Are there cases where gairaigo used in every day speech (パン, アイスクリーム, etc...) have been ousted by native Japanese words?

  • I wonder: Is this even feasible? Often gairaigo are imported not to replace Japanese words, but to add specificity. (For example, the import of ヘルメット to refer to a bicycle helmet and thereby differentiate it from かぶと, which refers to a helmet in the context of a suit of armor.) A Japanese word supplanting a previously imported gairaigo would therefore mean a loss of specificity. IANAL(inguist), but languages tend to move from less to more specific, not the other way around, no? Jun 1, 2011 at 2:07
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    I dream of a day where コンピュータ will be replaced with 計算機, レーザー replaced by 集中光線 (maybe omit 中), インターネット with 通信網際
    – syockit
    Jun 2, 2011 at 0:10

4 Answers 4


I can't think of any cases where this is the case. However, there is a current trend, particularly in business, to use waseigo or gairaigo to appear more "educated". So going forward, one could assume that there are going to be more words replaced by their waseigo or gairaigo equivalent.

There are cases where there is a gairaigo, but the Chinese word is what is used in Japanese, like "baseball". Though I'm not sure what the timeline is for 「ベースボール」 being replaced by 「野球」.

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    I think that you meant 和製英語 (wasei eigo) instead of “waseigo.” There are some webpages where the word 和製語 (waseigo) is used, but I doubt that the word is widely recognized. Jun 1, 2011 at 2:31
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    @Ito: interesting, i hear Waseigo all the time from my co-workers. Wondering if it is somethign that is only used in speech Jun 1, 2011 at 2:34
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    From a closer look at the search results, it seems that the term waseigo is sometimes used when it is clear from the context that the word in question looks like a foreign word. This is understandable because waseigo (和製語) literally means “word made in Japan.” I would be surprised if it is used to mean “foreign word made in Japan” without context. Usually the correct term is wasei eigo (和製英語) when it looks like an English word or wasei gairaigo (和製外来語) in general. Jun 1, 2011 at 14:24
  • It has now well overtaken business circles, because ジャパン is so クール and its サムライ so ブルー...
    – desseim
    Sep 9, 2014 at 21:47
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    野球 is 和製漢語; it is not a Chinese word, and thus legitimately represents an instance where a loanword was replaced by a Japanese-created word.
    – ithisa
    Sep 10, 2014 at 19:55

During world war two, there was some movement to limit the use of foreign words (since they belonged to the enemy) - this can be compared to the "Freedom Fries" in the US. For example (from the above-linked chiebukuro answer):

  • サイダー → [噴]{ふん}[出]{しゅっ}[水]{すい}
  • カレーライス → [辛]{から}[味]{み}[入]{い}り[汁]{しる}[掛]{か}け[飯]{めし}

However, just like the "freedom fries" in the US, it never really caught on, and even the soldiers in the front lines kept on using katakana gairaigo in their everyday conversation.

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    "喰らえ! 辛味入り汁掛け飯!!" sounds like something I'd like to scream out while cooking カレーライス to serve my friends.
    – syockit
    Jun 2, 2011 at 0:06

Maybe worth pointing out that before western loanwords became popular and "trendy," the fad for over a thousand years was Chinese or faux-Chinese loanwords like "電話." Though they may seem more Japanese than katakana words, they're based on old Chinese borrowings (i.e. on-yomi, or the approximated Chinese pronunciations for kanji characters) and not really purely "native."


Not all of them have one, but looks like "アイスクリーム" have this "氷菓子", but not commonly used, so answer is No. They havn't ousted by native Japanese words.

  • thanks for the response, but the question isn't whether a native equivelant exists, it's whether it's ever ousted a garaigo after it's taken hold.
    – Peter
    May 31, 2011 at 23:51
  • @Patricker, I added "No" then.
    – YOU
    May 31, 2011 at 23:54

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