Japanese words of Portuguese origin

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The Portuguese arrived in Japan around 1542-1543, being the first Europeans to establish a continuous and direct flow of trade between Japan and Europe. This also influenced the Japanese language, since several products arrived in Japan during that time through the Portuguese.

Over the years, it has been speculated that more than 4,000 Japanese words were influenced by the Portuguese language and the Portuguese. In this article we will see a list of some of these words.

RomajiKana / KanjiPortuguês ArcaicoPortuguês Moderno
bateren伴天連 / 破天連padrepadre
bīdamaビー玉vi(dro) + 玉 (dama = "bola")berlinde, bola-de-gude
birōdoビロード ou 天鵞絨veludoveludo
bouro/bouruボーロボールbolobolo, bola
botanボタン釦 / 鈕botãobotão
burankoブランコbalançobalanço, baloiço
charumera/charumeruチャルメラ / 哨吶charamelacharamela
chokkiチョッキjaquejaqueta, colete
igirisuイギリス / 英吉利inglezinglês
irumanイルマン / 入満 / 伊留満 / 由婁漫irmãoirmão
jouroじょうろ / 如雨露jarrojarro
juban/jibanじゅばん / 襦袢gibãocamiseta, camisete
kanakin/kanekin金巾 / ▽かなきん / ▽かねきんcanequimcanequim
kantera/kandeyaカンテラ / カンデヤcandeia, candelacandeia
kapitan甲比丹 / 甲必丹capitãocapitão
kappa合羽capacapa impermeável
karutaかるた / 歌留多 / 加留多 / 骨牌cartascartas de jogar
kasutera, kasuteera,kasuteiraカステラcastellapão-de-ló
kirishitanキリシタン / 切支丹 / 吉利支丹christãocristão
kirisutoキリスト or 基督ChristoCristo
kompeitō金米糖 / 金平糖 / 金餅糖confeitoconfete
marumero木瓜 or マルメロmarmelomarmelo
meriyasuメリヤス / 莫大小 / 目利安meiasmeias
miiraミイラ / 木乃伊mirramirra
orandaオランダ / 和蘭(陀) / 阿蘭陀HollandaHolanda
panパン / 麺麭 / 麪包pãopão
shabondamaシャボン玉sabão + 玉 (dama = bola)bola de sabão
subetaすべた / スベタespadaespada
tabako煙草 / 莨tabacotabaco
tempura天麩羅 / 天婦羅TêmporasTêmporas
zabon朱欒 / 香欒zamboatoranja


Below are some more terms of Portuguese origin (or not) that have gained prominence in the Japanese language:

Tempura – The Temples were days of religious fasting in which Portuguese Catholics did not eat meat and fried vegetables and fish in breaded dishes, foods that were normally eaten raw or cooked by the Japanese.

Iruman – Term used at the beginning of the Christianization of Japan to identify the missionary before becoming a priest.


Arigato is not of Portuguese origin as some people think. In fact, "arigato" is the modern form of "arigatashi" from archaic Japanese, which consists of the agglutination of "Ari" from the verb "Aru" (to be, to exist) and "Katashi" an adjective that means difficulty. I.e, I have a hard time expressing my gratitude.

The Ne of Portuguese x Ne of Japanese

This word is used to emphasize what has just been said. In Portuguese, "né" also has the same function, being a contraction of the phrase "Não é?". However, it is very likely that this is a coincidence.

To learn more, we recommend reading: What does ne [ね] mean in Japanese language

I plan to add to this list soon. If you find any important words missing, or any errors, please leave a comment.

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