In Japan, Genghis Khan is a meat dish featuring mutton, that is especially popular in Hokkaido. What? Wasn't Genghis Khan the ruler of the Mongolian Empire during the late 12th and early 13th centuries?
Haiying Yang, a Mongolian-born humanities professor at Shizuoka University claims giving this food the same name is disrespectful. Yang told the Japanese language division of Newsweek, "Mongolian people feel the same way about Genghis Khan as Japanese people feel about the emperor of Japan. He is a sacred figure whose name should not be used for a kind of food."
Most people probably don't know how the food came to have the same name as the Mongolian ruler. Keiichi Takaishi, Japanese food historian, explains it started with Yoshiji Washizawa, a Japanese journalist born in 1883. He spent time living and working in Beijing and while there he and a Japanese co-worker ate a mutton dish at a restaurant. He remembered eating in in Mongolia also. The two began referring to the dish as "Genghis Khan" and eventurally other Japanese people used the term and it spread back to Japan. The Japanese-language pronunciation (and way of writing) are a little different.
● ジンギスカン / jingisukan = food
● チンギスハン / chingisuhan = historical figure
What do you think? Is it disrepectful to use a centuries old ruler's name for a popular food? Is it even the same name? Can you think of any other food with the same name as a historical figure?