Did you know English words are used in Japanese business exchanges? Today, we’re going to look at the 5 most common. 

日本羅馬字含義
サラリーマンSalarymanA white-collared worker
クレーム要求Complaint
ダブルブッキングDaburu bukkinguDouble booking
コスパKosupaCost-performance ratio
リストラRisutoraDownsizing/Layoff/Fire

Japanese is a unique language that has 3 different writing systems. One of them is called 片假名 and is mostly used for foreign language loan words. For example, ハンバーガー (hanbaagaa) for “hamburger” or バスケットボール (basuketto booru) for “basketball.” The reason for using words from other languages varies. Sometimes it’s a 餐飲, sport, or something else imported from another country. Sometimes the Japanese think that foreign loan words sound cool or breathe new life into everyday concepts. Whatever the reason, 片假名 English is used in a variety of situations, including business settings. Below are 5 commonly used loan words in Japanese businesses.

日語商務中使用的5個常用英語單詞

1. サラリーマン Salaryman – A white-collared worker

Of all of the Japanese-English business words, this is the most commonly known outside of Japan. Contrary to the Japanese perception of “salaryman” connoting a man with a stable job, we’re used to it in a more comedic context. The typical image we get of a salaryman is a Japanese man passed out drunk on the train while still wearing his suit and tie. Basically, anything involving Japanese men in suits doing Japanese things evokes the word salaryman in our minds. 

There are many types of careers in Japan, but since World War II the most highly regarded jobs have been those that involve stability. It doesn’t matter what kind of job it is, as long as a man works at a well-known company, receives a stable monthly income, and is guaranteed life employment with incremental raises along the way, he is seen as the ideal son to his family and ideal husband to potential mates. The details of the work mean almost nothing. His job could be in the copy room making copies his entire career. It doesn’t matter. As long as it involves a big company, lifetime employment, and wearing suits to work, he’s living the sweet life!     

2. クレーム 要求 – Complaint 

The Japanese word in the dictionary for “complaint” is technically 文句 (monku) or 苦情 (kujou), but it’s more common to use the 片假名 equivalent “claim.” 

For example, if a customer is unhappy with a service or product, they may call the company and make a “claim.”

Example:

CUSTOMER: Sumimasen desu ga, intanetto wa mai-nichi osoi kara claim shitai desu. (Excuse me, but my internet is slow every day, so I want to make a complaint.)
[CUSTOMER: すみませんですが、インタネットは毎日遅いからクレームしたいです。]

Notice that the 片假名  “claim” is a noun, and in order to make it a 動詞—i.e. “to make a complaint”—you attach “suru” (“to do”) at the end. The example says “claim shitai,” which is “claim suru” with the 蘇茹 conjugated to shitai (want to do).

I’m not sure why the Japanese use “claim” instead of the more accurate English word “complaint.” However, if I were to make a guess, I’d say that the words monkukujou sound a bit harsh to the Japanese, so in order to boost worker morale they wanted to switch it up a bit by using a word in a different language. “Complaint” was probably too difficult to say for the average person, so they opted for “claim”—which doesn’t have the same meaning but was probably good enough. 

3. ダブルブッキング Daburu bukkingu – Double booking

This one is pretty straightforward and easy to remember because it’s identical to the English meaning. If someone or something is double-booked for a time slot, they have been double-booked. Be that as it may, the -ing doesn’t change within the 片假名 phrase, so I guess it’s better to say that they’ve been “double-booking-ed!”

Example:

CO-WORKER 1: Mitsubishi no kyaku wa ichi-ji kara ni-ji made kaigi-shitsu ni imasu kedo, kaigi-shitsu wa ichi-ji kara yoyaku sareteimasu. (The Mitsubishi clients will be in the meeting room from 1pm to 2pm, but the meeting room has been reserved for 1pm.)
CO-WORKER 2: Ja, yotei ga double booking shite imasu ne. (I guess we’ve double-booked them.)
[CO-WORKER 1: 三菱の客は1時から2時まで会議室にいますけど、会議室は1時から予約されています。
CO-WORKER 2: じゃ、予定がダブルブッキングしていますね。]

4. コスパ Kosupa – Cost-performance ratio

Sometimes a foreign loan word is a mouthful to say for the Japanese, so they often take two words and smash them together, omitting a few letters and syllables in the process. Kosupa is a word made by combining the 片假名 English words “cost” and “performance.” To make the word kosupa they remove the “t” in “cost” and the “-formace” in “performance” to get something like “cos-per.” This is how they get the word kosupa.

Something that has good kosupa is something that has a value equal to or greater than its cost. If something is expensive but not very good, it would have bad kosupa.

EMPLOYEE: Ankeeto no kekka wa sukoshi Australia no gyuu no hou ga America no gyuu yori oishii kedo, yunuu suru no wa America no gyuu no hou ga kekkou yasui desu. (The result of our survey says that Australian beef is slightly more delicious than American beef, but American beef is much cheaper to import.)
BOSS: Ja, aji ga daitai onaji dakara America no hou ga yappari kosupa da yo ne. (Well, the taste is mostly the same, so American is more cost-efficient.)
[EMPLOYEE: アンケートの結果は少しオーストラリアの牛の方がアメリカの牛より美味しいけど、輸入するのはアメリカの牛の方が結構安いです。
BOSS: じゃ、味が大体同じだからアメリカの方がやっぱりコスパだよね。]

5. リストラ Risutora – Downsizing/Layoff/Fire

Unfortunately, the time may come where you or someone you know may receive the dreaded pink slip. 

Risutora is a shortened version of the word “restructuring.” The meaning is basically the same as the English on the surface. If HR brings up the word risutora with you, they are indeed planning on restructuring the company. Perhaps the company’s stock has fallen, and they need to downsize. Or it could be just that you’re not doing your job well enough, and they’d like to hire someone else. Rest assured risutora is mostly a euphemism that someone is about to lose their job.

Risutora is a noun by itself. It can be turned into a 動詞—”to fire/lay off”—by adding 蘇茹. If you have been fired/laid off, 蘇茹 is conjugated to sareta (to have been fired/laid off).

Example:

Ore wa risutora sareta! (I have been fired!) 
[俺はリストラされた!]

But these are just a few English words and phrases used in Japanese business settings. You’d be surprised just how much English has edged its way into the Japanese business vernacular. Next time you speak to a Japanese person, ask them about these phrases, and they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about!  

感謝您閱讀,並始終記住 實踐 做得很完美。所以走出去吧 實踐, 實踐, 實踐

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