Monday, March 25, 2019

soushokukei 草食系

WIP: this article is incomplete and might change in the unforeseeable future.
In Japanese, soushokukei 草食系 means a kind of person that's passive in romantic or sexual relationships. Generally, it means a guy that's too shy or weak-willed to ask out and date a girl he's interested in.

It comes from soushoku 草食, literally "grass-eating," which is the term for "herbivore" animals, the prey that the predators go after. Plus the -kei ~系 suffix, "class," so soushoku-kei, "herbivore-class."

Although soushokukei is gender-neutral and can qualify a woman too, traditionally, it's women that are asked out by guys, so they're assumed to be soushokukei by default. It'd be redundant to call a woman soushokukei, so it tends to be a guy who's soushokukei instead.

Conversely, the term nikushokukei 肉食系, from "carnivore," refers to someone who's romantically assertive, that is, what guys are assumed to be, so it tends to refer to romantically assertive women.

If we were to be explicit to avoid any ambiguity:
  • soushoku-kei danshi 草食系男子
    soushok danshi 草食男子
    Herbivore-class guy.
    Herbivore guy.
  • soushoku-kei joshi 草食系女子
    soushoku joshi 草食女子
    Herbivore-class girl.
    Herbivoregirl.
  • nikushoku-kei danshi 肉食系男子
    nikushoku danshi 肉食男子
    Carnivore-class guy.
    Carnivore guy.
  • nikushoku-kei joshi 肉食系女子
    nikushoku joshi 肉食女子
    Carnivore-class girl.
    Carnivore girl.

By the way
  • kusa 草
    Grass.
  • taberu 食べる
    To eat.
  • soushoku doubutsu 草食動物
    Grass-eating animal. Herbivore animal.

In recent years, with Japan's declining birth rate, and now declining population, soushokukei became a popular term to blame a generation of guys that's not being assertive enough to make those babies and keep the next generation's workforce staffed.

Now, whether this is because of economic anxiety or just because there are too many guys who became otaku オタク and then decided a 2D waifu is as good or better than a 3D girl in flesh, I don't know. That's not the theme of this site.

All I know is that soushokukei is one of the many Japanese words referring to personalities of people. Because Japanese people love making up words to refer to personalities.

Just like tsundere, or, something that's more relevant to this article: literally just the letter M, short of "masochist" personality, which's used in ways in Japanese you wouldn't use the word "masochist" in English. See do-M, do-S ドM, ドS for reference.

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