Monday, February 11, 2019

yokumo よくも

In Japanese, yokumo よくも means "HOW DARE YOU?!?!?!?!?!" most of the time. Technically, it's just the adverb yoku よく intensified by mo も, and as such it can be used when good things happen, too, but it's mostly used when bad things happens, specially in anime.

The word can also be spelled yokumo 善くも, although that's unusual.

An example of yokumo used in Japanese.
Manga: Historie, ヒストリエ (chapter 20)


Basically, the adverb yoku よく can sometimes be used to compliment someone for doing something. To show approval for their acts. To say it's "impressive" for someone to do something. And so on. For example:

うむ よく来た
Manga: Gintama 銀魂 (chapter 45)
  • Context: characters arrive somewhere.
  • umu うむ
  • yoku kita よく来た
    [You] came well.
    • You've done well by coming.
    • Thank you for coming.
    • Coming here was a good idea. (if you didn't come that would've been bad.)
    • kita 来た
      Past form of the irregular verb:
    • kuru 来る
      To come.

The word yoku mo よくも is just an intensified version of it. It would be just the difference between "impressive" and "very impressive."
  • yoku mo konna ni tabeta
    It's very impressive [that you] ate this much.
    • I'm very impressed by how much you ate.

However, yoku isn't only used to say you're "impressed" in the sense of "amazed" by something good. The word yoku can also be used when you're "impressed" by how bad something is.

When yoku mo is used, it's often in the sense of being "very impressed " by how bad something is. For example:
  • yoku mo nagutta na
    It's very impressive [that you] hit [me].
    • Because that's nuts.
    • How dare you?!
    • HOW DARE YOU HIT ME?!?!?!?!?

So that's how it works: yoku mo doesn't literally mean "how dare you," it means you're dumbfounded that someone dared do something. And it's usually used by enraged characters to mean they're really not happy at all about it.

だました・・・・・・・・・・・・ ぼくを・・・・・・・・・・・・ よく・・・・・・も・・・ よくもぼくを・・・・・・・・・・・・・・・
Manga: Historie ヒストリエ (chapter 20)
  • damashita.........
  • boku wo.........
  • yoku mo boku wo.........
  • (patience. He's taken by fury now. He'll yell a complete sentence in a moment.)

Manga: Historie, ヒストリエ (chapter 20)

    • I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU LIED TO ME!!!!!!111234
    • ォァ
      These small kana were written to mean his screams are so strong the pronunciation of the vowels take longer than one mora.

Of course, yokumo is not always used by enraged characters. Sometimes it's used because someone must have had some nerve to dare do something.

萩村は牛乳が好きなんだな 牛乳は成長を促すものだから良いことだ 会長は牛乳嫌いですか よくも目線下に向けてくれたな
Manga: Seitokai Yakuindomo 生徒会役員共 (Chapter 8)
  • Context: the student council president sees Hagimura drinking milk.
  • Hagimura wa gyuunyuu ga
    suki nanda na

    Hagimura, [you] like milk, don't you?
  • gyuunyuu wa seichou wo
    mono dakara
    ii koto da
    Milk is a thing that stimulates growth, so it's a good thing.
    • A jab at the fact Hagimura is a shorty.
  • *Hagimura stares at the student council president's flat chest.*
  • kaichou wa gyuunyuu kirai desu ka
    Do [you] hate milk, president?
    • kaichou 会長
      [Student] council president. (used as a title. Translated as "you" here.)
  • yokumo mesen shita ni
    mukete kureta na

    You must have some nerve to look downwards [and say that].
    • mesen 目線
      Line of sight.
    • shita ni mukeru 下に向ける
      To point below. To point down. (her line of sight. i.e. to look downwards.)
    • kureta くれた
      To be given or done something by someone. (in this case, it refers to the act of Hagimura of looking downwards. How dare you "give" this to me? How dare you "do" this to me?)


The phrase yoku maa よくまあ is another variant of yoku. It's not used used in an angry sense of "HOW DARE YOU!?!?!?!?!" like yoku mo is. Instead, yoku maa inserts a breather like "well," maa まぁ, between yoku and the rest of the phrase.

Manga: Doraemon ドラえもん (Chapter 71)
  • yoku maa,
    mai nichi mai nichi,
    on'naji koto wo......

    It's impressive, well, [that you keep doing] the same thing every day, every day......
    • This phrase ends with the object marking particle wo を, but doesn't have a verb. We can safely assume the verb Doraemon is going to say is "do."
    • (although, to be honest, the word he actually used in the next panel was kurikaeshiteru くりかえしてる, "to be repeating [the same thing every day]," Basically the same thing, though.)

Besides yoku maa, the variants yoku zo よくぞ, yoku mo maa よくもまあ, etc. also exist.

Further Reading


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