Kome vs Meshi vs Gohan vs Don: Meaning in Japanese

In the Japanese language, there are several words for “rice”, which include “Kome (米)”, “Gohan (ご飯)”, and “Meshi (飯)”.

Kome vs Meshi vs Gohan vs Don (Donburi)

Kome or Okome

The word “Kome (米)” literally means “rice” in Japanese and is usually used to refer to uncooked or raw rice.

Meanwhile, “Gohan (ご飯)” and “Meshi (飯)” are the words for cooked rice and are often used to refer to a meal in general, including ones that don’t involve cooked rice.

Meshi (飯) or Gohan (ご飯)

Gohan or Meshi

“Gohan (ご飯)” is actually the polite word for “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 previously mentioned.

Incidentally, when the Chinese character or Kanji “飯” is used on its own, it is always pronounced as “Meshi” and isn’t read as “Han”, which makes no 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 respectively refer to breakfast, lunch, and dinner as “Asa (朝)” means “morning” in Japanese, “Hiru (昼)” is the word for “noon”, and “Yu (夕)” has a meaning of “evening”.

Don (丼)


As you may already know, the word “Don (丼)” is also used as a suffix in Japanese dish names, like “Yakiniku-Don (焼肉丼)“, “Kaisen-Don (海鮮丼)”, and “Una-Don (うな丼)“.

In these 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.



Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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