Friday, January 17, 2020

ito-me 糸目

In manga and anime, when a character's eyes are drawn as a single horizontal line, the term for that in Japanese is ito-me 糸目, "string eyes," as in a string of yarn. A synonym is hoso-me 細目, "thin eyes."

Takeshi タケシ, also known as Brock, example of ito-me 糸目, "string eyes."
Character: Brock, Takeshi タケシ
Anime: Pokémon, ポケットモンスター (Episode 5)

Examples

The term ito-me applies to the imagery of eyes drawn as a single line, which happens pretty much every time a character's eyes are closed in an anime or manga.

Excel エクセル, example of ito-me 糸目, "string eyes."
Character: Excel エクセル
Anime: Excel♥Saga, エクセル♥サーガ (Episode 1)
  • me wo tojiru
    目を閉じる
    To close one's eyes.
  • meimoku
    瞑目
    Closed eyes.
    To pass away. To die.

The term ito-me 糸目 also applies to characters whose eyes are always drawn closed, or rather, always drawn as a single horizontal line, even if the eyes are supposed to be open, given they're actually seeing things. For reference, some examples:

Matoba Jinzaburou 的場甚三郎, example of ito-me 糸目.
Character: Matoba Jinzaburou 的場甚三郎
Anime: Outbreak Company (Episode 1)

Toujou Ayumu 東城歩, example of ito-me 糸目, "string eyes."
Character: Toujou Ayumu 東城歩
Anime: Gintama 銀魂 (Episode 79)

Yumasaki Walker 遊馬崎ウォーカー, example of ito-me 糸目, "string eyes."
Character: Yumasaki Walker 遊馬崎ウォーカー
Anime: Durarara!! デュラララ!! (Episode 1)

Fujii Yakumo 藤井八雲, example of ito-me 糸目.
Character: Fujii Yakumo 藤井八雲
Anime: Sazan Aizu, 3×3EYES (Episode 2)

Since the line eyes can be in a single shape, some people came up with terms for different shapes.

  • ~kei ~系
    Class. Sort. Kind. Type.
  • nikkori-kei
    ニッコリ系
    Smile type. (bending upwards.)
  • kitsune-kei
    キツネ系
    Fox type. (slanted. See: kitsune-me キツネ目.)
  • suihei-kei
    水平系
    Horizontal type. (straight.)
  • me-toji-kei
    目閉じ系
    Closed-eyes type. (bending downwards.)

The term ito-me 糸目 only applies to eyes drawn as a single line. It doesn't apply to "closed eyes," tojita me 閉じた目, in general. For example, in the picture below there are two styles of closed eyes, and only one is ito-me.

Left: Hinata Yukari 日向縁, example of ito-me 糸目. Right: Nonohara Yuzuko 野々原ゆずこ, example of kazari-me かざり目.
Anime: Yuyushiki ゆゆ式 (Episode 1)

Sometimes when a character is relaxed, their closed eyes are drawn as multiple "horizontal lines," ousen 横線. This isn't called ito-me either, since ito-me is a single line, not multiple.

The "red blood cell," sekkekkyuu 赤血球, AE3803, sighing.
Anime: Hataraku Saibou はたらく細胞 (Episode 2)

If the eyes are drawn as vertical lines, that's called konsento-me コンセント目 instead.

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