Friday, March 22, 2019


WIP : this article is incomplete and might change in the unforeseeable future.
In Japanese, kakko-warai (笑) means "lol." It's an internet slang used to laugh. Just like wwww and kusa.

To breakdown how it works: warau 笑う is the verb "to laugh." The conjugation warai 笑い is the noun form: "laughing." Although it's not done normally, you can remove the okurigana of such form for stylistic reasons, which is how it gets spelled warai 笑 instead.

It can also be spelled kakko-warai (笑い), though. Since the another reading of the kanji is shou 笑 some people read it kakko-shou カッコショウ instead. It's also read warai ワライ, shou ショウ, and even wara ワラ sometimes. There are also SOME BAKA who type it (笑, forgetting to CLOSE THE PARENTHESES. And of course, there's also()笑. And there's the lazier(w, which is how we got wwww to begin with.

The kakko カッコ part of kakko-warai カッコワライ refers to the parentheses. In Japanese, the parentheses and quotation marks are called kakko. The parentheses are maru-kakko 丸括弧, "round brackets," while 「」 would be kagi-kakko 鉤括弧, "hook brackets."

Although (笑) is pretty much internet culture nowadays, putting the action of someone inside parentheses, rather than their "lines" of dialogue, serifu 台詞, actually predates the internet.
  • ou (aza-warau) namaiki na! watashi no mantoru no chikara wo miru ga yoi.
    王 (嘲笑う)生意気な! わたしのマントルの力を見るが好い
    King: (sneers) naive, [aren't you]! [Behold] the power of my mantle!

This is very much like *sneers* in English, which an action surrounded by asterisks.

Despite its historical origins, some people refrain from using it for serious matters, because it's really an internet slang now.

There are other expressions that follow the same pattern, like:
  • kakko-baku
  • Which comes from:
  • bakushou 爆笑
    Explosive laughter.

Some people call these "Japanese emoji" or even "kaomoji." Note, however, that kaomoji 顔文字 means "face letters," so they must look like a face. For example:
  • (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

Since (笑) doesn't look like a face it isn't a kaomoji. I'm not really sure what the things between parentheses are called in Japanese. I'm not even sure there's an actual name for them. Maybe there isn't.

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