Saturday, July 30, 2016


In Japanese, ikemen イケメン means "hot guy," "handsome," "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."

Masamune Makabe 真壁政宗, example of ikemen イケメn, "hot guy."
Character: Masamune Makabe 真壁政宗
Anime: Masamune-kun no Revenge, 政宗くんのリベンジ (Episode 1)

Meaning & Origin

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, as they kept making such portmanteaus at the time.

The ike morpheme 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 men part 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.

Combined, 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.

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.


For reference, some examples of ikemen in anime:

Adenela, アデネラ, getting a head pat by Ryuuguuin Seiya 竜宮院聖哉.
Left: Adenela, アデネラ
Right: Seiya Ryuuguuin 竜宮院聖哉
Anime: Shinchou Yuusha 慎重勇者 (Episode 7, Stitch, Cropped)
  • Context: Seiya talks to Adenela.
  • Adenera, ore wa ima kara shugyou ga aru.
    {omae ga iru} to jama de mezawari de uttoushii.
    sassato acchi e iku ga ii.
    Adenela, I have training now.
    If {you are [around]}, [you] will be a hindrance, an eyesore, and an annoyance.
    Go [away] already.
  • wa, wakatta. su, suki......!
    [I], [I] got [it]. [I] love [you]......!
  • Seeing this, Ristarte リスタルテ comments:
  • iya, mono-suggee hidoi koto iwareteru kedo.
    ikemen no atama nade-nade tte konna ni kiku no?!
    No, [wait], but [he's telling you] a lot of extremely awful things.
    Is the head patting of a hot guy that much effective?!
    • In the sense that the head pats are powerful enough to make someone ignore completely the words he's saying.
Anime: Super GALS! Kotobuki Ran, 超GALS!寿蘭 (Episode 1)
  • ikemen ikooru iketteru otoko
    ikemen equals stylish man.
    • ikooru
    • otoko

      Man. Guy.

ikebo イケボ

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.

ikumen イクメン

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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