NHK and swastikas don’t mean what you think they do anymore.
When it comes to setting trends in Japan, Japanese schoolgirls have been leading the way for years, creating a boom in demand for mobile messaging and photo sharing apps like Line and Snow, and even inventing their own vocabulary of hip slang words to communicate with while using them.
With the new slang frequently popping up in everyday conversations, if you’re not a Japanese student, chances are you won’t understand half of what’s being said around the schoolyard these days, so freeware app Line is here to give us all a lesson in schoolgirl talk with a brand new video showing a day in the life of a JK (joshi kosei) or Japanese schoolgirl.
Take a look at the video below to see if you can understand what’s being said:
Thankfully for us, Line has included some explanatory subtitles beneath some of the obscure words that appear in the clip to help us decipher what’s going on.
Some of the JK terms used include “Ma?“, which stems from the phrase “Maji de?” which translates to “Seriously?” and “Maji Man“, which adds the abbreviation for “Manji” – the counter clockwise or left-facing swastika symbol (卍) commonly seen at Japanese temples – on the end.
School students use the word “manji” or “man” in a number of different ways: it can be used to describe someone who’s naughty and mischievous, in a sentence like “Ano hito manji da yo ne” (“That guy’s a manji”), or used as an exclamation, when shouted out like “Manji!!!“.
The phrase “Maji Man!” is translated as “Shinjerarenai!” or “I can’t believe it!“, as the “man” exclamation at the end adds extra emphasis to the disbelief inherent in the word “Seriously?”
Not only are kids using the left-facing manji swastika in conversation and in text messages, they’re also using it when posing for photographs, with people positioning their arms and legs to resemble the manji symbol.
The same sense of exclamation and excitement is expressed with the pose, which many believe got its start from the wild movements of Sabotender/Cactuar and Jabotender/Giant Cactaur from the Final Fantasy video game series.
Another slang word used in the clip is “Staren”, which comes from “Stamp Renda”, meaning “Stamp Barrage”, and “Stabaku”, which is an abbreviation of “Stamp Bakuhatsu” or “Stamp Explosion“.
Other notable JK vocabulary in the clip includes:
Ometan = Tanjoubi Omedetou = Happy Birthday
Ri = Ryoukai = Understood/Roger
Ten Age = Tension Agaru = Amp up the tension/Get excited
Amore = I love you
NHK = Ni no ude, Hippate, Kiss = Upper arm, Pull in, Kiss
Imifu = Imi Fumei = ambiguous/cryptic
Wanchan = One chance
According to a survey conducted by Line, more than 80 percent of teenage users understood the expressions “Imifu” and “Wanchan“, closely followed by “Manji” (卍) “Ten Age” and “Staren“, suggesting these are the most commonly used terms amongst high school students.
The video itself introduces a new phrase in its title, “Wanchan Wandoki“, which translates to “One Chance One Fast Beat (of the heart)“, and refers to the way your heart pounds when you receive a “Wankiri” or “One-ring” on the phone from your crush. While the one-ring is usually performed when exchanging numbers for the first time so you can register the new number on your phone, in the clip, the lead schoolgirl experiences “Wanchan Wandoki” when her friends change her profile in a way that prompts her boyfriend to call her.
So next time you want to prove you’re cool at school, don’t forget to wish your friends “Ometan” and create some “Ten Age” with “Staren” text messages. Chances are you might receive an “Imifu” in reponse, though, so if you really want to brush up on the lingo, check out the top 10 buzzwords used by Japanese high school girls in 2016 over here.