The Japanese have a word for a hairdressing tool which is probably also a dagger which is part of a sword mount. It also means protege. This blog has considered some words with odd combinations of meanings before, but with kogai, we may have a winner.
There’s the often repeated “fact” that Eskimos have 23 different words for snow. Or 50. Or more. The point is that words can represent what is important to a culture. It would be unlikely that a language used only by a people living near the equator had even a single word for snow. But maybe they have a few words for hot. Something for dry heat, for example, like you would find in Arizona, or your oven. And another for humid heat, so no one would say, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” because there’d be a special word for that kind of heat.
So somebody, or maybe a bunch of folks, started designing and making sword mounts with integrated dagger-like hairdressing tools so they had to make up a new word for it, right? Nope; they used a word they already had. They called it a protege, because that basically means a child being mentored by an adult, which is kinda like a dagger on a sword mount, right? I’m no Japanese language scholar, but that’s probably as good a theory as any other.
But wait; there’s more! Masamichi Kogai is the former CEO of Mazda; he is now the Chairman of the Board. And kogai also means small shellfish. You might think that would translate directly into English as “shrimp”. But you’d be wrong. An Asian island country must have dozens of words for shrimp. But apparently, kogai is not one of them.
In closing, some of us may remember that during the early 90’s, the Mazda 323 was called the Protege. Coincidence, Mr. Kogai?