Friday, March 2, 2018

wan わん - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, wan わん is the sound dogs make when they bark, an onomatopoeia. In other words: wan is "woof" in Japanese, or wanwan わんわん means "bow-wow" in Japanese, or something like that.

Note that wan わん doesn't have kanji and may be written with hiragana because hiragana is cuter, or written with katakana as wan ワン.

When wan' わんっ or wan' ワンッ are written instead, with a small tsu at the end of the phrase, it emphasizes the sound, expressing a stronger-sounding bark.

Examples of wan わん, "woof" or barking in Japanese.
Manga: Aho Girl, Aho Gāru アホガール (Volume 1)
Manga: Gabriel DropOut, ガヴリールドロップアウト (Chapter 7)
Manga: Gakkou-gurashi! がっこうぐらし! (Chapter 17)

Other Wounds Dogs Make

By the way, dogs make other noises too, not just wan, and so the following words also exist:

  • gurururu
  • uofu
    Woof. Roof.
  • uufu
    (same meaning.)
  • kyaun
    Nnn.. nnn.. nnn... (crying sound.)
  • kyuun
    (same meaning.)

For reference, some examples:

Character: Ichinose Hana 一之瀬花名
Anime: Slow Start (Episode 7)
  • Context: a fox sign being used to imitate a dog.
    • What sort of blasphemy is this?
  • wan
ワンッワンッ グルルル・・・ でけぇ!! このデカさは・・・クマか!!
Manga: Aho Girl, Aho Gāru アホガール (Volume 1, Chapter 17, Page 134, 人じゃなかった)
  • Context: a dog appears!
  • wan' wan'
    Woof woof!
  • gurururu...
  • dekee!!
    [It] is huge!
  • Symbols: focus lines, realization mark.
  • kono deka-sa wa... kuma ka!!
    This huge-ness... [it] is a bear?!!
    This size... a bear?!!
    • In the sense of, with this size, this animal must be a bear! It's the only logical conclusion!
キャウンキャウンッ 降伏のポーズ おぉおとなしくなったぞ! やった!!
Manga: Aho Girl, Aho Gāru アホガール (Volume 1, Chapter 17, Page 138, 降伏の証)
  • Context: a dog is tamed.
  • kyaun kyaun'
    *dog whining noises*
  • ※koufuku no poozu
    Pose of submission.
  • oo, otonashiku natta zo!
    Ooh, [it] became docile!
  • yatta!!
    [We] did [it]!
なでなで わんっ わっ ふりふり
Manga: Gakkou-gurashi! がっこうぐらし! (Chapter 17, わんこ, Altered)
  • Context: a girl gives a dog a head pat.
  • nade-nade
    *pat pat*
  • wan'
  • wa'
  • furi-furi
    *wagging of tail*
    (mimetic word.)
あなた自身も犬の気持ちになって話しかける そうすれば犬の言っていることもわかるというものです わんっ
Manga: Gabriel DropOut, ガヴリールドロップアウト (Chapter 7)
  • Context: anime attempts inter-species communication, circa 2014, colorized.
  • anata jishin mo inu no kimochi ni natte hanashi-kakeru
    You yourself too become like the dog's feelings and start talking.
    • You put yourself in the dog's shoes and start talking to him.
    • You make yourself feel like a dog and start talking to him.
    • You make yourself think like a dog and start talking to him.
    • hanashi kakeru
      To start talking with someone. (in this case, with the dog.)
    • inu no kimochi
      Dog's feelings.
      How the dog feels.
      How the dog thinks.
      The perspective of a dog.
    • anata jishin mo
      You yourself too. You too. (the dog already thinks like a dog, so the point is that you, too, think like a dog.)
  • sou sureba {inu no itteiru} koto mo wakaru toiu mono desu yo
    If [you] do that, the thing [that] {the dog is saying} [you'll] understand.
    If you do that, you should be able to understand what the dog is saying.
  • wan'

The word nyan にゃん would be the sound cats make in Japanese, "meow."

See also: sounds animals make in Japanese.

The word wanko わんこ, derived from wan, would be a cutesy way to refer to a "doggy."


Beware that wan ワン is homonym with the katakanization of the English number "one." That is, wan piisu ワンピース means "one piece," and probably not "woof piece." This may be used in word play. Notably:

Is also known as the "Dog's Day," inu no hi 犬の日, because wan, wan, wan 111 sounds like a dog barking.

Animal Words

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