Anime has tons of words and terms that the regular, English speaking person knows nothing about.
If you’re new to anime and you listen in on some die-hard fans talking about they favorite genres or tropes in anime, you’d probably have no idea what they are talking about. Anime-speak, really is a different language!
But I’m going to help you to learn this new, mysterious language one word at a time!
Today’s new word is seinen. What does seinen mean in anime? It’s a pretty interesting one and you will definitely come across it at some point. Let’s find out now!
The Word and the Kanji
The word seinen means “youth” just like the way that we would use the word in English to say something like, “the youth of today are really tech-savvy.” It’s generally used to describe people of a certain age. Although there is a tendency for it to mean “young man” as well.
Take a look at the kanji that is used for the word seinen: 青年
As you can see, it is a compound word that is created by combining the kanji for “blue/green” which is 青 and the kanji for “year” which is 年
Related: Learn the Colors in Japanese.
So in Japanese, a youth is a “green-year” which is actually the same thing that we tend to say in English when we call someone a “green horn” or we say that they are “green behind the ears.” You know, it means that they are new, young, or inexperienced at something.
A lot of phrases like that are identical in both English and Japanese, which is pretty cool! It makes it easier to learn and understand.
But the Japanese word seinen actually has bigger meaning than just youth when it comes to anime. It is also used to describe a genre, or type of anime. It is basically used for anime that is aimed at (or made for) young adults. Not kids in their teens, but more along the lines of 18-28 years old and such.
There’s actually a pretty good video (3 minutes long) that was created by Crunchyroll that goes over this exact topic. I’ve included it below and I highly recommend it, if you want an even more in depth understanding of seinen and which particular anime are considered a part of that genre.
Pretty great, right? I’m actually pretty impressed with Crunchyroll’s entire Anime Academy series. It’s really good!
Further Examples of seinen
Yes, seinen is a type of anime, but it’s still a word that gets used in real life. You’ll probably hear it used occasionally when listening to Japanese people talk, or when watching anime in Japanese. Here’s some example sentences that use it:
(ano chouhatsu no seinen wa soya da)
That long-haired youth is rude.
(seinen wa shitsuren shita)
The young man was disappointed in love.
(sono seinen wa kyuu ni warai dashita)
That young man burst into laughter.
(kare wa yuubouna seinen desu)
He is a promising youth.
- 青年 (seinen) = youth, young man
- 青年時代 (seinen jidai) = one’s youth, one’s younger days
- 青年期 (seinen ki) = adolescence
- 青年輩 (seinen hai) = young people
What seinen anime do you like to watch? Let me know your favorite with a comment below!