Learning Japanese from media

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Learning the Japanese language from Japanese media can be a great and motivational way to study the language. This article organizes information useful in that pursuit.




The language found in Japanese media can differ greatly from what one would encounter in real life Japan, particularly in its excessive crudeness. Individuals may exchange words and expressions frequently that seem innocuous and elicit innocuous responses, but are fighting words to a Japanese person.

The following are some words that are best avoided entirely until you are proficient and well in-tune to the subtle situations where they may be appropriate.

  • おのれ -- Highly aggressive "you".
  • おまえ -- Highly aggressive "you".
  • きさま -- Highly aggressive "you". You can see what will happen by using おまえ and きさま at a public place.
  • 俺【おれ】-- Boastful word for "I". Used historically by the samurai to impress upon others their own greatness. It is used infrequently in modern day Japan and is almost always rude.See this.
  • [one's own name]さま -- Using the honorific さま after one's own name isn't a part of real Japanese, but may occur in some forms of media.
  • てめえ -- Highly aggressive "you".
  • やがる -- Expresses disdain for the clause preceding it. See Tae Kim on the word.

A search in the discussion forums on a particular word may yield more information.

In general when writing and speaking the Japanese language, try to favor the forms you learned in your grammar books over what you encounter in the media.

Outdated language

Sometimes a particular media takes place in historical times such as feudal Japan, or the 1980s. In either case bare in mind that antiquated language may be in use, and that current events and pop culture likely influenced its creation.

Non Japanese media translated to Japanese

[The original author is not knowledgable enough to credibly write this section. But perhaps you can.]

Particular media

Additional reading

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