The Advent of Pitch Accent: Pronouncing FuwaMoco’s Names Correctly

The new Hololive English generation, HoloAdvent, has made their debut after more than two years of waiting. Among the five Virtual Youtubers are actually a pair of twins—the Abyssgard sisters Fuwawa and Mococo, collectively known as FuwaMoco. And while there is a lot to potentially talk about (including the fact that Fuwawa is a Genshiken fan!!!), I want to focus on one thing: The pronunciation of their names.

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During their inaugural stream, Fuwawa and Mococo made some requests to viewers about their names. First, their last name isn’t pronounced “a-BYSS-gard” but rather A-byss-gard.” Second, their first names are “FU-wa-wa” and “MO-co-co,” and not fu-WA-wa” and “mo-CO-co.” With those specifics, FuwaMoco has brought overseas Hololive fans back into the realm of “pitch accent,” a prevalent element of the Japanese language.

The Pitch Accent Rabbit Hole

Much has been said about Japanese and pitch accent already. Multiple language-learning Youtubers, such Dougen and Yuta, have dedicated videos to the topic. Use of pitch accent can differentiate meanings of words, but more often, hitting the correct pitches can make your Japanese sound more natural and easier to understand for native speakers. 

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In the realm of Hololive, it’s one of the things that makes Inugami Korone’s regional accent so distinct. As heard in the above video, her pitch accents are very different from those of the more standard Japanese spoken by Murasaki Shion.

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It’s even to the point that native Japanese speakers can have trouble with Korone. However, because pitch accent is hard to teach from a textbook and not as prominent in English, it can be a challenge for those going from English to Japanese to even pick up on the differences. Even in those Korone videos, there are comments from people saying that they can’t really hear the difference.

Nailing FuwaMoco’s Names

Incorrect pitch accent isn’t necessarily a deal breaker when it comes to learning Japanese, and how much you want to devote to it is a matter of personal priority. Is sounding closer to native speech more important than learning a wider vocabulary or memorizing kanji, for example? But if your goal is to pronounce FuwaMoco’s names correctly, then you can start from there.

Let’s first look at their family name, Abyssgard. While technically it’d be “Abisugaado” in Japanese, for our purposes, we can ignore those particulars (and in fact, FuwaMoco do the same.)

When focusing on the “Abyss” part of it, the incorrect pronunciation is “a-BYSS” and the correct one is A-byss.” When wrong, it sounds more like the English word “amiss,” while the right one is closer to how you’d say “pumice.” 

“Pumice Guard.”


You can then carry that distinction to their given names, Fuwawa and Mococo, because those follow a similar pattern: FU-wa-wa and MO-co-co.

Going Forward

Keep in mind that the above guide is not a universal rule or anything. If you continue to study Japanese pronunciation, you’ll definitely find plenty of words that don’t follow those specific pitch accents. Also, regardless of whether you can say their names perfectly without effort or you find it to be a struggle, it doesn’t make you less of a fan.

And in the meantime, let’s enjoy their singing.

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