List of English words of Japanese origin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Words of Japanese origin have entered many languages. Some words are simple transliterations of Japanese language words for concepts inherent to Japanese culture, but some are actually words of Chinese origin that were first exposed to English via Japan. The words on this page are an incomplete list of words which are listed in major English dictionaries and whose etymologies include Japanese. The reverse of this list can be found at List of gairaigo and wasei-eigo terms.

Arts[edit]

bokeh 
(from ぼけ boke), subjective aesthetic quality of out-of-focus areas of an image projected by a camera lens.
bonsai 
盆栽 About this sound listen , "tray gardening"; the art of tending miniature trees. Originated from Chinese 盆栽penzai)
bunraku
[1] 文楽, a form of traditional Japanese puppet theatre, performed by puppeteers, chanters, and shamisen players.
haiku 
俳句 About this sound listen , a very short poem consisting of three lines of 5, 7, and 5 morae (not syllables as commonly thought) each; see also tanka below.
ikebana 
生花, flower arrangement.
imari
[2] 伊万里, Japanese porcelain wares (made in the town of Arita and exported from the port of Imari, particularly around the 17th century).
kabuki
[3] 歌舞伎, a traditional form of Japanese theatre; also any form of elaborate theatre, especially metaphorically.[4]
kakemono
[5] 掛け物, a vertical Japanese scroll, of ink-and-brush painting or calligraphy, that hangs in a recess on a wall inside a room.
kakiemon
[6] 柿右衛門, Japanese porcelain wares featuring enamel decoration (made in Arita, using the style developed in 17th century by 酒井田 柿右衛門 Sakaida Kakiemon).
karaoke 
カラオケ About this sound listen , "empty orchestra"; entertainment where an amateur singer accompanies recorded music.
kirigami 
切り紙, similar to origami, but involves cutting in addition to folding.
koto
[7] 琴, a traditional stringed musical instrument from Japan, resembling a zither with 13 strings.
makimono
[8] 巻物, a horizontal Japanese hand scroll, of ink-and-brush painting or calligraphy
manga 
まんが or 漫画 About this sound listen , Japanese comics; refers to comics in general in Japanese
netsuke
[9] 根付, a toggle used to tie the sash of a kimono also to attach small items such as inro and kinchaku: sometimes beautifully carved.
noh
[10], a major form of classical Japanese music drama
origami 
折り紙, artistic paper folding
otaku 
オタク or おたく or ヲタク, a geeky enthusiast, especially of anime and manga (note that the Japanese usage has a much stronger negative connotation than the Western usage).
senryu 
川柳, a form of short poetry similar to haiku.
shamisen
[11] 三味線, a three-stringed musical instrument, played with a plectrum.
sumi-e 
墨絵, a general term for painting with a brush and black ink.
tanka 
短歌, "short poetry"; an older form of Japanese poetry than haiku, of the form 5-7-5-7-7 morae (not syllables; see also haiku above).
ukiyo-e 
浮世絵, a type of woodblock print art or painting.
waka 
和歌, "Japanese poetry"; a word used primarily to describe tanka (see above) written between the 9th and 19th centuries.
wabi-sabi 
a world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

Business[edit]

kaizen
[12] 改善, literally "change for the better." In practice, a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency, etc. Initially made famous by the 1986 book of same name.
kanban
[13] 看板, literally a "signal" or "sign" signals a cycle of replenishment for production and materials and maintains an orderly and efficient flow of materials throughout the entire manufacturing process. Part of Six Sigma
karoshi 
(Japanese: 過労死 death by overwork / stress death)
keiretsu 
系列, a set of companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings
tycoon 
(from 大君 "taikun"), "great prince" or "high commander", later applied to wealthy business leaders
zaibatsu 
財閥, a "money clique" or conglomerate

Clothing[edit]

geta
[14] 下駄, a pair of Japanese raised wooden clogs worn with traditional Japanese garments, such as the kimono
inro
[15] 印籠 inrō, a case for holding small objects, often worn hanging from the obi; (traditional Japanese clothes didn't have pockets)
kimono 
着物, a traditional full-length robe-like garment still worn by women, men and children
obi
[16] 帯, a wide belt which is tied in the back to secure a kimono
zori
[17] 草履 zōri, sandals made from rice straw or lacquered wood, worn with a kimono for formal occasions

Culinary[edit]

adzuki,[18] azuki bean
[19] あずき or 小豆 About this sound listen , type of bean grown in eastern Asia and the Himalayas, used in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cuisines, usually served sweet
arame 
荒布, a type of edible seaweed
bento 
弁当 bentō, a single-portion takeout meal, box lunch
daikon 
大根, a kind of white radish
dashi 
だし or 出汁, a simple soup stock considered fundamental to Japanese cooking
edamame 
枝豆, soybeans boiled whole in the green pod and served with salt
enokitake, enoki mushroom 
えのきたけ or 榎茸, long, thin white mushrooms, used in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisines
fugu 
河豚 or フグ, the meat of the toxic pufferfish, must be prepared by specially trained chefs by law. Also means pufferfish itself.
ginkgo 
銀杏 or ぎんなん ginnan, a gymnospermous tree (Ginkgo biloba) of eastern China that is widely grown as an ornamental or shade tree and has fan-shaped leaves and yellow fruit (the word is derived from 17th Century Japanese 銀杏 ginkyō)
gyoza 
ギョーザ or 餃子 gyōza, Japanese name for Chinese dumplings, jiaozi (jiǎozi); may also be called pot stickers in English if they are fried
hibachi 
火鉢, a small, portable charcoal grill; used in North America to refer to a teppan or a small shichirin-like aluminium or cast iron grill
hijiki 
ひじき or 鹿尾菜, a type of edible seaweed commonly found on rocky coastlines
katsuo 
鰹, a skipjack tuna
katsuobushi 
かつおぶし or 鰹節, dried and smoked skipjack tuna (katsuo), which is shaved and then used in dashi
koji 
麴 or 麹 kōji, a fungus which is the active agent in the fermentation processes, of producing miso and soy sauce from soybeans, and of producing sake and shōchū from rice.
kombu 
昆布, dried kelp, which can be eaten or used as dashi
matsutake 
松茸, a type of edible mushroom, with a magnificently spicy aroma similar to cinnamon, considered to be a great delicacy and the most coveted mushroom in Japan
mirin 
味醂, an essential condiment of the Japanese cuisine, a kind of rice wine similar to sake with a slightly sweet taste
miso 
味噌, a thick paste made by fermenting soybeans with salt
mizuna 
水菜, an edible plant, with flavor akin to the mustard plant
nappa, napa cabbage 
菜っ葉, Chinese cabbage, (in Japan, it is a generic term for leaf vegetables.)
nashi (pear) 
梨, a species of pear native to eastern Asia, which are juicy, round and shaped like apples. Often simply referred to as "asian pear(s)".
nori 
海苔, food products created from the seaweed laver by a shredding and rack-drying process that resembles papermaking.
panko 
パン粉, Japanese white bread flakes. Panko is made from bread without crusts, thus it has a crisper, airier texture than most types of breading found in Western cuisine.
ramen 
ラーメン rāmen, the Japanese version of Chinese noodle soup, not limited to the instant variety
sake 
About this sound listen ,nihon-shu(日本酒), an alcoholic beverage, brewed from rice. In Japanese, the word commonly refers to alcoholic drinks in general
sashimi 
刺身, a Japanese delicacy primarily consisting of the freshest raw seafoods thinly sliced and served with only a dipping sauce and wasabi.
satsuma 
(from 薩摩 Satsuma, an ancient province of Japan), a type of mandarin orange (mikan) native to Japan
shabu shabu 
しゃぶしゃぶ, a meal where each person cooks their own food in their own cooking pot from an assortment of raw ingredients
shiitake mushroom 
しいたけ or 椎茸 About this sound listen , an edible mushroom typically cultivated on the shii tree
shoyu 
醬油 or 醤油shōyu, Japanese soy sauce
soba 
蕎麦 or ソバ, thin brown buckwheat noodles
soy 
from shoyu 醤油
sukiyaki 
すき焼き or スキヤキ, a dish in the nabemono-style (one-pot), consisting of thinly sliced beef, tofu, konnyaku noodles, negi, Chinese cabbage (bok choy), and enoki mushrooms among others
surimi 
すり身 or 擂り身, processed meat made from cheaper white-fleshed fish, to imitate the look of a more expensive meat such as crab legs
sushi 
鮨 or 鮓 or 寿司, a dish consisting of vinegared rice combined with other ingredients such as raw fish, raw or cooked shellfish, or vegetables
takoyaki
たこ焼, たこ焼き, or 章魚焼き, literally fried or baked octopus
tamari 
溜まり or たまり, liquid obtained by pressing soybeans
tempura 
てんぷら or 天麩羅, classic Japanese deep fried batter-dipped seafood and vegetables. The word may be from Portuguese tempêro/seasoning.[20]
teppanyaki 
鉄板焼き, a type of Japanese cuisine that uses a hot iron griddle (teppan) to cook food
teriyaki 
照り焼き or テリヤキ, a cooking technique where fish or meat is being broiled/grilled in a sweet soy sauce marinade; in Japanese, it is used exclusively refer to poultry cooked in this manner.
tofu 
豆腐 tōfu About this sound listen  bean curd. Although the word is originally Chinese, it entered English via Japanese.
udo 
ウド or 独活, an edible plant found on the slopes of wooded embankments, also known as the Japanese Spikenard
udon 
うどん or 饂飩, a type of thick wheat-based noodle
umami 
旨味 or うま味, the taste sensation produced by some condiments such as monosodium glutamate; a basic flavor in sea weed (昆布 kombu)
umeboshi 
梅干, pickled ume
wakame 
ワカメ or 若布, a type of edible kelp, often used in miso soup (Japan), and salads
wasabi 
わさび or 山葵, a strongly flavoured green condiment also known as Japanese horseradish
yakitori 
焼き鳥 or 焼鳥, a type of chicken kebab

Government and politics[edit]

daimyo
[21] 大名 daimyō, "great names"; the most powerful Japanese feudal rulers from the 12th century to the 19th century
genro
[22] 元老 genrō, retired elder Japanese statesmen, who served as informal advisors to the emperor, during the Meiji and Taisho eras
mikado
[23] 帝, a dated term for "emperor"; specifically for the Emperor of Japan
shogun
[24] 将軍 shōgun About this sound listen , the title of the practical ruler of Japan for most of the time from 1192 to the Meiji Era

Martial arts[edit]

aikido
[25] 合気道 aikidō
dojo
道場 dōjō
judo
[26] 柔道 jūdō, refers to the Olympic sport.
jujutsu
[27] 柔術 jūjutsu, alternately spelt, through mutation, as jiu-jitsu in English.
karate
[28] 空手 a fighting style which includes the use of hands and feet to strike the opponent, without any weapon, and is also a popular international sports event. Literally means "empty handed".
kendo
[29] 剣道 kendō
sumo
[30] 相撲 sumō

Religion[edit]

bonze
[31] (from 凡僧 bonsō), a Buddhist monk
koan
[32] 公案 kōan, a paradoxial story or statement used during meditation in Zen Buddhism. Inspired the hacker koan tradition amongst computing circles.
satori
[33] 悟り, enlightenment in Zen Buddhism
shinto
[34] 神道 shintō, the native religion of Japan
torii
[35] 鳥居, traditional Japanese gates commonly found at the gateway to Shinto shrines
zen 
禅, from Chinese 禪 (Mandarin Chán), originally from ध्यान Sanskrit Dhyāna / Pali झान Jhāna, a branch of Mahāyāna Buddhism.

Other[edit]

akita 
秋田 (from 秋田犬, akitainu or akitaken), the Akita Inu, a large breed of Japanese dog
bukkake 
ぶっかけ, a sex act portrayed in pornographic films, in which several men ejaculate on a woman, or another man.
domoic acid 
(from ドウモイ doumoi in the Tokunoshima dialect of Japanese: a type of red algae)
futon 
(from 布団, a flat mattress with a fabric exterior stuffed with cotton, wool, or synthetic batting that makes up a Japanese bed.)
geisha 
芸者, traditional Japanese artist-entertainers
hentai 
変態 About this sound listen , Western usage: pornographic Anime, usually either Japanese in origin or drawn in a Japanese style; Japanese usage: metamorphosis, transformation, abnormality, or perversion
hikikomori 
ひきこもり or 引き籠もり, a psychological condition where the affected individual lives an extremely socially isolated lifestyle, a decision of preference not by default
honcho
[36] 班長 hanchō, head, chief
kamikaze
[37] 神風, the literal meaning is "divine wind"; used to refer to a Japanese soldier in World War II who crashed an airplane into an target, committing suicide; also refers to the airplane used in the suicide crash
katsura (tree) 
桂, large deciduous trees, native to eastern Asia
kawaii 
可愛い, cute and/or lovely.
koi 
鯉, Western usage: ornamental varieties of the common carp (but in Japan this just means "carp" – the ornamental variety are called "nishikigoi" 錦鯉)
kudzu 
(from 葛 or クズ kuzu) A climbing vine found in the south-eastern US, which is native to Japan and south-eastern China
moxa 
もぐさ or 艾 mogusa, mugwort or cotton wool or other combustible material, burned on skin during moxibustion
moxibustion 
(from moxa + (com)bustion), an oriental medicine therapy which involves the burning of moxa (see above)
rickshaw 
(from 人力車 jinrikisha/ninryokusha), a human-pulled wagon
sayonara 
左様なら or さようなら sayōnara the Japanese term for "goodbye"
sensei 
先生, the Japanese term for "master", "teacher" or "doctor". It can be used to refer to any authority figure, such as a schoolteacher, professor, priest, or politician.
shiatsu 
指圧, a form of massage
shiba inu 
柴犬, the smallest of the six original and distinct Japanese breeds of dog
shinro
しんろ, a logic puzzle related to sudoku
skosh
[38] A small amount, from 少し or すこし sukoshi, meaning "a bit" or "a few"
sudoku 
数独 sūdoku About this sound listen , a number placement puzzle, also known as Number Place in the United States.
tanuki 
狸, the Japanese name for the animal, Nyctereutes procyonoides, known as a raccoon dog in English
tsunami 
津波, literally "harbour wave"; Large wave caused by earthquakes or other underwater disturbances.
urushiol 
(from 漆 or うるし urushi, a plant that gives a skin rash on contact) a chemical substance found in poison-ivy, used to make lacquer-ware

References[edit]

  1. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  2. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  3. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  4. ^ http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_good_word/2010/04/its_time_to_retire_kabuki.html
  5. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  6. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  7. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  8. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  9. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  10. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  11. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  12. ^ [1] (Retrieved on October 21, 2013)
  13. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  14. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  15. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  16. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  17. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  18. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  19. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  20. ^ http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/198986
  21. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  22. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  23. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  24. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  25. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on March 19, 2010)
  26. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on March 19, 2010)
  27. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on March 19, 2010)
  28. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on March 19, 2010)
  29. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on March 19, 2010)
  30. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on March 19, 2010)
  31. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  32. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  33. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  34. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  35. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 16, 2009)
  36. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on April 30, 2009)
  37. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on October 7, 2011)
  38. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Retrieved on July 21, 2009)

See also[edit]