たばこ (rōmaji tabako)
Unusually for gairaigo (foreign borrowings), たばこ is often written in hiragana, rather than katakana. This is particularly seen in convenience store signs, indicating that cigarettes are for sale. This usage (hiragana rather than katakana) is attributed to this being an old borrowing, dating to the nanban trade period (16th & 17th century), before the convention of writing gairaigo as katakana had developed.
- “Tabako”, Bathrobe’s Chinese, Japanese & Vietnamese Writing Systems