4/27/16

Japanese Words in English

Source(s): penpaland.com

 There might hardly be a language in the world, which is not influenced by at least one or two languages. Just as many English words have proliferated into other languages, there are many foreign/non-English words that are commonly used in the English language today. This Buzzle article presents a list of Japanese words that are used and accepted in English.

Did you know?
Although Japan is the only country in the world to have Japanese as its official language, 127 million people around the world speak Japanese.

apanese is the official language of Japan and Palau. The Japanese language has three main dialects, namely Tokyo dialect, Kyoto-Osaka dialect and Kyushu dialect. This language belongs to the Japonic-Ryukyuan group of languages.

It is made up of three different scripts, namely kanji, hiragana, and katakana. All three scripts are said to have been derived from 'Chinese' characters. There are a number of Chinese words which have made their way into the Japanese language. At the same time, Japanese also has loanwords from Indo-European languages like English.

In the US, especially in the state of California, there are more than 42,000 Japanese-speaking people. The English language has always been enriched with words from different cultures and languages. So, how can Japanese words be an exception to this rule?

Having said that, let's take a look at some Japanese loanwords used in the English language.

Japanese Words Pronunciation Meaning
Aikido ahy-kee-doh Japanese martial arts
Anime an-uh-mey Animation
Bento ben-taw A home-packed meal
Banzai bahn-dzah-ee Cheer of enthusiasm or triumph
Bonsai bon-sahy Miniature tree grown in a tray or shallow pot
Dashi dah-shee Soup stock; fundamental to Japanese cooking
Dojo doh-joh Any physical training facility
Futon foo-ton A type of mattress
Geisha gey-shuh Traditional Japanese female entertainers
Haiku hahy-koo Short poem of 3 lines
Harakiri hahr-uh-keer-ee A ritual suicide carried out by cutting the belly
Hibachi hi-bah-chee Traditional Japanese heating device
Ikebana ee-ke-bah-nah Japanese art of flower arrangement
Imari ee-mari Plates and cups made of multicolored porcelain
Judo joo-doh A sport adapted from jujitsu and similar to wrestling
Jujitsu joo-jit-soo Martial art form
Kabuki kah-boo-kee Traditional Japanese theater
Kanji kahn-jee Japanese writing using Chinese characters
Kamikaze kah-mi-kah-zee Divine wind or a pilot trained and willing to cause a suicidal crash
Kakemono kah-ke-maw-naw A vertical hanging scroll containing either text or a painting
Karaoke kar-ee-oh-kee Singing popular songs along with recorded music
Karate kuh-rah-tee Type of Japanese martial art
Kendo ken-doh Martial art form
Koto kaw-taw Traditional musical instrument
Kimono kuh-moh-nuh Outer garment, generally made of silk
Koi koi A colorful, ornamental carp fish
Manga mahng-guh Comics
Makimono mah-kee-maw-naw Horizontal hand scroll containing either text or a painting
Miso mee-saw Paste made from fermenting rice, soybean, koji and sea salt
Noh noh Stylized classic drama of Japan
Ninja nin-juh A skilled warrior
Obi aw-bee A long, broad sash used over a kimono
Origami awr-i-gah-mee Paper-folding art
Pachinko puh-ching-koh A Japanese pinball game
Ramen rah-muhn A variety of Japanese noodle dish
Ronin roh-nin A samurai without a master
Rickshaw or Jinrihisha rik-shaw/jin-rik-shaw Human-pulled vehicle
Sake sah-kee Alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice
Samurai sam-oo-rahy Japanese warrior
Sashimi sah-shee-mee Thinly sliced, fish or raw meat
Satsuma sah-tsoo-mah A kind of mandarin orange
Sayonara sah-yaw-nah-rah Goodbye
Sensei sen-sey Master, teacher
Seppuku se-poo-koo A ritual suicide carried out by cutting the abdomen
Shoyu shoh-yoo Japanese soy sauce
Shamisen sæmɪ-sen Three-stringed musical instrument
Shiatsu shee-aht-soo Acupressure massage
Shogun shoh-guh A military commander
Surimi soo-ree-mee Minced fish flavored in imitation of lobster or crabmeat
Sudoku soo-doh-koo Literally means 'single number', but now associated with a number puzzle
Sumo soo-moh A Japanese form of wrestling
Sushi soo-shee Vinegared rice topped with raw fish, shellfish and rarely vegetables
Tanka tahng-kuh Short poem form consisting of five lines with 31 syllables
Tatami tuh-tah-mee Straw matting
Teriyaki ter-uh-yah-kee Cooking technique in which fish or meat is grilled in soy marinade
Tofu toh-foo Bean curd
Tsunami tsoo-nah-mee Large waves as a result of underwater earthquakes or other disturbances
Tycoon or Taikun tahy-koon A businessperson of great wealth and power; magnate
Typhoon tahy-foon Violent tropical storm or cyclone
Ukiyo-e oo-kee-yaw-e Painting and printmaking developed in Japan
Wasabi wah-suh-bee Green paste similar to horseradish
Zaibatsu zahy-bah-tsoo Business Conglomerate
Zen zen Branch of Mahayana Buddhism
Zori zawr-ee A Japanese sandal; formally worn with kimono on special occasions


I have tried to cover the most common Japanese words used in the English language here, but if you think I have missed out on some, then please leave a comment in the box given below and I will be glad to add them.

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