A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | K | M | O | R | S | T | Y

A ai - love.

anime - animation. Cartoons. You know, the kind they show on TV. In the US, it's used to refer to Japanese animation. However, in Japan, the word is used to define any and all cartoonish animation, not just their own. Anime comes in a wide variety, ranging from adventure to soap-operatic, and is a very big business in Japan.

B biseinen - Same as bishounen, but these guys are old enough to shave. When most Western otaku use the term "bishounen," (see below) this is the word they really mean.

bishoujo - beautiful young girl.

bishounen, bishonen - literally, a pretty boy, or a beautiful young boy. A bishonen is a boy who is like a bishoujo. In Japanese culture, it implies that a boy (yes, boy, age 12 to 16 or so) looks or acts very pretty, quite feminine, and rather gay. Zoicite, for instance, is a bishonen; Mamoru is not. Western otaku have taken the term and made it into a general category encompassing any and all attractive anime males, whether the male in question is a feminine young boy or not.

C -chan - appended to a friend or family member's name as a sign of closeness, intimacy and affection. For example, when Usagi befriends Minako, she calls her Mina-chan. The suffix can also be used rudely to place someone at a lower level.

chibi - small, tiny, dwarf. For instance, everyone calls Usagi's daughter Chibi-Usa, or "small Usa," to distinguish her from the original Usagi. Chibi-chibi is really, really small.

D doujinshi - fanart based on an established manga, not done by the mangaka himself. (Herself, in this case.) Basically uses the same characters, but tells another story with them - manga fanfics, if you will. There's some really nice doujinshi volumes out there, although a lot of them tend to be hentai. There are entire ranges of doujinshi, ranging from serious to parody.

doujinshika, doujinshi-ka (or djka) - an author / artist of doujinshi. Some have their own devoted following. (I, for instance, am a complete pushover for Toshimi Arina's Yuu Yuu Hakusho doujinshi...) CLAMP, for instance, started out as a circle of djka.

E ecchi - lesser form of hentai; means indecent or lewd. Derived from the Japanese pronounciation of the letter "H" in Hentai.

F furigana - tiny hiragana characters above the kanji words. Convenient because manga readers can figure out how to pronounce the kanji and look it up if they need to.

fuku - clothing; outfit, suit. The "sailor fuku" is quite often worn as a uniform by Japanese schoolgirls; the sailor senshi wear a rather smaller, tighter, more colorful variation on it.

G ginzuishou - Literally, the kanji translate to "silver water crystal." Fans have translated it as "Illusion Silver Crystal," "Mystical Silver Crystal," "Magical Silver Crystal" ... but it's all the same thing - the star crystal that Usagi uses to transform into Sailormoon. It's a powerful, legendary force of good. Specific to the Sailormoon series, as far as I know.

H henshin - transform, as well as disguise or metamorphose. Specifically, transform from normal self to senshi self. The senshi often tell each other, "henshin yo!" which means "let's transform!" Sailormoon's first henshin phrase is "Moon prism power, make up!" (The henshin sequences in the anime are really cool.)

hentai - literally, "abnormality." Has come to mean "sexually perverted," or sexual in nature. If you see fanfiction or fanart that says "contains hentai" or "is hentai," it probably contains hardcore or X-rated material. People who are into that kind of thing are also referred to as "hentai."

hime - princess, or a highborn lady. Princess Kakyuu is referred to as Kakyuu-hime.

hiragana - a flowing Japanese phonetic alphabet; this is the most mainstream of the three. The style of the characters is more complex and flowing than katakana but less so than kanji. Has the same sounds as katakana, and resembles it to some degree.

K kana - the phonetic Japanese alphabet. Subdivided into hiragana and katakana. Each letter is one syllable long, although there are various ways to indicate that one is supposed to hold a syllable or cut it short.

kanji - pictographic Japanese writing, derived from the Chinese characters. (NOT phonetic, which makes it hard to read. Get a dictionary or learn Chinese.) Japanese children learn kana first, and then learn kanji as they grow older. Kanji's a more sophisticated, more mature kind of writing. It's a running joke in Sailormoon that Usagi's kanji is very bad, and that she prefers to use kana.

katakana - a simple, angular Japanese phonetic alphabet. Has the same sounds as hiragana, and resembles it to some degree, but the letters are (in general) much simpler. It's supposedly used to write foreign words in Japanese, or to emphasize certain words.

kawaii - cute. Kawaii's a big thing in manga/anime; it's kinda hard not to be kawaii when you've got big eyes, a tiny mouth, and big hair. Chibi-chibi, for instance, is extremely kawaii.

koibito - lover, sweetheart. "Kaguya-hime no koibito," for instance, translates to "the lover of Princess Kaguya." Also used as a pet name for one's love.

kouhai - a social junior. The term is usually used in work or at school; the kouhai is opposite to senpai. Asanuma is Mamoru's kouhai, because Asanuma is a younger student at their school.

-kun - appended to a boy's name; politely familiar term. When the girls thought that Seiya was a boy, they called her Seiya-kun; Luna refers to Mamoru as Mamoru-kun. High-school boys are often referred to with -kun. Also used by a socially superior male when talking to a socially inferior male.


manga - comic books. Graphic novels, to be more exact (and if you want to sound prissy). Usually black-and-white. They're not just comic strips, but often very well-developed stories that happen to be told in pictures. Manga is a very big business in Japan. (They have "manga cafes" nowadays where you can sit, sip a hot drink, and read a manga. Very popular.) Most anime series are based on a manga; Sailormoon is no exception.

mangaka, manga-ka - an author / artist of comic books. The one we're concerned with here is the amazing Naoko Takeuchi. *grin*

miko - literally, a medium; also refers to a sorceress or a shrine maiden. Someone connected to the spirit world, like Rei.

O otaku - a colloquial term for a person who is seriously obsessed with something, often to the point of letting it dominate their life. Can be either insulting or appreciative depending on context. Anime and manga fans have taken the word and used it to describe themselves. The term "fan boy" is also used similarly by anime and manga otakus.

R romanji - a Japanese word spelled out in English, where each kana syllable of a Japanese word is made into its English equivalent. "Ginzuishou," for instance, is my romanji for the Silver Crystal. Makes life easier in 'net publishing, because I can't type in kana.

S -sama - appended to the name of one who is in a much higher social station. Used to refer to someone who you think deserves great respect. Prince Endymion and Princess Serenity become Endymion-sama and Serenity-sama. Gender neutral. Not used in modern times except to address the emperor and his family.

-san - politely appended to the name of one who is at or above your own social station. Usually applied to everyone, especially strangers or people who deserve respect. For instance, when Usagi didn't quite know Ami at first, she called her Mizuno-san. When they became friends, she called her Ami-chan. (Careful though - in certain situations, "-san" is rude - as in when you're in a company of soldiers, you'd better call your commanding officer "Sagara-daicho" instead of "Sagara-san." It's the difference between "Yes, captain Sagara, sir!" and "okay, Mr. Sagara.")

SD, or super-deformed - Occurs when a manga/anime character has been miniaturized, simplified, and the eyes made big until it looks completely adorable. Makes good clipart, too.

senpai - a social elder. The term is usually used in work or at school; the senpai is opposite to kouhai. Mamoru is Asanuma's senpai, because Mamoru is a more senior student at their school.

-sensei - appended to the name of a teacher or a doctor as a sign of respect. For instance, Usagi's class calls their teacher Haruna-sensei.

senshi - warrior / soldier / fighter. I personally prefer the term warrior in this case; it's a little more mysterious and vaguely dignified. Soldier makes me think of someone who's marching in rank and file, and the senshi don't do that. And they do so much more than fight, too... Don't even mention the term "scout." We are not going to go there.

shoujo - directed towards young girls. Sailormoon is primarily a shoujo manga, as is Magic Knight Rayearth. Shoujo-oriented manga and anime tends to emphasize beauty, art, and character development and emotions. Appeals to males and females alike (although perhaps the really short fukus in Sailormoon have something to do with the large male following).

shounen - directed towards young boys. The anime and manga of the shounen genre tend to lie more along the lines of action and adventure, such as fighting superheros, destroying villains, and triumphing over impossible odds. Examples of shounen series are Street Fighter II or Dragonball. The genre also appeals to both males and females alike.

sugoi - super, cool, etc. By itself, an exclamation rougly equivalent to "Wow, that's great!"

T tankoubon - a book; more specifically, a volume or a compilation. I use the word to refer to the 18 comic book volumes of Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon published by Kodansha.

Y yaoi - boy-boy love manga, usually found in doujinshi. Yaoi is an acronym for "yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi:" literally, "no peak, no resolution, no meaning." There's a whole genre of anime that focuses on yaoi couples and how their love is doomed by its very nature; IMHO, this is pure yaoi. Lately, the use of the word has branched out into any male-male anime character pairing, ranging from plotless sex to sexless plot.

For more of this sort of thing, visit anime lingo.

For more general help, visit The SJAFS Anime Resource Center.

MangaArtistCastImagesThe DeskLinksHome