Japanese Slang

Japanese Slang

by Maki Hayasaka

Japanese Slang is an urban dictionary for the digital generation!

Although Japanese culture is best known for its sense of formality and politeness, the Japanese are particularly fond of playing with language, in large part thanks to the versatility and nuance that their writing systems provide. This results in playful combinations of kanji, kana, and English, where conventional phrases are twisted wryly or turned entirely on their heads to cleverly capture the social attitudes of the time.

While most of the slang described here is a natural part of everyday speech, this dictionary doesn’t shy away from pejorative terms that unfortunately lurk around many online (and offline) spaces. After all, learning a language takes more than knowing how to politely ask about the weather: the real world is a whole lot messier than a classroom, and Japanese Slang will help you make sense of this raw language that lives in the wild.

Price: $4.99
Length: 211 pages
Buy it on Amazon


9 thoughts on “Japanese Slang

  1. Avatar
    Cassie says:

    Man, this explains a lot of stuff I’ve read in the comments on niconico. I swear I’ve read “upotsu” like a thousand times without really knowing what it meant.

  2. Avatar
    Li Sung says:

    I was looking for this, thanks! Really useful for reading Japanese forums. You never get to learn this stuff from a teacher.

    • Rockwaller Books
      Rockwaller Books says:

      Hi Li,

      Glad to hear it! This is definitely not the type of Japanese that you learn in a classroom. But if you spend time on Japanese forums and social media, it should help you make sense of a lot of the language.

    • Avatar
      Anthony K. says:

      Yeah – my first year of Japanese at university was a mix of formal and causal/polite language. Feels like I missed out on a lot of the more natural, conversational stuff.

      • Avatar
        James says:

        Same! I wish my uni classes had more variety. We did all the standard textbooks, but actually talking to native speakers in the real world (particularly casually) is a whole other ballgame.

  3. Avatar
    Evan M. says:

    After learning Japanese for three years, I still didn’t know like half the words in this book. Some of them are super rude and/or racist, but they’re worth knowing so you can understand if someone is being derogatory or provocative.

    • Rockwaller Books
      Rockwaller Books says:

      Hi Evan,

      We agree – people need to understand the nuance of the language that is being used around them, and second-language speakers and learners often struggle with this, especially online.

  4. Avatar
    Justin says:

    This made a good way to balance my vocab learning. I wouldn’t use most of the slang myself, but it’s useful to know. Thanks.

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