Many of you who have been here probably noticed how abundantly the English language is used here in Japan. No matter where you go, you see signs, billboards, or people wearing clothes with English words written on them, some of which don't make sense or sound strange. It is said foreign words make up about 10% of the words in the Japanese language dictionary, but some of them have totally lost their original meaning and become what is called "Japanglish"or"Japlish". Shown in this page are just a few examples of Japanglish.

English: lacking sophistication
Japanese: sensitive, delicate or shy

In English it is not flattering to describe someone as being "naive". However, in Japanese, "naive " doesn't necessarily convey the negative message. It means sensitive, delicate, fragile, innocent or shy.

Punk English: hoodlum
Japanese: flat tire

I find this one very amusing. The word "punk" in Japanese (or the word pronounced as "punk" in Japanese) means " flat tire." How did it come to have this meaning, I wonder... Oh, by the way, the word also refers to punk music just like in ENGLISH.

Note: A friend of mine told me the other day that the word might have
come from "punctured tire"
Pine juice English: ?
Japanese: pineapple juice

Although many say "pineapple juice" without shortening it,still lots of people shorten it and just say "pine juice" when referring to pineapple juice.
Nighter English:?
Japanese: night game

In English if "er" is added to a verb, it often makes the verb a noun that refers to a person who does that action. For example, the verb "teach" becomes a noun meaning a person who teaches (teacher!) if "er" is added to the word "teach." Also "er" can be added to adjectives to make the comparison form.
(tall ---> taller).

However, someone in Japan added "er" to the noun "night." Nighter! It means a baseball game played at night!

Note: I just found out that there is an English word "all nighter"
Salary man English: ?
Japanese: company employees

I have seen some English books use this word, and to some of you the word is as English as karaoke, sushi and ninja. Just as information for those of you who don't know what it means, the word refers to a company employee.. or people who work for companies and get a salary from them.
Glamour English: attractive, famous
Japanese: voluptuous

This word is used as an adjective and ONLY to describe women. It means "sexy" or "voluptuous"
Service English: service
Japanese: give away, discounts

"Service" in Japan often refers to giveaways or discounts
that people in business give to their customers.

For example, you might hear a conversation between a customer and a shop owner that goes like this:

Customer: kore ikura desuka? (How much is this?)
Shop owner: 1000 yen desu.(It is 1000 yen)
Customer: 1000 yen desuka? Chotto takai desune. (1000 yen? That is a little
Shop owner :Soreja, 100 yen sabis (service) simasuyo (Well, then, I will give you a 100 yen discount.)
Morning service English: time of worship conducted at a church on Sunday
Japanese: morning special

Here is another word that is related to service. This word refers to the morning special served in restaurants in America. I decided to post this because I thought this example would show a sharp contrast between the original meaning and the meaning that it has taken on since it has been adopted.
OL (Office lady) English: ?
Japanese: women engaging in clerical work in white collar work place

I heard that this word is used commonly by the Western media in explanations of the treatment of female workers in Japanese companies.
Rough English: crude behavior
Japanese: casually dressed

This Japanglish "rough"refers to the way someone is dressed. If you hear someone say "Kare wa rafu(rough) na kakko o shiteimasune." It means "He is dressed casually, isn't he?"

Other Japanglish:
Comments will be added soon.

- Japanglish English - Japanglish English
- stadium jumper team jacket - american coffee weak coffee
- trainer sweat shirt - jet coaster a roller coaster
- claim complaints made by customers in business - game center video arcade
- winker turn signal - back number back issue
- backmirror rear-view mirror - deep kiss french kiss
- handle steering wheel - guardman security guard
- side brake parking brake - tv talent tv personality
- front glass windshield - man to man one on one
- jar rice cooker - feminist chivalrous/ kind to women
- consent outlet, (wall) socket - flying false start
- soft cream soft serve ice cream - coca-cola light diet coke
- yankee young punk, delinquent person - fried potato (potato fry) french fries
- part part time job usually held by housewives - viking buffet
- trump playing cards - free dial toll free number
- pocket bell pager/beeper - wideshow morning show
- after service /after care service after the sales - sharp pencil mechanical pencil
- mansion condominium - cunning cheating in an exam
- my home owned house - chuck/fastener zipper
- rinse conditioner - smart thin/slim
- stove heater - health meter scale/measure
- family computer(fami com) nintendo - silver seats priority seats
- super fami com super nintendo - cost down cost reduction
- push phone touch tone phone - miss contest beatuy pageant
- one room mansion studio apartment - gasoline stand gas station
- order made custom made,/made-to-order - golden hour prime time
- manicure nail polish - high socks knee-high socks
- cooler air conditioner - morning call wake-up call
- free size one size fits all - mis mistake, error
- pick up pick out (select or choose) - key holder key chain
- cool strong, silent type of people - showwindow showcase
- accel accelerator - pocket bell beeper/pager
- number plate license plate - proportion figure
- side mirror side-view mirror - panty stocking pantyhose
- dump car dump truck - business hotel no-frills hotel/budget hotel
- resort mansion resort condominium - doctor stop doctor's orders (not to do something)
- recycle shop thrift shop/secondhand store - dust chute trash chute
- mixer blender - solar system solar heating system
- sports test physical fitness test - stand play grandstand play
- skinship physical contact - season off off-season
- summer time daylight saving time - sand bag punching bag
- coin laundry laundromat - career up improve one's career
- office love office romance - dry
(when describing a person)
- image up improvement of one's image - winning run victory run
- about
(when describing a person)
careless/sloppy/not meticulous - mother complex oedipus complex/mama's boy
- loose/lose
(when describing a person)
lax - one man
(when describing a person)
(someone who makes important decisions without consulting anyone)
- veteran old hand/old timer - case by case It depends.
- home helper visiting nurse - baby car stroller
- bed town bedroom town/bedroom community/commuter town - episode anecdote/interesting story
- baton touch have someone take over a job (a task) - paper driver inexperienced driver
- catch ball catch - pension western style small inn
- three size measurements - image change new look
- home doctor family doctor - boom fad
- playboy ladies' man - shoe cream cream puff
- sports drink isotonic drink - ball pen ballpoint pen
- apart apartment - no sleeve sleeveless


- Japanglish English - Japanglish English
- dead ball hit by a pitch - back screen centerfield screen
- top batter lead-off batter - running home run inside-the-park home run
- full base bases are loaded - four ball walk
- back net backstop - sayonara hit winning hit/ game-ending hit
- game set the game is over - sign signal

Visitors' voices

Here is a Japanglish usage that I've noticed. In the puzzle magazines
I buy, most of the pages have pictures of kitchen items, stationary,
etc., labelled "Present" (English meaning: a gift given for a special
occasion such as Christmas, a wedding or birthday, to someone one
knows personally. It is not used for gifts to strangers or advertising
giveaways.) I assume that the magazine pictures are showing what we
would call a "Prize" (something given as a reward for winning a contest
or game).

Teri Pettit
I've enjoyed reading your site, and wanted to contribute something. My
girlfriend (nihon-jin) always calls earings - earpiercings.

Kevin Ford

Additional Japanglish for you...

You didn't mention "pasokon" / "personal computer" which is very common.

Or how about "version up" / "upgrade"?

Also "bike" / "motorcycle"? (In U.S. "bike" means "bicycle").

Mike Chachic

Probably the funniest I've run across is a large, modern building in
northern Osaka bearing the proud sign of "Hotel New Archaic." (For non
native English speakers, 'archaic' means "ancient/obsolete" which makes
it the "Hotel new ancient"???)

As for "punk" for flat tire, it does make a sort of sense. Though it
doesn't refer to "punctuated", which means "has punctuation (!?.,)",
but, rather, to "punctured" which means "to have been pricked or pierced
by a small hole."

While traveling in Hiroshima, the warning note on the side of the hair
dryer provided in the hotel room says " Not to be used for the other
purpose." WHAT other purpose I want to know!

On the sidewalk just past the Kamiyacho station is a beauty parlor that
has a sign up saying " Afternoon Blow Special"

On a menu in The Ginza I saw " Bar B Que Lips"

On a door of a pachinko parlor in Shimbashi " Just give this a Paul. It
may be the Paul of your life"

What i have found interesting is the use of the words "Menu" and "Fair"
The menu is for anything that shows the services provided - The menu of
the services of a beauty parlor for example. And "fair" is used to
describe an event or a sale " 20% off fair" "Summer fair" .We first
thought this place was loads of fun with all the fairs happening !


Thanks Jun,
Your site really made me remember Japan and smile. :)
I used to eat many of those products and thought they were delicious despite
their odd names. One of my favorites treats (which I always ask my Japanese
friends to bring me) is "Melty Kiss". The name is a little strange but quite
appropriate. I gave some to my sister and she said,"That's exactly what it
is. A melty kiss."By the way, regarding movies, how about "A League of Their Own"
which came out as "Pretty League" in Japan. If I remember any more I will e-mail
you. Thanks again for the pleasant memories.

Andrew Osanka

About your "Japanglish" section: there is a Japanese mall (Yaohan) a
few miles away in New Jersey, and we have a great time in the grocery
store there, which carries such amazing products as Vermont Curry
(Vermont being a conservative northern New England state where it is
highly unlikely that anyone eats curry), Men's Pocky (as if just being
Pocky weren't enough of a problem) and my mother's particular favorite,
which is a bit too naughty to post -- Beyond Seven condoms (boastful
much?). One week, the mall sent me a flyer advertising a "JEWRY
SALE." It took me five minutes to realize it was not a religious slur. Also,
years ago, the first Hitachi rice cooker I ever had came with instructions
that implored me, whatever I did, not to deform my base.


Dear Jun San,
You have a fascinating site! I'm Japanese living in the US, and when I
visit home I am often amused by those Japanglish words. How about "Rinse"
for hair conditioner? And "Renewal" for refurbished or renovated, like when
an ad says "Renewal Sale", they mean that they are having a sale because
they reopened after a renovation? " Live" (as in "shown live on TV) means
a concert in Japanglish. I'll be in Japan for the holiday season so I'll be looking
out for more of these.


I visited Sapporo in May and I saw a Japanese fast food restaraunt that
served American stlye fried chicken. The name made me laugh....

Chicken Pecker's Impossible!!! But true.

Eric McMillen

Back in the golden days of radio there was a radio play program which featured "Mr. First Nighter".

A first nighter was someone who always attended the gala first night of a new Broadway production, usually in formal dress and rich.


Love your site. Visited it off a link from Camworld.

When I lived in Kurashiki many years ago, I saw a food cart in the old
town, tourist district that offered "Potato Fly" which was, naturally
enough, what we'd call french fries.

Ah! Nippon, the land of my birth!

Ric Manhard

Please note there is a phrase in English taken from Spanish "mano a mano"
that literally means "hand to hand" (like "hand to hand combat") but is
taken by many English speakers to mean "man to man" because of the eye-rhyme
between "man" and "mano."

This error is reinforced by comedians who use the phrase "womano a womano"
to mean a fight between two women, "boyo a boyo" a fight between two boys,
"girlo a girlo" a fight between two girls...ad infinitum, to the extremely
silly constructions like "trucko a trucko " for a demolition derby between
two trucks.


I was struck by how many of your examples of "japanglish"
are actually British-American differences in terminology.
Most Americans, seeing these words used for the things
you identify them as in "japanglish", would assume the
writer was British:

jumper (but for a sweater, not a jacket)
trainer (sneakers rather than track suit)
back number
TV talent

- KM

Hey, I just got back from Kobe and I bought some things for my daughter for her birthday. I just have to share this with you! On one of the cards I bought her is written:

Happy Birthday
I wish you many happy comes throughout your future life.

Junya what is a "happy come"??!!, let alone one's "future life"! I almost died laughing! Love it, and she will get a huge kick out of it, I am sure!


Love your "Japanglish" compilation. On my last trip to Japan, every BBQ restaurant was proudly serving "hormone" beef. Strangely enough, I never got around to trying this appetizing-sounding delicacy.

Andrea C.

Your participation is vital in making this page interesting, so If you know
of any other interesting Japanglish, or if you have seen funny English
while you were here, please let me know. I will post them here.

Movie Titles

Hollywood movies are extremely popular in Japan. As a matter of fact they make up about 70% of all movies played in theaters and rented at rental video stores in Japan. But how is this related to Japanglish? Well, Japanglish have come to exist because some people in Japan modified English words and turned them into something different. And the same kind of practice can be seen in the movies titles, but this time the meaning of the English words don't get changed but the titles themselves are changed so that they will be esier for Japanese people to understand. Personally I have had conversations like below with people from the U.S.A

Me: Do you like movies?
Friend: Yeah.
Me: Have you seen the movie "Fake"?
Friend: Fake?
Me: Yes. The one with Al Pacino and Jonny Depp in it.
Friend: Oh, you mean "Donnie Brassco"!
Me: cccc.

- English Title Japanese Title - English Title Japanese Title
- Jerry Maguire Agent - Point Break Heart Blue
- Kiss the girls Collector - Point of no return Assassin
- The Edge Wild - The Pallbearer Happy Blue
- Donnie Brasco Fake - A Single White Female Roommate
- The Associate Chance - The Buddy Factor The Producer
- The Devil's Own Devil - The Mirror Has Two Faces Manhattan Rapsody
- The Net The Internet - The Piano Piano Lesson
- What's Eatin Gilbert Grape Gilbert Grape - The Color of Money Hustler 2
- In the line of fire The secret service - Mrs. Doubtfire Mrs. Doubt
- Enemy of the State Enemy of America - The Karate Kid Best Kid
- Pleasantville Color of Heart - The Real MCoy Blondee
- Deep Rising The Greed - Mr. Wrong Mr. Crazy
- Good night moon Stepmom - Primary Colors Perfect Couple
- Ally McBeal Ally My Love - Pirates of Silicon Valley Battle of Silicon Valley
- The Siege Marshal Law - Hedious Kinky Good Bye Morroco
- Runaway Bride Pretty Bride - Simply Irresistible Vanilla Fog
- What women want Heart of woman

A few pictures of a video rental store.

Interesting Food Product Names

One of the great sources of funny English is food products especially drinks and sweets. When you have some time to kill, why don't you take a look around in a supermarket.. Those products might keep you entertained

A drink with a name that includes the word "sweat", a friend of mine said, is a bit weird. Tiger Woods is on the TV commercial of this coffee. I really don't think the name "BOSS" is good because no one wants to be reminded of their boss.:-) CALPIS...
Stick-shaped biscuits covered with chocolate and almond. ANGEL RELIEF. Cockies covered with chocolate on one side. Chocolates with fruits tasting paste in them. Creamer named CREAP...
No..not CREEP... :-))
In spite of the funny names, these products all taste good! Yes, I am serious!
Collon... No...not colon.... I really do think they should use Japanese characters instead of alphabets. This sweets, by the way, tastes great! A chocolate named CRUNKY.... Oh, boy...

If you would like to see more "Japanglish", don't miss Steve's world!
His site contains much much MORE Japanglish! Make sure to visit"Engrish from you!"

Your participation is vital in making this page interesting, so If you know
of any other interesting Japanglish, or if you have seen funny English
while you were here, please let me know. I will post them here.


Copyright -2000 JUN Japanese Gifts & Souvenirs