Alright, so today we’re going to have some fun and learn some Japanese swear words and insults!
I should note however, that the Japanese people don’t really use bad words as much as Americans do. You’ll mostly see and hear this words in Manga and Anime, but not so much on the streets of Japan.
Also, most of these Japanese insults don’t quite carry the same amount of weight as their English counterparts do.
Still, it seems like English cuss words are becoming less and less of a big deal as the years go on. When I was a kid, you never really heard any people swearing on TV, but nowadays there’s quite a bit of it.
It doesn’t bother me at all, but I can totally appreciate people not wanting their young kids being exposed to that kind of thing. Anyway, let’s start cussing!
Damn – kuso
One of the most common swear words is クソ (kuso) and it usually gets translated as “damn or shit.” This is known as an exclamatory which is something that you blurt out when you stub your toe, or when you accidentally break something.
You’ll also note that I wrote it in katakana, even though it’s not a loan word. That’s because you will probably see it written in katakana in most manga. It has a more attention grabbing power than hiragana, so a lot of manga artists prefer to write it that way. But there is a kanji for it → 糞
Two more words that include クソ in them are:
- くそったれ (kusottare) = Son of a bitch!
- くそくらえ (kusokurae) = Go to hell!
You can also use クソ as a pejorative suffix, which means that you add it on to a noun. So クソ猫 (kuso neko) would be “damn cat.”
Another common word that can be used as a pejorative suffix is…
Idiot – baka
This is for sure the most common insult in Japanese. バカ usually means “idiot or stupid” but it can also be used in a more friendly way to call someone a “dummy” when they do something silly.
The kanji for it is 馬鹿 which means “horse-dear.” I heard an interesting story as to how that word came about.
A long time ago an official was planning on committing treason, but he wasn’t sure who all was loyal to him. So he brought in a deer as a present for the emperor and he called it a hose. The emperor laughed and called him a fool, but the guy who brought the deer asked all the other officials if it was a deer or a horse. All the ones who agreed with him that it was a deer, were the ones he knew were loyal to him.
Now, I have no idea if that story it true or not, but it definitely makes an interesting read!
There are a few other versions of the word バカ that mean basically the same thing. They are:
- 馬鹿者 (bakamono)
- 馬鹿野郎 (bakayarou)
- 阿保 (aho)
That last one (aho), which is usually written in katakana as アホ, very often gets translated as a synonym to バカ, but it actually has a different meaning depending on where you are at.
IN THE OSAKA AREA:
アホ = friendly insult
バカ = strong insult
IN THE TOKYO AREA:
アホ = strong insult
バカ = friendly insult
So you can see how misunderstandings can occur if you’re from one part of Japan and use アホ in a joking manner, and the other person is from a different part of the country where it’s an aggressive insult. So be careful!
“You” is an insult?
Would you believe that the word “you” in Japanese can be an insult? How can that be true?
It all comes back to the different levels of social status in the Japanese culture. There are certain words that you use with people who are your equals, and different words that you use with your superiors.
So when you use one of the Japanese words for “you” that puts the person you’re talking to in a much, much lower position than yourself, it becomes an insult.
We don’t really have anything like this in English, but if you add words after “you” then we can clearly see how it works.
きさま (kisama) = You. But it is used like “you bastard.”
てめえ (temee) = You. But it is used like “you filth.”
おのれ (onore) = I. But it is used like “I’m better than you.”
この野郎 (kono yarou) = This guy. But it’s used like “this asshole.”
A few more insults, and two you probably shouldn’t ever use.
Here’s a few more insults that I wanted to share with you. No, no, no, WITH you. Not AT you. Whew!
The first one is 畜生 (chikushou) which can be used for a few different things. The first is that it can be used to mean “dammit” kind of like クソ that we saw earlier. But it can also be used to call some one a “beast or brute” if you’d like.
Speaking of beasts, that brings us to the next one which is 化け物 (bakemono) which means “monster or goblin.” You might hear this one more often in fantasy anime describing the actual monsters. But you also might get called a 化け物 if you really piss someone off.
You might get called a タコ (tako), no not the food! But rather a “coward” if you always run away from trouble.
And you might get called 変態 (hentai) which is the Japanese word for “pervert.” Now, if you like to watch anime and read manga, then you’ve probably come across the word hentai before as is also the name of a specific genre that is… well… let’s just say it’s for adults only!!!
Fair warning: Use these next two at your own peril!
The first one is ブス (busu) and it means “plain-looking, or ugly woman.” Now, that might not sound so bad at first, but it’s actually one of the biggest insult that you could throw at a woman. There’s no friendliness with this one. It’s just a straight out attack on a girl’s looks. Be careful as this insult sounds really close to the word バス (basu) which is an English loan word for “bus.”
The other one is まんこ (manko) which literally means “vagina” but is used the same way as the English word “pussy.” I find it a little ironic that they sometimes add the polite お to it to change it to おまんこ and make it more polite.
I don’t know, man. I just don’t know… ¯\_(◉_◉)_/¯
I don’t think that I’ve ever actually heard Japanese people these last two words. But you might come across them sometime. Again, I would strongly suggest that you avoid using these last two yourself.
So there you go! You are now well versed in The Art of Insulting People in Japanese. I’m sure you’ve heard at least some of these before, but hopefully you learned a few new ones.
I don’t know what it is, but people love to learn bad words in another language. And I am one of those people too! \ (•◡•) /
Sometimes is fun to be bad 😉
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5 thoughts on “How to say “damn” in Japanese – and other Japanese swear words!”
Hmmmmm…… Hehheheheheheh…Handy… …Y’see, I’m a bit of a Bakugo Katsuki…. Hehe…
I’m also kind of weird. This is perfect.
I hear バカ, クソ, and きさま all the time when I’m watching anime. It’s kind of fun knowing how to swear in another language, although people give you weird looks if you do it in public >.<
Haha, yeah it seems like kind of a middle-schoolish thing to do: cussing in public, in another language. but what the heck, might as well have fun right!?
Hahaha…I never thought that you would actually add profanities to your japanese lessons. I don’t think it’s a good idea for foreigners to be using these words during their first trip to Japan though =)
But nonetheless I enjoyed reading this article. It’s interesting to know that the same cuss words in Japanese can have more than one interpretations in English.
Yeah, I’d bet that 99% of the time people will only encounter these words when watching anime or reading manga. Still, it’s better to know them and not need to.