Japanese with Anime

And kanji with manga

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Monday, March 1, 2021

nomikai 飲み会

In Japanese, nomikai 飲み会 means literally "drinking meeting," or "drinking party," that is, "to meet," au 会う, in order "to drink," nomu 飲む.

Typically, this term refers to coworkers meeting after-work to drink alcohol in an izakaya 居酒屋, which is a sort of Japanese bar-restaurant.

Example of nomikai 飲み会, drinking party.
Anime: Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii ヲタクに恋は難しい (Episode 4)
Sunday, February 28, 2021

shichi-san-wake 七三分け

In Japanese, shichi-san-wake 七三分け, meaning literally "divided," wakeru 分ける, in 7:3 parts, refers to a hairstyle in which the hair is parted to one side, ideally 70% to one side, 30% to the other side.

It's also pronounced hichi-san-wake ちさんわけ. Which side doesn't matter, 7:3, 3:7, it's all the same thing.

柿とピーナッツの割合は7:3に決まっとるやろーがァァ!! 世の中の事は全てコレ 7:3でピッチリうまく分けられるよーなっとんじゃ!! 7:3が宇宙万物根元の黄金比じゃボケコラカスぅ!!
Manga: Gintama 銀魂 (Chapter 105, 柿ピーはあんまり食べ過ぎちゃダメ)

sukebra 透けブラ

In Japanese, suke-bura 透けブラ means a bra that's visible underneath clothes, typically due to a wet shirt. It's also romanized sukebra.

Shidare Hotaru 枝垂ほたる, example of bra seen through clothes, sukebura 透けブラ.
Character: Shidare Hotaru 枝垂ほたる
Anime: Dagashikashi だがしかし (Season 2) (Episode 2, Stitch, Cropped)
Thursday, February 25, 2021


In Japanese, OL means a woman who works an office job, it's an abbreviation of "office lady," and includes anything from pencil-pushers, to managers, CEOs, etc. It's not a specific profession. OL is the female counterpart of salaryman.

Sometimes, OL is translated to English as "secretary" due to stereotypes about working women.

OL is pronounced oo-eru オーエル.

See: katakanized alphabet letters.

Elma, エルマ, example of OL, Office Lady.
Character: Elma, エルマ
Anime: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon, 小林さんちのメイドラゴン (Episode 8, Stitch)
Friday, February 19, 2021

salaryman サラリーマン

In Japanese, a "salaryman" is a white collar office worker employed in any stable corporate slave job; it isn't a specific profession, but more like a pencil-pusher in a desk job kinda thing, typically seen wearing suit, tie, and suitcase. It's katakanized sarariiman サラリーマン,

Sometimes, it's abbreviated to riiman リーマン.

In manga and anime, a salaryman is archetypically a typical, common, average, generic Japanese adult man, who tends to have a non-confrontational personality—non-adventurous, weak-willed and servile, a pushover—often working overtime to the death at some exploitative company, and conforming strictly to the formalities of an extremely vertical organizational hierarchy by respecting the authority of his superiors.

Inuyashiki Ichirou 犬屋敷壱郎, example of salaryman.
Character: Inuyashiki Ichirou 犬屋敷壱郎
Anime: Inuyashiki いぬやしき (Episode 1)

mama まま, ママ

In Japanese, mama まま and mama ママ are two different words with different meanings.

Spelled with hiragana, mama まま means how something continues in a way unchanged. It has several usages. Rarely, it's spelled with kanji, as mama 儘 or mama 随. It's sometimes pronounced manma まんま instead.

Spelled with katakana, mama ママ means "mom," an affectionate way to refer to one's mother, or one's "wife" in some cases.

Not to be confused with maa maa まあまあ, which is an interjection.

Manga: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い! (Chapter 3, モテないし昔の友達に合う)
Monday, February 1, 2021

papa パパ

In Japanese, papa パパ means "dad," it's a affectionate way to refer to one's "father," and may also refer to one's "husband." It also means "daddy" as in a sugar daddy, an older man who pays a younger woman to date him.

Compared to other words that mean father, like otousan お父さん, papa is particularly common among little children. Older characters that use this word tend to be in amicable terms with their parents or just spoiled.

パパ おかえりー
Manga: Fullmetal Alchemist, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師 (Chapter 14, ひとりっ子の気持ち)

The female counterpart is mama ママ, "mom."

In many languages, "papa," "mama," "dada," "baba" and so on also mean father and mother, because those words are randomly babbled by babies, and parents simply decide such baby's first words should mean either father or mother.[Mama and papa - en.wikipedia.org, accessed 2021-02-01]

Given this, I'm not sure if the Japanese papa and mama are loan words or native words created through the process above.

enjo-kousai 援助交際

In Japanese, enjo-kousai 援助交際 typically means a form of underage prostitution in which an older man pays a younger girl to date and have sex with him, which is at least two crimes.

In the broadest sense of the word, "compensated dating," literally "intermingling," kousai, for financial "support," enjo, there's a possibility that no crime is being committed, so long they're only having a date, like going to the karaoke, and the girl isn't underage.

Since compensated dating can also refer to other stuff like "sugaring," papa-katsu パパ活, and a rental girlfriend, I'll also include these terms in this article. In rare cases, it's also been translated as "subsidized dating."

Disclaimer: this article is for informational purposes only and doesn't endorse any of the practices listed in it.

A ganguro gyaru clinging to a sugar daddy.
Anime: Puni Puni☆Poemii ぷにぷに☆ぽえみぃ (Episode 2)

The term enjo-kousai is also romanized enjo kōsai. It's sometimes abbreviated enkou 援交, or enjo 援助. Also spelled enkou 円光. Also called sapooto サポート, "support," abbreviated sapo サポ.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Money Gesture

In Japan, there's a hand gesture for money that's very similar to the "OK" hand gesture in America: it's done by making a circle with the thumb and index finger.

Hachikuji Mayoi 八九寺真宵, making a money sign.
Character: Hachikuji Mayoi 八九寺真宵
Anime: Nisemonogatari 偽物語 (Episode 1)
  • haa? kono yo ni okane igai nani ka aru-n-desu ka?
    Hah? In this world, is there anything besides money?

This gesture is used not only to talk about hard cash, but also when talking about profits or other economic gains, about costs, things that are expensive, and so on. It just signifies money in general.

Warning: different cultures use the same gesture to signify different things. In Japan it's money, in America it's "OK," in some countries it's something obscene, and so on. Some culture also have different gestures for money, like rubbing the index and thumb together.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Performative Verbs

In grammar, "performative verbs," suikou-doushi 遂行動詞, are verbs that perform an action simply by being uttered. They're used in the simple present in English, and in the "nonpast form," hikakokei 非過去形, in Japanese.

English examples include: I say, I declare, I command, I promise, I allow, I permit, I forbid, and so on.

Japanese examples include: onegai shimasu お願いします, tanomu 頼む, meizuru 命ずる, yurusu 許す, kyoka suru 許可する, and so on.


In Japanese, the verb forms ~te-iru ~ている and ~te-aru ~てある are stativizers: they're composed of the te-form plus a hojo-doushi 補助動詞 "auxiliary verb" that's an stative verb, specifically the existence verbs iru いる and aru ある, and they're used to make eventive verbs into stative predicates so they can be reported in present tense in nonpast form, while also anchoring generic stative predicates to particular temporal episodes.

Basically, they work kind of like the progressive form "is ~ing" and the perfect form "has ~ed" in English. Observe:

  • Tarou wa hashiru
    Tarou will run. (future perfective event.)
    Tarou runs. (present habitual state.)
  • Tarou ga hashitte-iru
    Tarou is running [right now]. (progressive state, stage-level predicate.)
  • Tarou wa kyonen kara mai-nichi hashitte-iru
    Tarou has been running every day since last year. (iterative state, episodic individual-level predicate.)
  • setsumei ga hon ni kaite-aru
    The explanation is written in the book. (resultative state, stage-level predicate.)

It's probably not very useful in practice to know that ~te-iru and ~te-aru are stativizers. It's more useful to just learn their functions individually. But for the sake of reference I'll be writing this article to show how these two forms relate.

Thursday, September 24, 2020


In Japanese, the verbs naru なる and suru する form an ergative verb pair of eventivizers: they're eventive verbs used with the adverbial form of statives, such as adjectives, stative verbs, and habitual predicates, in order to make said stative to behave like an eventive.

Notably, Japanese statives in nonpast form lack a future tense, so either a futurate or an eventivizer will be necessary to express a state is true in the future.

  • musuko ga isha da
    [My] son is a doctor. (present tense.)
    *[My] son will be a doctor. (can't mean the future tense.)
  • musuko ga isha ni naru
    [My] son will be a doctor.
  • watashi ga musuko wo isha ni suru
    I will make [my] son be a doctor.

Note: naru and suru have other functions, but this article won't focus on them.

なる vs. する, the differences between naru and suru.
Friday, September 18, 2020


In grammar, a futurate is a present-tense sentence that expresses a future temporal reference. For example:

  • The Red Sox play the Yankees tomorrow. (futurate.)
  • The Red Sox will play the Yankees tomorrow. (synonymous futurate-tense sentence.)

This is rarely relevant in Japanese, but it occurs in sentences like this:

  • gakkou wa yasumi da
    The school is at rest. (literally.)
    There's no school. (present.)
    *There will be no school. (no future interpretation.)
  • ashita gakkou wa yasumi da
    Tomorrow, the school is at rest. (a futurate.)
    There will be no school tomorrow.
Future temporal reference plus present tense equals futurate. Example: ashita Tarou ga koko ni iru 明日太郎がここにいる, Tomorrow, Tarou is here. Where ashita/tomorrow is a future temporal reference, and iru/is is a present tense word.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Stative Verbs

In semantic grammar, "stative verbs," in Japanese: joutai-doushi 状態動詞, are verbs that express states, making them similar to adjectives. They contrast with eventive verbs, which express events.

There are multiple definitions for stative verb in Japanese. See lexical aspects for details.

In Japanese, stative verbs used in nonpast form express a state in the present tense only, which is exactly how adjectives is nonpast form work. Observe the difference:

  • Tarou wa manga wo yomu
    Tarou reads manga. (present habitual.)
    Tarou will read manga. (future perfective.)
  • sora wa aoi
    The sky is blue. (present state.)
    *The sky will be blue. (can't express futurity.)
  • minna wa sou omou
    Everybody thinks so. (present state.)
    *Everybody will think so. (can't express futurity.

Above, the eventive yomu has both present and future tense, the i-adjective aoi only has present tense, and the stative verb omou only has present tense as well.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Eventive Verbs

Among verb types, eventive verbs are verbs that express events, which occur at some point in time. They contrast with stative verbs, which express states that are true during spans of time.

In Japanese, an eventive verb in nonpast form expresses that a futurity or a habitual. Tense-wise, future and present, respectively. A futurity is a future event. A habitual is a recurring event, often habit-like, though it can also mean whether an event is possible to occur at all.

  • Tarou wa manga wo yomu
    Tarou will read manga. (futurity.)
    Tarou reads manga. (habitual.)
    • Habitual potential entailment: if Tarou reads manga, then Tarou can read manga, because if he couldn't read manga, he wouldn't read manga.