Cospa aka Cost Performance | Japan’s Value Metric


The Japanese is a language full of unique words that are hard to describe in other languages such as Komorebi 木漏れ日 or Natsukashii 懐かしい. But beyond these traditional Japanese words lies a whole collection of recently created words and phrases borrowing from English and then modifed with Japanese grammar such as Cospa.

When in the realm of restaurants in Japan one of the most common of these phrases you will hear and see is the infamous Cospa コスパ.

Owing its origin to the English words Cost and Performance, the Japanese decided that it was too cumbersome to pronounce these two words in their local pronunciation, roughly (Ko-sue-toe Pa-fohh-mah-n-sue コストパフォーマンス).

That is a mouth full huh?

So, as is common in Japan, just as we do in English, they decided to create an abbreviation for this long phrase. And, in Japanese you do this by taking the first sound or two from each word and combining them.

Start with the first two sounds of Cost (Ko-sue コス).
Next add the first sound of Performance (Pa パ).
Then, squish them together, and you get Cospa コスパ.

What Does Cospa Actually Mean?

It’s very similar to the English phrase of “good bang for your buck.” You are getting good value for the amount you are paying for a service or food. This typically means a large serving for a low price, or a higher quality than one might expect at a certain price point.

How to use Cospa

The most common phrase with Cospa is “ii Cospa” (the two i’s are pronounced like a long letter E). The first word ii simply means good. This phrase is often exuded when sharing a place you’ve eaten at with another person, where you want to convey how delicious or big the servings were in relation to the cost.

This phrase is very common, especially amongst young men as they look for ways to satisfy their insatiable appetite without breaking the bank.

You can also find it used to talk about value of a hotel, or even an event. Anything that can be assessed based on its cost to value ratio.

Wiki on Cospa

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