Did you know that some Japanese words actually come from Portuguese? This Luso influence dates back to the 1500s, when the Portuguese established trade with Japan, the first Europeans to manage the journey. Through traders and missionaries, the Portuguese brought new words and products to Japan, and thus a lasting cultural influence.
Let’s check out some of the words:
Japanese English definition Portuguese
bīdoro – a type of glass - vidro
birōdo – velvet – veludo
furasuko – flask – frasco
jōro – watering can – jarro
kappa – raincoat – capa
koppu – cup – copo
manto – cloak – manto
pan – bread – pão
shabon – soap – sabão
tabako – tobacco – tabaco
One of the most surprising words: tempura, the famous Japanese fried seafood and vegetables dish, comes from the Portuguese word tempero and temporar, which means seasoning and to season, respectively. Some say it comes from the word têmpora, a period when Catholics abstain from eating meat. Another interesting caveat: the Portuguese introduced European cooking oil in Japan, which is used to make this fried dish.
For a complete list of Japanese words of Portuguese origin, see here.