Oxford English Dictionary Adds “Isekai,” “Mangaka” & More Japanese Words to English Dictionary

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“isekai” and “mangaka” are among the 23 newest Japanese words being added to the Oxford English Dictionary as part of its March 2024 update. 

The OED classifies “isekai” as a noun and identifies it as “a Japanese genre of science or fantasy fiction featuring a protagonist who is transported to or reincarnated in a different, strange, or unfamiliar world.” It also provided the ways the genre has been applied to in mediums such as an anime, manga, video game, etc.

Meanwhile, the OED also defined “mangaka” simply as “A writer or illustrator of manga.”

These are just a few Japanese words added to the latest OED edition, with more than half of the new entries being related to Japanese cuisine or cooking. Examples include “onigiri,” “karaage,” “donburi,” “takoyaki,” and “tonkatsu,” among many others. 

Other new Japanese words that were added are “washi tape,” “kintsugi,” and “kirigami.” 

The editorial work on the latest Japanese word additions was carried out by OED editors in collaboration with research partners from the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

Curious readers can find the full list of the OED’s latest Japanese words on their website. 

Source: Oxford English Dictionary Website, The Guardian (Ella Creamer)

William Moo is a freelance writer who has previously written for OTAQUEST and MANGA.TOKYO. He enjoys watching lots of anime every season and reading from time to time. You can follow him on Twitter @thewriterSITB.
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