And kanji with manga
Monday, June 29, 2020

mesen 目線

In Japanese, mesen 目線, literally "eye line," can mean various things: one's "line of sight," their "gaze," the direction toward which they're looking, their viewpoint, how they view things, and black lines covering someone's eyes.

萩村は牛乳が好きなんだな 牛乳は成長を促すものだから良いことだ 会長は牛乳嫌いですか よくも目線下に向けてくれたな
Manga: Seitokai Yakuindomo 生徒会役員共 (Chapter 8)

Meaning

Line of Sight

The word mesen 目線 is similar to the word shisen 視線. Both translate to "line of sight" or "gaze." Except that the former has the kanji for the word "eye," me 目, while the latter has the one for "sense of sight," shikaku 視覚.

Generally, shisen is used instead of mesen for "gaze."

  • dare-ka no shisen wo kanjiru
    誰かの視線を感じる
    To feel someone's gaze.
  • dare-ka no mesen wo kanjiru
    誰かの目線を感じる
    (same meaning, but less likely.)

Some ways mesen is used include:

  • mesen ga au
    目線が合う
    Gazes meet.
    For two people to look at each other in the eye.
    • This is how love pokémon battles start.
  • mesen wo sorasu
    目線をそらす
    To avert [one's] gaze. To look away.
    • me wo sorasu
      目をそらす
      (same meaning.)
      To avert [one's] eyes.
  • kamera mesen
    カメラ目線
    "Camera gaze."
    When an actor, or subject of photo or film, looks at the camera, in the sense that normally you're supposed to ignore the camera, and they aren't ignoring it..
萩村は牛乳が好きなんだな 牛乳は成長を促すものだから良いことだ 会長は牛乳嫌いですか よくも目線下に向けてくれたな
Manga: Seitokai Yakuindomo 生徒会役員共 (Chapter 8)
  • Context: the student council president Amakusa Shino 天草シノ, who has a complex about her breast size, sees Hagimura Suzu 萩村スズ, who has a complex about her stature, drinking milk.
  • Hagimura wa gyuunyuu ga suki nanda na
    萩村は牛乳が好きなんだ
    Hagimura, [you] like milk, don't you?
  • gyuunyuu wa {seichou wo unagasu} mono dakara ii koto da
    牛乳は成長を促すものだから良いこと
    Milk is a thing [that] {stimulates growth}, so it's a good thing.
    • A jab at the fact Hagimura is a shorty.
  • *Hagimura stares at the student council president's chest.*
  • kaichou wa gyuunyuu kirai desu ka
    会長は牛乳嫌いですか
    Do [you] hate milk, president?
    • kaichou
      会長
      [Student] council president. (used as a title. translated as "you" here.)
  • yokumo mesen shita ni mukete kureta na
    よくも目線に向けてくれた
    [You have some nerve] to point [your] line of sight downwards [and say that].
    [You have some nerve] to [look] downwards [and say that].
    • shita ni mukeru
      下に向ける
      To point below. To point down.
    • ~te-kureta
      ~てくれた
      To be given or done something by someone. (in this case, it refers to the act of Hagimura of looking downwards. How dare you "give" this to me? How dare you "do" this to me?)

Viewpoint

The word mesen 目線 can also refer to someone's "viewpoint," as in how they see things.

  • kodomo-mesen
    供目線
    Children's viewpoint.
    How a child views this.
  • {aite no mesen kara} dou mieru ka
    相手の目線からどう見えるか
    How does [it] look {from the other person's viewpoint}?
    How does the other person views [it]?
    What does the other person think of [it]:

上からの目線

The phrase ue kara no mesen からの目線, "viewpoint from above," refers to viewing something or someone as if you were superior to that thing or person, in other words, viewing them as inferior to you.

This phrase is specially used when they sound arrogant or pompous about it.

  • "On your high horse" has similar meaning in English.

For example, when someone talks as if they were morally superior, or doesn't take something seriously because they don't view it as important in their own personal opinion.

  • mi-orosu
    見下ろす
    To look down at.

Censor Bars

The word mesen 目線 can also mean literal "eye lines," as in, actual lines on one's eyes. Black censor bars. These are also called kuro-mesen 黒目線, "black eye-lines," or me-kakushi sen 目隠し線, "eye-covering lines."

Main article: kuro-mesen 黒目線.

Example of black censor bars covering eyes, kuro-mesen 黒目線, "black eye-lines."
Character: Matsuya Misaki 松屋美咲
Anime: Excel♥Saga, エクセル♥サーガ (Episode 6)
  • kao-dashi enu-jii
    顔出しNG
    Showing [one's] face is no-good, out of limits, not allowed, etc.

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