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Sep 26, 2018

Complete Wasei Eigo List【90 Japlish Words】

Hello. I'm Kosuke!

Today, let's talk about Japlish or Wasei-eigo!

I recommend you to check the video below before reading this article!

Have you ever heard Japlish?

Japlish is called "wasei-eigo" in Japanese.

They are English words created in Japan.

Basically, they can be understood only by Japanese people.

However, Japanese people think they are authentic English words.
So when you go to Japan, they will use those words with you!

Let me prepare you by using this article!!!

Below is the index of this article!


1. What is Japlish/Wasei-eigo?

2. Wasei-eigo list
 American dog
 baby car
 back mirror
 ball pen
 beach sandal
 bed town
 campaign girl
 camping car
 catch ball
 catch copy
 cellophane tape
 cheer girl
 chou cream
 coin laundry
 dan ball
 decoration cake
 gasoline stand
 go sign
 high tension
 hot cake
 ice candy
 jet coaster
 key holder
 live house
 low tension
 magic tape
 morning call
 mug cup
 my boom
 note paso-con
 open car
 order made
 pee man
 PET bottle
 recycle shop
 salary man
 sand bag
 service area
 sharp pencil
 side brake
 televi game
 version up
 virgin road
 Y shirts

3. Conclusion

Sometimes, foreign words are imported to make new Japanese words.

There are many loan-words in Japan, and they are written in Katakana.

You can understand the meaning of loan-words if the speaker's pronunciation is good.

However, loan-words are sometimes changed and become new words.

The new words made in Japan are called Japlish, or Wasei-eigo.

"Wasei" means "made in Japan".
"Eigo" means "English".

Katakana is also used for Wasei-eigo.


Meaning: corn dog

If you go to a Japanese convenience store, you can see "American dog".

It is delicious, and I like it.

However, it is not called "American dog" in America.

The English name is corn dog.


Meaning: apartment

In Japan, we don't say "apartment".

We just say "apart".

When you go to Japan, perhaps, they will ask you questions, like below:
Are you living in an apart?

They mean apartment.


Meaning: part time job

"Arbeit" is a German word, which means work.

Therefore, this is not Wasei-eigo.

However, Japanese people often think arbeit is an English word.

If Japanese people ask you,
"Are you searching for arbeit?"
they mean "part time job".


Meaning: stroller, baby carriage, pram

Probably, Japanese people are thinking "baby car" is English.

This is commonly used in Japan.

It means "stroller".


Meaning: rearview mirror

If you drive in Japan, a passenger might say:
"Please check the back mirror."

He/she means "rearview mirror".


Meaning: ballpoint pen

Ball pen is a very common word in Japan.

If you work in Japan, you will often hear this.
So please remember it means ballpoint pen.


Meaning: flip flop

"Flip flop" is called "beach sandal" in Japan.

Also, it is sometimes called "bea-san".

If you say "flip flop" in Japan, maybe they won't understand.

Meaning: sleeper town, commuter town

Many people work in Tokyo.

However, all of the workers are not living there.

They commute from their own city every morning, using very crowded trains.

The town where they live is called "bed town" because they use the town only for sleeping.


Meaning: flight attendant

Source: Wikipedia

"Flight attendant" is called "CA" or "cabin attendant" in Japan.

Please don't be confused when you hear CA.

They mean "flight attendant".

campaign girl

Meaning: promotion girl, poster girl

Sometimes, a woman or a girl is on an advertisement for the sales promotion.

In Japan, she is often called the campaign girl.


Meaning: camper

If you say "camper" in Japan, maybe they won't understand it.

Camper is called "camping car" in Japan.


Meaning: game of catch

Maybe, Japanese people will say to you:
Let's play catch ball!

They want to play a game of catch.


Meaning: eye catcher, advertising copy

If you work in Japan, perhaps you hear the word, "catch copy".

It means:
"big texts which appears in brochures or advertisements to catch the reader's attention"


Meaning: scotch tape

If you say "scotch tape" in Japan, they won't understand.

It is called "cellophane tape" or "cello-tape" in Japan.

Maybe, "cello-tape" is more common way to call it.


Meaning: cheerleader

If you say "cheerleader" in Japan, they can understand.

However, they also call them "cheer girls".


Meaning: cream puff

"Chou" is pronounced "shu".

It is a French word.

"Cream puff" is called "chou cream" in Japan.


Meaning: zipper/zip

Zipper is called "chuck" in Japanese.

If the zipper on their pants is open, please tell them:
Your chuck is open.


Meaning: soda, pop

"Cider" is a drink, which is very similar to "Sprite" and "7 Up".

Please try to drink it in Japan.


Meaning: complaint

If a client is angry, please inform your Japanese boss,
"A client gave us a claim."

"Claim" is used instead of "complaint" in Japan.


Meaning: laundromat

If you ask, "where is a laundromat?" in Japan,
maybe they can't understand.

Please ask,
"Where is a coin laundry?"


Meaning: power outlet

In Japan, we don't say "outlet".

"Concent" is used instead for this word.


Meaning: air conditioner

Air conditioner is called "cooler" in Japan because it makes the room cold.

This is what we call it in the summer.

"Air conditioner" is also understandable for Japanese people.

However, "air-con" is the most common way because they like to make words shorter.

"Cooler" doesn't mean icebox in Japan.


Meaning: cheating on tests

If you study in a Japanese school, teachers will say:
"Please don't do cunning."

It means:
"Don't cheat on the test."


Meaning: cardboard

I sometimes mistakenly use this word to foreigners.

I am sorry... I'll be careful...


Meaning: decorated cake

If you go to Japan during the Christmas season, many shops will be selling "decoration cakes".

It means decorated cakes.

If you want to know about the Japanese winter, please check this:


Meaning: cons, disadvantage

"Demerit" is a word often used in business.

"Pros and cons" are "merit and demerit" in Japanese.


Meaning: department store

In Japan, department stores are just called "depart".

Japanese people like to make words shorter.


Meaning: hair dryer

If your Japanese friends request you to rent them a "dryer".

You don't need to give them a huge machine.

They just want to use your hair dryer.


Meaning: energetic

エネルギッシュ is pronounced "e ne ru gi s shu".

It means energetic.


Meaning: go for it/good luck

When Japanese people want to cheer for you, they say:

However, they don't want to fight against you.

They are just cheering for you.


Meaning: jeans

In Japan, jeans are often called G-pan.

There are some theories about why Japanese people started calling jeans "G-pan".

One theory is that "jeans pants" became shorter, and started to be called "jea-pan".

The sound "jea" sounds the same as the sound of "G" for Japanese people.

So they began being called "G-pan".

Another theory is the "pants of G.I.".

G.I. is an American army.

The soldier wore jeans.
Japanese people saw it and they started to call it G-I-pants.

It became G-pan.

Both theories don't have positive proof.

Anyway, if you want to buy jeans in Japan, please order "G-pan".


Meaning: gas station/petrol station

Gas station is called "gasoline stand" in Japan.

It is a very common Japanese word.

When you almost run out of gas in Japan, please ask Japanese people:
Where is a gasoline stand?

go sign

Meaning: green light, permission

When you work in Japan, if you have a good idea for the business, you should get the "go sign" from your boss, in order to start.

"Go sign" means green light.

Please give a nice presentation, and get the "go sign" from your boss!


Meaning: hamburger without bread, hamburg stake

Until recently, I thought this was an English word...

The pronunciation is "ha m ba gu" .

In Japan, we sometimes only eat the meat of a hamburger without the bread.

This is called hamburg.

If you say it in Japan, Japanese people will imagine this food instead of thinking about the German city, named Hamburg.


Meaning: energetic, hyper, excited

In Japanese, a high tension person is not nervous.

When a person is energetic and hyper, we say:
Oh, that person is high tension.


Meaning: pancake

Generally, pancakes are called "hot cakes".

However, Japanese people sometimes call them pancakes, too.

There are some popular pancake shops in Tokyo.


Meaning: stapler

In Japan, a stapler is called "Hotchkiss".

When staplers were imported into Japan, the word "Hotchkiss NO.1" was printed on them.

It is the name of the product.

That's why Japanese people started calling them Hotchkiss.

The word "stapler" is not commonly used in Japan.


Meaning: popsicle, ice lolly

When Japanese people say "ice candy", it means popsicle or ice lolly.

Japanese summer is hot and humid!

Please survive by eating "ice candy"!


Meaning: roller coaster

Roller coaster is called "jet coaster" in Japan.

However, it is not equipped with a jet engine!


Meaning: key ring

If you want to buy a Japanese key ring as a souvenir, please search for "key holder" instead of a key ring!

Generally, Japanese people can't understand the word "key ring".


Meaning: horn

When you drive a car in Japan, you sometimes hear the sound of "klaxon".

Japanese people, generally, can't understand the word "horn"!


Meaning: small concert venue

In Japan, a small concert venue is called "live house".

The pronunciation is "la i bu ha u su". 

If you play, or listen to music, please remember this word!


Meaning: gloomy, down

Similar to "high tension", "low tension" is also Wasei-eigo.

It means gloomy and down.

It doesn't mean relaxed!


Meaning: Velcro

Source: Wikipedia

Velcro is called magic tape in Japan!

Maybe, it is because it's very useful, like magic!

The word, Velcro, is not used in Japan.


Meaning: apartment/condominium

In English, a "mansion" means a very big house.

However, in Japanese, it just means an "apartment".

Please don't be surprised if your Japanese friend says:
I am living in a mansion.


Meaning: chestnut

In Japan, "chestnut" is not a common name for chestnuts.

For example, a cake with chestnuts is called "marron cake".

Marron is originally a French word.
So this is not Wasei-eigo, actually.

However, in most cases, Japanese people think it is an English word.
Please don't be confused if they ask you:
Do you want to eat a marron cake??


Meaning: pros, benefit

Similar to "demerit", "merit" is Wasei-eigo.

Merit means pros, or benefit.

"Pros and cons" are "merit and demerit" in Japanese.


Meaning: mistake

"Mistake" becomes shorter in Japan.

When we say "make a mistake" in Japan, we say "do miss".

It is "ミスをする (mi su wo su ru)" in Hiragana and Katakana.

"する (su ru)" means "do"...


Meaning: wake-up call

When you stay at a Japanese hotel, you can ask for a "morning call", instead of a wake-up call.


Meaning: mug

In Japan, a mug is generally called a "mug cup".

I'm not sure if they can understand only "mug".

Maybe, it's better for you to say a "mug cup" if you want to say a "mug" in Japan.


Meaning: recent personal hobby

When Japanese people are explaining about their "my boom", they are talking about a recent personal hobby of theirs.

Then, please tell them about your "my boom"!


Meaning: sensitive

In Japanese, the meaning of "naive" is different.

It just means "sensitive".

Please don't be angry if Japanese people say, "you are naive"!


Meaning: young people who don't go to school or work

Actually, NEET is not Wasei-eigo.
This was first used in the United Kingdom.

A NEET is a young person who is "Not in Education, Employment, or Training".

Recently, young people who don't work, have become a problem in Japanese society.
Also, this word is often used on the internet.

So this word is commonly used in Japan, in Katakana, "ニート".
This word is not commonly used in America.


Meaning: internet

Japanese people love to make words shorter.

"Net" is one of them.

Because the word "internet" is long, we only say "net".

Cafes equipped with PCs and internet are called "net cafe".

"Internet banking" is called "net bank".


Meaning: sports game played at night

If a sports game is held at night, it is called nighter.

This word is often used for baseball games.


Meaning: laptop

"Note paso-con" is a very common word in Japan.

It means "laptop".

"Personal computer" is called "paso-con" in Japan.
(We love shorter words.)

The shape of a laptop is similar to a note.
So a laptop is called "note paso-con" in Japan.


Meaning: alumni/alumnae

If you hear the words, "OB" and "OG", you will think about many patterns.

However, they mean "Old boy" and "Old girl".

What is an old boy!?

Actually, "OB" and "OG" are people who retired or graduated from the community.

"OB" is used for men.
"OG" is used for women.

OL (Office Lady)

Meaning: female office worker

In Japan, a female office worker is called OL.

OL stands for Office Lady.

If you work in a Japanese office, you will work with OLs!


Meaning: convertible

If the roof of your car can be opened, it is an open car.

If you like cars, perhaps, this is an important word for you.


Meaning: made to order

If you want clothes which fit you perfectly, you should get "order made" clothes.

"Order made" means "being made after receiving the order".

It is more expensive, but it will fit you better.


Meaning: hoodie

A parka is a sweater with a hood.

In English, parka means big coat.
So it has different meanings.

In a Japanese clothing store, please order a parka instead of a hoodie!


Meaning: green pepper, bell pepper

If you say "green pepper" or "bell pepper" to Japanese people, maybe they are confused.

If you say "pee man", they will finally understand what you want to say.

It was originally the French word "piment".


Meaning: plastic bottle

In Japanese, plastic bottles are called "PET bottles".

PET is named after the material "PolyEthylene Terephthalate".


Meaning: French fries

When you go to McDonald's in Japan, staff can't understand "French fries".

You should say, "Potato please".


Meaning: microwave oven

When you want to warm food, you will use "range", or "denshi-range".

It means microwave.


Meaning: secondhand store

Source: Wikipedia

If you want to buy something cheap, you should go to a recycle shop!

If you say "secondhand store" in Japan, maybe they won't understand...


Meaning: X-ray

When you go to a hospital, you will sometimes take an X-ray.

In Japan, we say "take a roentgen".

Roentgen comes from the name of a German physicist, who found X-rays.


Meaning: conditioner

After you wash your hair using shampoo, you will use "rinse".

It means "conditioner" in Japanese.


Meaning: company employee/office worker

Japanese salary men are busy...

If you work in Japan, please be a nice "salary man"!

If you want to know about Japanese work culture, please check this:
  Japanese work culture >>


Meaning: punching bag

When you feel a lot of stress during working as a "salary man" in Japan, please hit a "sand bag" instead of hitting your boss!

Maybe Japanese people can't understand the word, "punching bag"...


Meaning: sticker

When we were children, we played using "Pokemon seal"!

We put the "seals" on our desks.

Stickers are called "seal" in Japan.


Meaning: rest stop

Source: Wikipedia

When you drive on a Japanese highway, please use a "service area" if you are tired.

You can rest and buy food in the "service area".

A "gasoline stand" is often in a "service area".

When you are running out of gas on a Japanese highway, please go to a "service area"!


Meaning: mechanical pencil

A mechanical pencil is called a sharp pencil in Japan.

Also, it is often called "shar-pen".

We like to make words shorter...

Maybe, "shar-pen" is a more common way to call a mechanical pencil because it's short.


Meaning: handbrake

When you park your car in Japan, please don't forget about the "side brake".

It will prevent your car from moving automatically!

A "side brake" means a handbrake.


Meaning: signature/autograph

When you go to a restaurant, perhaps, you will use your credit card.

When you use it, Japanese people will say:
"Please write your sign here".

They want your signature.

Also, if you are a very famous person, your Japanese fans will say:
"Please give me your sign!"

They want your autograph.


Meaning: physical intimacy, physical affection, physical contact

Skinship means touching someone to show affection.

In 1953, an American person made this word and used it in a seminar for WHO.

I heard the word, "skinship(스킨십)" is used in Korea, too.


Meaning: slim, slender

When Japanese people say "you are smart!", they are not talking about your intelligence.

In Japan, "smart" means slim and slender.

They are telling you that you have a nice figure.


Meaning: heater

In Japan, a stove is not a tool used for cooking!

It means a heater in Japanese.

A gas stove means a gas heater.

An electric stove means an electric heater!


Meaning: figure

As I explained above, "smart" means "having a nice figure".

Also, if you say "figure" in Japan, Japanese people will think you mean dolls that are loved by nerdy people.

If you want to say "figure" in Japan, you should use the word, "style".

How confusing! hehe

If Japanese people say,
"you have a nice style",
it means,
"you have a nice figure"!


Meaning: supermarket

If Japanese people say "please go to the super",
they want you to go to a supermarket.

This is a very common Japanese word.

They love to make words shorter!


Meaning: celebrity/TV personality

People speaking in TV shows are called "talent" in Japan.

If Japanese people say "talent", it means celebrity or TV personality.

It doesn't mean "ability" or "capability" in Japan!


Meaning: video game

In Japan, a television is called "televi".

Japanese people like to make words shorter...

When we play video games, we use a TV.
So a video game is called "televi game" in Japan.

The word, "video game", is not used in Japan.


Meaning: restroom

In Japan, the final letter, "t", is not pronounced.
So "toilet" makes the sound "to i le".

Also, the meaning is a little different from English.

Toilet is a whole restroom, not just the toilet.

When you ask where is the restroom in Japan, you should say, "where is the toilet?"


Meaning: playing cards/deck of cards

A deck of cards is called "trump".

They are the cards used when we play blackjack or baccarat.


Meaning: update

In Japan, software update is called a "version up".

It is not only for software.


Meaning: buffet restaurant/smorgasbord restaurant

When Japanese people say "Viking", it doesn't mean pirates.

It means a buffet restaurant.


Meaning: plastic

Japanese people understand the word, "plastic".
However, when it is thin, it is called "vinyl".

For example, plastic bags are called vinyl bags.

Plastic tape is called vinyl tape.

virgin road

Meaning: wedding aisle

When a wedding ceremony is held, the wedding aisle is called the "virgin road" in Japanese.

This was named by a Japanese wedding company.

However, I think many Japanese people think it is English...


Meaning: dress shirts

Dress shirts are called "Y shirts" in Japan.

The sound of white shirts changed, and it became "Y shirts".

When you work in Japan, maybe, you will wear a suit and a Y shirt!


Meaning: Punk Japanese kid, delinquent

In English, I think Yankee is an American.

However, if you say "Yankee" in Japan, they are not American.

They are punk Japanese kids.

Basically, I don't  think Japanese people know that "Yankee" can mean "American".

How was that?

Did you understand all of them? hehe

Generally, Japanese people's English level is not high.

I am also still practicing.

Therefore, they can't judge if it's an authentic English word or not!

When you go to Japan, if they say a strange English word, please don't be surprised...

Please remember the words in this article, and try to communicate with them somehow!

I hope this article helps you study Japanese!
Thank you for reading!

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