The following is a list of Japanese slang from various periods. To help you understand what you are reading and watching!
Literally, “anal” sex. In current use.
Literally “Rose Tribe,” Barazoku was the name of Japan’s first and longest-running gay magazine, which ceased publication in 2005. Its name became synonymous with “gay” (see Friend of Dorothy).
Rezubian is a transliteration, and bian a contraction, of the English word lesbian. Unlike the similar word rezu (see below), bian is commonly used only by lesbians to describe themselves and others, akin to the use of the word “dyke” in modern America, as rezu is used occasionally as a pejorative and frequently by popular non-lesbian media.
Japanese (manga) phonetic onomatopoeia for a kiss.
Alex:*chu* i like you Tom…
Tom: heh heh *blushes* wanna cyber?
Literally “normal”: heterosexual, a heterosexual person.
Jani, Janī (ジャニ, ジャニー)
From the English name Johnny. Refers to young, slim, boyish-looking, “cute” men (compare twink). Taken from the name of a talent agency, Johnny & Associates, known for producing boy bands such as Kinki Kids, Hey! Say! JUMP and Smap. Jani-kei (ジャニ系, ジャニー系) means “jani-type.”
Literally “hidden room,” this term was commonly used in the Edo period to refer to male prostitutes whose customers were also male, and was roughly synonymous with faggot or Greek kinaidos (cinaedus in Latin). A kagemajaya (陰間茶屋) was a tea house specializing in male prostitutes.
A portmanteau of the words ketsu and manko literally meaning “ass cunt,” this word usually describes the anus of an “passive” male bottom. Compare “mangina”; “man-cunt.”
Kuma (熊, クマ)
A bear (a hairy, sometimes overweight man). In current use. Kuma-kei (熊系, クマ系) means “bear-type.”
lit: Rotten cunt – A woman who is interested in boys-love and gay culture to an abnormal extent, usually an otaku. Among some circles it is used to refer to all women regardless of the degree of attention they pay the culture.
From the words “net” (Internet) and “kama” (see O-kama, below), this word can refer to men who pretend to be women in online chat rooms, or to gay men who engage in cybersex.
Literally “cat” (and sometimes written with the kanji for cat, though more often in katakana, as above), this word refers to the bottom, or passive/receptive partner, especially in anal sex. In lesbian relationships, the woman who expresses more traditionally feminine traits is the neko; see “femme” in English usage. The etymology is unclear. In current use.
The term given to Shinjuku Nichome by those who frequent it and are familiar with the turf.
Heterosexual, a straight person. Though often mistaken by English speakers as a transliteration of “non-gay” in fact the term is a combination of the loan word non (ノン) and the Japanese word ke (気), here meaning persuasion. Thus literally translated, the term means “not of that persuasion.”
Nyū dandi (ニューダンディ)
“New dandy.” Used to refer to cross-dressing women or butch lesbians.
Nyū hāfu (ニューハーフ)
From the English words “new half,” this term is used to refer to transsexuals, mostly male-to-female. Sometimes used pejoratively.
Okama (お釜, おかま)
Literally “a pot, a kettle”, this word, always with the honorific prefix “O-“, refers to a gay man, especially one who is viewed as effeminate or a drag queen. Can be pejorative. The word originated in Edo period slang for the anus. In current use.
A term for the burnt rice that sticks to the bottom of a cooking pot, this currently-used word refers to the straight, female friends of gay males. See Fag hag.
Onabe (お鍋, おなべ)
Literally “a pot,” this word refers to lesbians or occasionally to female cross-dressers. Often pejorative. Invented in modern time as a female slang counterpart for “okama”.
An older, feminine gay man. Literally “older sister”.
Literally “woman-hater.” This term was used in the Edo period to describe a man who preferred male erotic and romantic companionship exclusively. Similar to misogynia (misogyny).
Rezubian is a transliteration, and rezu a contraction, of the English word lesbian. (Similar to “lez”.)
Ribāsu (リバース) is a transliteration from English word, reverse. Used for person who is versatile.
Seme comes from the word “semeru” (攻める) which means “to attack.” Refers to the dominant partner in the relationship (as opposed to uke (受け、ウケ)). In use.
Sēfutī sekkusu (セーフティーセックス)
Tachi (立ち, タチ)
The top, or active/insertive partner, especially in anal sex. In lesbian relationships, the woman who expresses more traditionally masculine traits is the tachi; see “butch” in English usage. There are various theories about the etymology of the word, but it is widely thought to come from a term in kabuki. In current use. The tachi is also the name for a kind of sword.
Uke (受け, ウケ)
From the verb “ukeru,” to receive, this term is used for the “passive” or receptive partner in anal sex. In current use.
Yaoi (やおい) is a popular term for fictional media that focuses on homosexual male relationships, yet is generally created by and for females. Originally referring to a specific type of dōjinshi (self-published works) parody of mainstream anime and manga works, yaoi came to be used as a generic term for female-oriented manga, anime, dating sims, novels and dōjinshi featuring homosexual male relationships
In Japan, the term has largely been replaced by the rubric Boys’ Love (ボーイズラブ Bōizu Rabu?), which subsumes both parodies and original works, and commercial as well as dōjinshi works. Although the genre is called Boys’ Love (commonly abbreviated as “BL”), the males featured are pubescent or older. Works featuring prepubescent boys are labeled shotacon, and seen as a distinct genre. Yaoi (as it continues to be known among English-speaking fans) has spread beyond Japan: both translated and original yaoi is now available in many countries and languages.
Yaoi began in the dōjinshi markets of Japan in the late 1970s/early 1980s as an outgrowth of shōnen-ai (also known as “Juné” or “tanbi”), but whereas shōnen-ai (both commercial and dōjinshi) were original works, yaoi were parodies of popular “straight” shōnen anime and manga, such as Captain Tsubasa and Saint Seiya. BL creators and fans are careful to distinguish the genre from “gay manga,” which are created by and for gay men. However, some male manga creators have produced BL works.
The main characters in B.L. usually conform to the formula of the seme (aggressor) who pursues the uke (the target).
Yuri (百合 ), also known by the wasei-eigo construction Girls Love (ガールズラブ gāruzu rabu?), is a Japanese jargon term for content and a genre involving love between women in manga, anime, and related Japanese media. Yuri can focus either on the sexual or the emotional aspects of the relationship, the latter sometimes being called shōjo-ai by western fans.
The themes yuri deals with have their roots in the Japanese lesbian literature of early twentieth century, with pieces such as Yaneura no Nishojo by Nobuko Yoshiya. Nevertheless, it is not until the 1970s that lesbian-themed works began to appear in manga, by the hand of artists such as Ryoko Yamagishi and Riyoko Ikeda. The 1990s brought new trends in manga and anime, as well as in dōjinshi productions, along with more acceptance for this kind of content. In 2003 the first manga magazine specifically dedicated to yuri was launched under the name Yuri Shimai, followed by its revival Comic Yuri Hime, launched after the former was discontinued in 2004.
Although yuri originated in female-targeted (shōjo, josei) works, today it is featured in male-targeted (shōnen, seinen) ones as well. Yuri manga from male-targeted magazines include titles such as Kannazuki no Miko and Strawberry Panic!, as well as those from Comic Yuri Hime’s male-targeted sister magazine, Comic Yuri Hime S, which was launched in 2007.
Gar A term used towards male characters and individuals who are so overwhelmingly manly that your own masculinity is absolutely *buried*, leaving you naught but a whimpering, swooning girl-child before them.
Fan service (ファンサービス fan sābisu?), fanservice, service cut (サービスカット sābisu katto), or simply service (サービス sābisu), is a vaguely-defined term primarily used for Japanese anime and manga to refer to elements that are unnecessary to the storyline. There is a widespread belief that fan service is only material that is designed to amuse or excite the audience with sexually-derived content, but the term can be applied generally to any nontopical content that is added solely to please fans. When such content fits within the storyline it would not usually be considered fan service, but excessive content is usually considered gratuitous regardless of its justification.
While the term is used primarily with respect to Japanese animation, any gratuitous content within entertainment may be considered to be fan service. The term is also occasionally used in the video gaming community, for example. The meaning remains mostly the same—content added for the sake of fans and not for any actual gaming value.
Hentai (変態 or へんたい ) listen (help·info) is a Japanese word that, in the West, is used when referring to sexually explicit or pornographic comics and animation, particularly Japanese anime, manga and computer games (see Japanese pornography). In Japan it can be used to mean “metamorphosis” or “abnormality”. The word “hentai” has a negative connotation to the Japanese and is commonly used to mean “sexually perverted”.
In Japanese the word hentai is a kanji compound of 変 (hen meaning “change” “weird” or “strange”) and 態 (tai meaning “attitude” or “appearance”). The term is used as a shortened form of the phrase 変態性欲 (hentai seiyoku), or “sexual perversion”. In slang, 変態 (hentai) is used as an insult meaning roughly “pervert” or “weirdo”. The term is not often applied to pornography in Japan. Instead, terms such as 18-kin (18禁, literally “18-prohibited”) meaning “prohibited to those not yet 18 years old”, and seijin manga (成人漫画 “adult manga”) are used when referring to pornography. The English letters AV are also used, standing for adult video.
Kawaii An adjective in Japanese meaning ” pretty; cute; lovely; charming; dear; darling; pet” It’s stem is two kanji meaning “can love”. It is commonly used by anime and manga fans.
Furry Furry fandom (also known as furrydom, furridom, fur fandom or furdom) refers to the fandom for fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics. Examples of anthropomorphic attributes include exhibiting human intelligence and facial expressions, the ability to speak, walk on two legs, and wear clothes. Furry fandom is also used to refer to the community of artists, writers, role players and general fans of the furry art forms who gather on the net and at conventions.
Characters that morph between human and animal form are also considered by some to be part of the genre. Even certain superheroes with animal derived powers are considered of furry interest by some fans. The general idea being a combination of human and animal attributes, for which there is no documented science regarding what degrees of mixture are required. Even characters like Josie and the Pussycats are considered of interest to furry fandom, though they only wear costumes with animal ears and tails.
Bishōnen (美少年 , also transliterated bishounen ), is a Japanese term literally meaning “beautiful youth (boy)”.
The term describes an aesthetic that can be found in disparate areas in Asia: a young man whose beauty (and sexual appeal) transcends the boundary of sexual orientation. It has always shown the strongest manifestation in Japanese pop culture, gaining in popularity due to the androgynous glam rock bands of the 1970s, but it has roots in ancient Japanese literature, the homosocial and homoerotic ideals of the medieval Chinese imperial court and intellectuals, and Indian aesthetic concepts carried over from Hinduism, imported with Buddhism to China.
Today, bishōnen are very popular among girls and women in Japan. Reasons for this social phenomenon may include the unique male and female social relationships found within the genre. Some have theorized that bishōnen provide a non-traditional outlet for gender relations. Moreover, it breaks down stereotypes surrounding feminine male characters. These are often depicted with very strong martial arts abilities, sports talent, high intelligence, or comedic flair, traits that are usually assigned to the hero/protagonist.
Lolicon (ロリコン ?), also romanized as rorikon, is a slang portmanteau of the phrase “Lolita complex”. In Japan, the term describes an attraction to young girls, or an individual with such an attraction. Outside Japan, the term is less common and most often refers to a genre of manga and anime wherein childlike female characters are depicted in an erotic manner. The phrase is a reference to Vladimir Nabokov’s book, Lolita, in which a middle-aged man becomes sexually obsessed with a 12-year-old girl. The equivalent term for attraction to (or art pertaining to erotic portrayal of) young boys is shotacon.
Some critics claim that the lolicon genre contributes to actual sexual abuse of children, while others claim that there is no evidence for this, or that there is evidence to the contrary. Although several countries have attempted to criminalize lolicon’s sexually explicit forms as a type of child pornography, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and Ireland are among the few to have actually done so.
Shōjo, shojo or shoujo (少女 shōjo) is a Japanese word originally derived from a Chinese expression written with the same characters. The Chinese characters (少 and 女) literally mean young/little/few and woman respectively. In Japanese, these kanji refer specifically to a young woman approximately 7-18 years old. Shōjo can often be translated with the English word girl.
The kanji compound 少女 can also be pronounced otome, although otome (meaning “maiden”) is more commonly written with the kanji 乙女.
Catgirl A catgirl is a female with cat ears, a cat tail, or other feline characteristics on an otherwise human body. Catgirls are found occasionally in anime and manga either as a form of cosplay or actual body parts, as well as in a few video games. Catgirls may wear over-sized mittens and shoes that look like paws. In Japan, catgirls are usually called nekomimi (猫耳) — literally, “cat ears” — rather than the literal term nekomusume (猫娘). Sometimes characters do not actually feature cat-like ears or such an accessory but their hair sticks out and resembles cat ears. Such characters do not fit the definition of catgirls. Other animal combinations, usually mammals like bunnygirls, foxgirls and (more rarely) doggirls, are referred to as kemonomimi.
Eastern catgirls are usually depicted as having minimal feline characteristics, such as eyes with vertical pupils, tails, and ears (often with different color ear-fur than their hair). Western catgirls are more often portrayed as more animal-like in appearance, with full body fur and claws being their most prominent aspects, though not true for all cases.
Mecha A synthetic or artificial creature or machine which is of generally humanoid or other form. An intelligent program of piece of code inhabiting or controlling a body is also known as a mecha, which is short for mechanical.
Baka The word baka is made up of two kanji – Ba (horse) and Ka (deer). The idea being that if you can’t tell a horse from a deer, then you must be BAKA. Baka is the romanization of a Japanese word meaning “idiot”. Fool, sap, chump, moronic, ridiculous.
Sandwich A sexual situation involving three people, mostly metaphorical. Literally, it is a sexual position in such a gathering where one person receives sexual stimulation from one person below them, and the other participant above them.
Shotacon (ショタコン ?), sometimes shortened to shota (ショタ shota), is a Japanese slang portmanteau of the phrase Shōtarō complex (正太郎コンプレックス Shōtarō konpurekkusu) and describes an attraction to young boys, or an individual with such an attraction Outside Japan, the term is less common and most often refers to a genre of manga and anime wherein pre-pubescent or pubescent male characters are depicted in a suggestive or erotic manner. It can also apply to postpubescent adults with youthful neotenic features that would make them appear to be younger than they are. The phrase is a reference to the young male character Shōtarō (正太郎 ) from Tetsujin 28-go. The equivalent term for attraction to (or art pertaining to erotic portrayal of) young girls is lolicon.
Some critics claim that the shotacon genre contributes to actual sexual abuse of children, while others claim that there is no evidence for this, or that there is evidence to the contrary.
Futanari (二成, 二形; ふたなり); a compound word meaning “two form” in Japanese can mean both the subjects of a special type of pornographic anime or manga (commonly known in the West as hentai), or the genre itself. Futanari depicts hermaphrodites, intersex or other individuals with female body-types and sexual organs resembling penises, whether or not those organs are in fact enlarged clitorises, or they possess both male and female reproductive organs. Technically, the term also encompasses male characters with both sets of sexual organs, but these are usually excluded.
Other common terms used to describe futanari characters are “dickgirls” or “shemales”, although these are often considered vulgar and incorrect. (The term “shemale” is typically used wrongly, since an accurate futanari character possesses a vagina. Shemale is considered a separate genre by many futanari fans). Futanari, along with “newhalf“, are more polite terms having come into recent use, with futanari tending to refer specifically to actual hermaphrodites and “newhalf” tending to refer specifically to characters with female bodies but only male genitals.
Another way to describe futanari is “Any female-looking hentai character that contains the traits of a female, but also possesses the penis of a male. The hentai character must also not actually be a boy crossdressing as a female.” The argument over which characters are crossdressers and which are really just “chicks with dicks”, is hard to find a solution to, which is why, generally, the idea that futanari have to have vaginas is commonly accepted.
Moe (萌え , /mo.e/, pronounced “mo-eh” literally “budding”, as with a plant) is a Japanese slang word originally referring to fetish or love for characters in video games or anime and manga. For example, 眼鏡っ娘萌え, meganekko-moe, “glasses-girl moe”, describes a person who is attracted to fictional characters with eyeglasses.
“Moe!” is also used within anime fandom as an interjection referring to a character the speaker considers to be a moekko. It is even used in some anime, such as Ouran High School Host Club, Lucky Star, Kaichou-wa Maid-sama!, and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. An essential quality of moe is that the person feels protective towards the character – too protective to sexualize the character as lolicon.
Both the spellings moe and moé are used in English. Some writers add an accent mark in an attempt to indicate that the word should be pronounced as two morae, “mo” and “e”, but this usage does not conform to any standard of romanization. Compare bokeh (other non-standard romanization).