More about netsuke
Netsuke “a small figure used on a man’s sash” is a loanword from Japanese that is equivalent to ne, “root,” combined with tsukeru, “to attach.” In English, the Hepburn system is widely used for transliterating Japanese into the Roman alphabet, and one feature of this system is that it romanizes Japanese vowels using their counterparts in Romance languages such as Italian and Spanish. The one Japanese vowel that differs substantially from its closest Romance equivalent is u; Japanese u is pronounced as “oo” in boot but with the lips unrounded—similar to English “oo,” as in book. In certain syllables, the u is voiceless, which sounds in English as if there is no vowel at all. This is why Japanese netsuke is typically pronounced in English variously as “net-skey,” “net-suh-key,” “net-soo-key,” or “net-soo-key.” Netsuke was first recorded in English in the early 1880s.
EXAMPLE OF NETSUKE USED IN A SENTENCE
He had left behind his favorite sash with a two-horned dragon netsuke on it, making everyone worry about his swift departure.