Home Community Haikara

Haikara

By David Yamaguchi
The North American Post

Man in high collar style in Seattle 1901 1903
The look contrasted greatly from everyday Issei dress<br >Photos Frank Matsura courtesy of Okanogan County Historical Society

 

Ramune a carbonated lemon flavored drink was introduced to Japan from the UK in 1884 It became popular after it was marketed as a preventative for cholera a disease of contaminated water It comes in a distinctive bottle Photo DY

In the “Shin-Issei Journal” cartoon of May 26, artist Arisa Nakamura used the Japanese word, “Haikara” as an example of an antiquated Meiji Period (1868 – 1912) term that she has heard in her life here as a recent Japanese immigrant.

Where does haikara come from? Kenkyusha’s dictionary prints it in katakana, identifying it as a foreign loan-word. My guess is that it comes from the English words “high collar,” referring to the highest fashion of the Issei era.

A second old Jinglish word that proofreader Geradline Shu remembers her mother using is “haiton.”

Not listed in Kenkyusha’s, we believe it originates from the English, “high tone.”
Other nearly forgotten Japanese words of the era include katsudo-shashin, suieijou, Shasshi and Rafu (moving pictures, swimming pool, Seattle and Los Angeles). Rafu remains in daily use in the U.S. as the title of that community’s still-in-print Japanese-community newspaper, the “Rafu Shimpo” (Los Angeles New Report).

Another Meiji term that I was surprised to see appear on the Japan Fair menu is “Ramune” (napost.com, June 23). I remember occasionally seeing it in our family store as a child.

Shall we have a Ramune after going to the suiejou?

Previous articleAffirmative Action, Going Forward
Next articleSeeking Mural Apprentices
David Yamaguchi has written for the NAP since 2006, at first as a volunteer, then as a paid freelancer (2016-2020),then as a staff writer/editor (2020-2023). He is presently executive director of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington (JASSW).