The difference in meaning of Wagashi, Okashi, and Dagashi

There are 3 kinds of Japanese words for “snacks, sweets and candies.They are Wagashi (和菓子), Okashi (お菓子), and Dagashi (駄菓子).You may know one or two of these Japanese words, but do you know what is the difference in meaning of each of these 3 words?

The difference in meaning of Wagashi, Okashi, and Dagashi

Actually, each of them has a meaning that is slightly different from each other.Here are the meaning of each of the 3 Japanese words, Wagashi (和菓子), Okashi (お菓子), and Dagashi (駄菓子).

Wagashi (和菓子)

Wagashi (和菓子) is probably the most widely known Japanese word that means “snacks, sweets and candies”.Wagashi is composed of 2 Japanese words, “Wa (和)” and “Gashi (菓子)”.The former, “Wa (和)” has a meaning of “Japanese “, while the latter, “Gashi (菓子)” generally refers to any kind of snack, sweet and candy, regardless of where they are made.However, the Japanese word, Wagashi doesn’t refer to all the snacks, sweets and candies made in Japan, but basically means traditional Japanese sweets.

Okashi (お菓子)

“O (お)” included in this word “Okashi (お菓子)” is a Japanese prefix to make a polite expression.Thus, Okashi is a polite expression of Kashi (菓子), and these 2 Japanese words have the same meaning.The Chinese character used in Japanese writing, “菓子” is pronounced as “Kashi” or “Gashi” in Japanese, which has the meaning of “any kind of snack, sweet and candy, regardless of where they are made” as I wrote above.This is what Okashi means.

Dagashi (駄菓子)

Dagashi (駄菓子) is the generic name for cheap and relatively small Japanese snacks, sweets and candies.Especially, Japanese children love them because they can enjoy various kinds of Dagashi with small change.
 

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Tomo

I'm Japanese living in Niigata Prefecture,Japan.I want to introduce things about Japan,especially unique Japanese products,sightseeing places,my daily life and Japanese culture.

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