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Miso is a foodstuff made of fermented soybeans, used in making miso soup.

Miso can be written in Chinese characters as . This usage is a peculiar one. The first character means 'flavour' but the second means 'noisy'. The characters appear to have been chosen for their sound. This usage is found in the following sign:

Kara miso
Salty miso

However, it is probably more common to write miso in hiragana, as in the following sign:

Miso yakiniku teishoku
Miso roast meat set meal

In restaurants, it is also common to write words in katakana, as in the following:

Nasu miso-itame teishoku
Miso-fried eggplant set meal

What is interesting in this case is that all three examples come from outside the same restaurant!

A Google search in August 2003 reveals the following distribution of usage:

No. of occurrences

The katakana form often also has the meaning 'key point' or 'nub'.


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