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Today I thought it would be fun to take a look at the origins of half a dozen Japanese words that have found wide usage in English.

This word became familiar to millions of Americans of my generation as the title of a 1963 hit song by Hisashi “Kyu” Sakamoto (坂本九). It was originally titled “上を向いて 歩こう” (“Ue o muite arukō,” literally, “walk while looking upward”), leading a writer in Newsweek to quip that naming a sentimental romantic Japanese song thusly was analogous to calling “Moon River” “Beef Stew.”

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