Is there an "opposite" of 和製英語 (meaning Japanese words/phrases invented by English speakers)? Maybe like {英・米・欧?}製日本語? Because I always see/hear Japanese words in English and they drive me nuts!

The biggest one is when people pronounce as サキ. Another one I saw on a local Japanese restaurant. They have Monday night "Izakai" (イザカイ) nights (I don't know what this means -- maybe cheap drinks and appetizers?). Apparently, some English speaker heard 居【い】酒【ざか】屋【や】 and just decided to make a cool-sounding English abbreviation of it (which is really weird considering the owner is Japanese).

So is there some set word to describe this?

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    I hope that they do not have いさかい (quarrel) every Monday night. Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 21:16
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    By the way, I think that it is better to avoid “opposite of …” when stating a question because its meaning is often ambiguous. In this case, “opposite of 和製英語” may refer to a term which describes loanwords imported from English to Japanese. Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 21:22
  • Why doesn't 和製英語 also drive you nuts? Commented Sep 23, 2012 at 23:42
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    @phoenixheart6: Oh, 和製英語 drive me just as much (many?) nuts. One of my most hated is サービス.
    – istrasci
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 14:25
  • The one that's always gotten me was セーター (sweater). I used to always make the mistake of saying スエーター, and my Japanese friends would have no idea what I was talking about. Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 14:43

4 Answers 4


I have often used [洋製日本語]{ようせいにほんご} as an opposite of 和製英語. During a Japanese class during my study abroad program my professor was giving us a list of 和製英語. I asked her if she knew of any 洋製日本語, and she responded that the only one she could think of was "futon".

Here is another example of the term being used. It lists Japanese words that have become part of the English language (e.g. shogun, tsunami, kamikaze, sake).

I haven't seen this word in any dictionaries, and I doubt that it is a real word. It's not really a concept that exists in Japanese since it pertains to English vocabulary (just as we don't have a word for 和製英語 in English). But 洋製日本語 is a nice concise one-word way to say it, and most native speakers should understand what it means.



Although the number is small, there are some "英製和語" (an English word of Japanese-origin that has gained a significantly different meaning from the original Japanese word):

  • Tycoon: 大君【たいくん】 in Japanese is a dated word for shogun, not a businessperson.
  • Hibachi: Japanese 火鉢【ひばち】 is a small device primarily for heating a room. 鉄板焼き is never called 火鉢.
  • Satsuma: 薩摩【さつま】 is the old name of Kagoshima Prefecture. That fruit is always みかん in Japanese.
  • Hentai: 変態【へんたい】 is a "pervert" in Japanese, not a genre of anime/comic.
  • Futon: Western-style futon is probably a kind of ソファーベッド in Japanese.
  • Banzai: 万歳【ばんざい】 itself never means "suicide" or "reckless death/kill" in Japanese, and 万歳する can mean quite the opposite, "to surrender/give up". However "Banzai charge/attack" is well recognized by Japanese people as the western name of (神風)特攻.
  • Kombucha: IMO this is the king of 英製和語; Japanese 昆布茶【こんぶちゃ】 is completely different. I really wonder why this happened in the 21st century...

The following words have not changed in their essential meanings, but they are still used in fairly different ways:

  • Kaizen: 改善【かいぜん】 in Japanese simply means "improvement", and it usually does not refer specifically to a certain kind of business philosophy as described in English Wikipedia.
  • Kanji: 漢字 in Japanese includes all "Han" characters used in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam (aka CJK ideographs).
  • Ecchi: This is a soft word ("has sexual overtone", "suggestive") in English, but is explicit in Japanese. エッチな本 is a direct word that refers to a porn book.

I've made this list purely via internet search, so please correct me if some of these do not reflect the actual usage in English.

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    Along the same lines as "kaizen" I'd add "kanban," which just means "board" but is used in project management as a name for a method of tracking tasks.
    – Casey
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 2:21
  • I thought a 火鉢 can be used for cooking, can’t it? (A bit outdated/uncommon of course) Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 5:12
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    @DariusJahandarie お餅を焼いたりお湯を沸かしたりはしますね。石油ストーブでもやりますが…。編集しました。
    – naruto
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 5:17
  • There's also honcho, which is usually just an informal word for boss. And don't forget skosh, which is pretty naturalized in American English, unsure about in the UK. The meaning is essentially the same as 少し. It sounds like a Nordic term, and is often considered the antonym of scad. Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 9:28

和製英語 means “a Japanese word which looks like a loanword from English but is actually made up in Japan,” and I think that you are looking for a word or a phrase which means “an English word which looks like a loanword from Japanese but is actually made up in the English-speaking community.” I do not think that there is a term which concisely describes this notion, in either Japanese or English. See Jesse Good’s answer and comments for some suggestions.

This is not the primary point of your question, but I do not think that “sake” /ˈsɑːki/ is analogous to 和製英語. English words typically do not have /e/ at the end, and it is natural to change it to /i/ to make it easy to pronounce. I think that claiming that word “sake” was made up in the English-speaking community is analogous to claiming that, say, word フットボール /ɸɯtːobo↓oɹɯ/ was made up in Japan. If we called フットボール a 和製英語 because of the difference in pronunciations, then most loanwords from English to Japanese would be called 和製英語.

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    The other anglicised word* from Japanese with an "i" instead of an "e" that comes to mind is "carry-oh-key" (カラオケ)which is surely the product of being made easier to pronounce. (I still shudder when I hear it because the activity did not come to my own country until 6 months after I first went to Japan. After a year of struggling to say "karaoke" appropriately in English conversation it was quite painful to return home after one year and find every pub had its own "carry-oh-key" nights.) *not sure if people say anglicise outside UK but I think the meaning is clear(?)
    – Tim
    Commented Sep 8, 2012 at 3:08

Well, yes, that would be 英製和語. In written form, it should be understandable. However, if you said this in a conversation, somebody might not understand you, so perhaps the following would be better:


日本語から英語に入った借用語 // From the wikipedia article

Although, I don't think there is a general term since this phenomenon would only be well understood by people who know Japanese and have lived in English speaking countries.


Taking the comments into account, I think the following might be the most accurate:

アメリカ製日本語, イギリス製日本語, etc. depending on the country of origin

However, like I said above, there isn't a common term for this.

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    Note that 和製英語 does not mean “an English word imported into Japanese,” but “a Japanese word which looks like a loanword from English but is actually made up in Japanese.” Therefore, I do not think that either 英語になった日本語 or 日本語から英語に入った借用語 is a correct answer to the question. Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 23:25
  • @TsuyoshiIto: Ah, that is a good point, I guess you would have to say 海外で作られた日本語っぽい英語 or something like that.
    – Jesse Good
    Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 23:32
  • I agree. By the way, I am not sure if the made-up word “英製和語” is interpreted as intended even in written text, because 英製 usually means “made in UK” and 和語 means “native Japanese words as opposed to Japanese words imported from Chinese or other languages.” Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 23:54
  • There is a common term for this. It's called the phonological lexicon. The only thing that's going on here is the employment of different morpheme classes by standard morphological processes. This also results in 和製漢語, 和製洋語, and 混種語. Thinking in terms of opposites of ad hoc notions like アメリカ製日本語, although good ideas, its almost deliberately obscuring the simplicity of what's going on.
    – taylor
    Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 19:12

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