The scientific term for which this shrub is known derives from Greek and means ‘good name’, from eu, good, and ónoma, name, perhaps in a pejorative sense, since it is a species with unpleasant odors and toxic substances in all of its parts; and in the Middle Ages there are reports of people poisoned by their fruits. It may seem contradictory that plant with poisonous properties as the Japanese euonymus is known with a positive name, but remember that in ancient times even the most feared gods were invoked with omen names to ingratiate themselves with them and avoid their revenge.
In the East, the Japanese euonymus twigs are used to prepare special floral decorations that adorn statues. The hardness of the wood has generated a romantic association that suggests that if your carve a name in the bark of the Japanese euonymus it is equivalent to carve it forever in the heart of the beloved.
The specific name japonicus talks about his birthplace in Japan. It was introduced in Europe during the nineteenth century as a garden plant; in fact, being a fast growing shrub, it has gradually replaced the myrtle and box (though it does not share their aromatic or symbolic qualities) in parts of the Real Alcázar of Seville such as the shields of the Garden of the Ladies.