Japanese Terms in Lean – Cheat Sheet
“Lean” as a way to think and design processes comes with its own set of Japanese vocabulary. Here’s a little Cheat Sheet with the most commonly used terms and their translations.Get PDF
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Japanese Terms in Lean
Lean Manifacturing aka “The Toyota Production System” is a Japanese invention and enriches our vocabulary
- Muda – Wasteful Activity
- Mura – Imbalance
- Muri – Overburden
- Kaizen – Incremental Change
Kanban strives for this kind of small, continuous improvement.
- Kaikaku – Radical Change
Introducing Scrum is one example for a sudden, disruptive improvement initiative.
- Genba – Actual Place
Best known in the phrase “Gemba Walk”, which means to go where the work is done and observe. This is not just a management activity.
- Genchi Genbutsu – Actual Place, Actual ThingOften translated as “go and see”. It means to gather facts and consensus for goal achievement at best speed (not necessarily the fastest).
- Poka Yoke – Mistakeproof
Japanese Variant of KISS
- Hansei – Self Reflection
Contains 2 parts: Recognizing the mistake yourself & pledge improvement