Japan’s Word of the Year 2015 Nominees: the 10 Most Interesting Words!

  • As we head towards the end of 2015 it is time for the announcement of the 50 nominees for the Word of the Year, done by large Japanese publisher Juyu Kokumin Sha. Every year during November, the publisher selects a set of terms which have made an impact on the Japanese popular culture over recent years.


    The 10 Most Interesting Words

    This list of terms used in pop culture includes words used in video games, anime, and tv shows as well as scenes from the Japanese political arena. Here are 10 of the 50 nominated words, with their corresponding meaning.

    1. Bakugai
    This word refers to the explosive buying that Chinese tourists tend to do when in Japan, which has made a significant contribution to keeping the retail sector including drug stores, electronic shops, and department stores, afloat.

    2. Inbaundo
    This is a collective term for the group of tourists that will be welcomed to Japan based on the target set by the government for the years 2015-2020.

    3. Touken Joshi
    A word based on the online video game ‘Touken Ranbu’ (Wild Swords Dance) where the handsome virtual warriors have won the hearts of a flock of sword-loving girls. The word is used to describe the growing number of female fans with a new-found love of viewing swords on display in museums.

    4. Raburaiba
    Also known as ‘Love Livers’ in English, this term is associated with the ardent supporters of the anime ‘Love Live’, which features schoolgirls becoming a pop sensation.

    5. Doragenai
    A hit song by J-pop group SEKAI NO OWARI, entitled Dragon Night. This nickname was used by people in online communities based on the Japanese pronunciation of the singer.

    6. Puro Kanojo
    Professional girlfriend in English was a term used by Japanese magazine Vivi in one of their featured articles that provides tips on how to be a professional girlfriend. Some readers protested the article because it was believed to perpetuate the outdated roles of the genders in Japanese society.

    7. Hai, ronpa!
    This means “That’s it! Your argument is no good!” which is a phrase that comes from a sarcastic boss character on the variety show Tsukai TV Sukatto Japan (Thrilling TV, Refreshing Japan). This phrase was one of the most popular ways of winning debates on school playgrounds.

    8. Kekka ni komitto suru
    This means ‘committed to results’ in English. This is the slogan of an advertisement for a fitness brand called Rizap. The slogan also caused some confusion and has become the subject of discussion because the word commit is not well-known in Japan.

    9. Goromaru Pozu
    Popularly known as Goromaru pose, this describes the stance of Goromaru Ayumu, the rugby player who led Japan to the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The Goromaru pose is the fullback’s stance before kicking with both hands together, and both index fingers pointing upward.

    10. I am not Abe.
    This phrase stems from the criticism aimed at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy in response to the terror in the Middle East. This phrase became famous when a government critic by the name of Koga Shigeaki held up a sign bearing the slogan “I am not Abe” in front of the camera of a popular Japanese TV news program.

    If you want to check the complete list of nominees for this year’s Word of the Year, just click here.

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