Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reading Japanese Nutritional Information

Bought a food or drink? Want to know the fat content or something?

Easy peasy table for you:

エネルギー (enerugii) - Calories
たんぱく質 (tanpakushitsu sometimes uses the kanji 蛋白質) - Protein
脂質 (shishitsu) - Fat
炭水化物 (kansuikabutsu) - Carbohydrate
繊維質 (senishitsu) or 食物繊維 (shokumotsuseni) - Fiber

糖 (tou) - Sugar
果糖 (katou)- Fructose
果糖ぶどう糖液糖 (katou budou touekitou) - High fructose corn syrup
鉄 (tetsu) - Iron

ナトリウム (natorium) - Sodium
カリウム (kariumu) - Potassium

ビタミン (bitamin) - Vitamin...

That's most of the important stuff. Any other minerals or additives are likely to be in katakana, so if you can read that you can work out what it is. Here's the periodic table in Japanese if you're looking for something in particular.


  1. Thanks for this. Printing it out for reference. Hubby is allergic to MSG (mono-sodium glutamate, ajimimoto). How is that written?
    Thanks Margaret @torontoviewer

  2. "Aji no moto," right? There's a whole condiments company based off that name here. :)
    グルタミン酸ナトリウム (gurutamin san natoriumu) is the proper Japanese translation, and some foods will write this out on the label. However, it doesn't appear to be legally regulated, and I found other examples of packaging for food containing MSG (according to equivalent US versions of the product packaging) which simply stated in Japanese アミノ酸 (amino san, "amino acids") or even a very ambiguous 調味料 (choumiryou, "condiments" or "flavoring").

  3. Yes that's it! I remember the stylized "A" in the logo!
    I read somewhere that they get/make it out of seaweed extract...sounds like it would be healthy but apparently is the opposite of.
    Thanks you for this. Printing it out for our trip next sakura season.
    Thank you again.

  4. I find 食物繊維 for often for fiber on my packages! But the other things seem spot on!

    Thanks for the helpful article!

  5. Yes, 食物繊維 (shokumotsu sen'i) is common for "dietary fiber" on nutrition labels and especially for fiber supplements. Thanks for pointing that out. :)

  6. Thanks, added that :)

    Also added fructose and high fructose corn syrup, which I've seen a lot just recently.

  7. Very late to this, but 炭水化物 is tansuikabutsu, not kansuikabutsu.^^ゞ