otaku オタク

In Japanese, otaku オタク means a "hardcore anime fan." It also means "you," a second person pronoun, and "your home." As the term became mainstream it started referring to "hobbyists" of all sorts, people with manias for stuff, leading the hardcore anime fans to prefer the spelling wotaku ヲタク instead.

In some cases, otaku is also spelled otaku お宅, and otaku おたく. And it's abbreviated ota オタ.

Some people mistakenly think that fujoshi 腐女子 or otome 乙女 is the female word for otaku: that otaku is a male word, so they'll say stuff like "otome and otaku" as if they were gendered words for the same thing. In reality, the term otaku is gender-less and can refer to an otaku girl too.

Otaku オタク - two anime-otakus from an anime about gun-otakus - the characters Karaage Lemon からあげ☆レモン and Goutokuji Kayo 豪徳寺かよ from the manga and anime Sabagebu! さばげぶっ!
Saturday, July 30, 2016

moteru モテる

In Japanese, moteru モテる means "to be popular," in the sense of a guy being popular with girls, or of a girl being popular with guys. Being romantically popular. Like a bishoujo 美少女, with thousands of admirers, love letters, a boyfriend, and so on.

Mantama まんたま, a parody of Gintama 銀魂, features Kintoki 金時 as the last man in the world, so all the girls fall in love with him, because he's literally the only boy in the world.
Anime: Gintama 銀魂 (Episode 256)

Not to be confused with the homonym moteru 持てる, which means "to have" or "to hold" something. Or ninki 人気 that's "popular" in the general sense.
Friday, July 29, 2016

bishoujo 美少女

In anime, a bishoujo 美少女 is, literally, a "beautiful girl," or less literally, a "pretty girl." Characters called bishoujo or introduced as bishoujo are supposedly more beautiful than the average anime girl.

A bishoujo anime girl.
Character: Teruhashi Kokomi 照橋心美
Anime: Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan 斉木楠雄のΨ難

Body Parts

For reference, all the Japanese vocabulary concerning body parts that you'll ever need.

Let's start with the word for "body" in Japanese: karada 体. It's often read tai 体 when it's part of another word, e.g. tainai 体内, "inside of the body.

"Body" in Japanese

There are various ways to say "body" in Japanese. A physical body is karada , or karada 身体, but the word mi is used in some cases. The morpheme tai 体 is used to refer to aspects of the body. And words like nobody, somebody, anybody, everybody are formed with dare 誰 plus some particle.

This article is about the word for whole "body." See Names of Body Parts in Japanese for a list of terms for specific parts.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Moon Phases

There are many anime which talk about the "Moon phases," or gessou 月相, for a reason or another. Like the full Moon, for example. Or the full Moon. The full Moon. And... the full Moon. And also, of course, the red, blood Moon. Anyway, this time I'll talk about these and the other lesser moon phases nobody ever cares about.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

omake おまけ

In Japanese, omake おまけ, also spelled omake お負け, is something given as an extra when selling a product. In manga, anime, and games, omake are bonuses generally bonuses included at the end of the an episode or tankōbon 単行本 volume.

おまけ 2巻からは主役交替で『焔の錬金術師』が始まります transcript from manga 鋼の錬金術師
Manga: Fullmetal Alchemist, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 鋼の錬金術師

kimochi 気持ち

In Japanese, kimochi 気持ち means literally "feeling," a noun, but it's used in some weird ways that don't make much sense. In this article, I'll explain what kimochi means, how it's used, and the difference between kimochi, kimochi ii, and kimochi warui.

Manga: Prison School, 監獄学園 (Chapter 168)
Monday, July 25, 2016

Shounen, Shoujo, Seinen, Josei

If you read manga or watch anime, you may already know they're divided into four categories: shounen 少年, shoujo 少女, seinen 青年, and josei 女性. But what do these words mean in Japanese? How is a shounen anime different from a shoujo anime? What are these genres?
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Oniichan, Oneechan, Otouto, Imouto

Brothers and sisters, we are here united on this day to talk about the difference between "brother" and... "brother"... in Japanese. And "sister" and "sister." Of course I'm talking about the words oniichan 御兄ちゃん and otouto 弟, and oneechan お姉ちゃん and imouto 妹, and some other words related to siblings.
Saturday, July 23, 2016

Animals in Japanese - Vocabulary

If you watch anime, you might know that a neko 猫 is a "cat" and that an inu 犬 is a "dog", but what about the others? What are the animals' names in Japanese? Well, I've put together a list of them!

yobisute 呼び捨て

In Japanese, yobisute 呼び捨て means calling someone without a honorific suffix after their names.

For example, if there's someone called Tarou 太郎, people normally call him: Tarou-san 太郎さん, with the san さん honorific. If you call him by just his name, Tarou 太郎, then that's yobisute.

kun 君 - Honorific

In Japanese, kun くん is a honorific suffix used after the names of boys, male mascot characters, and subordinates, employees or pupils of either gender.

It's also spelled kun 君, with the same kanji as the word kimi 君, "you." Not to be confused with kun 訓, which is the kun'yomi 訓読み reading of a kanji.

sama 様 - Honorific

In Japanese, sama 様, also spelled sama さま, is a honorific suffix used to refer to people with reverence and respect.

In real life, it's used toward customers, clients. In anime, it's used by a slave or servant to refer to their master, lord, or lady. To refer to deities, and to other beings who are superior to the speaker.

Manga: Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. 古見さんは、コミュ症です。 (Chapter 14, あがり症です)

san さん - Honorific

In Japanese, san さん is a honorific suffix, or the number "three," san 三.

The san さん honorific is the most neutral and common of all honorific suffixes. In modern Japan, it's normal to call someone by adding san さん after their names. For example: Tarou-san 太郎さん. In English, this is often translated as "Mr." or "Ms.," like Mr. Tarou.

Honorific Suffixes

In Japanese, honorific suffixes are words like san さん, chan ちゃん, kun くん, and sama, which are written or said after a person's name when addressing them.

They're also called honorific titles, or keishou 敬称.

There are dozens of them, and they're used for dozens of reasons.

どうかお願いしますサターニャさん・・・ いえ サターニャ様
Manga: Gabriel DropOut, ガヴリールドロップアウト (Chapter 9)
Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dere Types: Tsundere, Yandere, Kuudere, Dandere + Others

Some words you may often hear when talking about girls in anime are tsundere ツンデレ, kuudere クーデレ and yandere ヤンデレ. Besides being used only when talking about girls and being mostly words made-up by fans, they also got this dere デレ there at the end, so, clearly, they're related somehow. But what do they mean exactly?

baka 馬鹿, バカ

In Japanese, baka バカ, also spelled baka 馬鹿, means "stupid," or "idiot." In some more complex phrases, it can mean other stuff too.
理由はすぐ分かった ぱーーーーん わひひあひー この男バカなのである
Character: Nendou Riki 燃堂 力
Manga: Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan 斉木楠雄のΨ難 (Chapter 2, 最低Ψ悪!?燃堂力)