And kanji with manga
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

kemono 獣, ケモノ

In Japanese, kemono 獣 means various things. It can mean an animal, a furry "beast." It can mean an anthropomorphic, furry character. And it can refer to artwork featuring such characters.


Literally, a kemono 獣 is a furry "beast," an animal.

It should not be confused with kimono 着物, which is a thing you wear.

The word kedamono 獣, written with the same kanji, is normally used in a bad way to refer to people who are like "animals," that is, savages, scum.


In anime and manga, a kemono character is an anthropomorphic character, a half-beast character. That can be a character that looks like a cat and has cat ears and cat tail and fur, etc. or like a dog, or like a lizard, or like anything, really.

In this case, the word kemono is normally written with katakana instead of with kanji, so kemono ケモノ.

A Kemono ケモノ furry character from the anime Flying Witch

Note that, for some people, a character is only a kemono if they feature muzzle, tail and fur (or scales, feathers, etc.). Characters that only feature "beast ears" are normally associated with the term kemonomimi 獣耳 instead. (ironically, Kemono Friends isn't about kemono characters according to this definition, as they have human faces and not muzzles)

Various types of "beast ears," kemonomimi 獣耳.
Anime: Kemono Friends けものフレンズ (Episode 6)

Kemo ケモ

In Japanese, the word kemono as used toward drawings is sometimes abbreviated to just kemo ケモ.

For example, the anime "Kemono Friends," or kemono furenzu けものフレンズ, is normally abbreviated to just kemofure けもフレ. (note: kemono was written with hiragana in the title of this anime probably because of aesthetics.)

Some derived terms include:


In English, kemono is often used to refer to artwork which features kemono characters. In this case it's essentially synonymous with "furry art."

In Japanese, someone who likes kemono characters and art, that is, a furry, is called a kemonaa ケモナー, something like a kemono-er, kemoner.

Furry in Japanese: 検索キーワードケモナーメスケモ transcript from chapter 104 of manga Watamote: Kii sees Tomoko on the computer searching for the keyword kemonaa ケモナー, which means furry. Seen in chapter 104 of Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い!
Manga: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い! (WataMote)
— Chapter 104.
  • sousaku kiiwaado 検索キーワード
    Search keyword
  • kemonaa ケモナー
  • mesu-kemo メスケモ
    Female furry.

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