七面鳥 Japanese Turkeys have Seven FacesToday being Turkey day (at least for a few more hours here in Florida), I thought I’d look up the origin of the word ‘turkey’ in Japanese. It has nothing to do with the Turks, by the way.
The word is 七面鳥 shichi men chou. Literally this means Seven Faced Bird. But why ‘seven faces’? And more importantly, why ‘bird’? This is a mystery that seems to defy a solution.
Have no fear; we always have Google. A quick Google of 「七面鳥 語源」 (語源 go gen means etymology) led me to this website.
There we learn:
The 七面鳥 is so named because of the various colors found on the turkey. Also in Saga-ken the アジサイ (hydrangea flower) was (is?) called 七面鳥. I guess because of the similar colors the bird got that nickname too.