I heard from an English man that the katsu karē (カツカレー) dish was from English inspiration originally: he told me that the word 'katsu' is coming from cutlet and 'karē' would be curry.

Please can anyone confirm this ?

  • I've heard the same claim regarding the origin of Japanese-style curry -- that it somehow has a British inspiration. I don't have time to look it up now, but it seemed plausible when I searched for it before
    – virmaior
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 15:51
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    I once worked with a group of Swedish engineers who were on assignment in Japan, often going out for lunch with them. There was a local restaurant that had some pretty good カツカレー, and the Swedes were amused because to them it sounded like "kat skalle", or "cat skull". Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 2:12

4 Answers 4


Your hypothesis that カツ stems from cutlet seems correct. According to kotobank, カツ is the shortened form of カツレツ, i.e. cutlet. See here for its culinary history.


A couple of things to add:

  • When you hear just カツ, it is usually indicative of pork cutlets ([豚]{とん}カツ). Any other types are listed explicitly with what they actually are. For example, chicken cutlets are チキンカツ, beef is ビーフカツ, etc.
  • カレー is Japanese style curry, not to be confused with カリー which is Indian style curry.
  • カツ丼 is the greatest food ever!
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    辛{かれ}ぇカレーがすげぇ! I love curry. So much so that I learned to make it from scratch. :) On a more serious note, I've found it amusing that カレー and the slang pronunciation of 辛{から}い "spicy" match up so well. Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 16:48
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    – user1016
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 9:02
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    @Choko: No way!
    – istrasci
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 16:24
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    @Choko 時代はうな丼だろ!!ww
    – Robin
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 17:45
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    @Ash ¥高いわ絶滅危惧種ww
    – user1016
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 6:55

the katsu karē (カツカレー) dish was from English inspiration originally

Although カレー(curry), or カレーライス(curry rice), has a British inspiration as @virmaior says (Curry was introduced to Japan during the Meiji era (1868–1912) by the British... / 今、日本人が一般に食べている「カレーライス」は、「インドのカレー」ではなく、「イギリスのカレー」です), the dish カツカレー(curry rice with pork cutlet) itself was not inspired by British cuisine; it is a combination of [豚]{とん}カツ(tonkatsu/pork cutlet) and カレーライス, which is said to have been invented and first served at the restaurant called スイスグリル in Tokyo in 1948.

the word 'katsu' is coming from cutlet and 'karē' would be curry

Hmm... yes and no; the term カツカレー was coined from "豚カツ" + "カレーライス", rather than from "cutlet" + "curry".

The term [豚]{とん}カツ was coined from "豚(pork)" and "カツレツ(cutlet)"(The term "tonkatsu" (pork katsu) was coined in the 1930s), though the dish カツレツ(katsuretsu) originated from a French dish "cotelette"(明治時代に日本に伝来したフランス料理のコートレット(Cotelette、英語ではカットレット Cutlet)を原型とする料理である。 / 東京銀座のフランス料理店「煉瓦亭」にて、フランス料理として提供されていた。).

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    By the way, the カツカレー that I had in Wagamama was chicken katsu curry, and the sauce was different from what I'm familiar with. And... their curry-udon was... erm... Oh but I liked their white rice, tsukemono(pickled vegetables) and Gyoza! :D
    – user1016
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 8:34

The word katsu (カツ) is just the English word, "cuts" written as katakana according to how a Japanese person would pronounce it (ka tsu).

Also, as pointed out above, it may have its origins from the word "cutlets" which is written out as カツレツ (ka tsu re tsu).

  • -1; カツ does not come from "cuts". It's the shortened form of カツレツ; similar to 自動販売機 -> 自販機.
    – Ninj0r
    Commented Sep 25, 2015 at 1:01

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