Wednesday, January 24, 2018

do-S, do-M ドS,ドM

NSFW: this article may contain words or images you'd rather not have your boss see.
There's two terms in Japanese, do-S ドS and do-M ドM, also written do-S 弩S and do-M 弩M, which I think deserve some explaining. Obviously, when you look at them like that it's obvious they have to do with S&M, sadism and masochism. But most of the time you'll see either do-S or do-M written alone, so people who don't know about it won't realize right off the bat it's about S&M. (at least I hadn't)
A do-S and a do-M, ドS, ドM, from manga One Punch Man and MM! respectively.

S and M

Before anything else, let's talk about S and M, or, rather, esu エス and emu エム, the katakanization of those letters.

In Japanese, the letter "S," esu エス, normally means "sadist," while "M," emu エム, means "masochist." I repeat: it's sadist and masochist, not sadism and masochism. That's because when one of these letters is used it's often talking about the preferences of a person, not the concept itself. For example:
  • watashi wa esu desu 私はSです
    I'm an S.
    I'm a sadist.
  • watashi wa emu desu 私はMです
    I'm an M.
    I'm a masochist.

Generally speaking, it works like the above. If you say you're "an S," you're saying you're "a sadist." If you say you're "an M," you're saying you're "a masochist."

Letters be Letters

Note, however, that that's not not necessarily true. There are no definite and indefinite articles in the Japanese language, no words for "a," "an," and "the." So "I'm an S,""I'm the S" and "I'm S" are all the same phrase in Japanese. For example:
  • watashi wa eru desu 私はLです
    I'm L.

Above we have a phrase that could say "I'm L," as in "my name is L," or it could be everyone is being assigned a letter of the alphabet and mine was the letter L. You are letter J? "I'm L." That sort of ambiguity exists.

Not Affiliated With BDSM

As far as I'm aware, English-speakers who are into BDSM don't go around calling themselves letters. Nobody says "I'm an S" in "I'm an M" in English, unless they watch too much anime. Normally you'd say "I'm a sadist" or "I'm a masochist." Or, not exactly, but similar: "I'm a dominant" or "I'm a submissive." And those can indeed be abbreviated: "I'm a dom" and "I'm a sub."

On top of that, saying you're an S or an M in Japanese, or getting called that, doesn't necessarily have BDSM connotations. It means, literally, just sadist and masochist.

That is to say that in Japanese these words are often used to talk about the personality of the characters (and people) and not about their sexual preferences. Consequently, they get used in Japanese more than they get used in English.

A character can get called sadist, for example, for being too bossy, specially if they're a manager or teacher. And they can get called masochist for staying friends with someone who is bossy. And, just like in English, if you keep doing something that sounds like suffering and people would rather not do, like grinding a character is an ineffective way in an MMORPG, you may get called a masochist for that.

Conversely, sometimes the S and M characters do have something to do with BDSM. For example, S characters often find themselves using a whip as a weapon. Because that's the weapon of choice of all sadists, apparently. On the other hand, M characters frequently and mysteriously find themselves in bound by rope, specially in gag mang... comedy manga.

Do-S ドS

Alright, so now we know that S alone means "sadist," and that can be used in a number of ways in Japanese, as one would expected. But then what does do-S ドS means? What does do of do-S do?

Basically, the do ド prefix means "very" or "super" or some emphatic adjective like that. It can be three different ways, by the way, so do-S written in Japanese is どS, ドS, or 弩S, depending on whether you want to write it with hiragana, katakana or kanji.

It can also be written as do-esu ドエス if you use katakana instead of the S.

So do-S means "super sadist" if you were to simply translate it. But you could say it means "fucking sadist" or "damn sadist" if you want to use an expletive instead. It's not that do ド is a bad word, it just adds emphasis, but sometimes in English emphasis is better added with an expletive.


Often, when someone calls someone a do-S, they are doing one of the following:
  1. Complaining that guy keeps bossing everyone around.
    That "damn sadist" won't let me take the day off!
  2. Warning that someone is troublesome.
    Stay away from him, he's a "fucking sadist."

Then there's the time a character calls themselves do-S. Then it'd be like they saying "I'm a fucking sadist."

Now, I'm pretty sure you can imagine characters saying those phrases. But sometimes it just doesn't suit, does it? Sometimes "super sadist" makes more sense in English than an expletive. So the translation of do ド varies.

Also, saying "super sadist" often involves an exaggeration of some sort. Either you're exaggerating how much of a sadist the person is, or the author has exaggerated how sadistic the character is. Characters which are designed as do-S don't act like normal people, they act like caricatures. They speak in verbal abuse. Call people "dog" or "gorilla.". They look down at people taller than them. It's weird.

Do-M ドM

The word do-M means "super masochist" or "damn masochist" or "fucking masochist," pretty much the same way as do-S works.

Likewise, do-M can be written in three different ways: どM, ドM or 弩M. And do-emu ドエム if you replace the M with katakana.

(ironically, if you remove the hyphen from the romaji you turn do-M into doM, or dom, which'd be the abbreviation of dominant, which is practically the antonym of masochist.)

Like do-S characters, do-M characters are often exaggerated, the kind you'd find in a comedy manga. They'll go around begging people to tie them up and other stuff like that, plus tons of blushing over verbal and physical abuse every single time. In worst cases, a do-M character in a fantasy world will end up fantasizing about getting attacked by monsters. That sounds like suicide, but some consider it a joke.

離れろよオイ!! 命って読んでよぉ~~ アタシ強い男好きなんだよね~~❤ 超ドMだし~~ 知らねーよ! いいから離れろ!! quote from manga Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan 斉木楠雄のΨ難
Anime: Saiki Kusuo no Psi-nan 斉木楠雄のΨ難
  • Context: Aiura Mikoto is searching for a boyfriend.
  • hanarero yo oi!!
    [Get away from me, hey!!]
  • mikoto tte yonde yoo~~
    Call me Mikoto~~
  • atashi tsuyoi otoko
    suki nanda yo ne~~❤

    I like strong men~~❤
  • chou do-M dashii~~
    [I'm] a super masochist~~
  • shiranee yo!
    [I don't care about that!]
  • ii kara hanarero!!
    [Get away from me!!]

Do-M Hoihoi ドMホイホイ

The term Do-M Hoihoi ドMホイホイ is mostly a tag found on a number of websites used to tag drawings, stories, videos, etc. that appeal the "super masochists." It's a kind of weird tag because it doesn't describe the fictional content, it advertises the post to real masochist users.

The word hoihoi ホイホイ would mean to indulge something unguarded. That is, to accept something from someone or do something for someone without reservations. In this case, that tag means it's something a do-M would gladly accept without further thought.

Do-S Hoihoi ドSホイホイ

Something that attracts do-S people. For example: ryona リョナ.


For reference, some related terms:
  • sadhisuto サディスト
  • sadhizumu サディズム
  • sado サド
    (either of the above)
  • mazohisuto マゾヒスト
  • mazohizumu マゾヒズム
  • mazo マゾ
    (either of the above)

Pretty much all sadist/masochist words can be used as na adjectives and sometimes just glued together to other words:
  • do-S onna ドS女
    do-S na onna ドSな女
    Sadistic woman.
  • do-M otoko ドM男
    do-M na otoko ドMな男
    Masochistic man.

The missing B/D, plus native Japanese counterparts:
  • bondeeji ボンデージ
    Bondage. (BDSM lingo only)
    (in English, "bondage" also means to be owned as slave by someone, for example, "bondage in Egypt" may refer to the slaves who built the pyramids. This meaning isn't shared by the Japanese katakanization)
  • kousoku 拘束
    sokubaku 束縛
    Restraints. (used to bind people)
  • shibari 縛り
    The "tying up" of something. (from the verb shibaru 縛る, "to tie up.")
  • dhishipurin ディシプリン
    Discipline. (again, BDSM lingo)
  • fukujuu 服従
    Submission. Obedience.
  • shihai 支配
    Domination. Rule. Control.

And the staple vocabulary known by practically every S/M character ever in manga:
  • goshujinsama ご主人様
    Master. Mistress. (in servant-master sense)
    (shujin 主人 normally means "husband," and the kanji hints to the "person who's the lord [of the house]")
  • joousama 女王様
  • dorei 奴隷
  • petto ペット
  • pochi ポチ
    "Spotty" or something. Extremely unoriginal common name for a pet dog.
  • kau 飼う
    To keep an animal as a pet.
  • choukyou 調教
    To break (or train) an animal. (for example: a dog or horse)
  • shitsuke
    The teaching of manners. Training. Disciplining.
  • shitsukeru 躾ける
    To teach manners, etc.
  • purei プレイ
    "Activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation." - Oxford Dictionary
    ("What kind of play you're into?" etc.)
  • esu-emu-purei SMプレイ
    SM play.
  • meirei 命令
    Order. Command.
  • meirei wo kikanai 命令を聞かない
    To not listen to orders.
  • oshioki お仕置き
  • gohoubi ご褒美
    Reward. (may or may not be synonymous with the above)
  • muchi ムチ (also 鞭)
  • kubiwa 首輪
    Collar. (literally "neck ring")


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  1. I'm always surprised by all the neat things there are to learn about Japanese, especially when katakana is involved.

  2. The one that makes me laugh the most is エム猫ーちゃん。It's so cutesey but at the same time perfectly encapsulates the mentality of masochism. Plus it is Mukami Kou (Kimura Ryohei) saying it! <3 <3