A total of 445 Japanese texture terms were classified. First, terms with almost the same meaning represented by different Chinese characters, and onomatopoeic words derived from the same sound were classified into same-term groups for a total of 271 term groups. Next, eight experts in texture studies categorized the 271 term groups into the three texture attributes proposed by the International Standard Organization (ISO 11036): mechanical attributes, geometrical attributes and other attributes. Term groups were compared within each of the three attributes, and their similarities were assessed by 96 texture scientists/technologists. The data were analyzed by multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis. The classification in this study showed some similarities with the classification of texture terms in other languages. However, the results also revealed some characteristics that were unique to Japanese texture vocabulary, such as a wide variety of terms concerned with stickiness and elasticity.
Developing a comprehensive list of texture terms in every language is necessary for comparing terms between languages, as well as for sensory evaluation within each language. The data obtained in this study can be applied to preliminary lexicons of descriptive sensory evaluation of texture. Classification of texture terms helps sensory evaluation researchers to define descriptors and to train panelists. The data also provide useful clues for worldwide understanding of Japanese texture terms.