Have you ever heard the word "Waiha?"


It sounds like a Hawaiian word but Japanese has also this word called "Waiha" which was actually one of Japanese slangs since a few decades ago.  Now I seldom hear this word from young Japanese, but I believe people about my age are still using this word, "Waiha" which means "Hawaii!"  It's a kind of backward reading and there are actually some more words like "Waiha."


Let's guess the meanings!



1. Shii-su


2. Za-gin


3. Ger-mane


4. Patsu-kin





Here are answers.

"Shi-su" is "sushi."

The Japanese word "Zagin" means "Ginza."

"Ger-mane" came from the English word "Manager."

"Patsu-kin" means "Blond Hair(Kin=gold, patsu(hatsu)=hair)"



In Japan, this kind of backward reading is called "Tou-go" or "Sakasa-yomi" which was once very popular among youth.  Just like young kids here like using slangs, "Tougo" is considered to be informal slang. 

I think "Tougo" is especially convenient for the youth because young people have sometimes stories that they don't want to share with adults.  By speaking "Tougo" like secret codes, they can talk each other without speaking it in a undertone and parents cannot know the meaning!Therefore there are lots of Japanese sexual terms are actually used as "Tougo" or reading backwards.


However, this tendency/characteristic of Tougo started over 1,000 years ago and there are actually some names of Japanese companies were named after this reading backwards.  Perhaps, one of the most famous examples of Japanese "Tougo" can be seen in the famous company " Bridgestone" which was founded by Mr. Shojiro Ishibashi.  The surname "Ishibashi" literally means "Stone(Ishi) Bridge (Bashi)" but when the company name was named, they did "Tougo" as "Bridge (Bashi) + Stone (Ishi.)"


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