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Anime and manga fans outside of Japan have adopted many Japanese words and phrases. Some of these words have been misinterpreted, reinterpreted or undergone significant change in meaning. In addition, a variety of terms relating to anime and manga and the associated fandom have arisen, either by translation/transliteration from Japanese or as part of the shared slang or jargon of the subculture.

In some cases English and Japanese have contributed in complex ways to the formation of new words in either or both languages. (e.g. Hentai - ‘H’ - Ecchi)

Other subcultures have also adopted Japanese loan-words through contact with fans of such media as anime and manga.

In addition, there are a great many Japanese words and phrases that fans and the curious will come across in relation to anime and manga.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z    See also 


  • Anime (アニメ?) – Any animation produced in or originating from Japan. Shorthand for Japanese Animation.
  • Anime music video – Often abbreviated AMV, video clips from at least one anime series arranged to fit a musical piece playing in the background. AMVs usually cut out the audio and subtitles from the actual anime episodes, but sometimes sound clips or subtitles may be left in at certain parts to help enhance the video.


  • Baka (バカ?) - Literally means "idiot" or "fool"
  • Bara (薔薇) - Literally, "rose". "Bara" refers to a masculine gay men's culture, and in manga circles, a genre of manga about beefcakey gay men usually by gay men. Compare with the female-created Boys' Love.
  • Bishōnen (美少年) – Beautiful boy – Japanese aesthetic concept of the ideally beautiful young man. Androgynous, effeminate or gender ambiguous. In Japan it refers to youth with such characteristics, but in the west has become a generic term for attractively androgynous males of all ages.
  • Bishōjo (美少女) – Literally, "pretty girl." Often used to describe any young attractive woman, but also used to imply sexual availability (as in "bishōjo games").
  • Boys' Love – male homosexual content aimed at women, current, generally used in Japan to cover yaoi and shonen-ai.


  • Catgirl – Character with cat ears and a cat tail, but an otherwise human body. These characters often have feline habits, claw-like nails, and occasionally show fangs. Emotional expressions are also feline in nature, such as an exaggerated fur-standing-on-end when startled. These characteristics are also sometimes used on guys as well as in the case of the characters of Loveless and Kyo Sohma of Fruits Basket.
  • Chibi – Japanese word meaning "shorty" or "little one". Due to Sailor Moon and mistranslation, in America it is sometimes used to mean super deformed.
  • CM – Commercial Message – An advert (usually on television).
  • Comiket ((コミックマ)?)Comics Market – World's largest comic convention held biannually in Tokyo, Japan for producers and fans of Dōjinshi. (see Comic Party)


  • Dōjinshi (同人誌?) – Amateur manga/fanzine.
  • Dōseiaisha – Same-sex-loving person. – (Terminology)
  • Dub - When the voices in an anime is changed into another language from its native language.


  • Ecchi (エッチ?) – Perverted. – From ‘H’ for Hentai.
  • Enjo kōsai – "Compensated dating" which may at times border on quasi-legal prostitution. High school girls are paid by older men to take them out for a night on the town, possibly with sex included.
  • Eyecatch (アイキャッチ) – A scene or illustration used to begin and end a commercial break in a Japanese TV program, similar to how "bumpers" into/out of commercial breaks are used in the United States.


  • Fan fiction (ファンフィクション?) – A general story written by fans of media, including anime. Story or piece of fiction written by fans of a production.
  • Fan service – Elements specifically included to amuse or sexually provoke the audience that are unnecessary to plot development.
  • Fansub – fan-subtitled – A version of anime in which fans have translated and subtitled the dialogue into another language, most commonly into English.
  • Fujoshi – A female yaoi fan.


  • Gakuran (学ラン) – Uniform for middle school and high school boys in Japan. The Gakuran is derived from Prussian army uniforms.
  • Ganguro (顔黒) Literally "black face". A fashion trend among Japanese girls. The look consists of bleached hair, a deep tan, both black and white eyeliners, false eyelashes, platform shoes, and brightly colored outfits.
  • Gei – Transliteration of gay. Etymology. In traditional Japanese terms also means 'art' or 'skill', normally trained and refined.
  • Gei comi – manga with male homosexual themes, by men for men. Compare with yaoi, shonen-ai, June and BL.
  • Glomp – A hug in the manner of a small child, similar to a bearhug but often including one or both legs as well as arms. Also a hug in which the hugger jumps and catches the victim by surprise or off-guard. Occasionally referred to as a cross between a running tackle and a bearhug.
  • Glompnessa - A mega glomp involving more than one people glomping another person.
  • Gothicana – A serenade, with Gothic traits, such as black rose petals/ all attending wearing predominately black.
  • Gothloli (ゴスロリ?) – Gothic Lolita – A fashion trend where girls and young women dress in the style of elaborate porcelain dolls.


  • Hentai – "Abnormal" or "perverted". – Used by Western Audiences to refer to pornographic anime or erotica. However, in Japan the term used to refer to the same material is typically Poruno or Ero.
  • Huggle – A very affectionate hug used to show joy and/or thanks. It is also somewhat like a 'glomp' but not as surprising. Also a cross between the words "hug" and "cuddle" or "snuggle".
  • Hikikomori (引きこもり?) – Similar to an otaku, but more severe. A Hikikomori is someone who secludes themselves within their home, sometimes refusing to leave their home at all in an effort to isolate themselves from society. It can be viewed as a social phobia similar to Agoraphobia. In Welcome to the N.H.K. the main character Tatsuhiro Satō is a Hikikomori.


  • Iinchō (委員長?) – Short for Gakkyū Iinchō, the class representative in a Japanese school.


  • Josei (女性?) - Intended for an older audience than shōjo. Content intended for women ages 18 or older.
  • Juné (ジュネ?), also written as June – a manga or text story with male homosexual themes for women written in an aesthetic (耽美 tanbi?) style, named for the Juné magazine.


  • Kawaii – cute. Kawaii has been referenced in Gwen Stefani's song "Harajuku Girls".
  • Kemono (獣 or けもの) – "Beast" – A genre of Japanese art and character design that prominently features animal-like fictional characters in human-like settings (Anthropomorphism) and situations. (see The Cat Returns, c.f. Furry)
  • Kemonomimi – Characters with animal features such as ears and a tails, but have a human body. Catgirl also falls under this concept. Examples include many of the characters of Loveless and the Sohma family of Fruits Basket.
  • Kogal (コギャル kogyaru) – A subculture of girls and young women, the kogal "look" roughly approximates a sun-tanned California Valley girl.
  • Komiketto – Genericised form of Comiket (Comics Market).


  • Lemon – derived from the hentai series Cream Lemon – Material with explicit sexual content (not to be confused with the slang term for Lesbian in some English speaking cultures).
  • Loli-Goth – Gothloli – Gothic Lolita.


  • Manga (漫画) – Japanese style comics.

Or conforming to "Manga style" usually marked by features such as large eyes, long limbs, speed lines and exclamatory typography

  • Mangaka (漫画家) – Creator of the manga. The mangaka is often the writer and the illustrator of the work.
  • Moe (萌え) – is a Japanese slang word originally referring to fetish or love for characters (e.g. meganekko-moe, "glasses-girl moe)


  • Nanshoku – Male love. – A deprecated, archaic term for male homosexuality. Etymology
  • Neko Girl/Boy – Character with cat ears and a cat tail, but an otherwise human body. These characters often have feline habits, claw-like nails, and occasionally show fangs. Emotional expressions are also feline in nature, such as an exaggerated fur-standing-on-end when startled. [See CatGirl] Examples include many of the characters of Loveless and Kyo Sohma of Fruits Basket.
  • Neko – Japanese word for Cat, or Feline, often used when referring to a character with cat ears and/or tail.


  • Otenba(kko)- tomboy
  • Okama – (Pejorative) male homosexual. – (Literally cooking pot.) Etymology
  • Omake – Some kind of add-on bonus on an anime DVD, like a regular 'extra' on western DVDs.
  • Orijinaru – Original
  • Otaku – Anime newcomers like to consider themselves "otaku" when they start liking anime; their definition of otaku is anime fan. Long-time anime fans, however, tend to not call themselves otaku because of its negative Japanese connotation. The literal translation of the word is your house, but in Japanese slang the word is used to describe somebody who is so obsessed with something they never leave their house. Basically it means "geek", but is occasionally associated with lolicons and pedophiles, like in the anime series Hand Maid May.
  • OVA – Original Video Animation, or OVA is a type of anime, which is intended to be distributed on VHS tapes or DVDs, and not to show in movies, or television. It can also less frequently be referred to as OAV, or Original Animated Video.
  • Owari – "End" in Japanese, used by some fanfiction authors at the end of their works. Also used at the end of many anime series.
  • Oyaji (親父, おやじ, オヤジ) – Daddy – Older male such as a teacher or other role model. Often slightly perverted, but usually portrayed affectionately. Can also be used as 'pops' or 'old man' (as in father).




  • Raw – Anime episode in its original language without editing or subtitles.


  • Sake (酒) – Commonly called "rice wine" in North America, sake is an alcoholic beverage made from brewing rice.
  • Seinen (青年) – Intended for an older audience than shōnen. Content intended for men ages 18 to 40 or older.
  • Seiyū (声優) – Japanese voice actor. Not anime voice actor as seiyū also perform for radio shows and video games as well as do dubs for foreign TV shows and movies.
  • Shōjo (少女) – "Young woman" is, in western usage, a style of anime and manga intended for girls ages 5 to 10 or 10 to 18 depending on the content.
  • Shōjo-ai – coined following the form of shōnen-ai, denoting lesbian content, typically for material without explicit sex. In Japan the term shōjo-ai is not used with this meaning, and instead tends to denote ephebophilia.
  • Shōnen (少年) – "Young boy" is, in western usage, a style of anime and manga intended for boys. These works are characterized by high-action, often humorous plots featuring male protagonists, and unrealistically endowed female characters providing fanservice. Aimed for boys ages 5 to 10 or 10 to 18 depending on the content.
  • Shōnen-ai – A term denoting male homosexual content in women's media, although this usage is obsolete in Japan. English-speakers frequently use it for material without explicit sex, in anime, manga, and related fan fiction. In Japan, it denotes ephebophilia; see Shotacon.
  • Shudo – Abbreviation for wakashudo. – The Way of Young Men age structured male homosexuality in Samurai society.
  • Sōsaku June (Original June) – dōjinshi with male homosexual themes for women that are original stories and non-parodic of existing series.
  • Super deformed – Also referred to as simply "SD". Miniaturized versions of the characters integrated into the storyline to add comedy, or to display exaggerated emotion in a way that might be out of character. They are usually used when the character is supposed to be angry, sad, confused, or startled. More commonly known as a chibi. Chichiri from the anime Fushigi Yuugi is often found to be in a super deformed shape.
  • Sub - When a anime is kept in its original language, but has subtitles.


  • Tsudzuku (つづく) - literally "to be continued". Occasionally used at the end of a chapter of manga or an episode of anime when a continuation is to follow.
  • Tsundere – a female character type whose personality is initially combative but eventually becomes loving and emotionally vulnerable.
    • See Yandere for the inverse of this trait.



  • Visual kei – An art movement characterized by eccentric looks, involving elaborate costumes and make-up.




  • Yamato Nadeshiko – the Japanese ideal for a woman, being humble and skilled in domestic matters.
  • Yandere –(ヤンデレ) is a Japanese term for a person who is initially very loving and gentle to someone before their devotion becomes destructive in nature, often through violence. The term is derived from the words Yan (ヤン?) meaning a mental or emotional illness and Dere (デレ?) meaning to show affection. Yandere characters are mentally unstable, often using extreme violence as an outlet for their emotions. The usage of the character type has lead to criticism over the amount of violence in works such as School Days and When They Cry. Although the character type has been used in anime and manga since Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam in 1985, conscious use of the term only began to be around the turn of the millenium. A variant of the term, Yangire (ヤンギレ?) originated in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS and is used to describe a character who is mentally ill and snaps instantly without showing affection for the victim of their outbursts.[1]
  • Yaoi – Japanese acronym from '‘No climax, no point, no meaning’' (Yama nashi, Ochi nashi, Imi nashi) – Male-on-male sexual content for women, particularly dōjinshi. Compare PWP. Sometimes (and incorrectly) used for all male/male romantic and sexual content, especially by US publishers.
  • Yuri – jargon term for lesbian content, typically used to denote only the most sexually explicit end of the spectrum in media outside of Japan. Inside Japan, the term denotes a broader spectrum of attraction between women. (Used like the term 'Yaoi' for women)


  • Zettai Ryouiki: This term refers to a style of dressing, where a certain amount of skin is exposed between the miniskirt and the thigh high socks.

See also


  1. ^ Galbraith, Patrick W. (2009). The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan. Kodansha International. pp. 237-238. ISBN 978-4770031013. 

External links



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