And kanji with manga
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

tachi, neko, riba タチ, ネコ, リバ, 凸凹回

In Japanese, the gay slangs "top," "bottom," and "switch" would be the following words (beware of the homonyms):

These words were actually lesbian slangs first, which then started being used by gays, too. In fiction, they're similar to the words seme and uke. They're written with katakana normally, but they may be written with kanji as 凸凹回 in some cases.

Dialogue from manga Prison School: ore ga.. onna ni naru; neko sengen kita..!!; meaning: I will.. be [the] woman; Declaration of [him being] bottom has come..!!

Origin of Tachi タチ

There are a a number of theories about the origin of tachi タチ and how it came to mean "top" as a LGBT slang.

One of them is that in the world of kabuki 歌舞伎 (a sort of theater that commonly features only male actors), the actor in the leading "man role," otoko-yaku 男役, is called tachi-yaku 立ち役, "standing role." Since some people say the "top" is the "man" in a homosexual couple, the word tachi came to mean that.

Another theory is that it comes from the word tachi 太刀, a type of Japanese "long sword." That is: it's comparing the penis to a "long sword."

Another theory is that, because tatsu 起つ means "to stand up" or "to get erect," and tachi 起ち would mean "erection" (or "standing up), so it comes from that.

Origin of Neko ネコ

Likewise, there are a number of theories for why neko ネコ means "bottom" in Japanese.

One of them is that it comes from the world "wheelbarrow," which is also neko ネコ. Why wheelbarrow? Because, apparently, the way one holds a wheelbarrow is similar to the way a tachi would hold the neko's legs during intercourse.

Another theory is that it actually comes from neko 猫, "cat," because, in English, the word "pussy," from "pussycat," is a slang for vagina.

Another theory is that it comes from neruko 寝る子, "sleeping child." Although note that while ko 子 means literally "child," it's sometimes used to people regardless of age, so it's more like "sleeper." Also note that neru 寝る in this case is probably not just "to sleep" but "to sleep with." (see: netorare 寝取られ). Which means neruko 寝る子 is "someone that sleeps with someone" or "someone [you] sleep with."

Origin of Riba リバ

The word riba is probably just the abbreviation of the katakanization of the word "reversible," ribaashiburu リバーシブル or something like that.

Vs. Seme and Uke

The terms seme and uke also mean "top" and "bottom," but they're used by fujoshi in their BL doujinshi and fanfiction world, which means they have nothing to do with real life. In 2D, it's seme and uke, in 3D, tachi and neko. Or so was the case.

Nowadays, LGBT people started to use seme and uke IRL too, mixing the LGBT subculture with the otaku subculture. (which equals to a trainwreck, basically.)

And so, when seme and uke are used in real life, they refer to the "assertive" and "passive," or to "dominant" and "submissive." That is: who takes lead and who's led in a sexual relationship. While tachi and neko (at least to gays) refer to who penetrates and who's penetrated.

I want to note that the Pixiv dictionary literally warns that the words seme and uke in BL are literally about just only who penetrates and who's penetrated and nothing else. Which means that real-life seme-uke and fiction seme-uke have different meanings according to some, while real-life tachi-neko and fiction seme-uke are synonymous according to some. (TRAIN. WRECK.)

For example: a real-life neko-seme (bottom, but assertive) could be something like an osoi-uke in fiction.


This is one of the silliest things I've come accross, but, apparently, in gay dating websites, etc. the kanji 凸凹回 are used to symbolize tachi, neko and riba. I think even the dumbest-of-the-asses can see why and tell which one is which apart, but just to make sure:
  • tachi 凸 (or seme)
  • neko 凹 (or uke)
  • riba

By the way, those are artificial readings for those kanji, they aren't official, nor will you see them in the dictionary or in other words.

Normally, these kanji don't mean anything sexual. Their usual meanings are:
  • deko
  • kubomi 凹み
  • totsu
  • ou
  • dekoboko 凸凹
    outotsu 凹凸
    Uneven. (with dents and bumps)
  • mawari 回り


(NSFW) - タチ、ネコの語源を知っていますか?

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