One of the most common words in anime and manga is baka. But what does baka mean in Japanese? That’s exactly what we’re going to cover in today’s lesson.
There are actually a lot of different ways that this word can be used, so I’ve broken it down into several parts and provided a few example sentences to help you learn and understand it.
Let’s get started with the basic form first.
What Does Baka Mean In Japanese?
The Japanese word baka means “idiot; moron; fool” and can be spelled in Japanese in three different ways:
Although this word will appear in each of these forms, it is most commonly written using katakana as バカ.
This word is a noun, which means that in order to call someone an idiot you need to include だ (da) or です (desu) right after it.
- baka da yo!
- (you’re) an idiot!
That being said, it’s actually pretty common to for people to just yell 「バカ！」 when they call someone a moron.
I guess we do the same thing in English when your friend does something stupid and you simply shake you head and mutter “idiot” before going back to your business.
By the way, calling someone “baka” is not actually that common in Japan. It’s really just limited to Japanese stories (thing like movies, books, anime, etc) since in real life it’s considered pretty rude to call someone stupid (shocker, I know) and the Japanese culture is centered around respect and harmony.
Another common way to see this word used is with a person’s name and the の (no) particle followed by バカ. I most often see this when a girl calls a guy a “dummy” before running away because she likes him and he’s being a blockhead.
- nozaki no baka!
- Nozaki, you dummy!
This word can also be used to say things like “that damn teacher” by putting バカ in front of the noun you’re talking about, which in this case is 先生 (sensei).
- baka sensei!
- That damn teacher!
What Does “Bakana” Mean In Japanese?
There are quite a few derivatives or alternations of the word baka, so I figured it would be a good idea to go over each one of them in the remainder of this lesson.
The first one is “bakana” which can be used in two different ways.
The first way is as a na-adjective where it describes the word that comes after it. The most common example of this is actually a set phrase, which I’ll share with you now.
- baka na koto iwanai de.
- Don’t say such foolish things.
Here we’ve got バカなこと which means “stupid stuff” or “foolish things” and in this last phrase it’s being used to ask a person to stop talking nonsense.
Another example would just be ばかな人 (baka na hito) which means “a stupid person.”
By the way, I figured I would change up the spelling a little bit to give you some variety. This last example was the hiragana spelling, which is probably used the least out of the three.
The other way that “bakana” can be used is to say impossible in Japanese.
In situations like this, it’s generally used as just an exclamation. In other words, it’s just something that a person shouts to express their disbelief at a situation or result that has occurred.
- No way!
It’s also pretty common to see it with そんな (sonna) which just adds some emotional emphasis to it.
- sonna bakana!
- That’s impossible!
What Does “Bakarashi” Mean In Japanese?
The next two words I wanted to go over both use 馬鹿 as their root. Here are the two words now:
- 馬鹿らしい (baka rashii)
- 馬鹿馬鹿しい (baka baka shii)
As you can see from the spellings, they sound nearly identical to one another. In addition to that, these two words pretty much have identical meanings and can be used to say “absurd; foolish; ludicrous” in Japanese.
- tonikaku, bakarashii desu.
- At any rate, it’s ridiculous.
Since these words are both i-adjectives, they can either be used on their own to say that something is foolish like in the above example, or they can be used to describe a type of noun which we will see in the next sentence.
- baka baka shii komedi
- absurd comedy
As a side note, I actually do see these two words spelled in kanji quite a bit which is a change from the other “baka” words in this post which usually stick to just katakana.
What Does “Bakayaro” Mean In Japanese?
The final two words that I thought we should go over are both used as insults in Japanese. If you’ve watched a lot of Japanese anime with English subs then you’ve probably heard these before.
The first one is 馬鹿野郎 (baka yarou) and it combines the word for “idiot” with 野郎 (yarou) which is a derogatory word that is generally used to describe a guy as a “bastard” or an “asshole” in Japanese.
Therefore, 馬鹿野郎 is like calling someone a “goddamn idiot” or something along those lines. It’s not a word you would ever want to use in real life, but it pops up a lot in Shōnen manga and anime.
The other word is also an insult, but bot quite as potent as the first one we went over in this section.
This time, the word is 馬鹿者 (baka mono) and the new part of it is 者 (mono) which just means “person” and is generally used as a suffix (it attaches to other words).
So 馬鹿者 really just means “stupid person” which is basically what you would expect it to mean based off of its kanji.
Over To You Now
That all for today’s lesson on the various meanings of the word baka.
If you’ve got any questions about any of the things that we covered in this post, or even anything that wasn’t covered, please let me know by typing it in the comment box below.
Or if you would just like to add your thoughts to the conversation, you can do that as well!
Thanks for reading and I’ll be sure to see you next time!
Further Resources for Learning Japanese: