And kanji with manga
Saturday, July 30, 2016

ikemen イケメン

In Japanese, ikemen イケメン means "hot guy," or "cool guy," as in a "pretty" guy, an "attractive" guy. It's a slang. Similar words include bishounen 美少年, "beautiful boy," and binan 美男, "beautiful man."


The slang ikemen イケメン is a portmanteau formed by two words. It was coined around the year 2000, and it may be related to gyaru ギャル somehow because they kept making such portmanteaus at the time.

The first part of the word comes from iketeru イケてる, a slang meaning "to look good," "to look stylish," "to look hot," and so on. It's synonymous with kakko ii カッコいい.

The second could be either men メン, a katakanization of the English word "men." Or it could be the word men 面 which means "face." In this case, it's also spelled ikemen イケ面, partially with kanji.

So ikemen means either "hot men" or a guy with a "hot face." Although the latter doesn't imply the gender of the ikemen, the term is pretty much always used toward men, not toward women.

Anime: Super GALS!, Suupaa Gyaruzu! Kotobuki Ran 超GALS! 寿蘭 (Episode 1)
  • ikemen ikooru iketteru otoko
    ikemen equals stylish man.
    • ikooru イコール
    • otoko
      Man. Guy.

As far as anime is concerned, an ikemen character is normally "popular with guys," moteru モテる, as you'd expect, just like any bishoujo 美少女 character.


In Japanese, ikebo イケボ is an abbreviation of ikemen boisu イケメンボイス, literally "ikemen voice," that is, a "hot guy's voice."

It may be used when you can hear a guy's voice but you can't see his face, but from his voice alone you'd imagine he looks like a hot guy.


An ikumen イクメン is another slang that's derived from ikemen イケメン. The difference between the two are clear as day: an ikemen is a hot guy, an ikumen is a guy good with children.

It comes from ikuji 育児, "childcare," or raising children.

Basically, ikemen was a term coined around the year 2000. Ten years later, the young girls who were going crazy for ikemen hot guys now need to settle and have a family of their own. They don't want ikemen anymore, they need ikumen now.

There's even a project about raising the number of ikumen in Japan called... Ikumen Project. (thanks to Snoopy on Lang-8 for letting me know about this.)


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