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 specific meaning between them?
The difference in meaning between Wagashi, Okashi, and Dagashi
Actually, each of the 3 Japanese words has a slightly different meaning, so today I want to talk about how Wagashi (和菓子), Okashi (お菓子), and Dagashi (駄菓子) are different in meaning from one another.
Wagashi (和菓子) is probably the most widely known Japanese word for “snacks, sweets and candies” in overseas countries. Actually, the term, Wagashi is composed of 2 Japanese words, “Wa (和)” and “Gashi (菓子)”. As for the former word, “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 compound word, Wagashi doesn’t refer to all the snacks, sweets and candies made in Japan, but basically refers to traditional Japanese confections.
“O (お)” included in this term “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, Okashi and Kashi have the same meaning. The Chinese character used in Japanese writing, “菓子” is pronounced as “Kashi” or “Gashi” in Japanese, which, as mentioned above, refers to “any kind of snack, sweet and candy, regardless of where they are made”, so this is what Okashi means.
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.