ABSTRACT: As a result of the economic, political and cultural influence of Britain and the US, and the emergence of English as an international language, many world languages have absorbed loanwords from English, especially during the twentieth century. Japanese contains thousands of such borrowings, many of which are well-established and in universal use. A domestic phonetic script is available to both represent and distinguish non-native sounds. This paper outlines the historical and cultural contexts of borrowing from English into Japanese, processes of nativization, and functions served by English loanwords. Orthographical, phonological, morphological, semantic and syntactic modifications to borrowed words aid their assimilation into the native language. However, linguistic and cultural borrowing is to some extent kept separate from native language and culture, resulting in a Japanese/Western dichotomy in Japanese life and language.