August 13, 2007 at 8:47 am (slang)

 If you look at any bishounen anime, you would absolutely find at least one boy who is extremely well-bred and posh(sometimes a bit snobbish). Yes, he is 王子様[ouji-sama,”prince”] or simply 王子[ouji]. Know 王子様 does not even necessarily mean he is a son of a noble. But if he is just well-bred and rich, he would not be so attractive, especially in otome games or shoujo manga. Probably, he has to be good at sports or playing instruments better than anybody else. Or else, he has to be so smart that any girls could be attracted(needless to say, he must be handsome for sure).

 So we have this term, ボンボン[bonbon] . Though it’s not clear how this term came up with, please know this is a slang. It means a posh man who can’t do anything by himself, or doesn’t know how the world works. Or else, in order to ridicule this type of person, we Japanese say ボンボン. I don’t think we can hear this word in anime a lot because such posh boys are all regarded as 王子様.  And as I have said, this is such a slang that it includes insulting.

 Speaking of ボンボン, I can definitely think of Suneo-kun(Doraemon) and Hanawa-kun(Chibimaruko-chan) though both of the two anime are for general people. Well, I am not pretty sure how Amuro Ray(Gundam) has grown up(Is he a mechanic otaku?), but I assume if he were in the real world, he could be. If you have watched the old Gundam series, you could remember his remarkable line, 2回もぶったな!親父にもぶたれたことないのに![You hit me twice! My dad never hit me!]  Nowadays, fathers seldom hit their sons in Japan, however, a boy whose father never hit could exist at that time(1979 or so)? Believe me, in the olden time, fathers used to hit their sons naturally.

 Speaking of ボンボン, there’s one more similar term; 温室育ち[onshitsu sodachi]. 温室 means a greenhouse, and 育ち[sodachi] is a noun form of 育つ[sodatsu,”grow”]. Any vegetables in a greenhouse could grow up well, don’t they? In such a cozy enviroment. So they are usually more expensive than normal ones…See what I mean? Yes, 温室育ち means a person who is raised in a rich family. Know this term has no gender distinction.



  1. Avplaya said,

    Doesn’t ボンボン also means “full from eating”? Or was that just kansai-ben?

    Another excellent post btw…

  2. bangin said,

    That’s ponpon[ポンポン]. And yes, this term,ボンボン was born in Kyoto to describe a young man who is well-bred. It wasn’t supposed to be a slang, but somehow it has changed. Another way to say this is 若旦那[waka-danna] or just 若[waka]. Both of them are not slangs.

    旦那 is supposed to mean a husband, but sometimes it is also used to address a single man(old-fashioned way, though). If you have watched any period anime or dramas, you might have heard of it…So 旦那 doesn’t even necessarily mean a married man. ^^

  3. khursten said,

    Another new word for the otaku dictionary! Nice one here. Totally reminds me of a lot of characters in anime. I’m more familiar with teh waka-danna. X3

    In the west, bonbon means a different meaning altogether. :3

  4. bangin said,

    In French, bonbon means a candy…that’s the only thing I learned. You know anything else?

    In the anime, bakumatsu kikansetsu irohanihoheto, the protagonist, Youjiro Akidsuki was addressed 秋月の旦那(Akidsuki no danna) by someone else…I don’t remember clearly, though. But he is single. 🙂

  5. Avplaya said,

    ah, it’s ponpon.. I’ve only heard it and not seen it written anywhere.. good to know it’s real pronounciation. It’s so cute when a kansai girl says that. Seemed like a lot of these terms were invented by single women… ^^

  6. bangin said,

    I remember one more thing. 旦那 can also mean a boyfriend. Actually in these recent years, this has been common for young people. Whether they are married or not doesn’t matter. Even if they are not engaged, it should be okay. There’s other way around, 嫁[yome] can also mean not only a bride, but a girlfriend. I wonder if these two are slangs…

  7. w said,

    Speaking of 嫁, in otaku culture (especially the more frivolous side of it…) it seems to be awfully common to say so-and-so is my 嫁. It’s nothing new or interesting, but I just seem to find it kinda funny in a strange way… You wouldn’t find people saying that in English fandom “Isako is my wife!!”

    I have a hunch even girls might say that in a doubly-contradictory way (like for Yugioh’s Seto Kaiba, who is extremely popular on niconico, I can imagine girls typing in 社長は俺の嫁!or 俺の嫁キタ━━━━(゚∀゚)━━━━ッ!) … although this is 100% imagination and I don’t know whether they’d really do it.

  8. bangin said,

    I have even heard non-otaku folks saying like,”my 嫁 is…” Mostly they are 20’s. Teenagers or ギャル男s don’t seem to say this, I suppose so.
    Oh, even in English fandom, they say that?

    I have seen some female bloggers sometimes using 俺 (I assume they never say that in the real world) and writing in the manly way…like あ~超疲れてんだけど俺 or うおお!メガネに萌えたぜ! I guess they like to be so manly…

  9. Avplaya said,

    In American culture, “wife” doesn’t mean that much… they’d rather say “I want to date so-and-so!” than “I want to MARRY so-and-so”. American male in general fear marriage and doesn’t look forward to it. Japanese guys are more family oriented and sees things differently.

    • Austin said,

      your statement is not 100% true, i am American and i can say that i hold marriage in a high regard and find it to be a Sacred thing but at time it can also be a curse depending on the situation.

      i am 23 years old and while i haven’t had many relationship because of my disability known as Autism and Bipolar causing women to not give me a chance.

      i can at the very least say that i would prefer to get married then fool around, to be honestly i can give you a reason as to why i would rather get married than date but whatever.

      anyhow like i said this isn’t exactly a true statement.

  10. bangin said,

    Most men who use 嫁 are mid-20’s as far as I know…I wonder if this implies they are eager to be positive about marriage.

  11. Shii said,

    The meaning is the same as ぼっちゃん, isn’t it?

  12. bangin said,

    Ah, it is difficult to say. But basically ぼっちゃん is to address a litte boy. Even if he is not from such a rich family, it could work. And sometimes yes, it might mean the same as ボンボン. But ぼっちゃん has less connotation of it than ボンボン does.

  13. Arikoto said,

    oh this brings back memory
    I found this entry when searching the term “bonbon”. And then… your blog 😀

  14. Javier Mardones-Hermosilla said,

    Yes, it’s French from bonbon; the king of the lineage of candies… Chocolate premium candies with some exotic and expensive fillings. They came in fancy boxes and are given for special occasions. Just remember, you have to have in mind all the sensory and visual images that makes a word became an adjective. Bonbon is a clever slang for the well breed boys, but are so far away for the normal girl/ boy…

    • bangin said,

      Thanks for the trivia.^^

  15. Renai Kakumei Onii-chan Chapter 11 | Nakimushi said,

    […] Bonbon. Not the […]

  16. Netooku Otoko no Tanoshii Isekai Boueki (WN) Chapter 47 | RinkageTranslation said,

    […] Country Bumpkin 2. Bonbon = A posh man who can’t do anything by himself, or doesn’t know how the world works. 3. Tsubo […]

  17. Hello Work: Vol. 4 Chapter 15 | Working NEET Translation said,

    […] my time practicing my swordsmanship, instead of exploring the dangerous forest. As expected of a bonbon from a noble’s family. He doesn’t know how the worlds […]

  18. Dave said,

    I came here from Beastars (March 2020 release). I watched it months after its release, and was immediately very taken with it. On a second watch, understanding more about the characters and what’s going on, some of the subtitles were very misleading. The most obvious is in episode 2 when a character yells “Senpai”, which is subtitled with the character’s name, and if someone really didn’t pay attention to what’s being said they’d think someone *yelled* a name, and it’s plot-relevant that not everyone in the scene knows the person’s name.

    But one of the best lines in the show is “bonbon wa ii, ne?” It’s said to a character with a different type of privilege than wealth (unique to the world in the story), but a similar ignorance of what it’s like to live without that privilege (kuuki yomenai?). The official sub said something like “Must be nice to be rich”, but I’d go with something more like “Must be nice to be born at the top” to fit the context where it’s used in Beastars.

    Still, I’m glad you posted this over a decade ago. It helped me!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: