Sunday, February 4, 2018

Josou 女装

In Japanese, josou 女装 means "crossdressing," except it only means guys wearing "female clothes," because josou means literally "female clothes."

That is, josou is written with the kanji for "woman," onna 女, and clothing, like in an "attire," ishou 衣装, so you can guess from the meaning of the kanji that josou means "female clothes," and it does, but the way it's most often used, in anime, it's to refer to male crossdressing characters.

Example of crossdressing character in anime.
Anime: "Princess Jellyfish," Kuragehime 海月姫 (Episode 2)

Since this is a rather weird term and crossdressing happens a lot in anime, this article will focus on crossdressing-related terms in Japanese.

"Crossdressing" in Japanese

In English, we just have one word for "crossdressing," but in Japanese there would be three:
  • josou 女装
    Female clothes.
    Guys wearing female clothes. Guys crossdressing.
  • dansou 男装
    Male clothes.
    Girls wearing male clothes. Girls crossdressing.
  • iseisou 異性装
    Different-gender clothes.
    Crossdressing. Guys wearing girls' clothes or vice-versa.

As you can see above, iseisou is the word that means "crossdressing" in the generic way. However, the terms josou and dansou are more popular than the generic term.

Plus, since guys dressing up as girls happens more in anime than the opposite, I'm going focus on that.

"To Crossdress" in Japanese

In order to say "to crossdress" in Japanese, you just put the auxiliary verb suru する after josou (for guy) or dansou (for girl). For example:
  • josou 女装
    Crossdressing. (Guy) dressing like a girl.
  • josou suru 女装する
    (For a guy) to crossdress.
  • josou shita 女装した
    (For a guy) to have crossdressed.
  • josou saserareta 女装させられた
    (For a guy) to have been made crossdress.
    • By the rich ojousama he serves as a butler, for example.

Onnamono 女物

Sometimes characters will say "to crossdress" by saying "wear female clothes" instead. This sounds odd in English, but there are in fact a bunch of Japanese words that can refer to female clothes, for example:
  • onna no fuku 女の服
    A woman's clothes.
    Women's clothes.
  • josei no fuku 女性の服
    josei-fuku 女性服
    Female clothes.
  • josei-you no fuku 女性用の服
    Clothes for women's use.
    Clothes intended for women to use, not men.
  • onnamono 女物
    "Women's things." Anything made for a woman to wear. Includes wristwatches, etc.
  • onnamono no fuku 女物の服
    "Clothes that are women's things." Clothes made for a woman to wear.

So you could say any of this stuff plus the verb "to wear" to have a phrase like:
  • josei-fuku wo kiru 女性服を着る
    To wear women's clothes.

Note, however, that in Japanese when you're talking about wearing shoes, the verb is haku 履く, and any clothes you put on by passing through your legs is haku 穿く, same word written with a different kanji, although people normally just use the first one and ignore the latter, so I'm going to do so too.

Notable examples:
  • panthii wo haku
    To wear panties. (because you put your legs through the panties.)
  • sukaato wo haku
    To wear a skirt. (despite what you may have heard, you don't put them on through your head.)
  • oobaa-nii wo haku
    To wear over-the-knee socks.
    • With this we have a Zettai Ryouiki.
    • *clap clap clap*
    • omedetou おめでとう
  • hai-hiiru wo haku
    To wear high-heels.

Onna no Kakkou 女の格好

Besides saying "to crossdress" by referring to the clothes, it's also possible, in Japanese, to say "to crossdress" by reference to the appearance of a woman.

It's because Japanese is weird like that.
  • kakkou 格好
    Appearance. How someone, or something, looks like.
  • onna no kakkou 女の格好
    A woman's appearance.
    The appearance of a woman.
    How a woman looks.
  • onna no kakkou wo suru 女の格好をする
    To make it the appearance of a woman.
    • To wear an outfit that makes you look like a woman, thereby making your appearance that of a woman.
    • To crossdress.
  • josei no kakkou wo suru 女性の格好をする
    (same thing as above.)
  • joshi no kakkou wo suru 女子の格好をする
    (almost same thing as above.)
    • joshi 女子
      Girl. (generally young.)
    • In an anime set in high school, a guy dressing up as a high school girl is looking like a joshi.
    • See: Joshi-Kousei.

Note that, in anime, a guy that looks like a girl is called an otokonoko 男の娘, a.k.a. a "trap," and he doesn't necessarily crossdresss. Furthermore, if the character literally becomes a woman, as in, his body turns into a woman's, the term is nyotaika 女体化 instead.

The word sugata 姿 is used to refer to someone's "appearance" while they're wearing an outfit. For example:
  • kimono-sugata 着物姿
    Somebody's appearance while wearing a kimono.
    • kimono-sugata de arawareta 着物姿で現れた
      Showed up with a kimono-wearing appearance.
      Showed up wearing a kimono.
  • josou-sugata 女装姿
    Somebody's appearance while crossdressing.

"Crossdresser in Japanese"

There's a number of ways to say "crossdresser" in Japanese. They all have the words josou (for guy) and dansou (for girl) attached to them.

Josou danshi 女装男子

Let's start with the most literal ways. These refer to people that are crossdressing at a certain point in time, or events, etc. that feature them:
  • josou dansei 女装男性
    Guys (men) who crossdress.
  • dansou josei 男装女性
    Girls (women) who crossdress.
  • josou danshi 女装男子
    Boys who crossdress.
    • An old man who crossdresses isn't a josou danshi, he's a josou dansei.
  • dansou joshi 男装女子
    Girls who crossdress.
    • Similarly, joshi implies it's someone young, not old.

Specifically in anime, you'd have:
  • josou kyara 女装キャラ
    Crossdressing (male) character.

And of course you can put josou before anything and it will mean it's a guy crossdressing somehow. And if you put dansou it's a girl crossdressing. You get it.
  • josou meido 女装メイド
    Crossdressing maid.

Josoko 女装子

Now, when referring to people that actually crossdress all the time, the terms change. One such term is:
  • josoko 女装子
    Crossdresser. (guy who crossdresses.)

Note that this word is read as joso-ko じょそこ, not josou-ko じょそうこ like the rest. It refers to a crossdresser for a hobby, or profession, and it works just like the words odori-ko 踊り子, "dancer." For details, see how ko 子 works in Japanese. Similar words include:
  • josouka 女装家
    • The ka 家 implies it's their craft.
    • This term is less common than josoko. Both terms often refer to people who work as crossdressers, like TV personalities, etc.
  • josousha 女装者
    Crossdresser. (the sha 者 just means "person" and doesn't imply anything. This term is more generic and way less common.)

The next terms you're probably never going to see in anime, but since they have to do with crossdressers I thought I may as well write them here.
  • AG (ei-jii エイ・ジー)
    ootogainefiria オートガイネフィリア
    • This refers to the "male crossdressing fetish," or a reason why crossdresssers exist.
    • The following word is a less used synonym:
      Self-female-ization-sexual-attraction. (literally.)

There are also terms to refer to the intervals of time in which a crossdresser is crossdressing, a perhaps assuming a female persona, to to the time they aren't. They are:
  • A面 (eemen エー・メン)
    Side-A (in music).
    The crossdressing side of a josoko,
  • B面 (biimen ビー・メン)
    The non-crossdressing side of a josoko.
    • Example: his B-side is a shop clerk, when he's not crossdressing, he is a shop clerk.

Josou Seme 女装攻め

The term josou seme 女装攻め means basically "crossdressing top" in gay fiction.

To elaborate: seme and uke mean more-or-less "top" and "bottom" when it comes to fiction (see tachi, neko タチ, ネコ for real people), and josou seme is one type of seme.

Since most manga-related gay fiction, BL, yaoi, is made and consumed by girls with perverted imaginations, the fujoshi 腐女子, who happen to be straight, not gay, they end up heteronormalizing gay relationships such that a guy who dresses up like a girl is "the girl" in the relationship: he's the bottom, uke, most of the time.

The word josou-seme is used when that's not the case: the guy crossdressing isn't the bottom, but the top, despite dressing up like a girl he takes the role of "the guy" in the ship.
  • seme ga josou shiteiru bii-eru, fumuke sakuhin
    BL, fujoshi-targeted artwork [in which] the seme is crossdressing.

Dansou 男装

Since the word josou 女装 is written with the kanji for "woman," it can't apply to both genders crossdressing. It applies only to wearing "female clothes," and women wearing female clothes is just women wearing clothes. That's why its counterpart, dansou, also exists.

The word dansou 男装, literally "male clothes," written with the kanji for the word "man," otoko 男, refers to the act of women wearing "male clothes," or girls dressing like guys, etc.

Crossdressing Ayuzawa Misaki 鮎沢 美咲 from anime Kaichou wa Maid-sama! 会長はメイド様!

The word dansou works exactly the same way as josou 女装. To say "(for a girl) to crossdress," you say dansou suru 男装する, a girl who likes to crossdress is dansouko 男装子, and so on. Basically the same thing.

Likewise, dansou doesn't mean the girl actually ends up looking like a guy. A girl who looks like a guy is an onnanoko 雄んなの子. And physically turning into a guy is not dansou, that would be nantaika 男体化.

Iseisou 異性装

So the term josou 女装 is for crossdressing with female clothing, and dansou 男装 for crossdressing with male clothing, but what if want to just say "crossdressing" regardless of gender? Then there's the word iseisou 異性装.

The word iseisou 異性装 is exactly like josou and dansou, but in its case the clothes are isei's. And isei 異性 means "different gender," (this is the same i 異 as isekai 異世界, by the way). So iseisou means literally "(the act of wearing) different gender clothes."

Crossdressing in Anime

If you have watched too much anime you may have noticed that there's a lot of crossdressing in anime for some reason. But why? Why guys crossdress so much in anime? And girls, too, to a lesser extent?

The first and foremost reason is fanservice.

This may sound weird since fanservice is often about awkward underwear shots out of nowhere, low camera angles, and girls clothes getting ripped off randomly, but hear me out.

Fanservice can be fanservice for basically any kind of moe. Some people consider crossdressing moe. In particular, fujoshi, girls into gay shipping, consider crossdressing moe. So most crossdressing scenes you'll find in anime are put there for them.

This is just like how authors sometimes put a random tsundere character just because. For many, that may sound like just a trope, for some, tsundere characters suck, but to a few people tsundere are moe, so it's there for them.

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