The Japanese language is known for its soft tone and courteous manner. Many often associate the Japanese language with the polite and respectful manner Japanese are known to uphold.
“Even when Japanese is telling someone off, the language is so soft it does not sound harsh or rude”
Is that true?
Let’s go through some rude words found in Japanese. We will also go through when and how can we use these words.
Maybe then, you’ll be able to answer the question above 😛
1. Baka (ばか)
Let’s start with ‘baka’ one that is no stranger to many of us.
When I first moved to Japan, I was told that this term is very offensive. It was taboo to me at first, but over years of living in Japan, I have seen this term used playfully among peers.
However, there is a thin line in using this term. I wouldn’t suggest using this term in a workplace, or with people you are not familiar with, especially with superiors. It can be incredibly offensive when call one ‘baka’ when you just met that person 20 seconds ago, only.
A term that is often seen in anime and manga, I find myself using this term, ‘Ah, I’m so baka’ when I am playfully joking that my absent-mindedness made me forget important information.
2. Busu (ぶす)
Meaning: Ugly woman
I don’t think anyone would enjoy being called ugly. I know I wouldn’t.
It is a rather displeasing thing to call another such a term.
If this term is used to address anyone, I would have the impression that that person is beyond comparison and description to deserve such a title. I have not heard such a term used, and if it were to be used, probably in a playful environment.
I wouldn’t recommend this term to be used in any given situation.
3. Yatsu (やつ)
Meaning: ‘guy’ in a violent manner (of lower status)
At first glance, this rude term may come across as, “what?”
However, this term is slang. It is often used when speaking about a 3rd person who is less favorable. It can be said in a condescending and violent manner, putting the other at a lower status of the speaker.
4. Uzai (うざい)
Meaning: Pain in the ass
I think in our lifetime, we have come across a few people who we would like to call such.
This term can also be used to show annoyance and noise (e.g., someone who talks non-stop that it becomes annoying).
For more emphasis on the pain and annoyance, this term can also be dragged out into ‘uzaiiiii’, sort of like ‘urusaiiii’(that shows it is noisy).
5. Chikushō (ちくしょう)
Guilty as charged, I have said ‘sh*t!’ in real life a few times.
Unlike English, this term is rather longer than its English counterpart. This term can be used in a wide variety of situations from forgetting an assignment to losing a bet against a friend.
This term also sounds quite catchy and isn’t very vulgar.
6. Warugaki (わるがき)
In anime, whenever I heard ‘…gaki’, I always associated it with ‘brat’ because this term was usually used when the character is annoyed and calling the younger party this term.
This term is often used with people who are younger than the speaker. Why yes, you could also use this term in a dispute with your younger sibling(s).
7. Doke (どけ)
Meaning: Get out of my way!
I will tie this term to anime again (oops!) Imagine the characters running or chasing one another, and ‘doke!’ is used in this scene.
Now, imagine, you are chasing a thief. This term will be used to draw the attention of passersby-s to move out of your way during your chase. It is not a polite way to get someone’s attention to move out of your way, but if you really need to make it through the crowd in a hurry…
Next on, we will move on to phrases and words that are ruder than the ones that we have gone through so far.
8. Bakayarou (ばかやろう)
Meaning: A**hole/ idiot
Following the first term we listed here, this term is a much more vulgar word and phrase.
It is sort of a level-ed up term for ‘baka’. It shows you have had enough!
9. Shinjimae (しんじまえ)
Meaning: Drop dead/ go to hell
Often used when the speaker has had enough with someone. If a resolution cannot be reached during this dispute, you could choose to walk away with this term (like a scene out of a drama). Or when you were hurt badly by another, this term is welcome to be of use.
For its’ crudeness in meaning, I would say this term is used for situations of extreme frustration, anger, annoyance, and hurt.
10. Kusokurae (くそくらえ)
Meaning: eat sh*t
Similar to ‘shinjimae’, this term is used in a similar context. I would say the speaker’s frustration and anger level are pretty high when using this term.
11. Damare konoyaro(だまれこのやろう)
Meaning: Shut up, you idiot
‘Damare’ is a rather vulgar term and phrase in saying ‘shut up!’.
What more with adding, ‘konoyaro’ which means you an idiot or you b*stard.
Another leveled-up rude term in the Japanese language. This term is definitely going to be showing you mean business.
It is a rather offensive way to grab attention and to have everyone be quiet. Be cautious when in use.
12. Kuso (くそ)
Just like its English counterpart, it’s simple, yet speaks a lot.
This term can also be used to say, ‘sh*t!’.
I would imagine this term being one of the first few foul words non-native Japanese speakers would pick up, for its simplicity.
13. Fuzakeruna (ふざけるな)
Meaning: F*ck off/ don’t mess around
An extension to ‘kuso’ is this phrase.
Used when the speaker really wants the other to go away and leave them alone.
A term that is not to be messed around with. It carries a lot of vulgarity in its tone and speech when used. I would also say, use this when your tolerance has run dry for a while.
14. Kutabare (くたばれ)
Meaning: F*ck you
Unlike the ones we have mentioned so far, this term is used and directed to a person or object.
Truthfully, they are all pretty self-explanatory, ain’t they?
15. Shinee (しねえ)
Lastly, one of the most vulgar words and phrases.
This term and phrase indicate that the speaker wants the listener to be gone. Gone from this world.
To me, it is rather rude to want someone else to be gone from this world. But, this phrase is usually used among close friends, rather than family.
This word, if not used carefully, can ruin relationships. Although it can be used playfully, it is still distasteful to use such a vulgar term.
So…what does it feel like after reading and going through some of the rude words found in the Japanese language vocabulary?
Most of these words, phrases, and slang can be found in anime and manga. Although if you were to ask me, I honestly doubt the actual usage of some words such as ‘doke’ and ‘yatsu’ in everyday conversations.
These phrases are rarely used with people you aren’t familiar with, especially in the workplace. Though they can be used jokingly, when used in a different manner and with a different tone, it can change the ball game entirely. Therefore, be cautious with these terms, phrases, and slang. Timing and audience are key when using these phrases and words.
What may start off as a joke may turn out ugly.
I hope you have enjoyed learning the meaning of some rude words in Japanese, and when to use them.
In addition, do you want to read more about my experience in Learning Japanese as well as Japanese Culture? Please find them here.
See you next time.