Why Calpis is Calpico in the U.S. and Canada

Calpis (カルピス) is a probiotic drink introduced by Calpis Co., Ltd. in 1919, known as Japan’s first lactic acid bacteria beverage.

It is a staple in many households in my country and is now available in over 30 countries. 

Based on this article, the maker sells Calpis by the name of Calpico in the U.S, Canada, and Indonesia, but many Japanese don’t know the fact.

Why is Calpis sold by the Name of Calpico?

Calpis Soda

Calpis is a portmanteau formed by combining Cal, short for calcium, with Pis from the Sanskrit word सर्पिस्/sarpis, meaning clarified butter. 

The name カルピス has no offensive meaning in Japanese, but native English speakers can associate Calpis with cow piss when hearing its pronunciation.

So in the United States, Canada, and Indonesia, where people frequently use English, Calpis comes in Calpico.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia カルピス )


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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