And kanji with manga
Sunday, February 4, 2018

"Crossdressing" in Japanese

There are various ways to say "crossdressing" in Japanese, depending on what you mean.
  1. josou
    Literally "female clothes," can refer to guys crossdressing. This is the most common term.
  2. dansou
    Literally "male clothes," can refer to girls crossdressing.
  3. iseisou
    Literally "opposite-gender clothes," means crossdressing in general. This is the least common term.

Utsumi Shou 内海将, Takarada Rikka 宝多六花, and Hibiki Yuuta 響裕太, example of characters crossdressing.
Left: Utsumi Shou 内海将 (josou)
Middle: Takarada Rikka 宝多六花 (dansou)
Right: Hibiki Yuuta 響裕太 (josou)
Anime: SSSS.GRIDMAN (Episode 8, Stitch)


Grammatically, all three words can be used as suru-verbs.
  • josou suru
    (For a guy) to crossdress.
  • josou saseru
    To force [a guy] to crossdress. (causative form.)
  • josou saserareru
    (For a guy) to be forced to crossdress. (passive causative form.)
  • dansou suru
    (For a girl) to crossdress.
  • dansou saseru
    To force [a girl] to crossdress.
  • dansou saserareru
    (For a girl) to be forced to crossdress.


There are various ways to say "crossdresser" in Japanese. Using relative clauses and compound nouns, you could say:
  • {josou suru} hito
    A person [who] {crossdresses [by wearing women's clothes]}.
    • josou suru danshi
      A guy [who] {crossdresses}.
    • josou-danshi
      A crossdressing-guy.
  • {dansou suru} hito
    A person [who] {crossdressed [by wearing men's clothes]}.
    • {dansou suru} joshi
      A girl [who] {crossdresses}.
    • dansou-joshi
      A crossdressing-girl.

Besides these, there are also specific terms for people who aren't simply crossdressing, but that are known to crossdress. For example:
  • josoko
    A guy who crossdresses. (as a hobby, for example.)
    • Pronounced josoko じょこ with a short vowel.
    • The word ko generally implies a cute person.
  • dansouko
    A girl who crossdresses.
  • josou-sha 女装者
    dansou-sha 男装者
    Crosdressing person. A crossdresser.
  • josou-ka 女装家
    dansou-ka 男装家
    Crossdresser. (as a craft, like crossdressers that are TV personalities.)

A面, B面

There are terms to refer to the periods of time a crossdresser is crossdressing and the periods they are not.
  • A面 (eemen エー・メン)
    Side-A. (in music)
    While crossdressing. (for crossdressers.)
    • men 面 means a face. In music, some discs are double-sided, meaning one of its faces has a set of songs, and flipping it around allows you play a different set of songs from the same disc
  • B面 (biimen ビー・メン)
    Side-B. (in music)
    The non-crossdressing side.
    • Example: his B-side is a shop clerk. Meaning: when he's not crossdressing, he's a shop clerk.

In English, similar terms are "boy mode" and "girl mode." However, note that side-B can mean either boy mode or girl mode depending on your gender, while side-A can also mean either, but it's the opposite gender instead.

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