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Japanese Glossary

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Japanese Glossary

       Frequently, when a fan is watching anime, reading manga or fanfiction, he/she might come across Japanese words that he doesn't know the meaning of. I've made this page to remove such difficulties that especially newcomers might have. If you see any mistakes, please let me know!

-chan: a suffix attached to the name of a person one is close to, generally used when referring to young people and between females
-kun: same as -chan, but generally when referring to males
-sama: this suffix indicates great respect and formality
-san: the same as -chan, except -san is more respectful and is used when referring to older people
ai: love
arigato/doumo arigato: thank you
baka: idiot
bishounen: refers to androgynous young people
daiboken: adventure
daijobu: alright
demo: but
densetsu: legend
doujinshi: manga made by amateurs
ecchi: pervert
furyo: delinquent
fushigi: secret, mystery
ganbare: a term of encouragement
hai: yes
hakase: professor
hentai: pervert
hime: princess
iie: no
inu: dog
kami: god. Note that Japan doesn't have a monotheist religion like Christianity.
kawaii: cute
kaze: wind
ken: sword
kitsune: a spirit that is usually represented as a fox. Kitsune may not always be malicious but they are believed to be great tricksters.
mangaka: an author of manga
megami: goddess
minna: everybody
moshi moshi:hello. Used only when picking up the phone
neko: cat
ningen: human being
o: king
obaasan: grandmother
ohayo: informally, good morning.
ojiisan: grandfather
okaasan: mother
oneesan/oneechan: sister
oni: malicious spirits
oniisan: brother
onna: woman
onsen: hot springs
otaku: a fan. In Japan, the term carries a negative connotation since it refers to people whose social life is nonexistent due to their hobby, be it anime or something else. In western cultures, most anime fans refer to themselves as otaku, which isn't strictly true.
otoko: man
otousan: father
ronin: historically, a vagabond samurai. Nowadays also used for people who fail university exams.
ryu: dragon
sailor fuku: the school uniform for girls. It does look like the marines' uniforms.
sakura: cherry tree. Watching the sakura bloom in spring is a tradition in Japan.
sei: star
seiyu: voice actor or actress
sempai: students must refer to elder students by this term to show respect.
senshi: soldier, fighter
sensei: teacher
shimatta: a mild swearword, like darn or damn
shin: new
shoujo manga: manga made by women for girls, usually romantic stories where the characters have huge eyes, the boys have feminine looks, and the backgrounds are full of flowers.
shounen manga: manga for boys, usually action or sports manga
sugoi: the most accurate translation is "wow".
sukebe: pervert
tankoubon: in Japan, manga is published in weekly magazines, a chapter at a time. A tankoubon is a collection of these weekly chapters which make up one volume.
tantei: detective
ten: heaven, sky (I'm not sure if this is a prefix or a word by itself)
tenshi: angel
tsuki: the Moon
umi: water
yama: wolf
yugi: game
yuki: snow
yume: dream