From which language did it come to Japanese? And why does it have its own kanji?

  • You seem to be making two wrong assumptions: (1) that words written in katakana are always loanwords (i.e. words adopted from other languages), and (2) that loanwords usually don't have kanji.
    – Earthliŋ
    Apr 30 '15 at 11:00

いちご is a native Japanese word, which is almost as old as the written records of Japanese itself. (Apparently it first appears as イチビコ in the 日本書記{にほんしょき} (8th century) and as イチゴ two centuries later in the 倭名類聚抄{わみょうるいじゅしょう}.)

As practically all native Japanese words (like 雨{あめ} rain, 村{むら} village, etc.), いちご, too, was assigned a corresponding kanji from Chinese, in this case 苺.

Fruits (and more generally, plants and animals) are often written in katakana, so you shouldn't be surprised to see it written as イチゴ. (See for example this question.)


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