Saturday, July 31, 2021

batsu × (X Mark) - Meaning in Japanese

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.

Anime: Karin かりん (Episode 11)


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
    If [they] break the law [the publisher will] stop [the manga].
  • mane shichau kara tte
    [They say] [it's] because [the readers, who are kids,] will copy [it].
  • enu-jii
    No good.

For the record, it doesn't seem to matter if it's the right or left hand in front.

Daiya Irma, ダイヤ・イルマ, example of gesture with arms crossed as an X.
Character: Daiya Irma, ダイヤ・イルマ
Anime: Eighty Six, 86―エイティシックス― (Episode 3)


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.
Anime: Karin かりん (Episode 11)
  • Context: someone gets a yojijukugo 四字熟語, "four character idiom," wrong.
  • saishoku-kenbi
    (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)


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 fiction, it's common to use placeholders in dates. Notably, some series like Megaman take place in the year 20XX, which could be any year from 2000 to 2099.

本人ですか?顔!うp!! 名無しさん@おーぷん 殺してみるバァーーーーーーーーッカ wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww 警察ここ見てるー? おいコラ 殺人鬼 はよ自首しろ クソガキが にちゃんねる 終了ーーwwwwwwwwwww
Anime: Inuyashiki いぬやしき (Episode 6)
  • Context: a well-known murderer tells an anonymous bulletin board that he's gonna kill everyone in that thread.
  • hon'nin desu ka? kao! up!!
    Are [you] [the murderer himself]? [Your] face! Upload it!
    • hon'nin - the person themselves, as opposed to someone speaking in their behalf.
  • nanashi-san atto oopun
    Anon @ open.
    • Open probably refers to open 2 channel, おーぷん2ちゃんねる, a bulletin board based on 2ch.
    • The incrementing numbers 193, 194, 195, 197, 197, and so on at the left side of each response is the identifier used to cite what a previous user posted.
    • The 2017/11/×× is the date. Japan uses a year-month-day date format. The ×× where the day would go is a placeholder, meaning there's no specific date, either because this is a piece of fiction where the date isn't important, or because the website in-universe omits it for some reason.
    • tsuchi 土, "dirt," inside parentheses next to the date refers to the weekday: doyoubi 曜日, "saturday."
  • koroshite-miru baaaaaaaaaakka
    Try killing [me], stuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuupid.
  • wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
    *laughs anonymously.*
  • keisatsu koko miteruu?
    Police, are [you] seeing [this]?
  • oi kora, satsujinki, hayo jishu shiro
    おいコラ 殺人鬼 はよ自首しろ
    Hey, murderer, go surrender yourself already.
    • hayo - synonymous with hayaku 早く, "quickly."
  • kuso-gaki ga
    [You brat].
  • nichan'neru shuuryouuu wwwwwwwwwww
    にちゃんねる 終了ーーwwwwwwwwwww
    2channel is finisheeed, lolololololololololol.

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
    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!!
    [It] is an orihon with me/[my] older brother as couple!!
  • Komike mo chikai shi, ganbaraneba!!
    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).
    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.
Marks & Symbols

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