Did you know that there are quite a lot of words in English which are actually Japanese? I didn't realise until today that there are quite so many. You probably know emoji and ninja but did you realise they were Japanese words? Do you know the meaning of tsunami, origami and kamikaze? Keep reading to learn more!
Emoji = a symbol, such as a smiley face, used to communicate, especially on mobile phones and social media. (Plural: emojis or emoji)
Ninja = a Japanese fighter or secret agent, especially from the past, who can move very quickly and quietly. We can also use this word nowadays to mean somebody with amazing skills in something, e.g. "My brother is a computer ninja!"
Samurai = an ancient Japanese warrior
Origami = the Japanese craft of making things by paper folding
Tsunami = a giant wave caused by an earthquake
Judo = a sport where two people fight and try to throw each other to the ground
Karate = another fighting sport which includes kicking and punching
Sumo = Japanese heavyweight wrestling
Karaoke = an activity which involves singing along to instrumental versions of songs
Manga = Japanese comic books which tell stories in pictures
Zen = relaxed and not worrying about things which you cannot change. In Japan, it is a type of Buddhism but in English we use it as an adjective to describe a relaxed person or attitude
Futon = a type of Japanese mattress but in the West, a futon is a mattress with a base that can be used either as a bed or as a sofa or chair when folded
Yakuza = the Japanese mafia
Haiku = a type of poem which has 17 syllables
Kimono = a type of traditional dress
Tofu = a kind of food made from soya beans, often used instead of meat in Asian vegetarian dishes
Sushi = a kind of food made with cold sticky rice and fish, often raw, or sometimes meat, egg or vegetables
Sake = a strong alcoholic rice wine
Tycoon = a successful business person who is rich and powerful
Geisha = a woman who dresses in traditional clothes and entertains men with music and dancing
Kamikaze = describes very dangerous or risky actions taken by somebody who doesn't care about safety, or a sudden suicidal attack, like the Japanese pilots in World War II who attacked by crashing their planes, filled with explosives, into enemy targets
Please note that I have described the meanings in English. Sometimes we take words from other languages and change the meaning slightly. For example, I think English and Japanese people have a different understanding of the meaning of sushi.
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