Why does Google translate "Do you like rice" as "お米は好きですか"?

I think the kanji is correct, but the reading and romanization they use is "O Amerika wa sukidesu ka?"

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I'm pretty sure the reading should be "ごはん", but based on this entry it's saying one of the alternate meanings for 米 is America, which just seems odd to me, but I'm guessing that's the reason for Google's odd translation?

  • 2
    That's another reason you can't trust Google Translate. (I tried the audio button and it reads it aloud as "okomewasukidesuka", by the way.)
    – chocolate
    Feb 18 at 2:09
  • It says "o Futsu" for お仏, not "o Furansu" as I hoped... The translation was "Buddha", by the way.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 18 at 4:19

1 Answer 1


I don't know the historical reason behind this, but the US country is written the "rice country" in Japanese and reads as 米国{べいこく}. But obviously that's not how the sentence in your screenshot should be read; the correct reading for that is お米{こめ}は好{す}きですか?, and the other word for rice is 御飯{ごはん}.

  • 2
    Wiktionary page for 米国 explains that [米利堅]{メリケン} (from "American") was one of names of USA used in Japanese texts in 19th century and early 20th century, and this word was abbreviated to its first kanji 米. め is one of readings of , but 米國 > 米国 word, which uses べい reading of 米, is attested since at least 1603 with meaning "country rich in rice" (before USA were created). New meaning of 米國 > 米国 word was created, without changing reading of this word to めこく.
    – Arfrever
    Feb 18 at 3:26
  • @Arfrever Interesting, thank you for sharing. Feb 18 at 17:35

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