August 16, 2007 at 10:49 am (general, slang)


I was kind of surprized to see the live-action drama version of 山田太郎ものがたり[The tales of Yamada Taro] for the first time because I know the original shoujo manga of it. Anyway, the protagonist Taro Yamada(left side in the above images) is almost perfect in anything. But his only one flaw is that he is extremely poor.  This drama is about the poor young boy who has to work to rear his several siblings in spite of being a high-school student.

 So I shall mention the girl who wants to pursue Taro. Yes, she is Takako(right side in the second image). She really wants to get married to a rich boy in order to be rich though she doesn’t know how poor Taro’s family is…At any rate, this type of girl must be a gold-digger. We Japanese used to say 玉の輿[tama no koshi] to mean a gold-digger, and 玉の輿に乗る[tama no koshi ni noru] means “to be a gold-digger.” Well, even now some people might say 玉の輿, but in these recent years, it has been common to say セレブ婚[serebukon].

 セレブ[serebu] derives from celebrity in English. But know this is a Japanese-English word(和製英語). Basically, celebrity means a famous person, especially someone in the entertainment business. In short, the appropriate translation should be 芸能人[geinoujin], 著名人[chomeijin], or 有名人[yuumeijin]. In spite of the fact, セレブ simply means a rich person. So セレブ婚(婚 means marriage) means to get married to a rich man. I’m not pretty sure gold-digger is a slang(my dictionary says it is), but セレブ婚 seems to have less connotations of slang.  So here we can see Taro’s best friend(?), Mimura(right side in the first image) who is amazingly rich. If Takako got married to him, she would get a セレブ婚.

 Then what about the other way? I mean, how do we say to mean a man who gets married to a rich woman? セレブ婚 seems to be used for women somehow, so it would be 逆玉[gyakutama]. Easy to guess? Yes, 逆[gyaku] means reverse. So just switch the sex on the definition of 玉の輿. But know this is a slang.

 If you know about Japanese actress, Kaoru Sugita(杉田かおる), you would be sure of the term, 負け犬[makeinu]. Know this is a slang, and it means a loser. 負け犬 is supposed to mean a loser, but it also means a spinster so badly. Unfortunately, a chance didn’t come to her for a long time, so she got a nickname, 負け犬 in the certain TV show. But she got married to a rich man, so this term セレブ婚 came up and has become common…The poor thing is that she got a divorce in seven months, so she has become a 負け犬 again. (つд`)

 By the way, I personally like the actor as Taro’s father in the drama. I think he is the vocal on the rock group, SOPHIA. He is a match for Taro’s father. 



  1. Avplaya said,

    杉田かおる? Yeah I know about her… she married that Nissan chairman’s grandson, right? And then she talked about their private life on TV or something… boy she is a born 負け犬. She was complaining about men all the time before the marriage, and when the perfect marriage arrived she screwed it all up. I still like watching her on LonHatsu though… There was this special where she and 田村淳 went to an onzen and she basically exposed herself to him… In Chinese if a man basically live off a women, he’s called a “Soft Rice Eater” or “吃軟飯”.

    I know the term セレブ婚 but I’ve always thought its for marrying rich celeb, but I guess all rich people are kind of a celebrity, aren’t they? Takako sounded just like Nanako’s character in the dorama 大和撫子.. have you see it? I’m betting that at the end she’ll fall for the poor but nice guy too.

    This is not just an otaku blog anymore.. keep it up!

  2. bangin said,

    I thought you know about her because you watch LonHatsu. When she got engaged, they celebrated her graduation from being a 負け犬. I assume a term, 勝ち組(kachigumi, “winner”) also became common because of this.
    So then, 吃軟飯 could be equivalent to ヒモ in Japanese, couldn’t it?

    Sometimes I hear 海外セレブ御達しの店 on TV. This “セレブ” sounds like a celebrity in English as it is…I mean, a shop is well-known to foreign celebrities such as Lyan or Cameron. Yes, all rich people are such a celebrity in many ways.

    Yes, I have seen やまとなでしこ. That’s well put, the flight attendant Nanako wanted to be a gold-digger. In such a storyline, they usually end up giving up being a gold-digger, but find a true love after all. ^^ So will Takako, I guess!

  3. w said,

    Thanks for yet another informative post. 😀 You have no idea how much I’m learning from this blog! I don’t watch dorama and hardly follow Japanese pop culture so I don’t know a lot of these things…

    I’m glad I don’t live in such a culture, I’d hate to be called 負け犬 just because I don’t marry. In fact I would sometimes think of it as people who marry being the 負け犬 instead… especially in subservient relationships. You’d see this sentiment a lot in Western feminist circles I think.

    I wonder if there’s still that thing about how women are like a Christmas cake (not useful after turning 25). Do you think it’s more acceptable for women to marry later nowadays in Japan?

    In return for all the great help you are giving us uneducated folks in Japanese slang, would you mind if I pointed out a peculiarity I observed in your English usage throughout many of your previous entries (including this one)? Namely, the phrase “… so badly”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you use it as a form of emphasis, right? Like if you say “but it also means a spinster so badly” I presume you are meaning “it actually strongly implies the meaning of ‘spinster'”? (or do you mean more around the lines of the word having negative connotations)

    Whatever it is, just know that it sounds a little funny (although personally I think it’s actually kinda cute). I don’t know what you mean to say exactly so I can’t say what’s the best way of writing it (heck, it’s not like my own English is all that great) but it’s just a suggestion anyway.

    I hope I didn’t come across as high-handed or arrogant (´・ω・`)

  4. Avplaya said,

    Yeah, ヒモ would be an exact right. Not a good word to be used in Japan, right? I was just watching this dorama with Abe Hiroshi “At Home Dad”, and it looks like it’s especially humiliating for a man to stay home and live off his wife. ヒモ must be a really hurtful term. I didn’t know 勝ち組 started with her… people use it so often now that I’d just assume it’s a regular slang. I think it was even used in Lucky Star by Animate 店長? ^^

  5. bi said,

    Ah, thank you!I finally know what 玉の輿.means!
    I’m watching the Yamada Tarou drama and I have been wondering about this word 😀

    Oh, like W wrote above, I’m also curious about the “Christmas cake” saying!
    Is it still the common opinion?
    I saw a drama called Anego where the protagonist was an OL going for her 30s and she “still” wasn’t married. She felt very pressured about this matter, her mother and everyone kept telling her how she should hurry… I felt very pityful for her. At one point in the story the goal of her life becomes getting married and leave her work. She even chooses to not go further in her career because she doesn’t want to be in a higher social position than her future husband (°_°). That really made me think, is Japanese society really that pressuring about these matters?

  6. Avplaya said,

    bi, I watched anego and I was pretty depressed too. I believe in larger companies there are social pressure for women to quit after marriage still, but it’s becoming less so. The reason is the falling birth rate and the lack of qualified workers. Japan doesn’t really like to open immigration to fill jobs as they’d rather leave all the jobs to the native Japanese, so it’s getting harder on larger companies to fill positions with quality candidates.

    Recently I’ve read a story about how married women ex-employees are being asked to return to some firms to help out. Some are even given part-time work and on-site nursery! It’s a sign that things are changing in Japan. Have you heard about this, bangin-dono?

  7. khursten said,

    @bangin! — Good job! As Avplaya said, this has turned beyond an otaku site but a japanese culture site. GJ!

    @Avplaya — you know, I encountered this in my Japanese culture class when were talking about women. Of course this stems from a book that was written in 1996 so we still need to hear from bangin if this still holds. But it is quite a trend, especially during the recession, for women to get back to work. Most of them would get jobs that are easier to manage (like arubaito) so that they can still be home in time to take care of their children. Of course, this doesn’t really happen all the time. some women have to search for higher paying full-time jobs to sustain their lifestyle. Some companies offer some things to their employees. This happens not when they are immediately married but at the moment when they are pregnant. They have to file for maternity leave right? So, some companies tell them “You can get back to work after settling in but you can’t have the same job as you used to.” The woman would get a less stressful job (a demotion of sorts) which is the company’s way of saying “you should still have time to take care of your children)

  8. bangin said,

    Wow, I am very glad to see so many comments!

    w-dono: Let’s see, even if a woman got a セレブ婚, I don’t think that even necessarily means she would become a 勝ち組. There are usually some domestic matters with セレブs…it might spoil her life after all. At least, I know some other actresses who got a divorce after a セレブ婚.

    (this is also at bi)Yes, I have heard of what Cristmas cake means…and also, we Japanese say 年越しそば(toshi koshi soba). We traditionally eat this soba at the year’s end, December 31th. 31 stands for an age here. So it is said that, any women would be 年越しそば unless they could get married by the age of 25(Christmas cake). It makes the appropriate period longer for 6 years. I think during their 20’s, it’s more acceptable, but as they turn 30’s, it’s getting less acceptable.

    Thank you for correcting my English. Yes exactly, I meant as you said. I thought “so badly” could function like that. So how did that “so badly” sound?

    I am not a native English-speaker, so I always make a lot of mistakes. So I really appreciate your kindness, w-dono. ^^

    Avplaya-san: Haha, the protagonist of At Home Dad should be either a 専業主夫(sengyou shufu, “househusband(?)”) at best or a ヒモ at worse. However it describes someone like him is up to the person. But I would say he is a 専業主夫.

    Nowadays, 勝ち組 is used in many ways though they are all positive meanings. To simply succeed in the society, to pass the entrance exam or somethig like that. I have seen a teacher yelling at his students who take a hard exam, “You guys must be 勝ち組, not 負け組!”

    bi: Unfortunately in general, it’s not acceptable for women to surpass their husbands in many ways, especially income in Japan. I think this is even getting better than the old days, but it still holds… 😦 Come to think of it, I have seen this kind of thing in an American TV drama, Sex and the City. One of the main four women, Miranda is a lawyer. But everytime she tells her job to guys she meets, they start to hesitate to pursue her because of her position. So when she lies that her job is a flight attendant, some more guys come to her at a match making party.

    Avplaya-san and khursten: I know the living proof. A friend of mine used to be the manager at the clothes shop. She quit before her marriage, but she started to work again after things settled. However, she didn’t get back to the position as a manager, but a part-time staff. Anyway, when she got pregnant, she had to leave after all.
    Companies seem to hire a person who used to work for them again when a position is available rather than spending so much money to train a new worker somehow…At any rate, this case is not very rare.

    I will keep doing my best, thank you very much. :))

  9. w said,

    Thank you for the thought-out response as usual. 😀 As for “so badly”, well it depends on what kind of word you’re trying to describe. I don’t know how to put it >_< Uh… well, “really” would fit in a number of situations. Like just now if I was having *extreme* difficulty in explaining myself I’d say “I really don’t know how to put it”. If you laugh way more than normal then it could be “laugh a lot”. But using “really” when explaining that something has a particular meaning doesn’t work the same way. If you said “It means XXX so badly” and change it to “It really means XXX” then it’s more like “これは実はXXXの意味です” rather than “これはすごくXXXの意味です”… or something.
    Okay, I must be sounding like a complete idiot now and maybe I’m just misunderstanding you after all. Never mind. x_x

    By the way, WS-dono/H-dono/etc. has appointed me as her humble messenger to promptly inform you that

    a. She is appearing to have problems posting comments on your blog.
    b. Your email address consistently bounces back emails.
    and most importantly,
    c. Do something about this.
    Related to c. is;
    d. She may furnish you with a free gmail account if you wish (or I could do it too, it’s 2gigs+ of free space.)

    Also, you have been strongly recommended to make a post on オタ魂.
    I am afraid of the consequences that may result in going against her word and can only advise that something be done about it. Soon.
    End of message! Now I can imagine a few daggers being sent via eye power in my direction.

  10. Nick said,

    “Unfortunately in general, it’s not acceptable for women to surpass their husbands in many ways, especially income in Japan. I think this is even getting better than the old days, but it still holds…”

    Indeed, this is still ingrained in the American culture too, especially down here in Louisiana. It’s rather indirect here, as it’s more of a public hit on the guy’s pride if his significant other makes more than he does, but it does affect relationships for women that go into high-paying fields.

    Then again, I do live in an extremely conservative part of the country. I’m sure that the attitude is different in California, for example.

  11. bi said,

    31 seems a bit more reasonable XD Though I still find very rude having a food metaphor to describe women in any sense… In my language there are rude words to describe this situation, but aren’t used until the woman in question is well past 50 and it’s obvious she doesn’t have a chance to marry anymore (even though days are changing in this sense as well, due to the more frequent divorces).

    As for men who are afraid to approach women that earn more then them, it’s the very same thing here, and I think all over the world, because men’s nature is like that in every patriarchal society (where the man are the head of the family).
    Of course there are some exceptions, like when husband and wife work in very different fields (i.e. if she’s an artist and he’s a bus driver, I don’t think he’d have problems with her earning more than him XD).
    What I really find difficult to understand, is the women’s behavior, like the one I described above. Why would they give up career when they still haven’t got a fiancee or boyfriend of sorts?
    Here women usually pursue career as a priority, then if they get married and feel like it, they renouce to it. Especially when they have children, they’re ready to stop working and dedicate all of themselves to the family. But that is *after* they find a mate. They would never give up their career just to find a husband more easily, like I saw the Anego protagonist doing. That really felt pityful and a bit degrading to my eyes.

  12. bangin said,

    w-dono: Thank you for telling me this. I didn’t know about what had been going on.
    When someone posts a comment, WordPress is supposed to let me know that I get a comment which needs to be moderated via my e-mail account and here. When I admit it, the comment can be shown to public. Once I approve his/her comment, the person can post a comment without my approval.

    Actually, I could see WordPress caught some spams so far…but they don’t let me show who sent them though I really want to check it. Anyway, I have released this system. So from now, anyone can post a comment and it can be surely shown immdiately. I hope this will work out this time. I am terribly sorry for the trouble to all the people who got invloved.

    So alright, about オタ魂…I understand. I have been strongly recommended…That means I have to do this right away! (((;゜д゜)))アワワワ

    I finally got how “so badly” works…It was a big help!

    Nick: I was quite surprised to know about that since I thought individualism should be valued in all the nations of America than Japan. So would that mean most women who wants to pursue some even higer career choose California in the US?

    bi: I know what you mean. The Anego protagonist is getting anxious as she turns in the 30’s. Besides, she is under such pressure. So I think she is obssessed with the thought she has to make herself more compatible with any guys. She thinks the reason why no men come to her is her career, and so long as she keeps doing a good job, she can’t find a boyfriend…
    I know one more example. It’s Detective Saeko in Angel Heart (or City Hunter). There’s a scene she drinks alone on her 4?th birthday. Yes, she is single. And she whines like, “Just because I am a perfect detective, no men come to me?” But she loves her job…

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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: