Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Pout, Hmph Face - Meaning, Examples in Anime, How to Say in Japanese

There are various ways to say "to pout" in Japanese, depending on what you mean: hoppe wo fukuramaseru ほっぺを膨らませる, kuchi wo togaraseru 口を尖らせる, suneru 拗ねる.

In English

In English, "to pout" can mean two different things.[pout - merriam-webster.com, accessed 2020-05-11]

  1. To push your lips forward, specially the lower lip, in an expression of displeasure. Used when you're annoyed, sullen, petulant, and so on.
  2. To push your lips forward suggestively, like you're trying to kiss someone. Used when you're taking a photo, for example, similar to the "duck face."

If you've never looked up the verb "to pout" in a dictionary, you're probably as surprised as I was to find out that the dictionary doesn't include the way the word is most used in the anime fandom.


In anime, most of the time the word "pout" is used toward a character, it doesn't mean the character is "pushing their lips forward," but, instead, "puffing their cheeks."

Hina-ichigo 雛苺, example of pouting.
Character: Hina-ichigo 雛苺
Anime: Rozen Maiden, ローゼンメイデン (Episode 5)

To say "puffing your cheeks" in Japanese:

  • hoppe wo fukuramaseru
    To make [one's] cheeks inflate. (causative sentence.)
    To inflate [your] cheeks.
    To puff [your] cheeks.

The term fukurettsura ふくれっ面 specifically refers to this so-called "pouting" face with cheeks puffed out.

Some people think anime girls pouting look cute (moe 萌え).

Moegi Homi 萌黄ホミ, pouting.
Character: Moegi Homi 萌黄ホミ
Anime: Miru Tights, みるタイツ (Episode 1)

Consequently, girls end up pouting in anime way more than they do in real life.

Ogata Rizu 緒方理珠, pouting, smoke coming out of her head.
Character: Ogata Rizu 緒方理珠
Anime: Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai ぼくたちは勉強ができない (Episode 1)

Note that since this phrase only means the cheeks are inflated, it also ends up describing situations that has nothing to do with pouting. For example:

Ryuugazaki Rei 竜ヶ崎怜, example of character feeling sick, blue face.
Character: Ryuugazaki Rei 竜ヶ崎怜
Anime: Free!, フリー! (Episode 5)
  • {haki-sou na} kao
    A face [that] {look like [he's] going to vomit.}
    • haku
      To put something out of [one's] mouth.
      To spew. (lies.)
      To vomit.


To say "pouting" in Japanese as defined in the English dictionary, the phrase would instead be:

  • kuchi wo togaraseru
    To make [one's] mouth become pointy. (causative sentence.)
    • togarasu
      For the point of something to sharpen. In the sense that the protruding part of something ends up protruding even more than normal.
    • enpitsu wo togaraseru
      To make the point of a pencil become sharper
      To sharpen a pencil. (e.g. with a pencil sharpener.)
    • In the case of pouting, the protruding part of the mouth are the lips, so making them protrude more means pushing the lips forward.

In anime, a 3-shaped mouth typically represents this sort of pouting.

Hiiragi Kagami 柊かがみ, Izumi Konata 泉こなた, example of anger mark, okori maaku 怒りマーク, 3-shaped mouth, kuchi ga san 口が3.
Left: Hiiragi Kagami 柊かがみ
Right: Izumi Konata 泉こなた
Anime: Lucky☆Star, らき☆すた (Episode 4)
  • ikari maaku
    Anger mark. (the mark at top left, symbolizing anger.)

The term ochobo-guchi おちょぼ口 refers to cute, small (pursed) mouths.

In some cases, when characters push their lips forward, but face slightly downward, the upper lip is rendered as an indentation on the head's outline and covers the lower lip. For example:

Miyauchi Renge 宮内れんげ, example of character pouting.
Character: Miyauchi Renge 宮内れんげ
Anime: Non Non Biyori のんのんびより (Episode 1)
Kanna Kamui カンナカムイ giving a head pat to Saikawa Riko 才川リコ.
Left: Kanna Kamui カンナカムイ
Right: Saikawa Riko 才川リコ
Anime: Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon, 小林さんちのメイドラゴン (Episode 10)

In Japanese culture, a ridiculously long, pursed mouth is found in certain masks.

Haganezuka Hotaru 鋼鐵塚蛍, example of Hyottoko ひょっとこ mask.
Character: Haganezuka Hotaru 鋼鐵塚蛍
Anime: Kimetsu no Yaiba 鬼滅の刃 (Episode 5)
  • hyottoko no omen
    Hyottoko's mask.
    • This word is said to come from:[大辞林 第三版 - via kotobank.jp, accessed 2020-05-19]
    • hi-otoko
    • In the sense of a man that blows fire with his mouth, well, not in the "fire comes out of his mouth" sense, more like in the "blowing through a piece of bamboo to make fire stronger" sense.
    • hi-fuki-dake
      Bamboo for blowing fire.

Sometimes the 3-shaped mouth is used in anime when a character is blowing air, too, since it's the same mouth shape:

Shikada Kokonotsu 鹿田ココノツ, Shidare Hotaru 枝垂ほたる, example of 3-shaped mouth.
Left: Shikada Kokonotsu 鹿田ココノツ
Right: Shidare Hotaru 枝垂ほたる
Anime: Dagashikashi だがしかし (Episode 1)
  • Context: Hotaru ate something spicy.

The words below do not mean "pouting," the facial expression, but a character that is pouting can sometimes be described with them.


The word suneru 拗ねる means "to sulk," in the sense of being mad at someone, or unhappy at something, but instead of voicing your feelings you're just like:

Hoshino Hinata 星野ひなた, example of character pouting, suneru 拗ねる.
Character: Hoshino Hinata 星野ひなた
Anime: Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! 私に天使が舞い降りた! (Episode 3)
  • Hmph!


The word putto プッと is the onomatopoeic pu' プッ plus the to と adverbializer. Literally, it means someone is making a pu' プッ sound, by blowing air through your mouth closed.

It's like a "buh" but with a p. A synonym is puuto プーと.

Excel エクセル, example of pouting, 3-shaped mouth, "anger mark," ikari maaku 怒りマーク.
Character: Excel エクセル
Anime: Excel♥Saga, エクセル♥サーガ (Episode 4)


The word mutto ムッと is similar, except this time the onomatopoeia is mu' ムッ and it implies someone is annoyed, displeased, or in "ill humor," fukigen 不機嫌.

Nakano Itsuki 中野五月, example of pouting, and example of nawa-ami ナワアミ.
Character: Nakano Itsuki 中野五月
Manga: Gotoubun no Hanayome 五等分の花嫁 (Chapter 1, 五等分の花嫁)
  • The rope-like pattern in the background is called nawaami ナワアミ.
  • The white text in the background reads mu' ムッ.
Myne マイン, angrily pouting.
Character: Myne マイン
Anime: Honzuki no Gekokujou 本好きの下剋上 (Season 2) (Episode 9)
  • gekioko
    Extremely angry.
    • hageshiku okotte-iru
      (same meaning.)
Faces & Expressions

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