What is the difference between Peanuts and Rakkasei? Unconsciousness of the Japanese.

Peanuts in Japanese is “Rakkasei (spelled 落花生)” , But We Japanese use both of Rakkasei and Peanuts, and unconsciously use these two words separately.

Here, a person inside a peanut specialty store introduces “specific differences” and “sensory differences” between Rakkasei and peanuts. With the history of peanuts and their aliases, we will introduce along with our experience in dealing with peanuts as a specialty… … The fact is, there are big differences between Peanuts and Rakkasei.

Thorough research on various peanut materials, old and new!

Materially the same thing

Of course, Rakkasei and Peanuts are the same thing, the same food. There are differences in varieties, etc., but they are the same substance and there is no difference in nutritional value. …But this is just too simple, so let’s think deeper!

Difference in “language” between Rakkasei and Peanut

Rakkasei is Japanese, Peanuts is English.

Rakkasei is Japanese. In English, it is spelled Peanut. The plural form is Peanuts with an “s”. The plural form Peanuts is closer to the way we pronounce it.

Japanese or English, that is the only difference by definition. But! The image that comes to mind when we japanese hear the word “Rakkasei” or ” peanuts” is a little different. In fact, their usage is so different that it cannot be put away in one word, “language differences”.

Differences in “appearance” of Rakkasei and Peanuts

Shelled “Rakkasei”

Rakkasei is often used with the image of shelled. It is also often referred to as Rakkasei in its name as a plant and in conversations with farmers. Also, since Rakkasei is Japanese, it has a Japanese image.

Peanuts” with both the shell and thin skin peeled off

Peanuts are often used with the image of neither shells nor thin skin. It is often used in the name of processed products, such as butter peanuts and peanut butter, and is used with a stronger image as a food. Peanut also has a Western image because it is English.

Thin-skinned peanuts are “nanjing beans.”

Nanjing bean is one of the names for peanuts, and is often used in the image of shelled thin-shelled peanuts. The “Nanjing” indicates that the peanuts came from the Chinese side of the world. Therefore, Nanjing bean has a Chinese image.

Differences in “how to eat” Rakkasei and Peanuts

How to eat shelled peanuts

Most peanuts in shells sold in stores are baked, so you can eat them as they are if you peel them off the shell.

How to eat peanuts

Peanuts are not only shelled, they are usually processed so that they are ready to eat. There are many varieties, including honey-roasted peanuts, butter peanuts, peanut butter, and various flavored peanuts.

Raw peanuts are called “raw Rakkasei”.

Raw peanuts, with or without the shell, are most often referred to collectively as “raw Rakkasei” and are rarely referred to as “raw peanuts”.

See also: How to roast and store freshly dug raw peanuts.

See also: How to boil and preserve dried raw pe anuts.

There is a Japanese name for the traditional way of eating peanuts.

Processed products that have existed in Japan for a long time, with or without shells, have names. The following three are typical processed products with the name “Rakkasei” but with the shell removed.

  • Roasted Rakkasei
  • Salted Rakkasei
  • Sugared Rakkasei

There is no Japanese name equivalent to peanut butter.

Conversely, there is no common Japanese equivalent for peanut butter. I assume this is because the staple food used to be mostly rice, and there was no culture in Japan of eating peanut butter with bread.

Can you translate “peanut butter” into Japanese?

Regional Differences in Rakkasei and Peanuts

Many other names for Rakkasei!

Rakkasei, peanut, and nanjing bean are the three most common names in Japan. There are many other names for the peanut, including Rakkasho, which sounds like “rakkasho,” alien bean, kara-mame, Toujin-mame, to-mame, shinamame, houraimame, kanton-mame, jimame, dakkisho, tsuchimame, soko-mame, jimujirimame, jinoshimame, doroko, banmame, chitoseko, and manjukka, among others. These are all about the same peanut!

Okinawan-style tofu

Why are there so many names for peanuts? It has to do with the history of the peanut’s spread throughout the world.

History of the peanut’s spread to various parts of the world

The peanut is said to have originated at the foot of the Andes Mountains in the northwestern part of Argentina in South America, where it was valued as food on board ships during the Age of Discovery from the 16th century onward due to its high nutritional value. Since then, it has developed its own food culture in various regions, and has many names today.

It is believed to have been introduced to Japan from China and the United States.

Differences in “age groups” of Rakkasei and peanuts

Peanuts for the younger generation, Nanking beans for the older generation

Suzuichi, a peanut specialty store, talks with many customers every day. Among them, we have the impression that the way customers call peanuts differs considerably depending on their age groups.

The older generation uses “peanuts,” “Rakkasei,” and “nankin-mame” all. Middle-aged to younger customers tend to use “peanuts” and “Rakkasei” but not “Nanking bean. Furthermore, among the younger generation, there are some who say, “I know what peanuts are, but what is Rakkasei?” Some of them even say, “I know what peanuts are, but what is Rakkasei?


Recently, the percentage of bread-eaters has exceeded that of rice-eaters, and the consumption of peanut butter as an accompaniment to bread has also increased, so the generation that is more familiar with peanuts is probably increasing. It is interesting to note that old words are gradually falling out of use, and the familiar words differ among generations!

Reference: Nihon Keizai Shimbun, “Household Food Expenditures: Bread Reverses Rice for First Time

Reference: Nihon Keizai Shimbun , “Rice Production Slump Takes Hold, Surplus Still Excess, Bread Dominates Consumption.


Although materially, rakkasei and peanuts are identical, rakkasei is often thought of as shelled, while peanuts are often thought of as unshelled. This difference lies in cultural differences. Peanuts are English and Rakkasei is Japanese, so the appearance and way of eating peanuts seem to be different because of the different food culture in that language area or region. (In Japan, where there was no bread-eating culture, peanut butter cannot be translated into Japanese.)

Also, there is a generational difference in the words usually uttered by the older generation, such as “nankin-mame” and “peanut” by the younger generation, and the culture of Rakkasei and peanuts is still changing with the times.

Related Articles on Peanuts

Varieties and Types of Peanuts

How to Grow Peanuts

Nutrition and Benefits of Peanuts

Peanut Recipes

Preservation of peanuts

History of Peanuts in Chiba Prefecture

Chiba peanut production is said to have begun in 1876 (Meiji 9). For more information on the history of Chiba peanuts, please visit the Chiba Prefecture website.

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Suzuichi, a peanut specialty store, was founded in 1882. It is located in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, famous for its peanuts. We bring you real primary information from the peanut growing, manufacturing, and sales, from the field of peanut production!