Sunday, November 4, 2018

Na-Adjectives in Japanese, ~な, ナ形容詞

In Japanese, na-adjectives are words that are usually turned into attributive adjectives by adding a na な after them. Some na-adjectives are always classified as adjectives, but others can be classified as nouns or adverbs when they don't have the na.

The term for "na-adjective" in Japanese is na-keyoushi ナ形容詞, abbreviated na-kei ナ形. They're also confusingly called "adjectival nouns" in English and "adjectival verbs" in Japanese, keiyou-doushi 形容動詞, abbreviated keidou 形動.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

ほしい vs. たい

A question people often have about hoshi 欲しい, or rather, hoshii ほしい, an auxiliary adjective that means "want" in Japanese, is: what's the difference between hoshii and tai たい, another auxiliary which also means "want" in Japanese?

Hoshii 欲しい - Meaning in Japanese

The word hoshii 欲しい is a weird Japanese word. If you check a dictionary, you'll see in Japanese hoshii means "wanted." But that doesn't make much sense, does it? To want is a verb, hoshii is an i-adjective. So how does that work? What's the real meaning of hoshii?
Monday, October 29, 2018

Tai-form ~たい

In Japanese, the "tai-form" happens when you add the -tai ~たい auxiliary adjective to the ren'youkei 連用形 conjugation of a verb, causing it to change to the desiderative mood. In other words, -tai means "want to" in Japanese, and verb-tai means "want to verb."

(beware of homonyms: tai 体, morpheme for "body," and tai 対, "versus." Those are also tai but not what this article is about.)

はぁ…女体触りたいモテたい 直球だね transcript from manga Boku no Hero Academia 僕のヒーローアカデミア
Manga: Boku no Hero Academia 僕のヒーローアカデミア
Saturday, October 27, 2018

i-Adjectives in Japanese, ~い, イ形容詞

An i-adjective is a Japanese adjective with a base form ending in -i ~い. E.g. hayai 速い, "fast," kawaii 可愛い, "cute," tanoshii 楽しい, "fun."

In Japanese, such words are called keiyoushi 形容詞, "adjectives," or, more specifically, i-keiyoushi イ形容詞, abbreviated i-kei イ形.

The i-adjectives are different from other Japanese adjectives by the fact they're true adjectives: the word is an adjective as-is, it isn't a noun or adverb that needs a particle in order to be used as an adjective. (which is the case with na-adjectives and no-adjectives.)
Monday, October 22, 2018

Swearing with Kono この

In anime, sometimes you have a character swearing in Japanese saying something like kono...! something. Like kono yarou!, kono baka yarou!, kono baka!, kono aho! Well. Anyway, it starts with kono この, which means "this," but it often gets translated as "you." In this post I'll explain why.

仕方…なく… こ……の…… transcript from manga Zatch Bell! / Konjiki no Gasshu!! 金色のガッシュ!!
Manga: Zatch Bell! / Konjiki no Gasshu!! 金色のガッシュ!!
Sunday, October 21, 2018

Yarou 野郎

The word yarou 野郎 (or yarō, also spelled やろう, ヤロー, ヤロウ), is a rather weird word. By itself, it can be a casual or rather rude way to say "guy." Originally, it referred to an adult man. But the way you see it used most often in anime is in insults and swearing.

So, in this post, I'll explain the why of all this.

(beware of homonyms: yarou やろう may also be "let's do it," the volitional form of the verb yaru やる, "to do;" and yarou ヤロウ may refer to the plant, "Yarrow," achillea millefolium.)

野郎ッ、調子に乗るなよ!! transcript from manga Black Lagoon ブラック・ラグーン
Manga: Black Lagoon ブラック・ラグーン
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ore-Sama 俺様

In Japanese, ore-sama 俺様 is the over-the-top combination of the first person pronoun, ore, and the polite honorific suffix sama. Basically, ore-sama means the same thing as ore, "I," "me," in English, except it's ridiculously pompous and people would only use it in real life as a joke.

Which means it's mostly a trope used in manga and anime. (just like kisama 貴様.)

Harima Kenji saying 俺様に 服従せよ。 and Sawachika Eri saying え… in the manga School Rumble.
Manga: School Rumble
  • ore-sama ni
    fukujuu se yo.

    俺様に 服従せよ。
    • Submit to me.
    • I command thee to submit to THE GREAT ME.
  • e... え…

Characters use ore-sama to imply they're extremely important. It's used by the type of character that would say "I'm the strongest" or "the smartest" or "the bestest" or stuff like that.

Kono Ore Da! この俺だ!

In Japanese, the phrase kono ore da! この俺だ! translates literally to "it's this me!" But that sounds weird in English. So, in this post, I'll explain what kono ore means and how it works.

Panel from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. 何か用でしょうか?話を今してんのはこのオレだッ!誰が質問していいと言ったッ!?このボケがッ!
Manga: JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken ジョジョの奇妙な冒険
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Kono Dio Da! このディオだッ!

Kono Dio da! このディオだ! is a phrase used by Dio in the manga and anime JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken ジョジョの奇妙な冒険, and I'm making a post about it because the translation of kono Dio da eludes many Japanese learners.

kono Dio da! このディオだッ! panel from manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken ジョジョの奇妙な冒険

(the small tsu and the prolonged sound mark ー are other symbols in the panel above.)
Friday, October 5, 2018

Zawa Zawa ざわざわ

The word zawa zawa ざわざわ is a sound effect found in the gambling manga Tobaku Mokujiroku Kaiji 賭博黙示録カイジ, and in parodies of it. It normally shows up in tense, cold-sweat-breaking, anxiety-filled situations, which are common in the gambling series.

The sound effect zawa zawa ざわざわ, as seen in the manga Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji 賭博黙示録カイジ

Awkwardly, zawa zawa is an onomatopoeia, and not a non-onomatopoeic mimetic word like gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ from the JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. That is, in the anime adaptation, you get to hear the zawa zawa sound, and you assume the characters can hear it too.

Muda Muda Muda Muda 無駄無駄無駄無駄

In the manga and anime JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, a certain character screams muda muda muda muda 無駄無駄無駄無駄 as his stand goes around punching people in the face, very much like ora ora ora ora is used by Jotarō and his Star Platinum.

Muda muda muda muda muda muda muda muda muda muda muda muda 無駄無駄無駄無駄無駄無駄無駄無駄無駄無駄無駄無駄 yelled in the manga JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken ジョジョの奇妙な冒険.

Also similarly, this muda muda muda muda doesn't really mean anything besides the word muda repeated over and over. Although, indeed, a single muda 無駄 does mean something in Japanese.

Ora Ora Ora Ora オラオラオラオラ

If you watched JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, specially Stardust Crusaders, you've probably already heard Kujō Jotarō 空条 承太郎 and his stand, Star Platinum, screaming ORAORAORAORA オラオラオラオラ at everyone they punched. And you might have asked yourself: what does oraoraoraora mean in Japanese?

The answer is: not much.

Ora ora ora ora ora ora ora ora ora!!! オラオラオラオラオラオラオラオラオラ!!! yelled by Star Platinum from manga JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken ジョジョの奇妙な冒険

(note in the picture above that ora ora ora ora is actually said, spoken in speech balloons, and not an onomatopoeia like the dodododo ドドドド)

Dodododo ドドドド

In Japanese, dodododo ドドドド is an onomatopoeia that has a number of uses.

In the manga JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, dodododo ドドドド tends to show up when things are getting bizarre. When something sudden and unexpected happens, something of "real form unknown," shoutai-fumei 正体不明, etc.

dodododo ドドドド as seen in the manga JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken ジョジョの奇妙な冒険, accompanied by the text kore wa ittai...!? これはいったい・・・!? "What is this?!"

A number of comedy manga parody this usage from JoJo, so, most of the time, dododo means this even when the manga isn't JoJo. (they also often parody gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ, by the way, another sound effect JoJo uses.)
Monday, October 1, 2018

Gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ

If you have read JoJo, or if you spent too much time on the internet browsing anime memes, you've probably come across this bizarre word formed by four repeated symbols: gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ, and then asked yourself: what does it mean???

gogogogo ゴゴゴゴ as seen in the manga Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken ジョジョの奇妙な冒険

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Monster Girl

Within the anime fandom, "monster girl," monster musume モンスター娘, is the name given to non-human fantasy game "monsters" turned into cute anime "girls." It's a sub-category of jingai musume 人外娘, which includes all "non-human girls," whether they're from games or not.

The word is also romanized monsutaa musume モンスター娘, and abbreviated monmosu もん娘. The musume part can mean "daughter," but in this case it means "girl." (see: suffix -kko っ娘)

Moe Anthropomorphism

In anime, there are many cases where things are turned into cute anime girls. And there is a term for that: moe gijinka 萌え擬人化, literally "moe anthropomorphization," which refers to turning something, like, anything at all, into a moe girl (or guy.)

Anthropomoerphism: examples of things turned into cute anime girls: a serval, a sword, a girl, who's a warship, and a couple of guys who are train stations, from the anime Kemono Friends けものフレンズ, Touken Ranbu 刀剣乱舞, Kantai Collection 艦隊これくしょん and Miracle Train: Ooedo-sen e Youkoso ミラクル☆トレイン ~大江戸線へようこそ~. The first three anime are based on online games for some reason.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Peachification, in Japanese Piichi-hime-ka ピーチ姫化, literally "turning into Princess Peach," is the term for turning characters into Princess Peach-like characters by putting a Super Crown on them.

Also spelled peachfication or peach-fication.

See Bowsette and Other Princesses for reference.

The peachification of Bowser to Bowsette, as illustrated by Ayyk92
(comic source: ayyk92 at deviantart)

Bowsette's Japanese Name

For reference, the Japanese name for Bowsette is Kuppa-hime クッパ姫, literally "Princess Koopa," and I'm writing this post, of course, because I think it's funny how the English name Bowsette and the Japanese name Kuppa-hime have almost nothing to do with each other.

(and of Other Princesses that got "Peachfied" too)

If you don't know who Bowsette is, she's the gender-bent / rule 63 / nyotaika 女体化 version of Bowser that turned into a meme overnight this week. (it all began in 2018-09-19.)

Bowsette character, "Princess Bowser" or "Princess koopa." Japanese name:also known as Kuppa-hime クッパ姫

Doki Doki ドキドキ

So you've played some Doki Doki Literature Club or, after becoming disillusioned with the 3D in Overlord III, you started watching the PreCure series for the good taste of 2D quality, and now you're asking yourself: what does doki doki means anyway?

Doki Doki! PreCure ドキドキ!プリキュア, taken from the website

Sunday, September 23, 2018


In Japanese, sometimes you have words that repeat themselves, they're the same thing said twice, like: hitobito 人々, iroiro 色々, betsubetsu 別々, marumaru 丸々, dandan 段々, hibi 日々, tsugitsugi 次々, itaitashii 痛々しい and so on.

When such thing happens, it's called reduplication, or choujou 重畳, the process of creating "reduplicative words," jougo 畳語, and it's not specific of the Japanese language. English has it too.

Reduplication in Japanese: diagram identifying simplex forms, reduplicative words, their base and reduplicant, the iterative mark noma ノマ, dakuten 濁点 diacritics, and rendaku 連濁 consonant changes in a suffixed morphemes, the reduplicant in this case. Examples include: tsugi 次, "next"; tsugitsugi 次々, "in succession"; toki 時, "time"; tokidoki 時々, "sometimes"; hi 日, "day"; hibi 日々, "daily"; dai 代, "generation"; daidai 代々, "for generations"; ikkoku 一刻, "one momment"; Kokkoku 刻刻, "Moment by Moment"; kami 神, "god"; kamigami 神々, "gods"; hito 人, "person"; hitobito 人々, "people"; hoshi 星, "star"; hoshiboshi 星々, "stars"; marui 丸い, "round"; marumaru 丸々, "very round"; atsui 熱い, "hot"; atsuatsu 熱々, "very hot"; hiroi 広い, "spacious"; hirobiro 広々, "very spacious"; baka 馬鹿, "idiot"; bakabakashii 馬鹿馬鹿しい, "foolish"; itai 痛い, "painful"; itaitashii 痛々しい, "painful to look at".

In this article I'll explain how it works in Japanese, and common effects it has on the meaning of words.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Iteration Marks - ゝゞヽヾ々〻〱〲〃

In Japanese, iteration marks are symbols which can be used to repeat parts of a word. The most common mark, 々, is written instead of a repeated kanji. The marks ゝゞヽヾ are written instead of a repeated kana. Besides those, there's also a long く mark, this thing 〻, and the ditto mark 〃.

〃 Ditto Mark

The Japanese ditto mark, 〃, called nono-ji-ten ノノ字点, because it resembles the katakana ノ twice, officially onajiku kigou 同じく記号, works just like the English ditto mark: it's used when a part of one line is the same thing as the previous line.

The only difference being that English uses a ditto mark for each word repeated, while Japanese uses just one ditto mark for the entire repeated part.

Example of Japanese ditto mark. ousai gakuen seitokai kaisoku hito~tsu! himegoto wa... subete houkoku se yo! 桜才学園 生徒会会則 ひとーつ!秘め事は…全て報告せよ! Ousai Gakuen Student Council Rules O~ne! Your secrets... report all of them! (ditto) futa~tsu! fudeoroshi wa... shinchou ni 〃ふたーつ!筆下ろしは…慎重に ””””” Tw~o! The first time... be prudent. (ditto) mittsu! miraretara... misekaese! 〃三つ!見られたら…見せ返せ! ””””” Three! If you're seen... show back! Every episode of the anime Seitokai Yakuindomo 生徒会役員共 has a segment where a new innuendo-filled "rule" is declared. The declarations all start the same way. Not pictured: Tsuda's retorts.

Note that this mark is unlikely to show up in manga, or in any dialogue text. It can show in a school, an actual, real school, in class, when a teacher is writing on an actual blackboard. As well as in tables when you have multiple rows and cells of a row are the same thing as cells of the row above.
Sunday, September 16, 2018

ゝゞヽヾ - Hiragana & Katakana Iteration Marks

In Japanese, the symbols ゝゞヽヾ are iteration marks for hiragana and katakana, that is, they work similar to how works for kanji. They work pretty much the same way, repeating the character that precedes them, the main difference being that they're used with kana instead, and they're Used Less.

(note: if you saw ヽ in the furigana space, it's probably an emphasis mark instead.)

The differences between the five symbols are pretty simple:
  • 々 is used with kanji.
  • ゝ and ゞ are used with hiragana.
  • ヽ and ヾ are used with katakana.
  • ゞ and ヾ add a dakuten accent.
  • ゝ and ヽ remove the accent.

Diagram: Iteration marks for Katakan & Hiragana. ヽ(^∇^) ゝ.  Examples: susume すすめ, すゝめ; suzushii すずしい, すゞしい; banana バナナ, バナヽ; habanero ハバネロ, ハゞネロ.

(see Examples for details.)

Regarding the names of the symbols ゝゞヽヾ, they're called ichi-no-ji-ten 一の字点, "character mark [that looks like] 一," but known by the same names 々 has: kurikaeshi 繰り返し, odoriji 踊り字 etc.
Friday, September 14, 2018

Mimetic Words / Ideophones

Mimetic words, or ideophones, are words which mimic or evoke an idea. One kind of ideophone are onomatopoeia, which mimic sounds. But Japanese also features hundreds of non-onomatopoeic ideophones, like sappari さっぱり, yukkuri ゆっくり, kichinto きちんと, chanto ちゃんと, wakuwaku わくわく, pikapika ぴかぴか, nikoniko にこにこ, among others.

This post will explain how such words work.

Chart: Mimetic Words in Japanese: Non-Onomatopoeic Ideophones (a.k.a. gitaigo) and Onomatopoeia (a.k.a. giongo.) The four types ideophones, "imitated... something... words:" gitaigo 擬態語, phenomimes, that imitate "state;" gijougo 擬情語, psychomimes, that imitate "emotion;" giseigo 擬声語, animate phonomimes, that imitate "voice;" and giongo 擬音語, inanimate phonomimes, that imitate "sound." Examples of gitaigo: pikapika ぴかぴか, *sparkling,* yukkuri ゆっくり, *without hurry,* hakkiri はっきり, *with certainty,* chanto ちゃんと, *properly.* Examples of gijougo: wakuwaku わくわく, *excitement,* iraira いらいら, "irritation," bikkuri びっくり, *surprise,* unzari うんざり, *annoyance.* Examples of giseigo: wanwan わんわん, *bow-wow,* konkon こんこん, *what the fox says,* nyaa にゃー, *meow,* gya'! ぎゃっ! *eek!* Examples of giongo: dokidoki ドキドキ, *thump-thump,* zaazaa ザーザー, *white noise,* pyon ぴょん, *boing,* gokun ごくん, *gulp.* Among these words, the following feature reduplication: pikapika, wakuwaku, iraira, wanwan, konkon, dokidoki, zaazaa. Some feature ri り endings, and chanto features an embedded to と.

Friday, September 7, 2018


Onomatopoeia are words that imply the sound they sound like. That is, words like *bang*, the sound of a pistol firing. Or *meow* the sound a cat makes. In Japanese, such words are disturbingly common, so I'll dedicate this article to explaining them.

bari-bari gusha-gusha baki-baki gokun. バリバリグシャグシャバキバキゴクン。 Crunch-crunch munch-munch crack-crack gulp. Onomatopoeia found in the manga MONSTER, the full-color extra volume: Name no Nai Kaibutsu なまえのないかいぶつ
(In case you need it: なまえのないかいぶつ on Amazon.)
Friday, August 31, 2018

"It" in Japanese - Pronoun

If you're looking for how to say "it" in Japanese, I've got some bad news for you: one of the things English has that Japanese doesn't have happens to be the pronoun "it." So there's no way for you say "it" in Japanese, as that word simply doesn't exist. The good news is: you don't need "it" in Japanese.

This happens because most of the time you need an explicit "it" in English, you can simply omit "it" and leave "it" implicit in Japanese.

Example of implicit "it" in Japanese, from manga Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon 小林さんちのメイドラゴン. Transcript: meido fuku... メイド服… "Maid clothes..." Yume? 夢? [Is it a] dream? Yahari yume ka やはり夢か As I thought [it's] a dream.

But let me explain more about each use of "it" in English and what's done in Japanese instead.
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Zettai Ryouiki 絶対領域

In Japanese, the term Zettai Ryouiki 絶対領域, or ZR, literally "absolute," zettai 絶対, "territory," ryouiki 領域, so "Absolute Territory" in English, refers to the space of bare thighs between the skirt and above knee-length socks.

Yes, seriously. That's what Zettai Ryouiki means.

Scene of anime Outbreak Company showing what's Zettai Ryouiki by having the main character write it on a blackboard and then point to the area of bare thighs between the skirt and above knee-length socks of a girl on a magazine.
Sunday, August 19, 2018

ヶ - Small Ke ケ

In Japanese, the small katakana ke ケ, ヶ, is a bit different from the other small kana, in that it's not usually read ke, but instead as ka か, ga が, or even ko こ. Similar to how the small tsu isn't read as tsu つ.

For example, ni-ka-getsu 二ヶ月 is how you say "two months," as in counting the months. It's not read ni-ke-getsu despite having a ke in the middle.
Monday, July 2, 2018

Hiragana-Chan: Android App for Learning the Kana

So I'm making an Android app for people who like anime and want to start learning Japanese. It helps memorize the hiragana and katakana. Utterly basic stuff and not really interesting for anyone who's already learned them, but should be useful for absolute beginners.

Link: Hiragana-Chan on Google Play.

Since I never made something like this before so I don't know if it works. Do post feedback in the comments below if you have any.

Screenshot of Japanese romaji/kana quiz app Hiragana-chan
Thursday, May 31, 2018

Yome 嫁

The word yome means "wife" in Japanese, or "bride," or "daughter-in-law," the "wife of your son," or "bride of your son," or it can mean "read!" too but that's something else entirely and has nothing to do with what this article is about.
Sunday, May 20, 2018

Ojousama お嬢様

The word ojousama means "daughter" in Japanese, similar to musume 娘, and it also means "young girl," and "rich girl." In anime and anime-related discussion, ojousama or ojou-sama often refers to a rich girl character.
Friday, May 18, 2018

Bocchan 坊っちゃん

You might have heard the word bocchan in anime before, being used by maids and butlers to refer to a boy whom they serve, their "young master." But what's the real meaning of bocchan in Japanese?
Friday, May 4, 2018

Okusama 奥様

In Japanese, okusama means "wife." It's kind of synonymous with tsuma 妻, but that word is often used more literally, like a "wife," while okusama may be used to refer to a "wife" person, like "my wife" or "your wife."
Thursday, May 3, 2018

Goshujinsama ご主人様

In Japanese, the word goshujinsama ご主人様 means the "master" of a servant, in anime, mostly of a maid. The word may also refer to the "owner" of a house or shop, to one's "husband," or to a pet's "owner."
Friday, April 27, 2018

Aniue, Aneue, Chichiue, Hahaue 兄上, 姉上, 父上, 母上

In Japanese, the words aniue, aneue, chichiue, and hahaue mean "older brother," "older sister," "father," and "mother," respectively, the same thing as ani, ane, chichi and haha. However, the words with the __ue pattern have a different nuance.

Ane 姉

The word ane means "older sister" in Japanese. It's somewhat synonymous with oneesan お姉さん, but differs in usage. (see ane vs. oneesan). The "older brother" counterpart would be ani, while imouto is "younger sister."

Ani 兄

The word ani means "older brother" in Japanese. It's somewhat synonymous with oniisan お兄さん, but differs in usage. (see ani vs. oniisan). The "older sister" counterpart would be ane, while otouto is "younger brother."

Haha 母

The word haha means "mother" in Japanese (or it's a laugh, haha). It's somewhat synonymous with okaasan お母さん, but differs in usage. (see haha vs. okaasan). The "father" counterpart would be chichi.

Chichi 父

The word chichi means "father" in Japanese (or "breasts," see: oppai おっぱい). It's somewhat synonymous with otousan お父さん, but differs in usage. (see chichi vs. otousan). The "mother" counterpart would be haha.

Aneki 姉貴

In Japanese, the word aneki means "older sister," just like oneesan お姉さん, although sometimes it can be used to refer to an older woman who's not really the speaker's sister, but whom they respect.
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Aniki 兄貴

In Japanese, aniki is a way to refer to someone's "older brother," just like oniisan お兄さん, but it's often used in other ways, like to refer to someone whom the speaker consider to be his big bro, or to one's senior in a gang.

Ossan おっさん

The word ossan means "old man" in Japanese, sometimes translated as "middle-aged man" instead. It's considered to be a relaxed, casual word, and it can either be taken as a cozy way to say "old man" or as a rude way to say "old man." Sometimes it can be used as a derogatory.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Oyaji オヤジ, 親父, 親仁, 親爺

The word oyaji means "father" in Japanese, making it synonymous with otousan, but sometimes it can refer to a man of certain age, similar to how the word ojisan works, or the owner of a shop instead
Monday, April 23, 2018

Obaasan お祖母さん, お婆さん

The word obaasan means "grandmother" in Japanese. (but sometimes refers to an elder woman). It's also romanized obāsan, with a macron. Not to be confused with obasan without a macron, which means "aunt" instead.

It's one of the many family words with the o__san お〇〇さん pattern, and as such the honorific suffix can be changed between san, chan and sama. (see obaachan vs. obaasan vs. obaasama)