And kanji with manga
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

chikan 痴漢

NSFW: this article may contain words or images you'd rather not have your boss see.
WIP: this article is incomplete and might change in the unforeseeable future.
In Japanese, chikan 痴漢 means the act of "molestation," which's a crime, or, more literally, it refers to a "molester," or a "pervert," or, even more literally, it means a "foolish man."


Although the term is pretty generic, it's generally associated with public transportation vehicles such trains and buses. It's not to be confused with:
  • sutookaa ストーカー
    Stalker. (a different type of pervert.)

In particular, there's the fact that Japan has trains literally everywhere. People take trains to work. People take trains to school. People take trains to take other trains. So people spend a lot of time crammed up like sardines in Japan, and if there's one perverted sardine behind you, you become a statistic.
  • chikan suru 痴漢する
    To molest.
  • chikan sareru 痴漢される
    To be molested.

It's such a frequent thing it has gotten to ridiculous levels.

For example, chikan is now a genre of pornography. You know what's NOT a genre of pornography? Something that doesn't happen frequently enough for people to make a genre out of it.

There are now chikan jokes in manga and anime. It's so prevalent you can tell what it is from how prevalent it is.

There are people out there who don't speak a word of Japanese googling "chikan" because they saw it somewhere on the internet, because it's in a lot of places in the internet.

Anyway, I can't stress enough how problematic this chikan problem is in Japan, but this is a blog about Japanese, not about how people choose to go to jail, so let's get back to that.


The word chikan is written with two kanji:
  • chi
    • orokamono 痴者
  • otoko

So it literally means a "foolish man."

If you know two things about Japanese, you should know that, normally, "man" is written otoko 男 instead. That's true. But 漢 does mean "man" in Chinese. Probably. I don't speak Chinese.

In manga, sometimes you may see it actually spelled otoko 漢, in which case it's a meme meaning a "man among men."


The word chijo 痴女 means a female chikan, a female "molester," or a female "pervert." It's written like chikan 痴漢, but with the kanji for "woman," onna 女, instead.


The word gyaku-chikan 逆痴漢 means "reverse chikan," which's a slang meaning "women molesting men," basically only used in the pornographic sense, and follows the pattern of many other terms with gyaku,

I mean, literally it means "reverse foolish man," which makes no sense. You also have to ask yourself what's even the point of this word if chijo 痴女 already exists?

That's because chikan is now associated with the act of "molestation," regardless of gender. If a woman molests a man in a train, the "molestation" is still called chikan.
  • chijo ni chikan sareru 痴女に痴漢される
    To be molested by a (female) molester.

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