Alphabets & Writing Learn Hiragana Common Anime Words

Hentai - Meaning in Japanese - 変態

Saturday, September 2, 2017
In the west, "hentai" refers to any pornographic manga, anime, game, visual novel, or pretty any fiction with 2D drawn or 3D rendered characters. It's drawn Japanese porn. Everybody knows this. But what does the word hentai mean in Japanese? Does hentai 変態 mean the same thing in Japan as it does outside of Japan?

Hentai in Japan

The answer is: nope. hentai doesn't mean the same thing in Japan as it does outside of Japan.

In Japan, or rather, in Japanese, hentai 変態 doesn't refer to anime and manga porn. In fact, it doesn't refer to any kind of porn at all!

So what does hentai mean instead?

Well, the word hentai means "perverted" or "abnormal" in Japanese, usually as in "sexually perverted," an adjective, sometimes used as a noun, "perversion," or, if towards someone, a "pervert."

Although the word hentai 変態 itself originally had nothing to do with sex, it's often used as an abbreviation of other words which start with hentai as an adjective which are related to sex, and so, hentai became a sex-related word.
  • hentai sei 変態性
    Sexual perversion.
  • hentai seiyoku 変態性欲
    Abnormal sexuality.

Most of the time in manga and anime hentai is used towards people. It's the word used when a girl sees a guy spying on her, hentai!, or groping, hentai!, or flashing, hentai!, or just generally being a harem protagonist.

Maybe that's why pornographic manga and anime have come to be called "hentai" in the west? Lots of people get called hentai in hentai because there's a lot of hentai in hentai, so the word stuck? Who knows.

Manga Sen'yuu - hentai desuka? Phrase used to ask if someone is a pervert in Japanese


Being a noun / adjective, hentai can also be used to call things perverted. The most common being:
  • hentai koui 変態行為
    Perverted act.

Equivalent of Hentai in Japanese

So now we know people don't call "anime porn" hentai in Japanese, so what do they call "anime porn" instead? What could possibly be the word for "anime porn" in Japanese?! If not hentai... then what?! What could it be?!?!?!?!?
  • ero エロ
    Erotic. Pornographic.
  • anime アニメ
    Anime.
  • ero anime エロアニメ
    Porn anime.

Who could have guessed... it's just the words "anime" and "porn" together.

By the way, the following also work:
  • adaruto アダルト
    Adult.
  • adaruto anime アダルトアニメ
    Adult anime.
  • jyuu hachi kin 18禁
    Forbidden for under 18.
    18 prohibited. (literally)
  • jyuu hachi kin anime 18禁アニメ
    Anime forbidden for under 18.

Also, ironically, the word ecchi エッチ  in Japanese which comes from the pronunciation of letter H in English that was taken from the first letter of the word hentai in Japanese can be used to say "erotic anime:" ecchi na anime エッチなアニメ. Even though the word hentai itself can't be used that way.

Save for eighteen-kin 18禁,  the words adaruto, ero and ecchi all come from English: Adult, Erotic, and H. All of them written in katakana, not a single one has kanji. Why is that? What's up with this collection of Japanengrish?! Where are the "real" "true" "genuine" Japanese words for porn?
  • seijin 成人
    Adult.
  • mukeru 向ける
    To face towards.
  • seijin-muke 成人向け
    Towards adults.
  • seijin-muke anime 成人向けアニメ
    Anime for adults.

Though that word exists, the foreign words are just more popular. Maybe because katakana looks cooler than kanji on DVD and Blu-ray covers, or maybe because English sounds cooler than Japanese to Japanese people. I wouldn't know, that's just how it is.

Usage


Sometimes a synonym for eighteen-kin 18禁 is used instead, R-18, meaning, as one would expect, "rated 18." A word R-15 also exists for "rated 15." On top of that, there exists some perverted shoujo manga called R-18! and an equally perverted harem novel and anime called R-15, both having their titles based on the terms above. (... and that should hint how incredibly unoriginal both these works are...)

Doujinshi vs. Hentai

It should be noted that doujinshi 同人誌 are publications by fans, and are often manga, and also often hentai, which might make some people think doujinshi, hentai and porn manga terms have some sort of relationship... which they actually don't.

A doujinshi isn't necessarily a manga and it's not necessarily pornographic either. So the word doujinshi is definitely not how you'd say "hentai manga" or "porn manga" in Japanese.

To say "porn manga" in Japanese you'd just do the exact same thing we did with "porn anime," just that this time the noun is manga 漫画 not anime アニメ.
  • ero manga エロ漫画
    adaruto manga アダルト漫画
    ecchi na manga エッチな漫画
    jyuu hachi kin manga 18禁漫画
    seijin-muke manga 成人向け漫画
    Porn manga.
Usage:

And since the word doujinshi doesn't mean porn by itself...
  • ero doujinshi エロ同人誌
    adaruto doujinshi アダルト同人誌
    ecchi na doujinshi エッチな同人誌
    jyuu hachi kin doujinshi 18禁同人誌
    seijin-muke doujinshi 成人向け同人誌
    Porn doujinshi.

Kanji of Hentai

The word hentai written in Japanese is 変体. With the kanji hen 変, meaning "change" or "strange," and tai 態, meaning "attitude" or "appearance." Here are some examples of other words and phrases written with these kanji:
  • hen desu 変です
    [Something] is strange. Abnormal. Changed.
  • henka 変化
    Change.
  • henshin 変身
    Metamorphosis.
    Change of body. Transformation.
  • taihen 大変
    Troublesome. Great trouble.
    Cheat abnormality. Great change. (literally)
  • nani sono taido? 何その態度?
    What's [with] that attitude?
  • kono joutai de この状態で
    In this situation...
    In this condition...

Hentai 変態 vs. Hentai 変体

The word hentai 変体 is homonym with hentai 変態 (same sound, different meaning.) When hentai is written with the tai 態 of taido 態度, "behavior," it means abnormal or altered behavior (perversion). When it's written with the tai 体 of taikei 体形, "form of body," it means abnormal or altered body (physical transformation).

Franky from manga One Piece saying hentai 変体 "transformation" in Japanese


One example of shape or form hentai 変体 is the obsolete hentaigana 変体仮名. Which had the kana of hiragana altered in shape, hence hentai 変体, but didn't pervert their behavior anyhow, so not hentai 変態.

Doubts? Post a comment below!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your komento コメント in this posuto ポスト of this burogu ブログ with your questions about Japanese, doubts or whatever!