Friday, May 24, 2013

Japanese Internet Slang

Where the internet goes, slang will surely follow. This axiom is as true of Japanese as it is of the modern English language. The Japanese language netscape is filled with all sorts of interesting slang, much of it originating from popular websites such as 2-Chan, Twitter, and Nico-Nico Doga. However, even if you have nearly perfect Japanese, deciphering some of these cryptic words can prove to be a challenge if you are new to a given net community. Let's take a look at some slang decoding resources.

Unfortunately, there are not many English language resources available for the latest Japanese slang (netto yogo ネット用語). However, the clever pollsters at What Japan thinks have compiled a pretty interesting list of the top 35 widely unknown Japanese internet slang that is very much worth the look. 

However, there are a few very comprehensive Japanese websites out there that keep a fairly up-to-date listing of the latest internet slang. My personal favorite is Not only does this site keep tabs on what slang words are trending, but it also allows you to look up slang via website categories (2-chan, twitter, facebook, etc). Of course, its all in Japanese, but that is nothing that a little Rikai-chan or Google translate can't fix.

Imimatome also has a short but through listing of basic internet slang. There is also a listing of 2-Chan specific slang, which can be extremely helpful if you ever want to delve into the dingy depths of Japanese subculture.

Some Favorites
Here are some interesting slang words I am have come across...
  • ナマポ- Originates from the characters 生保 (in this case, read nama and ho) which is short for 生活保護 (seikatsu hogo), or money received by those on welfare assistance. It is almost always used in a derogatory sense.
  • 情弱 (jojaku)- Combo of 情報 (joho or "information") and 弱い (yowai or "weak"). Meaning someone lacking common knowledge or not in the know. It can also refer to a lack of info on a given topic.
  • 情強 (jokyo)- The opposite of 情弱, this time using the character 強い (tsuyoi or "strong"). It means someone well versed on current events and information. It can also be used to refer to someone who provides a very detailed explanation.
  • ググる (guguru)- a "verb-ified" take on the name of the popular search engine Google (ググル). The hiragana る indicates a verb, like する, 走る, and so on. This means to look something up on the interent. However, it no longer refers exclusively to searching on Google.
  • B級イレブン (b-kyu ireban)- AKA "the B-level eleven." This refers to a group of level universities that are considered to be prestigious but below the "A-level universities" like Tokyo University and Kyoto University. Usually this is used when referring to someone who does not have the high grades and exam scores required to enter top level schools.
  • W- One of the most important pieces of Japanese net slang. "W" refers to (笑) (warai), which means "to laugh." It is basically LOL and usually users type it out mulitple times for emphasis.
  • 顔本 (kaobon)- A combination of kao (顔 "face") and hon (本 "book"). As you might have guessed, it is a literal translation of "Facebook."
  • ソーハラ- A shortened form of "social harassment." It is usually used in reference to Mixi or Facebook. It refers to coworkers or acquaintances who constantly badger your to accept friend request or friends who leave way too many "likes" and messages for comfort. Basically, that creepy facebook friend who just won't leave you alone.
    Know any good slang to add to our list? Then let us know in the comments below!


  1. netyogo is down...

  2. Seems to be working fine. Must be temporary glitch

  3. Some additionals.

    ぐうかわ(GuuKawa) very cute
    お花畑(OhanaBatake) flower garden
    二次元(NiJigen) the two dimension
    ラノベ(Lanobe) light novel ( the story of not serious )
    まじきち(MajiKichi) truely mad

    GuuKawa often uses descriptions on girls of very pretty from boys' point of view.

    OhanaBatake is a term to describe the mind that cannot see the reality.

    NiJigen frequently uses when viewers mention about Anime and Manga.

    Lanobe are originals of anime. When Anime lovers mention about the original novel, they say it as Lanobe.

    MajiKichi frequently uses in comments of news on social or political madness.

    For your reference.


  4. Taro,
    Thanks for the extra words. I have come across お花畑 before but the others are all new to me. I'm very interested in words used in places like 2 chan and anime communities, so if you have any more info feel free to share!

  5. Hi Dan,

    Suppose you have huge collections of the net terms.

    Whether you knew it or not, there is a frequently appeared word. That is "MenHera".

    Person who, obiously, have problem with mental health are called MenHera.

    In this stressful age, these words are often witnessed in the casual net board like 2 channel.

    Since you are interesting in Anime, you had already know about the term "MS".

    It's not a name of gigantic computer company nor the hybird word of Miss and Mrs.

    Yes, it is a abbreviation of "Mobile Suit".

    Now, in Japan, "Shingeki-no-Kyojin (Attack on Titan)" became a big hit.
    In this digital age, the comic of its ten volumes issued totally 20 millions while Japanese population is about 120 millions.

    Oh, derailed.