Japanese

What Does “BAKA” Mean In Japanese? Learn It Now!

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:

  1. ばか
  2. バカ
  3. 馬鹿

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.

  • バカだよ!
  • 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.

  • 野崎のバカ!
  • 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).

  • バカ先生!
  • 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.

  • バカなこと言わないで。
  • 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.

  • ばかな!
  • bakana!
  • No way!

It’s also pretty common to see it with そんな (sonna) which just adds some emotional emphasis to it.

  • そんなバカな!
  • 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:

  1. 馬鹿らしい (baka rashii)
  2. 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.

  • とにかく、馬鹿らしいです。
  • 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.

  • 馬鹿馬鹿しいコメディ
  • 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!

6 Comments

  • Leita

    Hi, Nick, I love your site, everything, the colors, the layout, the content. It’s excellent and it really shows your passion for the Japanese language. I love languages, and you’ve made it seem fun to learn something that seems so complex. I signed up for your newsletter so I can stay connected. You’ve created a series of excellent posts that are very helpful to people who may not have considered learning the language as well as those who do want to learn more. Great job. I liked how you explained how you got interested in the learning Japanese. Have you also traveled there? That would be fun! I look forward to hearing form you about your adventures and success with Japanese Tactics.

    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey Leita, thank you for the complements! ^_^

      I’m working on making the entire site a very enjoyable experience for anyone who visits it. Both visually, and with lots of good information and free gifts. I’ll try to keep new and helpful posts coming so that there’s fresh material when you visit again.

      P.S. I’m actually going over to Japan later this year. I can’t wait!

  • Ki

    Haha, brilliant. Thanks for letting me know I am not being grievously insulted when my Japanese colleagues chide me with this remark. Now I have been enlightened I shall surely partake more freely in such banter.

    Nice site btw, I like the aesthetic – the land of the rising sun!

  • Santiago

    Hello Nick!

    Thank you for this post! I have always been an anime fan and I never knew the real meaning of that word.

    I´m also pretty interested in discovering the Japanese culture and their language.

    So your site looks pretty interesting to me. Thank you for that translation! It helps me understand a little bit better and apply it in the correct context.

    Wish you the best!

    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey Santiago, it is my pleasure! I am also a huge anime fan so I hear it all the time. I think it was actually one of the first Japanese words I ever learned along with konnichi wa and sayounara.

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