What Does The Word Ichigo Mean?

 What Does The Word Ichigo Mean?

Depending on who you ask, the word Ichigo means several different things. The most accurate translation of the word Ichigo is “to protect one thing.” 

This is based on how Ichigo can be broken down into two words; the kanji letter for ichi translates to “one,” and the kanji letter for go translates to “protect.” That said, while ichi is generally accepted as meaning one, there are different ways to interpret go to mean different things. 

The Different Meanings Of Ichigo 

Depending on perspective and context, Ichigo can also mean “strawberry.” Ichigo has also been translated to mean “one word” or “one five,” depending on the content and how it’s written. There are some spellings of Ichigo that are also translated to the phrase “word for word.”

daifuku mochi

Some lesser known and lesser used translations of this word include “grass mother,” which is derived from a form of kanji that Ichigo is sometimes written in.

There is also a katakana spelling of Ichigo, even though most words of Japanese origin don’t get katakana spellings. 

What Is Ichigo Ichie?

There are older interpretations of Ichigo based on an old Japanese proverb, Ichigo Ichie, which means “one lifetime, one encounter.” In this proverb, Ichigo is seen to mean one time, as go can also mean time in Japanese, depending on interpretation. 

The meaning of this proverb is essential never to take any moment for granted, as many moments may pass us by without us realizing that it was the best opportunity to take hold of some experiences or encounters. 

On that note, there is a Buddhist understanding of the word Ichigo as well; it’s understood to translate to “from one’s birth to death.” 

Ichigo As A Japanese Name 

Many have likely heard Ichigo as a name of a prominent character from the Bleach anime. Ichigo Kurosaki, a character with red hair, has made the meaning of strawberry much more prominent.

While his hair is something that brings the character some criticism, it’s actually just one more symbol of his courage and tenacity. 

Ichigo has been a common Japanese name for babies of any gender. When it comes to Ichigo as a name, it’s often representative of the meaning of “best guardian,” “one guardian,” or “strawberry.” 

Why Ichigo Can Mean Different Things 

The Japanese language can be complicated, especially when looking at both kanji and katakana, two ways of writing in Japanese.

When the word Ichigo is written in kanji lettering as opposed to katakana or hiragana lettering, their meaning can change. 

Kanji is a very expansive, complicated type of Japanese writing style, with thousands upon thousands of letters and words. Kanji has also evolved over the years, and as a result, some kanji words have been assigned numerous meanings over the years. 

Interestingly, Ichigo is not the only word in the Japanese language that has been assigned multiple meanings. None of the meanings are considered incorrect, but context clues will often help you understand the speaker or writer’s intended message. 

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MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.