I was doing a quick google translate search to look for the Japanese word for pharmacist. Turns out it is yakuzaishi. Ishi means doctor & Yakuza is obviously the well-known criminal syndicate. It beats me as to how this combination of words came to be regarded as the word for pharmacists in Japanese! Does it stand for a criminal doctor / useless doctor!!?

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    It Is yakuzai-shi. – Yuuichi Tam Jul 7 '20 at 10:12
  • Thanks for the answer. So yakuzai means drugs. Still, is there any connection with the yakuza? What is the etymology of this word? – Vaibhav Ghegade Jul 7 '20 at 10:26
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    「ヤクザ医師」ってのは確かにちょっと面白いですが🤣 – broken laptop Jul 7 '20 at 12:27

No, there is no connection between the words. The phonetic sharing of 'ya', 'ku' and 'za' is just a coincidence.

The word ヤクザ is thought to have derived from the scoring system of gambling games (see this explanation), with the numbers 8, 9, 3 (= ya, ku, za) being an unwanted or useless combination. This is thought to be the origin of the name of the criminal gangs which became known as yakuza.

The word 薬剤師 (やくざい+し) is composed of the base word 薬剤 (medicine) and a suffix 師 (teacher, specialist). So the word simply means 'a specialist in medicines', which we now call 'pharmacist'. It is completely unrelated to the word ヤクザ.

In Japanese, there are many cases where there is a coincidental sharing of sounds which have no actual etymological connection.

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer, and dispelling my misconception! – Vaibhav Ghegade Jul 8 '20 at 12:52

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