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Friday, October 5, 2018

Kaiji: zawa.. zawa.. ざわ・・ざわ・・ Sound Effect - Meaning in Japanese

In Japanese, zawa.. zawa.. ざわ・・ざわ・・ is an onomatopoeia for when a crowd gathers and starts whispering around, creating a commotion, however, it's best known for its usage in the gambling series Kaiji, in which case zawa-zawa shows up in tense, cold-sweat-breaking, anxiety-filled situations, even when there is no crowd around, so there's nothing to emit a zawa-zawa sound.

In the anime adaptation of Kaiji, someone voicing the syllables zawa-zawa is used as the sound effect

The iconic zawa..zawa.. ざわ・・ざわ・・ sound effect.
Manga: Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji 賭博黙示録カイジ

Meaning

For reference, the word zawa zawa as used normally:

仕方・・・なく・・・ こ・・・・・・の・・・・・・ 何だ何だ!? ザワザワ
Manga: Zatch Bell!, Konjiki no Gash!! 金色のガッシュ!! (Chapter 1, 清麿、正義のみかた)
  • Context: Zatch Bell ガッシュ・ベル did something he shouldn't have, enraging Takamine Kiyomaro 高嶺清麿.
  • shikata... naku...
    仕方・・・なく・・・
    • [It couldn't be helped.]
    • [There was no other way.] (more literally)
  • ko......no......
    こ・・・・・・の・・・・・・
    (incomplete sentence.)
    • Th......is......
    • [You...... little......]
    • See also: kono この used in swearing.
  • nanda nanda!?
    何だ何だ!?
    What is it what is it!?
  • zawa zawa
    ザワザワ
    *commotion*

Parody

The iconic sound effect from Kaiji カイジ is sometimes parodied in other series.

A parody of the zawa zawa ざわざわ sound effect from Kaiji カイジ.
Left: Sanzen'in Nagi 三千院ナギ
Right: Maria マリア
Anime: Hayate no Gotoku! ハヤテのごとく! (Episode 5)

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