Friday, June 30, 2023

iyashikei 癒し系

In manga and anime, iyashikei 癒し系, meaning in Japanese "healing-type," refers to a genre and type of character (or even person) that "heals" you, in the sense of makes you feel at ease, relaxed, calm.

Meaning in Japanese

The word iyashi-kei is formed by two parts: the ~kei ~系 suffix, which is the same as visual-kei, ヴィジュアル系, that you may have heard about before, and the noun form of the verb iyasu 癒やす, "to heal."

  • kega wo iyasu
    To heal wounds.
  • iyasareru
    To be healed.
    (passive form.)
    • "It heals me" - something a character will say when they're captivated by an iyashi-kei character.
  • {kokoro ga iyasareru}
    [It] heals the heart.
    [It] heals [my] heart.
    [It] makes [me] feel at ease.
    (double subject construction.)

Together, iyashi-kei would translate to "healing type." This word normally means "heal" in the emotional sense, but since the verb means literally "to heal" and can include healing wounds, you may come across some pun eventually where a "healing type" character physically heals other characters.

Character Type

As a character type, and even as a term to refer to people, an iyashi-kei joshi 癒し系女子, "healing-type girl," or iyashi-kei danshi 癒し系男子, "healing-type boy," would be someone who makes you feel at ease just by being together with or just by seeing the character. According to Pixiv, this is generally about "small animals," "little girls," and "bedclothes," but it varies from person to person.(pixiv:癒し系)

With that in mind, "healing" or "soothing" in this sense is about things that make you feel soft and mellow inside like a pillow, or a bunch of pillows. Like the sound of waterfalls, birds, the nature. A completely pure horizon with blue skies above and blue ocean below. That sort of thing.

For reference, this is a small animal:

Hanasaki Momo 花咲モモ, example of anthropomorphized cat girl. Left is her actual form, right is the anthropormophization.
Anime: Uchi Tama?! Uchi no Tama Shirimasen ka? うちタマ?!~うちのタマ知りませんか?~ (Episode 1, OP)

And this is a little girl sleeping:

Aurora Suya Rhys Kaymin オーロラ・栖夜・リース・カイミーン, example of "sleeping face," negao 寝顔.
Character: Aurora Suya Rhys Kaymin オーロラ・栖夜・リース・カイミーン
Anime: Maoujou de Oyasumi 魔王城でおやすみ (Episode 1)

This is important because there's a different term, moe 萌え, which could also be described as "healing" or "soothing" or "comforting" but means something else entirely.

It's a gleeful feeling that fills you with energy, so it should be completely different from feeling at ease.

Manga: Net-juu no Susume ネト充のススメ
  • Context: Morioka Moriko 盛岡森子 is surprised by a cute anime girl character in an MMORPG.
  • bikkuri moemashita------'!
    [I] surprise moe'd!

However, it seems there are many times people mix these two terms together, perhaps because moe is kind of healing, which makes things very confusing.


An iyashi-kei series is a series that makes you feel at ease when you watch it.

Obviously, this means that the series won't be a drama or a horror series, and even too much action or comedy may be, well, too much. An iyashi-key series will be slow, calm and soft.

It will have a slower pace, less dialogue, less action, and make up for it with more visuals, backgrounds, audio and music, and so on, in those long stretches of time where nobody speaks and nothing happens to create a soothing experience.

Depending on whom you ask, it's either very nice or very boring.

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)

Often, iyashi-kei overlaps with genres like Slice of Life (SoL), or nichijou-kei 日常系, and Cute Girls Doing Cute Things (CGDCT), but they aren't exactly the same thing.

Some slice of life series are gag comedies, full of action and jokes. They can be too fast-paced to be considered soothing. This also happens with some CGDCT series.

The CGDCT genre is full of moe anime, so people may be simply some of these iyashi-kei simply because they are "soothing" in the moe sense, and not "soothing" in the feeling at ease sense.

Kagamihara Nadeshiko 各務原なでしこ, example of kazari-me かざり目.
Character: Kagamihara Nadeshiko 各務原なでしこ
Anime: Yuru Camp△, ゆるキャン△ (Episode 1)
  • Context: >u< soothes the soul.

In particular, many slice of life anime aren't just slice of life, they're a "slow" slice of life, where things happen without hurry. Some people may call a series iyashi-kei because of this.

Personally, I have no idea where to draw the line.


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