Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gender Speech in Japan ~ Or, help understanding Hana Kimi :D

As I was translating Hana Kimi 05, it became clear that some things just can't be properly translated, and a post to explain would be better. So here is a very short post detailing some of the common gender-speech terms found in episode 05~06 in particular, and the entire drama in general.


  In Japanese, there are several words used to say "I."

    "Watashi"  is either polite or feminine - ie, a man might use it in a more formal situation, but a teenage guy will probably never use it. It's the most common "I" used by teenage girls.

   "Boku" - a more assertive/ less polite / more masculine form of I. Used by men, boys, and sometimes tomboyish girls.

    "Ore"  - much more assertive, more arrogant, more masculine. Can be considered rude if used in a polite situation, when speaking to someone much older/ above you, etc. Used mostly by teenage guys.

    ----Ashiya generally uses "Ore," even when some of the guys use "Boku" - she's kinda over-compensating, trying to be super masculine to cover up that she's a girl. When Makita, who assumes she's a girl, hears her say "Ore," he thinks she's being tomboyish or something and thinks it's cute.

Terms of address

  I haven't translated these in the drama so far. Most of you might know them, but if not....

   Not usesing a term at all (ie, saying just the person's name) is either 1. intimate/casual (close friends, dating, etc) or 2. rude (towards someone you don't know, or don't like, etc.)
  -san : basic. polite. Default.
  - sama: very polite
 - kun: There are a lot of exceptions, but mostly used towards younger guys. Namba's mom uses "kun" towards the guys working for her.
  -chan: Lots of exceptions, but generally used towards younger girls. Also a closer/ more intimate term than -san. When Makita uses it towards Mizuki, there are 2 immediate possible assumptions: 1. He sees Mizuki as a much younger guy and/or a girly guy, 2. He thinks Mizuki is a girl. So while a lot of the dorm didn't really take notice, Sano picked up on it immediately.
-sempai: An older classmate / co-worker / etc.

1 comment:

  1. surely yes...there are so much variations in Japanese speech. My knowledge about Japanese language is really bad enough. So, your post is so helpful for me to understand more about Japanese speech.
    At least I know what's the meaning of the conversations ^^a

    I'm waiting for next sub releases
    thanks so much. ^_^