Arama They Didn't

4:16 pm - 09/13/2011

Surprising loan words from Japanese to English

goo Ranking had a fun little ranking survey recently, looking at what unusual loan words that have come from Japanese to English. I believe the survey was conducted based on a Japanese Wikipedia list of loan words.


Over the 22nd and 23rd of July 2011 over 1,000 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. However, the link to the sample demographics does not work. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

About the only words you’ll find in a dictionary are hikikomori, which made it into the Oxford dictionary a couple of years ago, and the food ones. I’d like to know how Wikipedia decided on which words to list, as outside of the cooking ones most seem related to anime and manga, in particular the more seedy side of it.

Ranking result

Q: What do you think are unusual loan words that have come from Japanese to English? (Sample size=just over 1,000)

Rank Word Meaning Score
1 Bakayaro You idiot! 100
2 Jibaku Suicide bomber 72.4
3 Binta To hit someone, usually as corporal punishment 69.0
4 Bishojo Beautiful young girl 68.5
5 Bishonen Handsome young boy 64.8
6 Hikikomori Person who shuts themselves away from the world in their room 64.0
7 Gashapon Capsule toy vending machine 56.7
8 Gyaru Japanese corruption of “gal”, an over-madeup, over-dressed young woman 52.2
9 Oyaji Middle-aged man, old git 51.2
10 Konjo Will power 48.6
11 Cosplay From costume play, dressing up as characters from anime, etc 43.0
12 Dango Small, sweet rice starch ball 42.3
13 Kawaii Cute 39.1
14 Dashi Stock, broth for Japanese cooking 33.9
15 Mottainai What a waste! 33.1
16 Teriyaki Meat of fish grilled in a sweet soy sauce 26.5
17= Shabu-shabu A dish featuring thin strips of beef you boil yourself 25.5
17= Wabi-sabi The quintessential Japanese aesthetic 25.5
19 Yakitori Skewered grilled chicken 24.7

Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
kimchikimi 13th-Sep-2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
Dead@ Weeboo alert.XD
musikologie 13th-Sep-2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure the only word on this list that the average English speaker knows is "teriyaki".
asweetsymphony 13th-Sep-2011 09:23 pm (UTC)
LOLS! This. sushi and teriyaki.
nativedance 13th-Sep-2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
im surprised about mottainai, feels like it should be neko or DESU or something
asweetsymphony 13th-Sep-2011 09:22 pm (UTC)
What about sushi, mono no aware, tsunami and otaku?
k0dama 13th-Sep-2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
haha seriously, how do they make a "loan words" list without otaku, sushi, and tsunami? wtf wtf. Or Typhoon.
flightbyzephyr 13th-Sep-2011 09:44 pm (UTC)
lol I know like 3 at most. People are kidding themselves if they think that english speakers know all of these.
ewanfan1 13th-Sep-2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
I have never heard an English speaker use "oyaji" "binta" or "jibaku" :/ Not even those in my Japanese classes who thought they were masters due to their intense anime watching.
atelierlune 13th-Sep-2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
Is it possible that some of these words are used more in populations with a higher Asian concentration? Because I had never heard of konjo, binta, or jibaku before, and I'm a so-called fangirl.
synthesizia 13th-Sep-2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
Can these technically be considered loan words? The aren't well known at all. The only people that would use them are weeaboos and actual Japanese-Americans, right? Except the food ones, maybe.
gator_yoong 13th-Sep-2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
I like how the lower ranked food ones are REALLY the only ones that are used in English...because they're food.

Hikikomori is also acceptable. Cosplay too. However, the rest? No. No one says "kawaii" unless they're a weeaboo.
feel_my_mind 13th-Sep-2011 10:44 pm (UTC)
shouldn't it be more like Sushi, Hibachi, Tsunami, Anime, Futon, Karate, Origami, Zen, Soy, Samurai, Sumo, etc

Seriously, nobody uses the listed words. They use the ones above. (All these words, except Anime, actually go through English Spell check. I doubt those other words would)
koutaishi 13th-Sep-2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
farks 13th-Sep-2011 10:55 pm (UTC)
what the hell happened to anime and manga? or are they not even considered loan words anymore lmao.
darlingpoppet 13th-Sep-2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
real japanese loan word that blew my mind when i learned its origin: honcho (as in "he's the head honcho of this whole operation!") yep :P
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
ma_i_do_a_ri 13th-Sep-2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
sushi. wasabi. toyota. anime. teriyaki. BAKA.

...those are about some of the very limited words applicable. the words on the list are a tad too japanese XD
frozen_rii 13th-Sep-2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
No "karaoke"?
fauxparadiso 13th-Sep-2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
No Ramen?
rainbow_yarn 14th-Sep-2011 10:07 am (UTC)
I don't think that's originally Japanese
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
This page was loaded Nov 29th 2023, 2:55 pm GMT.