We often assume that languages are unique and different from each other, and this (false) assumption leads to our fear of learning new languages. We overlook the fact that there are several ‘Borrowed Words’ in every language, which makes learning a new language easier and a fun thing to do. If you already speak English fluently and interested in learning Japanese, you will be glad to know that there are several words in English that have been borrowed from the Japanese language.
Here we take a look at 10 English words of Japanese origin.
In English, it means a long, high sea wave caused by an earthquake or other disturbance. The word ‘Tsunami’ comes from the two kanji words 津 (tsu) meaning “harbor” and 波 (nami), meaning “wave”.
In English, it means, for the purpose of or for the interest of in order to achieve something. However, in Japanese, it means something completely different. In Japanese sake 酒 (さけ) literally means “alcohol.”
In English, it means a tropical storm. The word ‘Typhoon’ comes from the two kanji words 台 (たい) means “table” or “pedestal,” and 風 (ふう) means “wind.”
In English ‘Origami’ folding paper into decorative shapes and figures. While in Japanese 折 (おり) means “to fold,” and 紙 (がみ) is “papers”.
According to the Cambridge dictionary, the exact English meaning of the word Zen is “not to worry”. While the Kanji Meaning: 禅 (ぜん) literally means “silent meditation”.
In English “emoji” is a small digital image used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication. The Kanji Meaning: 絵 (え) means “picture” and 文字 (もじ) is “character” or “letter”.
This word is originally a Japanese word, which has the same English meaning as well. In English, it means a type of mattress that can be rolled up or a bed or seat made from such a mattress. Kanji Meaning: 布 (ふ) means “linen” or “cloth” and 団 (とん) is “group”.
People often think the word Rickshaw came from China, however it was first used in Japan in 1869, which literally meant “human-powered vehicle.” In English there is a slight change in meaning, it means a light two-wheeled passenger vehicle drawn by one or more people.
English meaning of Tofu is, a soft white substance made from soya beans. While the Kanji Meaning: 豆 (とう) is “beans” and 腐 (ふ) means “ferment” or “rot”.
It’s a Japanese way of writing a poem of seventeen syllables. Kanji Meaning: 俳 (はい) means “poem”. The meaning of the word doesn’t change in English.
Now that you know some of the most popular English words borrowed from Japanese, why not increase your understanding of doing business in Japan with our Japanese Business Etiquette Guide.