I just stumbled across this word today, and was baffled to find that a thermos is a "magic bottle"? What reason is there for the kanji chosen? Was it a decision by a company who introduced/manufactured the first thermoses in Japan?

  • 1
    With all due respect, why is it so baffling? It had to be a pretty amazing invention back then.
    – user4032
    Oct 12, 2017 at 15:20
  • Perhaps "baffled" wasn't the right word. I found it funny and slightly confusing that the object had "magic" somehow attributed to it. I haven't seen other such examples ("magic energy" for electricity or "magic stick" for a gun or what have you), so I was wondering if there was a reason for this one.
    – eefara
    Oct 12, 2017 at 15:43
  • 3
    This would help you. blog.livedoor.jp/blog_channel-0004/archives/27866247.html Oct 12, 2017 at 15:53
  • @YuuichiTam Very interesting! Post it as an answer and I'll accept it.
    – eefara
    Oct 12, 2017 at 16:08
  • 2
    @YuuichiTam Summarize the contents of the link, and provide the link for reference. That would count as a complete answer.
    – psosuna
    Oct 12, 2017 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


We had not understood the reason why a thermos is called 魔法瓶, but Mr.Awazu, who was a director of 魔法瓶 memorial house, found out the reason a few years ago.

He found out a oldest newspaper article which was written the word 魔法瓶 at October 11th in 1907. The article said that in his interview about hunting, a person referred to the high performance and convenience of a thermos, which had been just imported to Japan at that time, and quoted 魔法瓶(Magic Bottle) in Aesop’s Fable. His words were used in the oldest advertisement of a thermos in Japan and he was decided to be the author of 魔法瓶.

However 魔法瓶(Magic Bottle) isn't in Aesop’s Fable and it seems to be his misunderstanding.

This is the source. http://blog.livedoor.jp/blog_channel-0004/archives/27866247.html

  • Interestingly, here is a 1914 publication of The Ohio State University Monthly, mentioning the Japanese term and glossing it as "magic bottle". Oct 11, 2019 at 15:52

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