Hello language lovers! Let's talk about learning swear words in Japanese and why this is an important aspect of language learning.
While you might not think of prioritizing expletives in your vocabulary studies, they actually give you an insight into culture and society and deepen your understanding of social situations and Japanese-made media.
Read on to find out why and how to learn Japanese swear words and discover some of the most useful and colorful curse words to get you started.
By the end of this quick guide, you will be well-equipped with some truly great swear words and phrases to use at your discretion!
Why You Should Learn Japanese Swear Words
You might wonder why you should learn rude words in Japanese, especially if you have no interest in using them. Well, as they are a part of the language, they come up in various social environments, as well as in aspects of culture, such as anime, and other Japanese media.
So, if you want to understand Japanese TV shows, movies, and music more completely, you will need to know these words and their meanings.
Moreover, you will be able to hold your own better in social situations if you completely understand the context and tone of the conversation. This means having an understanding of swear words in Japanese and how to use them.
Japanese learners can pick up bad language from watching Japanese entertainment shows and movies, listening to music and radio, and, of course, speaking to Japanese people!
Japanese anime is a particularly great resource for learning new swear words in Japanese, as it is a genre known for being a little risqué.
Check out Lingopie to find some great TV shows and movies in Japanese and other languages, all with interactive transcripts to optimize learning.
The Best Japanese Swear Words
Now, we can break down some rude Japanese words and phrases. We will look at their literal translation and some context for when to use them.
Remember, when using crass words in Japanese in real-life situations, you need to remember that the culture is different than in your country. You might think you are joking around but cause real offense. Proceed with caution.
- Kuso (くそ) - Shit/ f*ck
This swear word roughly translates as "poo", but it is very rude and often used as an exclamation of anger. The closest translation in English would be bad words like "f*ck" or "shit"
Screw You/ Go Away
- Kuso kurae (くそ くら え) - Eat shit
- Fuzakeru na (ふざけるな) - F*ck off
This phrase literally translates as “don't mess around”. However, when it is used aggressively, it essentially has the same meaning as "f*ck off" and is pretty strong.
- Shinjimae (しんじまえ) - Go to hell
Another rude way to tell someone to go away is to tell them to go to hell.
- Chikusho (ちくしょう) - Damn it/ son of a b*tch/ oh crap!
This word is not directed at someone, but instead, it is used as a way to exclaim in frustration or dismay.
For example, you might hear someone on the side of the road in Japan shout chikushou, panku da (ちくしょう、パンクだ), meaning "damn it! I have a flat tire".
However, this word can also be used when something really great happens. For example, when your favorite sports team wins a match. Of course, context and tone are everything here.
- Baka (ばか) - Stupid
This word is commonly used in the Kanto region of Japan, where Tokyo is located. So, when visiting Tokyo, you might hear the locals using baka with their friends.
- Aho (アホ) - Moron/ idiot
This swear word, meaning "idiot", is similar to baka. The difference is that aho is more commonly used in the Kansai region of the country.
- Yarou (や ろう) - Guy
On its own, this word means "guy" and does not have a particularly negative connotation. However, when paired with baka, meaning "stupid", it becomes a Japanese swear word.
- Bakayarou (ばか や ろう) - Stupid bastard/ total idiot
Baka and yarou come together here to create a very crass word in Japanese.
- Damare konoyarou (だまれこのやろう) - Shut up, you bastard/ shut your mouth!
When you see yarou (や ろう) added to insults, you can assume someone is being called a "bastard", "asshole", or something similar. Do not use yarou when speaking to a woman, as this is not correct.
- Busu (ブス) - Extremely ugly woman
This rude word is a very demeaning term that should not be used lightly.
- Buotoko (ブ男) - Extremely ugly man
This is the male version of the same insult. You should never call a stranger in Japan "ugly" and only use this word with friends if you are very close and can joke in this way. Or else, if you really want to cause offense!
More Japanese Insults
- Uzai (う ざ い) - Annoying
This word translates as "annoying" or "pain in the ass". It is short for urusai (うるさい), which means "noisy".
So, you can also use uzai to mean "shut up", as in "you're being so noisy, can't you shut up?!"
- Warugaki (わる が き) - Brat
You can use warugaki with someone younger than you who is annoying you. That is, if you mean to cause some offense. This word comes in handy when a kid is being noisy, acting spoilt, or bothering you endlessly.
- Shinee (死ねえ) - Die!/ Drop dead!
The word shinee is commonly used in anime, so learners might be familiar with it. However, just because it is used in anime, does not mean it is appropriate. Do not tell a Japanese person to die unless you are prepared to ruffle some serious feathers!
A Note on Japanese Culture
Now that you have learned a handful of useful and interesting Japanese curses, you can start to think about when you might use this language in real life. There is just one fun fact to be aware of before you get started!
In Japan, there is a certain social hierarchy and etiquette that you need to learn for social and professional situations. This social hierarchy dictates how formally or informally you are expected to speak.
Depending on who you are with and what their hierarchical position is compared with yours, you will need to address them accordingly.
If you find yourself in a situation where nobody in the vicinity speaks English and you need to use your Japanese language skills to get by, you will need to ensure that you are using the appropriate level of politeness when addressing people.
General rules include respecting your elders and respecting your professional seniors, but there is more to it than that. So, do your homework and make sure to use crass language only with people you can be very informal with.
When in doubt, it is always best to leave out the curses and insults!
FAQs: Japanese Swear Words
What is the rudest Japanese swear word?
There are a lot of Japanese curses that are incredibly rude. Some of the strongest expletives include kutabare (くたばれ), meaning "f*ck you" or "drop dead", and shinee (死ねえ), meaning "die!". Clearly, when you are deeply upset with a person in Japan, telling them to die is a great way to cause offense.
What is the F word in Japanese?
In Japanese, kuso means the f word. Literally, the word's meaning is something like "poo" or "shit", but it is best translated as "f*ck!" when used as an angry interjection. For example, if a Japanese person stubs their toe, they might shout kuso!
Which Japanese curse word should I never say?
There is a time and a place for all Japanese expletives, but there are some that are considered extremely rude and should be used with extreme care. In your culture, these words might just seem funny or mildly offensive, in Japan, there is definitely a wrong time to use them.
Any time you are with people of a higher social hierarchy, you should never say baka, kuso, or any of the other words on this list.
If I don't want to swear in Japanese, do I need to learn the swear words?
Yes, even if you do not intend to use them, it is still advisable that you learn the meaning of the most commonly used swear words in Japanese.
This will help you to navigate social events and understand more fully the context of Japanese anime and other media.
Summing Up: Learning Japanese Curse Words and Expressions
And so ends our introduction to swearing in the Japanese language. Hopefully, you now understand why it is important to learn swear words in Japanese, even if you do not intend to use them.
Expletives and crass phrases have their place in movies, anime, music, and society. To understand fully all social situations and Japanese-made media, it is essential to know these words and phrases.
Just remember to bear in mind the social hierarchy and etiquette in Japan! Use these words and phrases at your discretion, and when in doubt, go for a milder term.
Remember to head over to Lingopie for some great TV shows and movies in Japanese.