Wasei-eigo: 電子レンジ (microwave)


【 電子レンジ (denshirenji) 】microwave oven

電子(でんし) is “electronic,” and レンジ is “cooking stove,” making 電子レンジ an “electronic oven.” It’s common to shorten 電子レンジ to レンジ, and in Japanese, we say 「チンする」for heating food in the microwave.

heat in the microwave

The word「チン」is an onomatopoeia for the timer bell in earlier microwave models. Even though the timer bell has evolved into an electronic beeping sound, we still say チンする.

The food got cold. Let’s reheat it.

How many minutes should I heat it?

Maybe two minutes.

(bursting sound)

Oops, I overheated it!

Oh, dear.

The First Japanese Microwave

Toshiba introduced the first domestically manufactured microwave in 1959. From there, Hitachi, Sharp, and Panasonic (all formerly under different names) came out with new microwaves one after the other.

The model that Panasonic introduced in 1963 propelled the popularization of microwaves, but microwaves were expensive at that time. The Panasonic model was 115万円(まんえん) ($10,000). So it wasn’t until the late 1970s that general households were able to afford one at around $500.

Learn more wasei-eigo in the home here!

Related Flashcards and Posts