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.
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