HomeAnime25+ Japanese words and phrases Anime taught me
25+ Japanese words and phrases Anime taught me
July 30, 2018
A few months ago I made a post called “Is learning Japanese with Anime, Manga and Video Games possible?” That post has proved quite popular so I decided to do a followup. I’ve watched a lot of anime over the years and although in recent times my consumption of anime has gone down significantly I recently thought about how many words and phrases I learned from anime. Many of my favourite anime are based on shonen manga like Naruto, Dragon Ball and Attack on Titan. So unsurprisingly the Japanese I learnt makes me sound like a manga action hero or villain. That doesn’t mean these words and phrases aren’t useful for enunciation, understanding conjugation and starting off your basic Japanese vocabulary.
許さない – simple enough means unforgivable or I won’t forgive you – many protagonists have screamed that at villains in anime. お前はだれですか？is a masculine tough guy way of asking who someone is. 死なない means to not die – pay attention to when you see or hear nai attached to a verb in Japanese it usually means to not do what the verb translates to. 助けてください again a popular phrase in anime screamed by anyone that needs saving. 強い means strong. I usually say 私は強いですよ！ when teasing my elementary kids after defeating them in rock paper scissors or my JHS kids in Table Tennis. まさか is another popular one to show astonishment.
Family members are also important to know – お兄さん means older brother but あにき is a casual way of referring to an older male. The rest are easy enough but beware that some words for family members change if you are referring to your own family or another person’s family. 先ぱい and こうはい are also simple ones means senior and junior respectively. Many a princess has needed rescuing in anime 姫様- a trick I use to remember the kanji is its a combination of the woman and a character that looks like a crown. For prince, the kanji are child and king or the child of a king 王子.
気持ち悪い means everything from I have a bad feeling about this to that’s disgusting. Jitsu should be something all Naruto lovers are used to hearing, same with 戦い which means battle and 世界 which means world – also if you didnt notice ppl in Gundam and dragonball seem to say sekai a lot. 化け物 literally means transformed thing. Pay attention to that second kanji which is used when referring to many kinds of things like drinks being のみ物 and food being たべ物.
Every anime hero worth anything has screamed ぜたいにまもる at least once and feel free to scream あのさあ to casually try to get someones attention. すみません is to also used to get someone’s attention more formally as well as to say excuse me. 大丈夫’s 3 characters look so semetrical to my OCD brain and when put together means Are you okay. 神様 is yet another anime staple and means god and is as common as and old dude stroking his beard and saying なるほど. やめろ is the last thing anime bullies here before they get beaten up.
ばかやろう is offensive but is okay to be used with friends – if you have a friend that has never called you studpid you are not friends. なんだここに is what you say with a Yakuza-like voice when you want to impress the ladies. ほんとに was my favourite phrase when I just arrived in Japan and the teachers and students still tease me with it – with different inflections it can be a question or similar to Masaka.
Finally, we have the days of the week – 日 月 火 水 木 金 土 – if you remember nothing else from this post please remember these 7 – you can thank me later. Was this post helpful? Please vote in the poll below and leave any comments and questions as well.
Kirk is a proud Jamaican who started Jamaipanese.com in February 2006 and now lives in rural Japan. He enjoys sharing his experiences learning about Japan, personal milestones in life as well as interests such as photography, gaming and travelling.