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Cussing in Japanese? Is it bad?

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Cussing in Japanese? Is it bad?

Postby kentaku_sama » Thu 12.08.2011 3:00 pm

No offence to anyone but I don't think I don't use cuss words, just me. Alot of people think it's bad for kids to hear cuss words in america and england, but what about japan? Words like shimatta and chikshou aren't exactly cuss words as they can be said in shows like naruto that are rated Lower teen in Japan. While I wouldn't go around japan saying these words, I don't feel it's wrong to speak them to people you know very well or someone that did something bad to you. I don't feel it's the same as English cuss words, Do japanese christians even have words they consider a sin to use? I dunno, I've wondered about it a while.
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Re: Cussing in Japanese? Is it bad?

Postby HawaiianBoy » Thu 12.08.2011 7:42 pm

kentaku_sama wrote:No offence to anyone but I don't think I don't use cuss words, just me. Alot of people think it's bad for kids to hear cuss words in america and england, but what about japan? Words like shimatta and chikshou aren't exactly cuss words as they can be said in shows like naruto that are rated Lower teen in Japan. While I wouldn't go around japan saying these words, I don't feel it's wrong to speak them to people you know very well or someone that did something bad to you. I don't feel it's the same as English cuss words, Do japanese christians even have words they consider a sin to use? I dunno, I've wondered about it a while.



well in japanese there is no legit taboo words like we have in english , however there are words in japanese that are considered rude . You will hear these types of words , slang and sentence enhancers all the time in shounen anime to convey a sense of manliness. However please be aware that in real life , these words will NEVER be used at all. Among friends we can use slang and the casual form of speech but the spoken japanese slang differs from that of which you hear in anime.
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Re: Cussing in Japanese? Is it bad?

Postby furrykef » Thu 12.08.2011 7:52 pm

I wouldn't say that they're cuss words. My rule of thumb for whether something is a cuss word is:
* Can you say it on TV?
* Are kids allowed to say it?

If the answer to both questions is "yes", then I don't see how it's a cuss word.

I think about the only thing in Japanese that fits the definition is anatomical references. There are also words that are considered very politically incorrect and so are similarly avoided, like めくら for blind people, but I'd consider that a distinct phenomenon.
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Re: Cussing in Japanese? Is it bad?

Postby kentaku_sama » Thu 12.08.2011 9:23 pm

Is it allowed on Tv?
Can kids say it?  

That's a definate way of defining a cuss word right there :D  

Ok thanks for clearning that up. Now I have yet to wonder why japanese use such strange dialogue in Manga and Anime where as americans don't in their cartoons. :neutral:
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Re: Cussing in Japanese? Is it bad?

Postby becki_kanou » Thu 12.08.2011 9:26 pm

Cursing is by definition is "bad", but what constitutes a "curse-word" varies from culture to culture. The idea of curse-words or swear-words in Japanese is a lot different than in English. For example my 2 year-old son loves to watch Anpanman and the main villain Baikinman always says くそ!(shit) when his plots are foiled, and that in a show aimed at kindergarten and pre-k children.

There are some taboo words about sex and anatomy, but they're not used as imprecation or insults. If you're angry and want to insult someone it's usually done by calling them an idiot (ばか、あほ、まぬけ) or insulting some physical characteristic (e.g. はげ、{bald} or でぶ, {fat}).

If you're actually trying to start a fight you could try たこ (octopus), このやろう (you jerk), くず or かす (trash) or だぼ (stupid fish) none of them what an English speaker would think of as swears, but very strong "fightin' words".

Your question about Japanese Christians is interesting too. In the West, Christianity has a long history and as such has made it's way into our daily language so that even, (or perhaps especially) non-Christians will say "Oh my God!" or "Jesus Christ!" when surprised or angry. There is no such equivalent history in Japan and most Christians are first generation converts so the idea of blasphemy doesn't really even occur to them.
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Re: Cussing in Japanese? Is it bad?

Postby AJBryant » Sat 12.17.2011 11:34 pm

I'm going to quote an earlier post I made a few years back on the same subject:

Actually, the nice thing about much Japanse invective is that it really *isn't* "potty mouthing" in the same sense a lot of English invective is. The same word -- for example, "shimatta" -- can be as mild as "darn it" or "poo!" or as harsh as calling down blasphemies and tossing in an MF for good measure. A lot of it is in HOW it is being said, who is saying it, and what the situation is. As in all things, context is king. An elementary school kid muttering a quiet "shimatta" to himself when he forgets his homework is, say, no different than a similar kid in Kansas saying, "oops..." A businessman may say "shimatta" over a failed contract, and that might come across more as "dammit!" Friends playing penny ante poker and one losing a hand to another may smile, shake his head, and say "shimatta" when an American counterpart might do the same thing and say, "well, crap."

"Che" also exists in English, as a variety of sounds ranging from "tsk" to, "pfff" to, well, "che." As a sound, it doesn't actually have meaning -- rather, in evokes an emotion.

"Kuso" does, of course, mean "shit" -- but just as "poo!" or "poop!" or "crap!" are softer forms of the expletive (all meaning the same thing), so can "kuso" function across a gamut of qualities. Unfortunately, many translators forget these simple facts, and make elementary and junior high school kids (in Japanese anime) come across as cursing like a sailor.
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