And kanji with manga
Saturday, July 31, 2021

×

In Japanese, an "X mark" (☓), batsu-jirushi バツ印, typically means an answer is "incorrect," fuseikai 不正解, although it can also mean something is dame 駄目, "not good," NG, "not allowed," "didn't work out." The opposite symbol is a "circle" (○), maru 丸. These symbols are also used as placeholders.

才色兼備
Anime: Karin かりん (Episode 11)

Gesture

Making an X by crossing your arms in front of you also means "wrong," "not good," "not allowed," NG, and so on.

法律違反すると止められるんだ マネしちゃうからって NG
Manga: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun 月刊少女野崎くん (Volume 1, Chapter 2, Page 20, 言ったもん勝ち)
  • Context: Nozaki Umetarou 野崎梅太郎, a mangaka 漫画家, explains why he can't add delinquent characters in his manga that actually do illegal things.
  • houritsu ihan suru to tomerareru-n-da
    法律違反する止められるんだ
    If [they] break the law [the publisher will] stop [the manga].
  • mane shichau kara tte
    マネしちゃうからって
    [They say] [it's] because [the readers, who are kids,] will copy [it].
  • enu-jii
    NG
    No good.

Incorrect

An X may mean incorrect, in regards to a mistake or wrong answer. When this happens, a circle means the correct answer.

  • Nana Maru San Batsu ナナマルサンバツ, literally "Seven Circles Three X's," is a series about quiz games, as in such games a right answer gets a circle while a wrong answer gets an X.
才色兼備
Anime: Karin かりん (Episode 11)
  • Context: someone gets a yojijukugo 四字熟語, "four character idiom," wrong.
  • saishoku-kenbi
    才色兼備
    (For a woman) to have both wit and beauty.
    • Correct, marked by the circle: saishoku 才色, from saichi 才知, "wit," and iro 色, "color."
    • Incorrect, marked by the X: saishoku 才食, with shoku 食 meaning "to have meal," or "to eat," taberu 食べる.
    • In this episode, a character who often uses four character idioms wrong makes this mistake when complimenting a girl for eating a lot of food.

The dame meaning probably derives from this.

  • On Playstation, the X means "no/cancel" and the circle means "yes/confirm" due to this.

Exceptionally, graded school tests don't use an X for wrong answer, but a check mark (✓) or tick, which is very confusing, to be honest. A circle still means a correct answer. A triangle (△) means partially correct.

Different symbols used to grade exams in Japan: check marks or ticks mean incorrect, circles mean correct, and triangles partially correct.
Anime: Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai ぼくたちは勉強ができない (Episode 1)
Anime: Himouto! Umaru-chan 干物妹!うまるちゃん (Episode 1)
Anime: Nichijou no Zero-wa 日常の0話 (Episode 0, OVA)

Placeholder

The circle, X, and triangle can be used as placeholders or to censor text, used in this order. For example: "thing X, thing Y, thing Z" would become "thing 〇, thing ×, thing △." For single-character placeholders, a single symbol is used. Variable-length words often use two of them instead, e.g.:

The circle and the X being used as placeholders for a date (maru-gatsu batsu-hi ○月×日, "month X, day Y"), and then an X gesture being used to say "no," in the context that they can't go somewhere on a certain date, that that date is "no good," dame 駄目, for them.
Manga: Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! 宇崎ちゃんは遊びたい! (Chapter 2, 後輩と映画館)
  • Context: two characters try to make plans.
  • One suggests a certain date (month X, day Y).
  • The other gestures an X, meaning that date is "not good" for her, dame.

In Shipping

In Japan, when fans ship a character with another character, a multiplication symbol (×), read kakeru かける, "to multiply by," separates one character from another. In the west, a slash (/), which is a division symbol, is used instead. For example:

  • Naruto kakeru Sasuke
    ナルト×サスケ
    Naruto multiplied by Sasuke. (literally.)
    Naruto/Sasuke. (how a "slash" fanfic is represented in English.)

Traditionally, the names are in a seme × uke order, such that a NaruSasu fanfic and a SasuNaru fanfic have different relationship dynamics.

拙者×兄者カプのオリ本でござる!! コミケも近いし頑張らねば!! オリほん[おりほん]:特定の作品を題材とした2次創作ではなく、オリジナルの内容の本(=同人誌)。
Manga: Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 旦那が何を言っているかわからない件 (Chapter 4, 性別を超え 血を超え 出でよ男の娘)
  • Context: Tsunashi Youta 十陽太 talks about the manga he has to draw.
  • sessha kakeru anija kapu no orihon de gozaru!!
    拙者×兄者カプオリ本でござる!!
    [It] is an orihon with me/[my] older brother as couple!!
  • Komike mo chikai shi, ganbaraneba!!
    コミケ近い頑張らねば!!
    The Comiket is soon, too, so [I] have to work hard!!
    • The Comic Market is a convention where indie manga can be sold.
  • orihon: {tokutei no sakuhin wo daizai to shita} niji-sousaku dewanaku, orijinaru no naiyou no hon (ikooru doujinshi).
    オリほん[おりほん]:特定の作品題材とした2次創作ではなく、オリジナルの内容の本(=同人誌)。
    orihon: not a derivative work [that] {makes as theme a certain work}, a book of original content (= doujinshi).

As Eyes

In anime, sometimes a character's eyes are drawn like X's.

Yoshida Yuuko 吉田優子, Shamiko シャミ子; Shamisen シャミ先; and Hinatsuki Mikan 陽夏木ミカン, example of "X eyes," batsu-me バツ目.
Left: Yoshida Yuuko 吉田優子, Shamiko シャミ子
Middle: Shamisen シャミ先
Right: Hinatsuki Mikan 陽夏木ミカン
Anime: Machikado Mazoku まちカドまぞく (Episode 10)
  • Context: two X eyes symbolize a character is dead, or passed out after getting beaten.
A parody of South Park, example of a single X eye.
Anime: FLCL, "Fooly Cooly," Furi Kuri フリクリ (Episode 5)
  • Context: a single X eye is a simpler way to draw >_<, which is a simpler way to draw eyes closed.

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