With this handy list of over 200 Japanese slang expressions, you should be able to decode the most casual talk you can find in any manga or anime.
Navigate to a word by clicking on the initial letter in the list below.
Informal term for “good bye”, this is not considered a polite way to say goodbye.
Slang, this is an exclamation take from “abunai”. It is used as in, “That was close!!!”
Impolite phrase meaning “go over there!” which of course means that you should “go away!”
Impolite phrase meaning “go back over there, far away”. This is a very direct way of saying “go away!”.
Slang for “umm” or “excuse me” literally means “that over there”
Impolite term meaning “stupid”, more commonly used in the kansai area (Osaka)
Slang, insult, related to “aho” but much stronger.
Informal phrase which means “Oh, I see…”, but I would avoid using this phrase as a “gaijin” because it may have been over-used by American movie studios as a stereo-typical Japanese thing to say. I think that I have read somewhere that it may even be offensive to some Japanese people.
Impolite term meaning “that thing over there” or “that dude over there”.
Informal term for “demon” or “spirit”. The first “A” is not clearly pronounced. “Akuma” means devil or demon, and “bito” refers to a person (HITO). The “H” in HITO changes to “B” after certain vowels.
Informal term meaning “gullible” or “someone who is a real sap”.
Informal word which can mean “that thing over there”, but the slang meaning is more commonly “Uhhh…” or “Well…” and is used a lot in colloquial speech at the start of a sentence or between sentences just like we use “Uhhh..” to slow down the conversation so we can think.
Informal term referring to “an appointment for a date”.
Informal slang for someone who is working part-time.
Informal word meaning “stupid”. This has to be the most commonly used insult in Japan. Being called stupid is quite serious to the Japanese. Most commonly used in the Kansai area (Tokyo)
Slang used to describe a “chatterbox” or a really noisey converation (see PECHA KUCHA)
Informal phrase meaning “nothing” or “nothing really”. Normally used in response to a question.
Informal term meaning “beautiful woman” but actually is closer to “hot babe!”
Informal term for “hunk” or “cute guy”
Impolite term meaning “knuckle head”
Slang, insult, referring to your intelligence such as, “dimwit” or “dumbass”
Slang, refers to something that is “old” or “worn out”. Also see BORO BORO. Also, Slang for “making easy money” or “making money dishonestly”.
Informal, refers to something that is “old” or “worn out”. Also see BOROI.
Slang for “Violent person” comes from BOURYOKU meaning “Violence
Informal term for “kid” and is kind of like saying “Hey squirt!”.
An expression used when things aren’t going right
Slang, insult, refers to someone’s appearance such as, “pretty damn UGLY!!!”
Ugy. Not used for males.
Slang for something that is too flashy in terms of style, or refers to person who blatantly flirts.
Informal way of saying CHIGAIMASU which means “wrong” or “it’s something different (from what you think)”. This phrase comes from the Kanto (Osaka) dialect. Can be said once or twice depending on the tone or emphasis.
Exclamation used to express disgust. It’s kinda like saying “shiiit!”
Slang, refers to something “cheap” and of “poor quality”.
Informal term which means “extremely bad”. CHO means “extremely”, and the BERIBA actually comes from and sounds like “very bad”.
Informal term which means “extremely good”. CHO means “extremely”, and the BERIGU actually comes from and sounds like “very good”. This may now be heard as CHOBEGU.
Informal term that is very close to KURE YO! and means “Please do this for me”.
Informalphrase which means “wait a minute” or “excuse me a bit” and can vary according to the tone you use all the way up to “wait a damn minute!”.
Slang, insult referring to your intelligence, like “complete idiot”
Colloquial for DESU KA example: Nan dai? = Nan desu ka?
Informal term with many meanings. I can mean “no” or “it’s bad” or “it’s not possible” or “you can’t do that” etc. etc. It is word that signals a “no” answer. DA can also be added to the end for extra effect. DAME DA!
Exclamation used to express disgust about something totally uncool.
dasei / dasee
Exclamation used to express disgust about something totally uncool. More casual than dasai.
Informal term that can have many meanings, but the slang usage is at the beginning of a sentence. When a person starts a sentence with DE, it is more of an interjection, and it’s meaning is more like “So….(anyway)…”
Informal phrase which means “if that is so…” and can be used as in “so?”
Colloquial prefix, used to add emphasis to words such as “total” or “absolute” such as “Do-Aho!”
Informal phrase which means “move out of the way” but is basically a way of saying “move it!”
This is used at the beginning of a request. It is close in translation to “Would you please…..” Ex: Douka…shashin o misete kudasai yo!
Informal phrase which means “Are you o.k.? (you seem kinda out of it)”
Informal term used to say “get out of the way!”. It is a slang version of the word DOKERU.
Suffix added to names like “-san” to make it more polite, but “-dono” is more like “Mr.” In TENCHI MUYO, Washu addresses Tenchi as “Tenchi Dono” very often and she is just being extra respectul to Tenchi by calling him “Mr. Tenchi”.
Informal word used to express “Anyway…….” in a somewhat negative way, or used in a sentence to express doubt like when you user the word “afterall”. EXAMPLE: Afterall (doose)…..it can’t be true you know.
Informal phrase which loosely translates to, “Hello, what do we have here?” or “What’s this?”
Informal term for something that is gooey or muddy, or something that is confusing. Consider the abstract concept of “muddiness”. Also is used to imply that someone is not getting along with someone else.
Informal phrase which can mean “what’s wrong?” or “what?” or is used to get a response, like when you say “well…?”
Informal phrase which can mean “what’s wrong?” or “what happened?” and is mostly used to express concern. The NO at the end doesn’t really change the meaning much, and is used in this case for emphasis.
Interjection that is similar to “uhhh..” or “errr…” and can imply a phrase such as, “well, actually….”
Loan word which refers to a fighting spirit, kinda like GANBATTE and is said when you want to express that you must keep on going and hang in there.
To play hooky from school, or something. This word is very similar to saboru
Informal term meaning “brat” or “young punk”
Informal term which roughly means “partners in crime” and refers to real hoodlums.
Exclamation meaning “yuck!” or “gross!”
Informal phrase which means “good work” or “thanks for doing something that inconveniences you” and is short for the more polite GOKUROSAMA DESHITA.
Informal phrase which refers to something or someone that is lazy, or an action which happens slowly and lazily.
gyogi ga warui
Informal phrase which simply means “bad manners”
Expresses that something was funny. Comes from “tsubo ni hamatta”, to hit a sensitive spot.
hanashi ga aru
Informal phrase which means “I need to speak to you” although literally it means “a conversation exists”.
sounds like HAH REH TAH. Informal phrase which means “To be hungry” and literally translates as “My belly is in a bad condition”.
Exclamation meaning “launch!”.
Informal term for “embarrassing” and is short for HAZUKASHII.
informal expression that loosely translates as “No problem!” “It’s ok!” “Forget about it!” ex: Daijobu desu ka? Heki da yo! (Is it a problem? No problem, it’s ok!!)
Informal term meaning “terrible” or “horrible” or “grotesque”
Informal term which kinda means “hey!” or “see?!” when you want to get somebody’s attention. Related to KORA
Informal term meaning “anyway….” or “well….” and can replace a direct answer with the meaning “Uhhh…kinda sorta…”.
Informal phrase meaning “it’s a deal” or “it’s o.k. with me” or “it’s probably o.k.”.
This expression is used to say “It’s o.k.! I don’t mind!” but if you use it when someone is being nosey, then it means, “It’s none of your business anyhow!!!”
Colloquial phrase that is used to say that something is nice, good, or cool. IIKAMO is used by itself alot to simply say something is cool. “Shirenai” is literally translated as “I dunno…” so it follows the polite way of expressing your thoughts by ending the phrase with an expression of doubt. (Thanks to Greg C. Sharp for this valuable bit of info!)
Informal phrase meaning “functioning normally”. This is used a lot in futuristic anime in regards to equipment working normally. Literally means “without abnormallity” and replaces the English version “all systems normal”.
Translates into something like “very handsome man” or “hot guy” (usually very shallow people)
Informal term meaning “something’s wrong” or “it’s no good” or “you can’t do that” or “it wont work”. It is very close to the word DAME and is short for IKEMASEN.
This word means “suddenly” or “without notice” and is used to say that something was unexpected and usually not welcome. For instance, if somebody visits you without an invitation, that is the kind of feeling it expresses.
iikagen ni shinasai
loosely translates as “don’t be like that!” or “don’t behave like that!” and is usually used to scold kids.
Informal phrase meaning “ready!” or “let’s go for it!”
Informal phrase meaning “let’s go!”
Exclamation meaning “no way!” or something like “that’s terrible!”
Informal exclamation which can mean “well…” or “see ya!” or “umm…” or can be used to stall for time when you don’t want to answer a difficult question. It is a very handy word and has many more meanings. It is also a very short way of saying “bye!”
Standard word for “dimension”. It is commonly heard in anime when referring to an interdimensional tunnel which is called “JIGEN NO TUNERU”
junbi wa ii ka?
A modern way of asking “are you ready?”
This is a very modern way of saying, “I’m ready!” And it really does use O.K. as in English.
Colloquial for DESU KA example: Nan kai? = Nan desu ka?
Slang which means “pissed off” or “going ballistic” or “enraged”
Slang for person with lots of money, Literally means “rich man”
Informal term for “cell phone”. KEITAIDENWA is the full name.
Informal phrase which translates as “to be awake” or “to be conscious”
Informal phrase which means “to feel sick” but is more often used to say “yuck!” or “gross!”.
Informal term for ” feel sick” or “makes me feel sick”, it is short for KIMOCHI WARUI.
Informal phrase meaning “don’t worry” or “no problem”. “Ki ni suru” means, “To worry”, and “Ki ni suru na” means “not to worry”
Informal term which means “start to function” or “be functional”.
Very impolite term for “you”, it’s like calling someone “asshole” and will probably get you into a fight if you use it (in Japan). it’s very vulgar.
Informal term for “gross” or “nasty”.
Slang meaning “this way!” or “over here!”. It is short for KOCHIRAE which is a polite way of saying “this way”.
Informal term meaning “this thing” or “this dude/chic” and can be considered rude.
Impolite term for “you bastard!”. It is short for “kono yaro”
Short for Konnichiwa and is very colloquial.
Pressing a lit cigarette onto your own arm to prove you’ve got “konjyo” (guts)
Impolite phrase meaning “you/that bastard!” even though “kono” refers to “this”. ( see “YARO” )
Informal term meaning “hey!” or close to “listen here!” and is used to get someone’s attention in a rough tone.
Onomotopoeia which describes a “sneaky” action or behavior.
Informal phrase meaning “please do this for me” and is literally closer to “wont’cha do this for me?” and can also be used as in “Gimmie!”
Colloquial for KORE WA meaning “this”
Exclamation that means “shit!” and is used just like anywhere in the world.
Slang term which is easily translated to “[Cat]“
Colloquial interjection that closely translates as “well…” or “anyway…” and is included very often (I mean very often with some people) with no intended meaning.
Colloquial usage which translates as “a short time” and more literally is “not even for a short amount of time”. You can use it to describe that something happened a short while ago, or that something will happen shortly, or that something has been going on for only a short amount of time.
Slang, refers to a woman who is rather less than enthusiastic during sex. Like a “dead fish”.
Informal term from anime which refers to a young female character that has magical powers.
Informal phrase that means “really?” or “are you serious?”
Informal phrase meaning “calm down” or “there there”. It is also used to refer to something that is “same as usual”
Slang word referring to someone who is a know-it-all about a subject. It may be that this is a more positive term like an “otaku” is a know-it-all about anime.
Informal term that refers to something that tastes terrible or something that sucks.
Slang word added for emphasis, kinda like “Ultra-….” so you could say “Mecha muzukashi desu ne!” for “It’s super difficult huh?!”
Means “very” as in “pretty f**king good!”
Informal term for “troublesome”. It is short for MENDOKUSAI which literally means “stinks of trouble”.
Informal term for “being irritated” or “pissed off”
Impolite term that literally means “opposite side” but it is used to refer to someone else who is causing you to be angry and you are totally against of. Also refers to something that you feel is not correct or unreasonable, Very close to “damn you!”
Slang for “don’t try” or “it’s impossible for you” “literally means “Uselessness” or “Futility”
muri shinai de
loosely translates as “take it easy!” or “don’t kill yourself!”
Informal term that means “unnecessary.” It is also used to say “(there is) no need” for something.
Informal term for “difficult” and is short for MUZUKASHII
nameru ja nai
Informalphrase which translates as “don’t mess with me!” or “don’t underestimate me!”. It is usually said in an aggressive tone of voice.
namenn ja ne yo
Informal phrase which is derived from NAMERU JA NAI (“don’t fuck with me”)
Slang term that is popular with young people, it is used in the same way that “…just kidding!” is. It basically lets you know that somebody is just fooling around jokingly, or being ironic about what they are talking about.
This expression is used when someone mentions something that you might have been told before but you forgot. Or, it is used to express ” Um yeah, what about that (thing you’re talking about)?”
Colloquial term meaning “why?”
…na no da
Colloquial quirk, and I’ll go out on a ledge and say that it equals the words NO DESU and does not change the meaning of the sentence otherwise. Don’t use this… no one does.
Slang term meaning “pick up line” or “to try and pick someone up”.
Interjection which loosely translates to “Oh my gosh!”, “what was that!” and more literally means “what an experience!”
Informal phrase that means, “Somehow…”. It is usually use in the phrase, “Nanto ka na…..” which is usually used when trying to say,” I guess I’ll figure it out somehow….” or “I guess I’m not sure how it will work out”.
Informal interjection with many uses. It can mean “right?” or “isn’t it” or “hey!”
It refers to an older sister but the person doesn’t have to actually be related.
It refers to an older brother but the person doesn’t have to actually be related.
Informal term for “kitty cat”
This means “take a bath” and is used as a pun because it sounds like the Japanese word for New York. Get it?
nan ya te
this is a surprise expression meaning “what the heck?!” or “what the…!?” can also be said with a silent n, like NAYATE! which is more normal in Kansai
Colloquial phrase which roughly translates as “Remember this!” For further clarification, I will add that “OKE” comes from “OKU” which means “to put” or “to place” or “to keep”, in other words, OBOETE OKE means that you should take whatever information is being given to you and you better keep it in your thoughts.
Informalinternet term which refers to meeting an internet acquaintance in person, face to face.
Exclamatory phrase for “good morning”. Very short for OHAYO GOZAIMASU.
Informal term meaning “hey!”. Used to get somebody’s attention.
very common expressed used to say ” I gotta go now!!!”
Informal term for “you”. This is not a term you use to speak to people you respect.
Slang for “bonus” but is also an informal term for “defeat” or “loss”.
Informal phrase which means “sorry to keep you waiting” and is short for the more polite OMATASE SHIMASHITA.
Means “funny” short for OMOSHIROI which means “interesting” or “amusing”
Standard word which means “wrapped” but refers to a very common rice treat. Just in case you didn’t know, this is what you call the little rice cakes that you see everyone eating. They look like little white turnovers and are made of rice and maybe a little stuffing inside, usually pickled plum. they have a piece of nori (seaweed) on the outside.
Impolite term referring to “one’s self” but is being sarcastic in a way that makes the listener angry. basically saying “you bastard” to someone.
Informal phrase used to say “excuse me for going ahead of you”. It is a short way to say “osakini, shitsurei shimasu” which means, “I am being rude for going ahead/before you”.
Slang term meaning “good morning”. It is the very first and last part of “ohayo gozaimasu”.
Slang meaning to steal something, or to steal someone’s idea (related to PAKURI)
This is the most commonly used term for someone who talks alot, a real “chatterbox”
Onomatopoeia which means “ding!” as in “ding! you’re right!”
Informal term for “plastic model”. Comes from “PURASUCHIKKU MODERU”
There are no words that start with q!!
Slang term that comes from the English word “lucky” and is used to express that something really “cool” just happened that makes you feel “lucky”.
Informal term meaning “Roger!” as used in military radio communications. The “R” is rarely noticeable. Comes from RYOKAI SHIMASHITA, The literal translation is, “agreement” or “understanding”.
Loan word meaning “service” but when you hear it used in anime, usually at the end credits or previews, it refers to “fan service” which means that the current video or the next video in the series will include bonus scenes or artwork.
Informal term which means “operational” or “to operate” in terms of operating equipment. Also, Slang, this meaning refers to a “sadist” or “S&M” in general.
Slang word meaning “the best” or “the coolest!” or “awesome!”
Slang word meaning “the worst” or “it’s the pits” or “crappy”.
Colloquial term that is short for SAYONARA.
Informal term It means “naturally!” or “it’s what you’d expect from (someone or something)”.
Interjection meaning “it’s true” and is another way of saying SOU KA if you use the words SAYOU KA.
se ya na
Kansai slang which means “it’s like that” “yeah that’s right” comes from SOU DESU NE
Slang, literal meaning is a “bamboo flute or clarinet” but is used to refer to “oral sex given to a man”
Informal phrase meaning “be strong” or “get a hold of yourself” or “be confident”.
Informal term simply meaning “damn it!”
Informal word which usually means “don’t do” but actually in some uses, possibly more by women, it simply replaces NAI which means “none or no”. You mostly have to figure this out by using the context of what is being said. Also, a bamboo sword used in kendo.
Standard term for the common garden water fountain that is made out of bamboo seen in many anime movies. It means “deer scarer”. This is the thing that makes that “clack” sound.
Loan word used to express “shock” or disbelief.
Informal phrase that expresses the feeling that something is hopeless and you might as well stop resisting and just go along with it. It is like saying, “OH, what’s the use…” or “theres nothing we (i) can do”
Informal phrase meaning “bounty hunting”. SHOUKIN is “reward” and KASEGI is “earnings”.
shoukin kubi ni
Informal phrase meaning “bounty” or “reward”. KUBI is “neck” so it means that “there is a reward in your neck”.
shou se harai
Informal phrase meaning “success payment”. It is used to indicate that you want to buy something on credit. It is normally used as in “I’ll pay you when I score big!”.
Colloquial usage, short for “SHINAREKEREBA NARA NAI” which means “must”
sou desu ne
Informal phrase with many meanings. The first meaning can be “It is, isn’t it?”, another meaning can be “I see…”, or “It seems to be that way” or “I think it’s true (because of what I know from other people)”. Also, you will hear this phrase a lot in television interviews, it seems to be a popular habit, and is probably a polite way of letting the other person know you are listening to them.
Informal phrase which can mean “really?” or “I see…”
Interjection which means “no way!” or “that can’t be!”. This word is normally found in dictionaries, but doesn’t seem to include this translation.
sore ga, doushita?
Informal phrase which translates as “so what?!”
Interjection usage translates as “Indeed!” “By the way!…” “Come to think of it!”
Slang term meaning “cool!” or “awesome!”. It is slang for SUGOI
sukoshi warui no nai
Informalphrase which best translates as “not too shabby”. Literally means “it’s not a little bit bad”
Informal term, short for SUMIMASEN. SUMIMASEN can mean “I’m sorry” or “thank you”. Also SU MA NAI meaning the same thing.
Informal term for “stupid jerk” with emphasis on the stupid. It literally means “octopus”.
Slang term which closely means “damn it!”, from the word MATTAKU.
Slang which means to catch a taxi, Also means to “tackle someone”
Informal term for “drop” or “defeat” but slang usage means “kill”
Informal phrase that means “certainly” or “without a doubt”
Informal and extremely rude way to say “you”. Very popular word in anime. Using this word means you’re looking for trouble.
Informal phrase ending used when you have to repeat yourself when you think someone is not listening to you. EXAMPLE: “Yamete! yamete tte ba!” “Stop! Stop! I said!” It emphasizes that you just said something.
Slang inserted in phrases or at the end of words to express “it’s something like” or “you know what I mean….?” or “….like, you know….”
Slang phrase used to express that what has just been said has made the listener angry. Related to YAGARU and TTE YAGANDE.
Slang for “male” “boy” or “man”. Its just a shortened word for “OTOKO”.
Informal phrase meaning “oops! oops!” or “whoa! whoa!”
tsubo ni haitta
Expresses that something was funny
Informal term meaning “to date” or “to go out with”.
Slang which means to go to the bathroom with a friend(s)
Expresses that something was funny.
Slang referring to anyone who sucks at sports.
Impolite term that can mean “shut up!” or “damn! that’s annoying!” or can describe something that is really obnoxious. Comes from URUSAI which literally means “noisy”
Informal term which means “suspicious”. Could come from USOKUSAI which means “reeks of a lie”. KUSAI by itself can be used to mean suspicious, and is similar to our use of “something smells funny about this”.
Also slang for URUSAI, this more often means “shut up!”
Impolite term related to URUSAI, but this more specifically refers to someone or something that is really obnoxious or troublesome.
There are no words that start with v!!
Informal word which means “reason, or meaning” This is one word which requires a little extra study. In some cases it is inserted just to express emphasis on what is being said. Be sure you study as many uses of this word because sometimes it changes what is being said completely.
Slang, means “i don’t know”, “i have no clue” comes from WAKARANAI
Informal way of saying “sorry” literally means “my bad”
Informal colloquial term which simply replaces WATASHI meaning “me” or “I”.
There are no words that start with x!! … really!!
Informal term for YABAI which means “Oh shit!” or “I blew it!” or “I’m in trouble!”
Slang term meaning “no” or “no way!”
Slang for YAGARU NO DESU, YAGARU refers to something that causes contemptuous feelings, usually something that has been said. Basically, if you add YAGARU to a sentence, you are being a “bad ass”.
Impolite term added to a sentence to convey contempt or insult.
Exclamation that is close in meaning to “my goodness!”
Impolite term for “bastard!”. It literally means “farm hand” which in Japan seems to be pretty bad.
Informal phrase which roughly translates as “do you wanna piece of me?!” or “you want some?!” in an aggressive tone. Of course, in a romantic tone of voice, it can mean “do you want to have sex?”
Informal phrase meaning “not bad”. It is more often used in a fight when an opponent makes a skillful move.
Slang for “that person” or “that dude”. It is not necessarily rude, and can be used in a familiar way. YATSURA is the plural form.
To knock someone out, but slang uses means to finish something up
Informal word for something that is “weak” or “whimpy” or “flimsy”. it is short for YAWARAKA which means “soft”
Colloquial usage, besides the usage for emphasis, it can be used as a greeting such as “Hey!”
Slang for “alright!” or “O.K!”
Informal phrase which means “I’m counting on you”, “i have a favor of you”. It is short for YOROSHIKU TANOMIMASU.
Slang term for “yup” or “yeah”.
Exclamatory phrase that means “don’t mess with me!” and is very harsh. It comes from the phrase FUZAKERU NAI YO. As you can see, it is just a shortened version of FUZAKERU. another version of it is FUZZAKEN JA NE YO
Informal phrase meaning “serves you right!” or “you had it coming!” and can imply a “in your face!” type of comeback.
Colloquial phrase used to express regret, such as sympathy when something bad has happened. It can also be used playfully such as “Nyah! Nyah! Too bad for you!” you can also use DESHITA instead of NAGARA, even just the word ZANNEN works.
Common phrase that means,”everyone” or “all the people mentioned”.
Exclamatory phrase meaning “let’s scram!” or “let’s get the hell outta here!”
expression used when someone thinks someone is playing dirty or unfair