What's the etymology of the brand name "Japlac"? Is it based on the word "Jap" plus a contraction of lacquer? Or is it a reference to Japanning?

Onelook doesn't have a reference to the brand name.

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    It's a trade name. How do we know exactly what went through the mind of whoever dreamed it up? Doubtless he was aware of Japan black, which can also be called japan lacquer and Brunswick black. Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


It appears that "lac" suggested an Indian word, making the trade name sound less related to "Japan" soon after WWII when tensions among states were still well alive:

  • This ad is from 1951, when, (you would think) there was still a bit of a sore spot in England when it came to Japan. Although, maybe Americans had more of a problem with the Japanese, due to the whole Pearl Harbor thing. England probably liked the Germans less than they did the Japanese. Still, double-you double-you eye-eye was only six years past when this ad ran. It's a bit of an eye-opener to see "jap-anything" sold commercially so soon after "the icky bit" between nations. enter image description here

  • So, what's the deal with Japlac? Well, when you think about it, it makes some sense. The word "lac" can be traced back to an insect which was so numerous in India and China that is was given the name "lac", which was the root of the word "laksha", meaning "one hundred thousand". Lac bugs contained a resin that could be used to make the shiny painty stuff called "lacquer". Ta-da.



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