Here are some words
that have been borrowed into the English
language from Japanese
. Given the extensive recent history of Anglo-American and Japanese interaction, it is surprising just how short this list is. Roughly two hundred words of Japanese origin are used to some extent in English writing today, but the vast majority of those words are applied exclusively to things that are uniquely Japanese. Thus, words like sake
, and Zen
have been excluded.
bonze - bonsō (凡僧), "ordinary priest"
daikon - daikon (大根), "big root"
emoji - emoji (絵文字), "picture character"
ginkgo - ginkou (銀杏), "silver apricot"
honcho - hanchou (班長), "squad leader"
karaoke - karaoke (空オケ), "empty orchestra"*
kudzu - kuzu (葛), "arrowroot"
moxa - moekusa (燃え草), "burning herb"
ramen - raamen (ラーメン), "ramen"
rickshaw - jinrikisha (人力車), "manpower car"
skosh - sukoshi (少し), "a little"
soy - shouyu (醤油), "soy sauce"
tofu - toufu (豆腐), "rotten beans"
tsunami - tsunami (津波), "harbor wave"
tycoon - taikun (大君), "great prince"
umami - umami (旨味), "deliciousness"
urushiol - urushi (漆), "lacquer"
*Karaoke is an interesting case of back-borrowing, as the "oke" in karaoke is an abreiviation of okesutora, which was itself a loanword into Japanese from the English, "orchestra."