In the name of POCARI SWEAT

Well, I give you a report about POCARI SWEAT. In the past English class, our teacher gave us a question about the name of POCARI SWEAT. POCARI is not an English word. Why they named the drink SWEAT? This is the question.

I have made a research about it. At first, I asked my friends and co-workers. They said “It is a famous topic. But, I don’t know the reason.”

I thought;

POCARI stands for the Japanese word “pokkari“.”Pokkari” is a word which shows “a situation that clouds are floating in the sky.” Cans of POCARI SWEAT are painted in blue and white. So, I imagine the sky, when I see cans of POCARI SWEAT.

SWEAT is a well-known fluid. POCARI SWEAT is usually drank after a sweat. As you know, Japanese is a noun-centered language. So, Japanese people can understand its purpose easily with its name.

But, This is an assumption.

At last, I made a telephone-call to Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., who is the distributor of POCARI SWEAT. A staff of the company answered to my question. “‘POCARI’ sounds relaxing, easeful, light to Japanese people. It dosen’t mean any English words. ” I asked “I think ‘SWEAT’ has dirty image in English. Why do you use such a word?” He answered “‘SWEAT’ has meanings of diligence, efforts, refreshingness in Japanese. In western country, people may have negative image to ‘SWEAT’. It is a cultural difference.”

I did not agree with him perfectly. I found a typical Japanese sense of English. POCARI SWEAT is a JAPLISH word!

“POCARI” is an onomatope. Onomatope is a Japanese word. It has similar meaning with onomatopoeia (e.g. Bowwow, Buzz, Bang, Zzz, etc.) But, there is a remarkable difference between onomatope and onomatopoeia. In English, onomatopoeia is mainly used for describing a sound or a noise. Whereas, onomatope in Japanese express not only a sound or a noise, but a situation or a mood. “POCARI” is used in the latter way.

Japanese consumers tend to admire English-like names. So, a lot of products have JAPLISH names.

Most of Japanese people call POCARI SWEAT as “POCARI.” We rarely call its fullname. I suppose that Japanese boys and girls have western-like image to “sweat” especially. Since, POCARI SWEAT has been a very famous and popular name, they cannot change its name.

Japanes version 日本語版はこちら

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