De-Japanification of Japanese

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This morning in the first class of my course on "Language, Script, and Society in China", I had just spoken about the most frequent morphemes in Mandarin, Taiwanese, and Japanese (the possessive particles de 的, e, and no の) and other common terms that had no fixed characters to write them or had to borrow characters with completely different meanings to be written (de 的 is a prime example).  When I came back to my office, I was greeted with this:

And this:

"‘De-Japanify’: China milk tea brand Nayuki loses Japanese-sounding name amid rising nationalism and anti-Japan sentiment"

    Rising anti-Japan sentiment in China sees many domestic brands change their name to avoid any potential backlash
    Tea drink maker Nayuki is the latest company to rebrand to avoid being caught in the crosshairs of rising nationalism

by Mandy Zuo, in Shanghai, in SCMP (3 Dec, 2022)

Every few years, especially when things are going bad economically, socially, or politically for China, there will be a lashing out against Japan — throwing stones, breaking windows, anti-Japanese rhetoric….


Selected readings

[Thanks to Ciaran, Mark Metcalf, and other correspondents]


  1. Arthur waldron said,

    August 29, 2023 @ 6:18 pm

    So true. Who said language did not take us to the heart of the matter? Bérlin NH and victory cabbage. ANW

  2. Adrian Bailey said,

    August 30, 2023 @ 5:35 am

    Can you explain this a little? Or say which of the posts you link to is the best starting point? Thanks.

  3. Victor Mair said,

    August 30, 2023 @ 6:23 am

    @Adrian Bailey:

    1. read this post and follow the embedded link:

    "No character for the most frequent morpheme in Taiwanese" (12/10/13)

    2. click on the title of the SCMP (South China Morning Post) article cited in the OP, "‘De-Japanify’: China milk tea brand Nayuki loses Japanese-sounding name amid rising nationalism and anti-Japan sentiment"; there you will see a photograph of a young woman with bubble tea; the word "Naixue" to her right is the Mandarin pronunciation of the characters for the Japanese-style name "Nayuki"

  4. KeithB said,

    August 30, 2023 @ 8:26 am

    Shades of "Freedom Fries".

  5. Ronan Maye said,

    August 30, 2023 @ 10:34 pm

    This is very funny, that's a very common thing in Taiwan as well to replace 的 with の to spruce things up a bit for branding. I have a plastic Chinese medicine device from Taiwan that you sort-of hit yourself with if you're sore to encourage blood-flow, and it says "促進血液の循環" on the handle.

    There's an interesting version of this that happens in the US as well, but it's in reverse. I suppose I'd call it "the Japanification of Chinese." There is a very popular mobile game called Genshin Impact, but it's made in China. They read the characters of the name "原神" in Japanese because it's much better for marketing than Yuanshen because consumer perceptions of Japan and its culture are much more positive in the US.

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