read it "hinkon-machi" unless it's a proper noun. Google Translate is not reliable to begin with.
    – user4092
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 1:26

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