Japanese Word: The Meaning of Gomoku

“Gomoku (五目)” is a Japanese word that is often used in the names of Japanese dishes but can hardly be heard in daily life. 

In fact, when I hear Gomoku, what comes to my mind right away is only 4 things; “Gomoku Narabe (五目並べ)”, “Gomoku Zushi (Sushi) (五目寿司)”, “Gomoku Chahan (五目炒飯)”, and “Gomoku Ramen (五目ラーメン)”.

3 out of them, that is, Gomoku Sushi, Gomoku Chahan, and Gomoku Ramen are food names, while the rest, Gomoku Narabe is the name of a Japanese board game, which is sometimes simply called just Gomoku. 

So what we Japanese mean by saying just “Gomoku” in everyday life is almost always Gomoku Narabe

The Meaning of Gomoku in Japanese Cuisine

Gomoku Ramen

The Japanese word, Gomoku is composed of 2 Chinese characters or Kanji, “五 (Go)” literally meaning five, and “目” that is usually pronounced as “Me” and means eye, but in this case, it is a counter word for pieces and read as “Moku”.

So Go-Moku literally refers to 5 pieces or 5 varieties, but when the word is used in the names of dishes, it has a different meaning from the original meaning.

Actually, in Japanese cuisine, the word Gomoku basically means a dish is made with a wide variety of ingredients, which is not limited to 5 kinds. 

Thus in general, Gomoku Zushi, Gomoku Chahan, and Gomoku Ramen all contain more food materials than average varieties in their categories.

Tomo

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.

2 Responses

  1. Besimple says:

    I love detail like this! I have occasionally heard “Gomoku” on NHK World or YouTube videos and I hope I can remember it’s meaning next time I do!

    • Tomo says:

      Thank you for commenting!
      It seems I also love to explain this way 🙂 In some cases, a Chinese character or Kanji has some different meanings. And in this case, it is worthwhile to explain the meanings of Kanjis like this 🙂

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