Yes, they are written with the Latin alphabet, but they are used in the Japanese language, so I am not sure. I mean, they have entries in Japanese dictionaries and a Japanese reading. What are they?

If they do count as Japanese words, does it mean the Latin alphabet is part of the Japanese language?

  • 3
    This really doesn't have anything to do with this site. Is burrito an English word? Why or why not? Once you answer that, you've also answered this question. (In other words, essentialism is wrong.)
    – cmw
    Aug 13, 2023 at 3:06
  • @cmv What has essentialism to do with the question? I frowned upon your assertion and thought you were being a little bit pedantic. I legitimately tried to look up the concept by myself and I am unable to understand how it relates to the point at issue, and why it is wrong.
    – jarmanso7
    Aug 14, 2023 at 0:32
  • @jarmanso7 This question pre-supposes that words can be "inherently" Japanese or not (that's essentialism). Japanese words are words that are used in Japanese. (You can follow this to its logical extremes as well.) They may have different origins outside Japanese, but being written in a different script doesn't really change the nature of the word. Moreover, you can't really see the script if you're just writing it out. You'll find samurai in the English dictionary, because, despite being derived from Japanese, it's used in English language works.
    – cmw
    Aug 14, 2023 at 0:33
  • @cmv Also, "burrito" is still written entirely in alphabet characters like any other English word, whereas CD and DNA are not written neither with hiragana, katakana, or kanji, so I don't think the parallel is completely fair.
    – jarmanso7
    Aug 14, 2023 at 0:33
  • If Japanese wasn't a written language, would that change anything?
    – cmw
    Aug 14, 2023 at 0:34

1 Answer 1


There are well-established initialisms and acronyms of Japanese origin. For example:

  • TPO = time, place, occasion
  • NHK = 日本放送協会
  • JR = Japan Railways
  • JIS [ジス] = Japan Industrial Standard
  • JAL [ジャル] = Japan Airlines
  • JK = 女子高生
  • BL = boys love

If these aren't Japanese, what are they? I guess the Latin alphabets, or more precisely, the 26 modern English alphabets, are already part of the Japanese language nowadays.

As for CD and DNA, they are 外来語 (loanwords) and, as such, are Japanese words, just as samurai, kanji, manga, and tsunami are English words.

Other terms common in Japan that use alphabets:

  • S = 昭和, H = 平成, R = 令和
  • R18 = Restricted 18 (18+ ONLY)
  • X線 = X-ray
  • A級戦犯, B級グルメ
  • W = double
  • O脚, S字カーブ, V字回復, Y字バランス
  • GW = Golden Week
  • 3K = きつい、きたない、危険
  • G = ゴキブリ

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