Monday, February 3, 2020

nekoguchi 猫口

In anime, sometimes a character's mouth is drawn like the number three rotated, like this: (:3) or this: (´・ω・`). The term for that in Japanese is nekoguchi 猫口, "cat mouth."

Pipimi ピピ美 and Popuko ポプ子, example of nekoguchi 猫口.
Left: Pipimi ピピ美
Right: Popuko ポプ子
Anime: Pop Team Epic, Poputepipikku ポプテピピック (Episode 1)


The word nekoguchi 猫口 is a noun compound formed by neko 猫, "cat," and kuchi 口, "mouth." The ku く becomes gu ぐ due to rendaku 連濁.

Naturally, it can refer to an actual cat's mouth, but in anime, it refers to the cat-mouth-like mouth drawn in anime characters.

Neko ネコ, example of nekoguchi 猫口, heterochromia.
Character: Neko ネコ
Anime: K (Episode 4)

For the record, although some instances of nekoguchi somewhat resemble a duck face (the photo pose), they're different things. The word ahiruguchi アヒル口, "duck mouth," is how you say "duck face" in Japanese.

The term nekoguchi refers to mouths that look like 3's ROTATED. The following is not nekoguchi:

Kuga Yuuma 空閑遊真, example of 3-eyes, me ga san 目が3
Character: Kuga Yuuma 空閑遊真
Anime: World Trigger, ワールドトリガー (Episode 16)


For reference, some examples of nekoguchi 猫口.

Tsukimiya Utsugi 月宮ウツギ, and Koyuki Seri 小雪芹. Example of cat mouth, cat ears.
Anime: Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hakaishin ga Imasu. ぼくのとなりに暗黒破壊神がいます。 (Episode 1)
  • (^ω^≡^ω^ )おっ

Churuya ちゅるや, example of nekoguchi 猫口. The text says nyoroon にょろーん, her catchphrase, which doesn't really mean anything.
Character: Churuya ちゅるや
Anime: Nyorōn☆Churuya-san にょろーん☆ちゅるやさん (Episode 1)
  • にょろーん(• ω •`)

Kanzaki Hideri 神崎ひでり, example of nekoguchi 猫口.
Character: Kanzaki Hideri 神崎ひでり
Anime: Blend S, ブレンド・S (Episode 8)
  • (ㅎ ω ㅎ)

Nanachi ナナチ, example of nekoguchi 猫口.
Character: Nanachi ナナチ
Anime: Made in Abyss, メイドインアビス (Episode 10)
  • (=ㅎ ω ㅎ=)

Kurumizawa Satanichia McDowell 胡桃沢=サタニキア=マクドウェル, example of nekoguchi 猫口, kazari-me かざり目.
Character: Kurumizawa Satanichia McDowell 胡桃沢=サタニキア=マクドウェル
Anime: Gabriel DropOut, ガヴリールドロップアウト (Episode 4)
  • (´> ω <`)

Sometimes, a character's face turns into a cat face for some reason. When this happens, nekoguchi is sometimes accompanied by "cat eyes," nekome 猫目.

Misaka Mikoto 御坂美琴, example of cat face.
Character: Misaka Mikoto 御坂美琴
Anime: Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, とある科学の超電磁砲 (Episode 7)
  • ( ⓛ ω ⓛ )


Because the shape of nekoguchi sort of resembles a butt, it's become a meme to say stuff like this:

Izumi Konata 泉こなた, example of nekoguchi 猫口.
Character: Izumi Konata 泉こなた
Anime: Lucky☆Star, らき☆すた (Episode 1)
  • ketsu mitee na kuchi shiyagatte
    [You keep going around with that] mouth that looks like an ass!
    • {ketsu mitai na} kuchi
      A mouth [that] {looks like an ass}.
    • shiyagatte
      The ren'youkei 連用形 form of suru する, plus the jodoushi 助動詞 yagaru やがる in the te-form.
    • suru
      To do.
      To make something become somehow.
      In this case, to make your mouth look like something. To have a mouth shaped like something.
    • ~yagaru
      To have the nerve to. To dare to. Used to imply someone is doing something impudent.

The origin of this meme appears to be a very random NSFW comic posted on Pixiv.


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