Meaning: Kome vs Meshi vs Gohan vs Don
In Japanese, there are several words for rice, which include “Kome (米)”, “Gohan (ご飯)”, and “Meshi (飯)”.
The Difference in Meaning: Kome vs Meshi vs Gohan vs Don (Donburi)
The word “Kome (米)” literally means rice in Japanese and is usually used to refer to uncooked rice, while “Gohan (ご飯)” and “Meshi (飯)” are the Japanese words for cooked rice and often used to refer to a meal in general, including ones that don’t involve cooked rice.
Meshi (飯) or Gohan (ご飯)
Actually, “Gohan (ご飯)” is the polite word of “Meshi (飯)” as the “Go (ご)” part of Gohan is a prefix used to make a polite expression in Japanese. Thus, Meshi and Gohan basically mean the same things as mentioned above.
Incidentally, when the Kanji Chinese character “飯” is used on its own, it is always pronounced as “Meshi” and isn’t read as “Han”, which doesn’t make sense.
Some Japanese dish names include the word “飯” as a suffix, like “Cha-Han (炒飯)“, “Mazekomi-Gohan (混ぜ込みご飯)”, and “Cha-Meshi (茶飯)“, in which cases the suffix “飯” indicates that the dish mainly consists of cooked rice.
“Asa-Gohan (朝ご飯)” or “Asa-Meshi (朝飯)”, “Hiru-Gohan (昼ご飯)” or “Hiru-Meshi (昼飯)”, and “Yu-Gohan (夕ご飯)” or “Yu-Meshi (夕飯)” are not specific dish names, but they refer to breakfast, lunch, and dinner respectively as “Asa (朝)” means “morning” in Japanese, “Hiru (昼)” is the word for noon, and “Yu (夕)” has a meaning of “evening”.
By the way, the word “Don (丼)” is used as a suffix as well in Japanese dish names, like “Yakiniku-Don (焼肉丼)“, “Kaisen-Don (海鮮丼)”, and “Una-Don (うな丼)“, in which cases the suffix “Don (丼)” indicates that the dish is a rice bowl dish, as the word Don is the abbreviation for “Donburi (丼)” which refers to a rice bowl dish.