U-Can Japan New Words and Buzzwords of 2015

I love autumn in Japan for various reasons: the crisp weather, the excellent food, the approach of the holiday season. And new words and buzzwords!

N.b.: Original post with updates here.


Fall marks when the annual “U-Can New Words and Buzzwords” list (1) comes out from Jiyukokuminsha Publishing. Changes to language are inevitable, and the Japanese are particularly creative in producing more new words and variants each year.

Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Grand Prix

The 2015 Grand Prize winners were:

  1. Bakugai
  2. Torippuru Surii

Bakugai

This is “explosive buying” (2), and was meant to describe the voracious buying done by visitors to Japan from China. Well-off Chinese come to Japan, buy suitcases, and fill them full of goodies to take back.

Torippuru Surii

The “triple three” (3) is a seasonal baseball record, when a player bats better than .300, hits more than 30 home runs, and steals more than 30 bases. Tetsuto Yamada of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows and Yuki Yanagita of the SoftBank Hawks achieved this rare feat.

Selections from the Top Ten

Here are a couple more from the top ten.

Enburemu

When Kenjiro Sano was accused of plagiarism for his 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo, the romanized version of the word emblem, “enburemu” (4), was bandied about in the news.

Goromaru Pozu

It was great to see Japan do well in the Rugby World Cup, and as it proceeded, we saw a lot of man-in-the-street interviews asking people if they knew how to do Ayumu Goromaru’s famous pose. It was typically Japanese and always humorous that they had diagrams and demos showing people how to do the “Goromaru Pose” (5) correctly. Goromaru himself even played into it, testing people and making sure they knew.

SEALDs

The Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy group is a youth protest group that brought thousands to Nagatacho to protest the Abe Government’s legislative changes to Article 9 of the constitution.

Indeed, to quote another winning phrase, “Abe seiji wo yurusanai” (6) or “We will not tolerate Abe’s politics”. Keep repeating that while they do what they want anyway.

Mainichi Shuzo!

Shuzo Matsuoka is a former tennis pro, who’s been a fixture on Japanese TV for as long as I can remember. He’s insanely “high tension” I’d say, but, he’s a great coach, and especially knows how to motivate kids. I’m always impressed how he tailors his coaching perfectly to each kid he is coaching on TV.

Anyway, the “Mainichi Shuzo” (7) is a page-a-day calendar, so you can get your daily fill of motivation from the man himself.

Nihongo learners, I hope you’ll keep your eyes peeled for this competition every year. You can buy the book these phrases are gleaned from at Amazon; it’s called “現代用語の基礎知識2016”, or “Basic Knowledge on Modern Phrases 2016” (8).

Reference

  1. ユーキャン新語流行語大賞、しんごりゅうこうごたいしょう、shingo ryuukougo taishou
  2. 爆買、ばくがい、bakugai
  3. トリプルスリー、torippuru surii
  4. エンブレム、enburemu
  5. 五郎丸ポーズ、ごろまるぽーず、goromaru pozu
  6. アベ政治を許さない、あべせいじをゆるさない、Abe seiji wo yurusanai
  7. まいにち、修造!、まいにちしゅうぞう、Mainichi Shuzo
  8. 現代用語の基礎知識2016、げんだいようごのきそちしき、Gendai Yougo no Kiso Chishiki
Year Book of Contemporary Society 2016