And kanji with manga
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

egao 笑顔

In Japanese, egao 笑顔 means someone's "smile." Literally, it translates to "smiling face," or "smiling expression." That is, the face someone makes while they're smiling.
  • mamoritai, kono egao
    守りたい、この笑顔
    [I] want to protect, this smile. (dislocation.)

Ika Musume イカ娘, example of egao 笑顔, "smiling face."
Character: Ika Musume イカ娘
Anime: Shinryaku! Ika Musume 侵略!イカ娘 (Episode 5)
Anime: Shinryaku!? Ika Musume 侵略!?イカ娘 (Episode 2; ED)

Meaning

Literally, egao 笑顔 is warau 笑う, which means "to laugh," or "to smile," plus kao 顔, "face," "expression," which becomes gao because of rendaku, so "laughing face" or "smiling face."

Note, however, that the way the word is used in Japanese is closer to just "smile." For example:
  • kanojo no egao
    彼女の笑顔
    Her smile.

Another word that means "smile" is niko ニコ, but this one is mimetic: you'll see it in manga used as a sound effect.

ニコッ
Manga: Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. 古見さんは、コミュ症です。 (Chapter 15, 登校です)
  • niko'
    ニコッ
    *smile*

Examples

For reference, some examples of egao 笑顔 in anime.

Anosillus (the 2nd) アノシラス(2代目), example of egao 笑顔.
Character: Anosillus (the 2nd) アノシラス(2代目)
Anime: SSSS.GRIDMAN (Episode 12)

Anzu アンズ, example of tears of happiness, nakigao 泣き顔.
Character: Anzu アンズ
Anime: Hinamatsuri ヒナまつり (Episode 6)

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