Friday, November 25, 2011

What The Fuji Are Thais Thinking When They Come Up With "Japanese" Names for Products

9 Lamest "Japanese" Labels Coined By Thais, off the top of my atama.

  1. Fruito - As a Japanese, this name is painful to hear! And unfortunately for me, it is the most commercialized of Thai-created "Japanese" products on TV here. Probably because advertisers actually got a legit Japanese - albeit half - to star in the commercial. Ugh, that fact gives me even more of a headache the size of Godzilla. Okay, I get what Oishi Co. Ltd. was trying to achieve. It's a green tea and fruit fusion drink. They wanted consumers to know that the product involves both fruit and the Japanese hype. They also understand the basic concept of Japanese phonetics - that each letter represents a vowel sound - BUT they got the vowel wrong in this case. It's "Fu-ru-u-TSU" or "Fruitsu", yo. Not, Fruito.
  2. Sushido - What the Fuji is "Sushido"? Why, they're donuts that look like sushi of course! Genius, Mister Donut Thailand, genius.
  3. Grilliku - Another failed attempt of making an English word sound Japanese. 
  4. Shabushi - A failed attempt of meshing the terms for two Japanese cooking styles: "shabu shabu" and "sushi". Rule of thumb: NEVER mesh Japanese words together, even if they're somewhat closely related. "Shabushi" sounds too much like the Japanese word for lonely, "sabishii". Who wants to eat at a restaurant that will remind them of how unlovable they are?
  5. Chakuza - Here's another popular advertising strategy used by Thais for Thais: using Japanese terms which are associated with violence or toughness to glamourize an in fact harmless product. In this case, Japanese mobsters are being associated with a tea-soda. When you drink this, you should feel like a boss.
  6. Kamikaze - Again, associating Japanese violence with a harmless product. Here, the harmless product is Thai teeny-boppers.
  7. Yayoi - Do people even know what this word is? It's an ancient Japanese civilization, a tomb culture to be exact. I just think that's a weird name for a restaurant with a such bright color palette: pink and yellow. Perhaps it would be more appropriate if the franchise required gray interiors and their employees to dress as Japanese zombies.
  8. Mirei - This product ALMOST avoided the wrath of my criticism. At first, I only saw this tea drink's name written in Japanese as "Mi-ra-i", which means "future". It wasn't that lame of a name for yet again another tea drink. At least the word is a legit Japanese word. But then I saw the Thai transliteration, and I have no clue what "Mirei" means.
  9. Oishi - This company is responsible for 4 occupations on this list (#1, 4, 5, 9), and the reason why this company has committed so many crimes of incorrect transliteration is probably because the company's name itself is misspelled! Technically, it should be O-i-shi-i. Just one letter - bummer.

          I could probably come up with a 10th if I had the motivation to put in the effort, but fortunately I don't. =] Actually, despite the mockery above, I do find Thai people's fandom for Japanesey things charming and flattering. It's weird to think about because I'm also Thai. Imagine half yourself being flattered by the other half... To be true to my Japanese nature, none of these things are authentic Japanese. But I think "Thai-created Japanese products" should be its own genre from which to judge because obviously these products are not complete failures. In fact, I actually like Chakuza!   


  1. Mutual feeling(criticism) mak mak. Especially 1, 5, 8, 9. Haha!

  2. OHH Sushido = Sushi Donut! AND it sounds somewhat like Bushido! HAHAHH! Fruito cracks me up.