若い燕[wakai tsubame]

August 2, 2007 at 5:56 am (slang)

 This is not well-known among young people, but most elderly people do know this term. Know this is a slang though it doesn’t have much insulting. 若い[wakai] means young, and [tsubame] means a swallow. So literally, it means a young swallow. But actually this means a young man who has an elder mistress. Mostly he is taken care of by her so nicely that he doesn’t have to work  There’s another similar term, ヒモ[himo] which simply means a thread. It derives from connotations that a man forces a woman to work so hard that she gets skinny like a thread. But this doesn’t even necessarily mean he is younger than her.

 I guess it could be a gigolo in English if I translate 若い燕.  The reason why this term is well-known among elderly people is, that this was born in the Meiji period when most women used to be forced to work as a mistress so badly. So a woman who was the advocator of the liberation for women, happend to fall in love with a young painter. The fact that such an advocator dated a young man shouldn’t be in public…but it came out to the light so badly. Most women got upset and furious when they knew about the two. So the painter left her with a letter saying like, “a young swallow has to fly away to calm down the troubled pond” This is how this term was born, and at that time, it got very popular.

 Speaking of younger, there’s another term though it has nothing to do with a young swallow; 青田買い[aotagai]. 青田[aota] means a blue field literally, but this makes no sense. To begin with this, I must explain the difference between the two colors, blue and green. We Japanese say occasionally 青い[aoiblue“] to describe something green such as a signal[青信号”aoshingou”], an apple[青りんご”aoringo”]. And also, in order to describe something immature, we even say 青い.  I think this is the same thing in English. So, 青田 means a field which is not ready for havest yet. Even too early. 買い means purchase, buying. So basically, 青田買い means to hire ungraduated students even before they get ready to start job hunting. I said, basically. Yes, inside otaku circles, there’s another use. I think you can guess! 青田買い means to keep an immature boy or girl before they get grown-up in order to make for their own only. I think this term has a connection with ロリコン[rorikon] or ショタコン[shotakon]. If you don’t know these two terms, please check my previous post about ロリショタ.

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12 Comments

  1. khursten said,

    ホストかな。。。 lol.

    reading this really reminded me of hosts in Japan. I remember watching an old show before wherein they ask their ladies to buy them expensive liquer and even expensive Louis Vuitton bags!

    I may have not seen this kind of scenario in animes… or maybe my exposure to anime and mangas are still small. lol. Thank you for the word for the day! ^^v

  2. khursten said,

    ホストかな。。。

    This term reminds me of those hosts in host clubs featured in some Japanese shows. I’m sure some of them really drive their regular patrons dry. I heard one story wherein he completed a really expensive set of louis vuitton luggages thanks to one of his patrons.

    The story of the term was really moving. ;w; kind of romantic on one end.

  3. JP said,

    おもしろい!ほんとにおもしろい!

    =) Haha, I learned something very interesting today.

  4. bangin said,

    khursten: Can the show you have seen be 夜王[yaou]? It’s about hosts. Actually, yaou is based on its manga, and the live-action drama version came out.

    Let’s see…their job is to entertain and exploit as much money from their ladies as they can. 若い燕 does not seem to have a shrewed purpose as much though it’s a slang.
    If she made the host quit his job to make him for her own lapdog, he could be 若い燕. And we could say like,” She has a 若い燕.”

    JP: Thanks for coming! I don’t think this can improve your Japanese, but visit anytime! :))

  5. khursten said,

    Ohhh~~ I see! So it is used in that manner! :3 It’s a lot clearer then.

    About the show, I believe I only saw a talk show before. I can’t remember since I saw it in our local japanese burger place. In the talk show they went to a host club and interviewed the top 3 hosts and they tell their stories of how expensive their items are and they are all gifts from old ladies. their items amount to almost 100,000,000 yen. (and more!!) Wah! What a life.

    I didn’t notice about the 青田買い note yesterday, but that statement just kept me laughing. I encountered the term while reading the comments of a writer for a ロリ manga before and didn’t get it. *fufu* But now I understand. XDD ありがとう~~ (*´∇`*)

  6. bangin said,

    Yes, I forgot to write about 青田買い, so I added. ^^
    Ah! As i thought, this has a link with ロリータ! XD

  7. Avplaya said,

    This is great… I didn’t know 青田買い has loricon meaning as well, but it is fitting… Thanks for explaining the otaku terms… it is really valuable.

  8. bangin said,

    I remember one more term though it’s kind of rare. It’s 光源氏[Hikarugenji]. 光源氏 is the protagonist in the Tales of Genji. He raised up a little girl, 紫の上[Murasaki no Ue] though she wasn’t his real daughter. And she grew up as an ideal woman he pictured…So, 光源氏 means to keep a little girl in order to make her for your own, or a person who does something like this. 🙂 It’s an old slang, though.

  9. Avplaya said,

    You mean like Princess Maker? wwww Good to know it’s a time-honored tradition.

    Hikaru genji (光GENJI) is also a very forgettable 80’s Johnny’s group… they were the IT group before SMAP. Ha, showing my age here…

  10. bangin said,

    That’s well put. Princess Maker is definitely this kind of thing. Haha.

    Oh no, you know 光GENJI! So then you know シブガキ隊[Shibugakitai] and 忍者[Ninja], don’t you?

  11. Avplaya said,

    HAHAHA…. yes, I know about Shibugaki Tai… My sister was a 本木雅弘 fangirl… he was so big back then… Ninja, you mean 少年忍者? Yes I know them too, but not as much… hey my SISTER like them, I can’t stand Johnny’s boys… I was listening to Anzen Chitai, Akina-sama, KyonKyon and Wink back then (yes WINK…). I’m old and that’s why I love ED from Lucky Star.. unlike you young people, I actually remembered those songs.

    How old are you again? You can’t tell me you actually remember groups like Shonen Tai?

  12. bangin said,

    So you love 80’s music most. I know Shounentai, but I can’t remember what they used to be at the best time. Now only Higashiyama can be seen in the TV drama or somewhat. I think I still remember some songs of Macchi(Masahiko Kondo) or Toshi-chan(Toshihiko Tahara).

    Yes, I used to listen to Wink, Akina-sama(I like her singing voice), too and Hiroko Moriguchi. She used to sing for Gundam series.

    Me? I am 25 years old, but I like 80’s music as well as 90’s.

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