Japanese slang 101 – words that Japanese students actually use

Have you ever faced a situation in that you couldn’t find Japanese slangs on a dictionary or the web? Linguists often say that words are living. Likewise, Japanese slangs are changing their meaning in a short term. This time, I picked up 9 from these slangs and separated them into 2 groups: basic and advanced. If you master them, you could be a student in Japan!





   -②超(cho), 激(ge-ki)

   -③ま(マジ)(ma/ ma-ji)

   -④ググる(―る)(gu-gu-ru/ -ru)












ya-ba-i” is one of the most famous slang in Japan. This word covers many meaning such as happy, confusing, upsetting, disappointing, surprising, and so on. If you are not sure what to respond, you can just say “ya-ba-i“.


・「友達(ともだち)が外(はず)れたと思(おも)ってたチケットくれた! Ya-ba-i、泣(な)きそう。」

(My friend gave me the ticket that I wasn’t selected! I’m so happy I’m crying.)



(Oh gash! I failed four classes in this term.)



(That sucks. Can you graduate? )




This is the face when they see human-sized cockroaches. If the creatures were on earth, it’s just… “ya-ba-i“.



-②超(cho), (ge-ki)

These two words are used for emphasizing a meaning by putting it before the word that you want to emphasize.



(I gained too much, because of the mochi* in New Year.)



(That’s epic.)

*Mochi is a food that we eat in New Year. It made from rice, so we literary gain weight when we eat too much. (It tastes good though…)



Can you guess what is this word saying? ; “Cho Chocho cho mode!!” This is the title of episode 67. A girl called “Chocho” plays an active part in this episode. And “cho” is butterfly in japanese. So this title says “Super Chocho butterfly mode!!”. If you are interested, you can watch this anime and learn more. She actually uses slangs like which young girls often use, so you will learn more words from her.


-③マジ (ma-ji)

ma-ji” is also a very common slang. It is used for emphasizing words and expressing a feeling of surprise. Nowadays some young people just say “ma” to omit the word.



(I literary feel bad today, so I go home.)



(Wha…really? I lost a commutation ticket.)



(『ゴールデンカムイ』(GOLDEN KAMUI))

She is an Ainu girl called Asirpa and is surprising by seeing the color of curry. This is because the color is as same as “o-so-ma”(this is an Ainu word. If you want to know the meaning, please search it yourself.). Anyway, she must cry out inside; “マジで (ma-ji-de)?”.



-④ググる (gu-gu-ru)


Japanese often put “(ru)” to some words (mainly noun) and make new verbs. This is the good example for this. As you can imagine easily, “gu-gu-ru” is to search on the web.



(Hey, what did Paulus III do?)



(I don’t really care. Google it.)


(『神々の記』(KAMIGAMI NO KI))

ggrks” is a Japanese internet slang. The original word is “Gu-gu-re-ka-su“. “gu-gu-re” is an imperative form of “gu-gu-ru” and “ka-su” is an as**ole: the way we say to despise people. This word is used for a response when someone asked common sense on the web. If you like this picture and use the app, LINE, you can check the stamp from the site below. There are more stamps of Japanese Internet slangs.








ブラック (black)” is abbreviation of “black company”, which is a company that habitually flouts labor regulations. We use this word when we forced to work or ignored our opinions at a work place.



(sigh… exhausted. Manager is making me work overtime in this week too.)



(That’s terrible. Quit it.)




有給(ゆうきゅう)(yu-kyu) is “paid time off”. And she is asking, “What paid time off is? “. I guess she doesn’t know the system or even doesn’t know a rest itself. We call this kind of person “社畜(しゃちく)(sya-chi-ku)”, workaholic or slave in English. It is said that you will be a “社畜(sha-ti-ku)” when you enter a “black company”.



-②よき (yo-ki)

yo-ki” is a word to say “yes” or “good”. This is from archaic words “良(よ)きかな(yo-ki-ka-na)” or “良(よ)きにはからえ(yo-ki-ni-ha-ka-ra-e)”. The meaning is almost same as “yo-ki“, but “yo-ki” is now a very frank word and mainly used by youngers. So it is better not to use it in formal places. We use it in both conversations and text messages, but in my opinion, many people use it on SNS rather than conversations.




(How about 20th, about the Disney Land we talked?)







This is the scene that Brook asks Luffy to join the Straw Hat Pirates. It is not too much to say that Brook’s second life started from this conversation, but they talk normally like morning time: “Could you take a salt? -Yes sure.” We use “yo-ki” exactly in this kind of mood.



This original word is “萎(な)える(na-e-ru)”. The meaning is to loose ones motivation for something or to become tiresome. By putting out “(ru)“, it works like adjective.




(Oh, I forgot my textbook. I’m drained.)




People who got Perona’s attack become very negative. If you don’t know what they are saying, I recommend you to check those words. It’s funny.



エモい (e-mo-i)


Japanese often put “(i)” to some words and make new nouns. This time this word is made from English word “emotional”. So it expresses the things that we deep impressed.




(Club activity is so emotional like singing praises of the spring of life.)




I think this picture is not “e-mo-i“, but it really shows how Japanese young people use this word. Yes, recently they use it everywhere after when this word becomes popular.




This is also a pattern of making new words. This time we put “(mi)” into some words and make new nouns. For example, “わかりみ(wa-ka-ri-mi)” is the combination of “わかる(wa-ka-ru) (understand)” and “mi”. And “やばみ(ya-ba-mi)” shows the things of “ya-ba-i“. There are too many combinations that I can’t write them all in here, but you now know the mechanism, so you will recognize when you see those words.



(Yeah, I know!)



As same as the example I put on above, “それな(so-re-na)” is famous way to express agreeing. The meaning is like “that’s right”.





How were those slangs? I’m very happy if you enjoy seeing it. Please comment anything you feel about this article. And if you are interested, please check both the comics that I introduced and other sites that other Japanese students wrote. It is interesting and also gives you new values. Thank you for watching!