極道へようこそ![Welcome to gokudou!]

September 4, 2007 at 5:55 am (general, slang)

 In fact, I am a big fan of yakuza(Japanese maphia) or host-and-hostess manga such as Ikegami Ryouichi(池上遼一) or Kurashina Ryo(倉科遼) . However, this kind of thing are hardly made into anime because of excessive violence and sex scene. So I was a bit surprised to know this anime, 瀬戸の花嫁[Seto no Hanayome] which happens to relate to such a yakuza society. Even though such excessive murderous depiction can’t be seen in this anime, I couldn’t help but paying attention to some yakuza terminology. Actually in episode 5, when San’s father replaces the ex-teacher, he makes his students take a kanji test. But the funny thing is that, all the words on the test are yakuza terminology. Also, those words are in accordance with the way yakuza folks say…So I shall mention some yakuza terminology here.

1. 刺青[monmon]; Normally, it is read as irezumi which means tattoo. I think it should be 紋紋[monmon] in kanji. [mon] stands for emblem or logo, so 紋紋 stands for an emblem of yakuza…yes, that is tattoo.

2. 手錠[wappa]; Normally, it is read as tejou which means handcuffs. Actually, this term could also belong to police terminology. When they cuff someone, they would say ワッパをかける[wappa wo kakeru] to mean to cuff. Besides, to get arrested could be said パクられる[pakurareru].

3. 縄張り[shimari]; Normally, it is read as nawabari which means turf. Shimari could derive from the verb 取り締まる[torishimaru,”control”] or a noun, 島[shima] which stands for territory(領土[ryoudo]).

4. 拳銃[chaka]; Normally, it is read as kenjuu which means a pistol. But I think this got common for general people though we know this is actually a yakuza terminology. Also, in the olden time, we could read it as hajiki(ハジキ). I don’t hear this nowadays anymore.

5. 刑期[otsutome]; Normally, it is read as keiki which means a prison term. We say 刑期を務める[keiki wo tsutomeru] to mean to serve one’s term. So otsutome(お務め) is a noun form of this 務める. Having said that, we usually use おめ(otsutome) which means work, not おめ, though. Well, I often hear a woman who is waiting for her husband(?) coming out of the jail in a yakuza film, and when he comes out, she would say like お務めご苦労様でした。[otsutome gokurousamadeshita] to mean welcome back.

6. [iro]; Yes, it means a mistress or simply a girlfriend. I have never heard, but even [otoko] might be read as iro somehow…Besides, could be also read as suke. Speaking of suke, there’s a term which relates to it, スケこま師[sukekomashi]. こます[komasu] means to cheat or a nuance of ~してやる[shiteyaru]. The closet English is…well, be gonna do or shall do or something like that. At any rate, スケこま師 means a playboy. When yakuza folks use it with the latter meaning, they would say like いてこますぞ[itekomasuzo]. I think the plain form of いて should be いる[iru], and should be written as 射る[iru]. 射る might mean to kill or to beat up for yakuza circles. So いてこますぞ means  “I’ll beat you up.”

7. 白状う[utau]; Like 手錠[wappa], there’s one more term which is shared with police society…this is it, 白状う. 白状 is normally read as hakujou, which means confession. So the original form is 白状する[hakujousuru], which means to confess some hidden information one knows…Police would also say 吐く[haku,”throw up”] to mean the same thing. In yakuza society, it is said like ウタわしたろかい、おぅ!?[utawashitarokai, Ou!?] to mean “I’m gonna make you tell, eh!?(゜д゜)ゴルア”

8.強要む[kachikomu]; The advertising line for this anime says かちこみラブコメディ[kachikomi love-comedy]. 強要 is read as kyouyou which means enforcement. 強要する[kyouyousuru, force to do sth, or to threaten] should be the plain form of this 強要む. Or else, it could be written as 殴り込む. Normally, it is read as nagurikomu which means to raid. But in yakuza circles, it could be read as kachikomu.

 Of course, there are more terms that I don’t mention here. But this blog is for anime fans, not yakuza fans, so I’d better stop here, didn’t I? ;^^



  1. w said,

    ((((;゚Д゚))) How do you *know* so much? Are all of these really common knowledge among Japanese (in which case I have a lot to remember… orz), or do you just read way too much yakuza manga, or… it couldn’t be that… you are… one of them..

    Still, it’s pretty impressive. I wonder what their love of using kanji/ate-ji stems from. I remember clearly there was that one famous Fanta ad and there was a Yakuza sensei terrifying the students, with 吐露非狩 古欝 = トロピカル フルーツ… heh.

  2. bangin said,

    Ah! I remember that ad, too! When was that ad on the air…

    Oh no, I am just a ドM guy, not one of them, I swear, w-dono. 😀
    I think no.4(chaka) is common among even “normal” Japanese people. Yakuza folks would say 堅気[katagi] to mean “normal” commoners. I think this is also common.

    I have read a lot of yakuza manga or something relates to the night world, like 夜王(yaou) or 女帝(jotei). In such manga, there are a lot of yakuza terminology…

  3. Wabi Sabi said,

    I remember from Ouran High School Host Club where the heir of a yakuza family is greeted お務めご苦労様でした by his underlings when he comes back from school, and he always tells them that going to school is not otsutome.

    So now I know that was supposed to be a funny word pun!

  4. khursten said,

    lol. Well, I am a Seto no Hanayome fan so I really really enjoyed this article!! XDD

  5. bangin said,

    Wabi Sabi: Haha, because they are yakuza, they used お務め, not お勤め. I am glad that I could help you understand that!

    khursten: I think Seto no Hanayome is a very rare anime because there’s not much yakuza ones…those kind of manga are mostly made into a live-action TV drama or movies like Minami no Teiou, Naniwa Kinyuudou, or Dochimpira. 😀

  6. Avplaya said,

    I’m impressed.. I don’t think this kind of list in English exists anywhere else… you’re doing everyone a big favorite here. The language of the Yakuza is really facinating… I heard from a friend that even though he think he’s fluent in Japanese, he usually can’t understand a thing a Yakuza is saying; after reading this, I believe him.

    We’re watching the dorama Jotei now.. is that based on a novel or manga? I can’t believe Kato Rosa is the lead.. is she believable as a hostess or mama-san do you? Doesn’t she looked too gaijin? Or maybe people in the Japanese night world are really open-minded now? ^^;

  7. bangin said,

    As I have said, I love yakuza manga so I know some of the terminology. No wonder 堅気 people don’t understand them. I really wonder how those pronunciation got settle among yakuza folks.

    I was quite disappointed to see Kato Rosa acting Ayaka. I don’t think she is a match for her. She can’t even handle Kumamoto dialect! And she is too pure to get into the night world. I have seen her in the Italian language education program by NHK. Her father(or mother) is Italian, I heard. Did you know Maju Ozawa(she was Ayaka’s rival in the drama) acted Ayaka in the movie version of Jotei? I prefer her Ayaka. She is kind of revengeful…because she is a member of 格付けしあう女たち! ^^
    The drama is based on its manga.

    They are so nice to their customers, but behind the veil, intensive fight always happens…I have seen such real documantary on TV.

  8. Avplaya said,

    Yes I agree… Rosa seemed too.. MOE for this character. I expect the Jotei to be a revengeful bitch.. Rosa is kawasugiru! I really can’t believe the casting when I first heard it.. I mean, wasn’t she the sidekick in that cheer dancing dorama a year ago or so? She wasn’t even impressive in that one (but okay, cheerleader outfit, super moe).

    Yes! I think Ozama Maju would be much better.. I can’t believe they bumped her down to make room for this newbie! I didn’t know she was the lead in the movie… man that sucks! I love her in LonHastu and her role in 花嫁は厄年ッ! We just finished that dorama and she’s my favorite chara in it. She was too hot for a farm girl from Fukushima though… but her fukushima-ben was so funny! I think she’s a great actress who got shafted* in Jotei.

    *eigo slang – shafted = getting unfair treatment versus another

  9. bangin said,

    I think Rosa is not good at acting, and she still needs to sharpen up her acting if she wants to pursue her career as an actress. Even such a supporting character, she is not so impressive…But if she acts an maid in a drama, I would definitely watch it. 🙂

    Maju is so revengeful, so when she speaks with some dialects, it would sound more powerful even if she doesn’t handle so well!

    shafted ka…I didn’t know this slang, thank you for teaching this! 😀

  10. Kaens said,

    Thanks for all the articles, bangin. I’m your new fan… Just, I don’t post much when there’s nothing but thanks I can utter, but you already get that a lot 🙂
    For this one, though, I have a question. You interrupted the list, but I’d like to learn more of this slang. Could you please continue it sometime? As a translator of books and manga from Japanese, I sometimes stumble upon yakuza talk, and you already helped me a lot with just one article. Guessing I’m so not alone like that, and you said you liked the topic.

  11. bangin said,

    Okay there’s more people who want to know yakuza terminology…then I promise I will make a post on this again. 🙂

  12. 極道へようこそ!Ⅱ[Welcome to Gokudo! Ⅱ] « Japanese words of anime fans, by anime fans, for anime fans said,

    […] fans would like to learn yakuza terminology, but I got a request I should make a post on this again here. So I shall introduce some which I didn’t do last […]

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