Why does the word karaage have the kanji for China in it?

The kanji being 唐揚げ (Chinese fry). Couldn’t the Japanese invent fried chicken on their own? It’s possible, I suppose, seeing as traditional Japanese cooking uses little oil and fried chicken with mayo gets named after Southern Barbarians, i.e. gaijin (南蛮チッケン- nanban chicken).

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4 Comments

  1. Tom said,

    July 18, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Wow, I didn’t know that.

    I checked with my dictionary (and that’s dangerous) but it says that the kanji, 唐, means とう or Tang in English and that was the dynasty from 618-907. It also gives another kanji 空 for kara.

    But to mean fried chicken, you have to say chicken before that or it just means fried.

  2. alexcase said,

    July 18, 2008 at 1:16 am

    Good point, but if you order “karaage o negai shimasu” in your average izakaya (which is at least once a week for me!), you get chicken. Or at least I do…

  3. December 26, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    […] – bookmarked by 6 members originally found by QESAQESAQESA on 2008-12-05 Why does the word karaage have the kanji for China in it? https://japanexplained.wordpress.com/2008/07/15/karaage-fried-chicken-china/ – bookmarked by 3 […]

  4. alexcase said,

    December 27, 2008 at 2:07 am

    I just read in a book about Korea that Chinese food has more fried food than either Japanese or Korean (and hence the longer chopsticks), so maybe fried chicken really did come from China to Japan


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