Saturday, January 27, 2018

kabedon 壁ドン - Meaning in Japanese, Types

In Japanese, kabedon 壁ドン is when a guy flirts with a girl by putting his hand, arm, elbow, or even legs on a wall, or when a girl flirts with a guy, or doesn't flirt, but threatens instead, or anything like that, plus dozens of other variations. Literally, kabedon is the sound of impact, DON! ドン! on a "wall," kabe 壁. This is sometimes translated to English as "wall slam."

Example of ryoute-kabedon 両手壁ドン.
Manga: Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii ヲタクに恋は難しい


As far as the trope goes, the kabedon is the weapon of choice of popular-with-girls characters. It's not limited to just manga and anime, but also to series with real people and even Real Life™. Some even consider the kabedon a romantic way to flirt.

Due to its enormous popularity an recognition worldwide in fiction and reality, the kabedon is also commonly featured sarcastically in parodies, jokes, memes, and something that's probably a mix of these three things at once.

ポプ子 「カベドンしてェ❤」
Anime: Pop Team Epic, Poputepipikku ポプテピピック (Episode 4, Collage)
  • Popuko "Kabedon shitee ❤"
    ポプ 「カベドンし❤」
    Popuko: "do a kabedon [on me] ❤"
  • The numbers on the top-right corner is the date, (水) stands for the weekday, suiyoubi 水曜日, "Wednesday."

On the flip side, the kabedon is also the weapon of choice of characters that are not popular with girls, specially gang members, etc. to approach whoever they lay their eyes upon in what you'd imagine they'd imagine is the manliest most badass way of approaching somebody.

As one would expect, when the guy doing the kabedon is ugly, it looks lame, and when he looks violent, it looks menacing. So whether the kabedon is effective or not has nothing to do with the kabedon itself, it depends entirely on who is using it.

Although those that swear on the technique's effectiveness also exist.

俺と付き合え・・・・・・ ・・・・・・と 突然 壁に追い詰められ 女は不安になるが 耳元で愛を囁いた途端 不安はトキメキへと変わり 告白の成功率が上がる
Manga: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai ~Tensai-Tachi no Ren'ai Zunousen かぐや様は告らせたい~天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦~ (Chapter 6, 白銀御行は隠したい)
  • Context: the student council president explains the power of kabedon.
  • ore to

    [Go out with] me......
    • tsukiau 付き合う
      To do an activity with someone.
      To hang with.
      To go out with.
      To date with.
    [ say something like that.]
    (quoting particle, implies the phrase before is a quote.)
  • totsuzen kabe ni
    突然 壁に追い詰められ
    Suddenly being cornered into a wall.
  • onna wa fuan ni naru ga
    The woman becomes uneasy but
  • mimimoto de ai wo sasayaita totan
    The moment [you] whisper love close [to her] ear
    • mimimoto de 耳元で
      At ear's base. (literally.)
      Close to the ear. (adverb.)
  • fuan wa tokimeki e to
    Uneasiness turns into fluttering, [and]
  • kokuhaku no seikouritsu ga agaru
    The success rate of the confession increases.

Same-Gender Kabedon

It's important to reaffirm that kabedon isn't used exclusively in a flirting attempt by guys trying to get girls. It's also used in a totally not flirting way by bully characters who want to literally pin down their weak-willed victims against the wall to steal their lunch money or whatever.

Basically, if it's a guy and a girl doing it, it's flirting, and if it's two guys, it's threatening. Super simple stuff.

However, some people (fujoshi) might get mixed signals somehow and mistake an obviously threatening kabedon between two guys who hate each-other's guts with some sort of sexual-tension-powered kabedon meant to fuel their fangirling fantasies.

Likewise, you'll see that a lot of times there's some girl-on-girl kabedon going on. For some mysterious reason.

Types of Kabedon

The term kabedon is rather generic. It doesn't even need an actual wall. A vehicle, pillar, etc. also suffices for a kabedon. The point of the move is just that there's a surface and there's a DON! So it's no wonder it has happened so many times people ended up naming a number of its multiple variations.

And here they are, for reference.

(in the examples below, the "guy" is hitting on the "girl.")

Basic Kabedon

The most basic kabedon is just the guy placing one hand against the wall, usually his open palm.

Ookami 大上, Wolfgang, and Retsuko 烈子, example of a salaryman using a kabedon 壁ドン on an OL.
Left: Ookami 大上; Wolfgang
Right: Retsuko 烈子
Anime: Aggressive Retsuko, アグレッシブ烈子 (2016) (Episode 32)
Sento Isuzu 千斗いすず, and Kanie Seiya 可児江西也, example of kabedon 壁ドン.
Left: Sento Isuzu 千斗いすず
Right: Kanie Seiya 可児江西也
Anime: Amagi Brilliant Park, 甘城ブリリアントパーク (Episode 4)
  • teppeki sukaato
    "Iron-wall skirt." An incredibly powerful garment capable of hiding panties from view with absurd precision.

It's common for the camera to change to the character's perspective when the kabedon happens, so you can see the whole face of the other character, rather than just the side.

Kashiwagi Nagisa 柏木渚, example of kabedon 壁ドン.
Character: Kashiwagi Nagisa 柏木渚
Anime: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai ~Tensai-Tachi no Ren'ai Zunousen かぐや様は告らせたい~天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦~ (Episode 5)
Sanzenin Nagi 三千院ナギ, example of kabedon 壁ドン.
Character: Sanzenin Nagi 三千院ナギ
Anime: Hayate no Gotoku! ハヤテのごとく! (Episode 1)

kabekui 壁クイ

A kabekui 壁クイ is a kabedon with an agokui 顎クイ, which is when the guy lifts the girl's "chin," ago 顎, to look into each other's eyes or for a kiss.

Kasahara Konomi 笠原好, example of kabekui 壁クイ.
Character: Kasahara Konomi 笠原好
Anime: Iwa Kakeru! いわかける! (Episode 8)
Usui Takumi 碓氷拓海 uses two romantic techniques on Ayuzawa Misaki 鮎沢美咲, holding her chin up (agokui 顎クイ) and placing his hand on a wall, or rather, on a tree (kabedon 壁ドン).
Left: Ayuzawa Misaki 鮎沢美咲
Right: Usui Takumi 碓氷拓海
Anime: Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, 会長はメイド様! (Episode 2, Stitch)
  • *futari no kashitsu no tokki ninmu
    (beware: the artist isn't Japanese, she's Chinese. This phrase doesn't make a lot of sense to me but I'm writing what I think it means anyway. Honestly it's better if you just ignore it altogether.)
    The special (tokki) mission (ninmu) of the department (room? kashitsu) of [them] two (futari).

katsuagedon カツアゲドン

A katsuagedon カツアゲドン is an "extortion," katsuage 喝上げ, kabedon. It's less about being romantic and more about extorting or bullying someone. Be it for their lunch money or to invite the girl "play around" for a while. Usually done by an overconfident bad guy with a scummy smile that's going to get beaten by the good guy in a couple of moments, minutes or episodes.

Sendou Aichi 先導アイチ, and Morikawa Katsumi 森川カツミ, example of kabedon 壁ドン.
Left: Sendou Aichi 先導アイチ
Right: Morikawa Katsumi 森川カツミ
Anime: Cardfight!! Vanguard (Episode 1)
  • Youjo Senki
    (title of the anime.)

tekubidon 手首ドン

A tekubin 手首ドン is a "wrist," tekubi 手首, kabedon, where the guy grabs the girl's wrist pins it to the wall, possibly so that she can't escape, or, alternatively, where the guy's wrist is pressed against the wall, as opposed to just his palm or fist.

Hanako 花子, Yashiro Nene 八尋寧々, example of kabedon 壁ドン.
Left: Hanako 花子
Right: Yashiro Nene 八尋寧々
Anime: Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun 地縛少年花子くん (Episode 4)

hijidon 肘ドン

A hijidon 肘ドン is an "elbow," hiji 肘, kabedon, where the guy places his elbow against the wall. Surely a palm kabedon has more impact, more don, in it, but with a hijidon the guy's face is usually very close to the girl's, so there's that.

Haru ハル, and Juno ジュノ, example of hijidon 肘ドン.
Left: Haru ハル
Right: Juno ジュノ
Anime: Beastars (Episode 12)
Uesugi Fuutarou 上杉風太郎, Nakano Itsuki 中野五月, example of hijidon 肘ドン.
Left: Uesugi Fuutarou 上杉風太郎
Right: Nakano Itsuki 中野五月
Anime: Gotoubun no Hanayome 五等分の花嫁 (Episode 1)

ryoute-kabedon 両手壁ドン

A ryoute-kabedon 両手壁ドン, or ryoutedon 両手ドン, is a "both hands," ryoute 両手, kabedon, where the guy places both hands on the wall, instead of just "one hand," katate 片手.

Masamune Makabe 真壁政宗 uses a ryoute-kabedon 両手壁ドン (wall slam with both hands) on Adagaki Aki 安達垣愛姫.
Left: Adagaki Aki 安達垣愛姫
Right: Masamune Makabe 真壁政宗
Anime: Masamune-kun no Revenge, 政宗くんのリベンジ (Episode 10, Stitch)
Katarina Claes カタリナ・クラエス, Sophia Ascart ソフィア・アスカルト, example of ryoute kabedon 両手壁ドン.
Top: Katarina Claes カタリナ・クラエス
Bottom: Sophia Ascart ソフィア・アスカルト
Anime: Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei Shiteshimatta…, 乙女ゲームの破滅フラグしかない悪役令嬢に転生してしまった… (Episode 8, Stitch)
Nanase Haruka 七瀬遙, Matsuoka Rin 松岡凛, example of ryoute kabedon 両手壁ドン.
Left: Nanase Haruka 七瀬遙
Right: Matsuoka Rin 松岡凛
Anime: Free!, フリー! (Episode 4)
  • nani kono joukyou...
    [What's up with] this situation...?
  • zuru zuru
    *sliding down against the wall*
  • shuuuuu
    *hissing sound of smoke coming out of punched wall or fist*
  • Labels on heads:
  • Aribaba-san
    (character name.)
  • hai'!!
  • nani kore ikemen
    What's this, a hottie?
  • kyuun
    *heart throb*

Technically, this term doesn't apply if you have three or more hands, because ryoute is "both hands," as in specifically "two hands," and not "all hands."

(and yes, I know I'm being part of the problem.)

W-kabedon W壁ドン

A W-kabedon W壁ドン is a "double" kabedon. Because the letter W can mean an abbreviation for "double" in Japanese.

A double kabedon could be, for example, two different guys hitting on the same girl, each doing a separate kabedon. So you have two hands on the wall, but it's not one guy's "both hands," so it's not ryoute, it's just a normal kabedon, but double, a double kabedon.

It could also be kabedon'ng two girls at once.

ryouhijidon 両肘ドン

A ryouhijidon 両肘ドン is a "both elbows," ryouhiji 両肘, kabedon. The hijidon version of ryoutedon.

matadon 股ドン

A matadon 股ドン is a "crotch," mata 股, kabedon, in which the guy's knee is placed between between the girls legs, under her crotch.

  • nee
  • Homura atashi no koto
    saketeru desho

    Homura, [you're] avoiding me, [aren't you]?
  • sa... saketenai yo...?
    さ・・・ 避けてないよ・・・?
    [I... I'm] not avoiding [you]...?
  • honto ni?
  • atashi no koto

    [You] don't hate [me]?
  • un...
  • kirai janai

    [I] don't hate... [you]
  • uso janai yo ne?
    [That's] not a lie, [right]?
  • atashi wa Homura to
    nakayoku shitai-n-da

    I want to [have a good relationship] with [you], Homura.
  • ......!
  • wa... watashi mo
    M... me too
  • Miki-san to...
    With Miki-san...

ashidon 足ドン

An ashidon 足ドン is a "foot" or "leg," ashi 足, kabedon, in which the guy places his foot against the wall, as opposed to his hand.

Mitsuba Sousuke 三葉惣助, example of overly long sleeves (moe-sode 萌え袖), ashi-don 足ドン.
Character: Mitsuba Sousuke 三葉惣助
Anime: Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun 地縛少年花子くん (Episode 7, Stitch)

yukadon 床ドン

A yukadon 床ドン is a "floor," yuka 床, kabedon, in which the girl is against the floor, instead of against the wall.

Kohaku コハク, and Senkuu 千空, example of yukadon 床ドン.
Top: Kohaku コハク
Bottom: Senkuu 千空
Anime: Dr. Stone, ドクターストーン (Episode 10, Stitch, Altered)
"Night," Yoru 夜, Bam, Rachel ラヘル, example of yukadon 床ドン.
Top: "Night," Yoru 夜, Bam
Bottom: Rachel ラヘル
Anime: "Tower of God," Kami no Tou 神之塔 (Episode 1)

chichidon 乳ドン

A chichidon 乳ドン is a "boobs," chichi 乳, kabedon, in which the guy presses the girl against the wall with his bo... uh... you know, I think this one needs the genders reversed: a chichidon is when the girl presses the guy against the wall with her oppai おっぱい. Now that makes more sense.

Note that, if anime is of any reference, boobs never make a don sound. They make "boing" sound. You can't make a don sound by hitting your boobs against the wall. So one may conclude a chichidon doesn't make much sense, as you can't don with chichi.

However, as you may have figured out already, kabedon isn't really about the don sound effect as it's about pressing someone against the wall and placing a limb or another around them so they can't go away so easily.

So a chichidon is about pinning a guy against the wall using your boobs. Which... really doesn't make much sense either, to be honest. I mean, human males are naturally taller than females. So a guy could normally just free himself with the force of his torso alone.

Which is why chichidon usually has a guy shorter than the girl or that has lost balance and isn't standing upright.

semidon 蝉ドン

A semidon 蝉ドン is a "cicada," semi 蝉, kabedon, also spelled semidon セミドン. This one isn't serious (I hope...?!), and is mostly a meme where the guy has the girl cornered in a corner of the room, with two walls around her, and he places all of his four limbs on the walls all at once. It's like a kabedon on steroids. Tetra-kabedon.

kamidon 髪ドン

A kamidon 髪ドン is a "hair," kami 髪, kabedon. There is a point where we needed to stop and we have clearly passed it, but let's keep going and see what happens.

Other Kabedon Types

Of course, the complex world of romantic gestures isn't limited to banging your apparently demon-possessed hair to the wall in order to make your love-interest fall in love with you.

A post called "what kind of kabedon do you like?" [「どの壁ドンがお好き?」 まとめ -, 2018-11-18] includes some rather humorous ones that I couldn't find example pictures of. They are:

  • atama ga itai don
    "My head hurts don." (fourth panel, first page.)
    A hijidon where the guy puts his elbow above the girl's head, and then puts his head on his elbow, so it looks like he's got a headache.
  • munaguradon
    A "(shirt) collar," munagura 胸倉, kabedon. (first panel, second page.)
    A kabedon where the guy grabs the girl by her shirt. (or the girl grabs the guy. Looks like she didn't like all those kabedon's!)
  • ryoukatadon
    A "both shoulders," ryoukata 両肩, kabedon.
    Where the guy grabs the girl by her both shoulders.
  • atama de don
    A kabedon with the "head," atama 頭, also called atamadon.
    Where the guy places his head against the wall. It's like hugging without embracing.
  • gyuudon
    A "tight (hug)," gyuu ぎゅう, kabedon.
  • puteranodon
    "Pteranodon" is a genus of pterosaur.
  • eadon
    An "air," ea エア, kabedon.
    The girl left, the guy kept his pose, awkwardly, and alone.
  • (last page is an omake おまけ with counter-attacks to protect yourself from a kabedon assailant.)

Further Reading

For further reference, see this Pixiv illustration containing more moves: ❤萌えシチュ40奥義❤

Dictionary Entries

Poses & Gestures


Leave your komento コメント in this posuto ポスト of this burogu ブログ with your questions about Japanese, doubts or whatever!

All comments are moderated and won't show up until approved. Spam, links to illegal websites, and inappropriate content won't be published.

  1. I just realized this stuff is more reflective of the individual artists than the culture. Sounds obvious, but it's too easy to look at something from Japan, and then judge Japan instead of the creator. This romantic don stuff wouldn't even work in the West, let alone the non-confrontational culture of Japan.

    I doubt there's any authentic amateur footage of it failing in real life. It's too easy to interpret it as a crime, which I'm confident it is in my country lol