Koko ni yokeina nihongo o setsumei shite kudasai.
In the Anime Fan Fic
community, the name given to the practice of including in a story the occasional word or sentence (or paragraph!) of Japanese in place of its equivalent in the author's language of choice, desu
. This also occurs in Fansubs
— see Too Long; Didn't Dub
Sometimes this can be a mere leavening for flavor, using terms likely to be familiar to even a casual anime viewer such as Honorifics
, Japanese Sibling Terminology
, various pleasantries and exclamations, and the ever-popular "baka
". Another popular one is using "Kami" as synonymous with "God" leading to "Oh Thank Kami(-sama)!" and the like (honorific may or may not be present). However, some authors go overboard, dumping into their stories entire sentences and more in Japanese of varying grammatical precision. While the more thoughtful of such authors may provide footnotes or glossaries for the convenience of their readers, the sudden transition from English to a block of Japanese is still jarring for many readers.
Naturally, opinion varies within the anime fanfic community on this subject. Most readers are united in their dislike for finding walls of Japanese text in the middle of their stories, but some do enjoy (much) smaller "flavor bits".
The form of this that just about everybody
, even the purists, despises is "Fangirl Japanese", where a newbie inserts big blocks of Japanese that they don't even understand every other paragraph, not just in their fanfiction (which is usually plain ol' bad) but in their everyday life
. The word "kawaii
" ("cute") still leaves a bad taste in many reformed fangirls' mouths. It is amusing, though, to read their flailing attempts if you know enough Japanese to realize that no, "koi" is not the verb for "love" and that they've used the word for "bow (weapon)" instead of that for "bow (hair accessory)" by mistake.
This is sometimes even seen in Fan Fic
of such things as Harry Potter
, which isn't Japanese, has (usually)
no Japanese characters, and hasn't been anywhere near Japan.note
This is also a source of much argument in the area of fansubs
, over whether or not to include honorifics
, localize idioms
, translate certain special terms
, or use translator notes at the top of the screen
On a similar note, there will occasionally be untranslated Japanese in an official English localization of an anime, but that almost exclusively
applies to Honorifics
and attack names
, especially ones that would either translate into literal descriptions of the attack, otherwise sound boring, or just plain not fit the Mouth Flaps
is the anime version of this; the name is because, just like Gratuitous Japanese is Japanese for the sake of it, Gratuitous English is English dropped into the dialog for the sake of it, even if it's horribly mangled
. Gratuitous German
is the same in German. Gratuitous Spanish
is... well, you get the picture. Some translators attempt Woolseyism
by translating Gratuitous XXXLANGUAGE into Gratuitous Japanese
Using any of these words without context makes you a baka
open/close all folders
日本のアニメやマンガ (Anime and Manga)
- A general note: If the word "baka" (Japanese derogatory term, roughly meaning "idiot") appears in any manga or anime, you can be sure that at least some of scanlations/subs leave it untranslated. Probably because it's one of the more well-known Japanese words, even though English words like "idiot", "moron", or "fool" could be used without any problems instead.
- The use and abuse of the word seiyuu for describing a Japanese voice actor is very common everywhere, to the grade when dealing with Japanese and foreign voice actors, Western fans call the Japanese VAs seiyuu when the non-Japanese ones use the English term (or their equivalent) voice actor instead. In Japan, the word seiyuu is used for describing voice actors, regardless of the country they came from. The reason why Western fandom loves to abuse this word is because a famous Japanese voice actor expert Hitoshi Doi, who was the first person in the beginnings of the World Wide Web in having a detailed database of all the Japanese voice actors and their roles, and since he's Japanese he used seiyuu for describing them rather than voice actor, when it was very obvious his English was not very good in that time.
- The terms "anime" and "manga" themselves have a similar issue. In the West they refer exclusively to Japanese cartoons and comics respectively; in Japan, they refer to any cartoon or comic book, regardless of origin. Unlike with the seiyuu case, this is normally an accepted terminology used by everyone, fans and non-fans alike.
- Fansubs can also have this, with some things being written in Japanese in the subs, with an accompanying translation. The most infamous example is the "Just according to keikaku (Translator's Note: keikaku means plan)" meme from a parody of a Death Note fansub.
- Note there are fansubs who invert this, absolutely refusing to give notes and explanations even if that means butchering a joke based on wordplay or Japanese culture, or giving slang and other untranslatable words absurd translations (tsundere doesn't mean "bipolar", despite what some would let you believe). Note these tend to be trollsubs that make up most of the text anyway, so this is the least of their issues. All in all, extremes are bad.
- Done deliberately as a woolseyism in the first volume of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. When Kaere is in her Kaede personality, she uses several Japanese phrases, which are transliterated (rather than translated as they would be for other characters) and she even refers to herself as a Yamato Nadeshiko. All of this is to show how this personality is an exaggeration of how an actual Japanese person would act.
- The English dub of Naruto never bothers translating the word "jutsu", even though it could easily be rendered as "technique" or something similar. This may be due to "jutsu" sounding ninja-like. (The Viz manga translates it as "art" - for example, "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu" is "Art of the Shadow Doppelgänger" in the manga and "Shadow Clone Jutsu" in the anime.)
- They also refer to their teachers and other respectables as "sensei", which is used for those in respectable occupations (the manga translates this as "master," an example being "Master Kakashi"). If one were to listen, however, using "sensei" gratuitously in an English dub is actually more common than one might think.
- It seems like they were intending for the Shichiko-hoju (literally "Seven Glittering Jewels", also translated as "Rainbow Treasure") in Elemental Gelade to be left untranslated in the dub. However, apparently the voice actors had trouble pronouncing it, so it got rendered as Shiko-hoji instead.
- Virtually all non-official translations of One Piece have left "Nakama" (similar to True Companions) in place of all possible translations. Many, many translations mix-and-match attack names, such as Luffy's "Gomu-Gomu no" almost always being left untranslated but the attack itself ("Fusen" vs. "Balloon") is often either translated or not. "Shichibukai" is kept as a title (ex: Gecko Moria will be called the "Shichibukai Moria". "Shichibukai"'s literal translation is "Seven Military Seas". Official translations use the serviceable term "Seven Warlords of the Sea". "Tenryuubito", or the "Celestial Dragons", constantly remain untranslated.
- Though not something you'll find in most subs, certain fans of the series refer to the crew of the main characters (The Straw Hats) as the original term "Mugiwara". The characters "Whitebeard" and "Blackbeard" are also sometimes referred to as "Shirohige" and "Kurohige" for some unfathomable reason.
- Also the three admirals. Aokiji, Kizaru and Akainu are their titles, not their real names. Usually it would be more fitting to translate their titles to "Blue Pheasant, Yellow Monkey and Red Dog" and keep their names Kuzan, Borsalino and Sakazuki as the original. However, no translations (including the official ones) apparently bother to do that. Because One Piece makes so much use of Red Baron nicknames, some people refuse to translate them as if they were actual names.
- Hancock's royal title of "Hebihime" (snake princess) is also left untranslated so many times.
- Shanks, too, had his title of "Akagami" (red hair) kept untouched (unless if it's in official works, where he's normally referred to as "Red-haired Shanks").
- The English dub of Code Geass gets away with a potential justification. Since about half the cast is Japanese rebels with a strong sense of national pride, any scene where they use honorifics signifies that they're speaking Japanese but it's being "translated" for the benefit of the viewer.
- The English dub of Duel Masters included some Japanese phrases such as "Ike" ("Go!") and "Todome da" ("The finishing blow!") during the games.
- Due to the popularity of Initial D the Toyota Sprinter Trueno is also known as "Hachi-Roku" (eighty-six). This is due to the fact that the characters refer to the car by the chassis number begins with (AE86), and it's usually left untranslated by fans. Due to Toyota's way of numbering this means that the engine bay will fit a A-series engine. Fans of the series will note that the engine used in Takumi's 86 is a 4A-GE (both versions) which means that it is an A-series engine.
- The dub of Sayaka's rant about Homura in Puella Magi Madoka Magica contains the sentence "That's so moe it makes me sick!". The sub doesn't translate that word, either. Overlaps a bit with Too Long; Didn't Dub, though replacing it with "cute" would have worked well enough.
- In Kin-iro Mosaic, Karen's crash course in her father's mother language worked for the most part, but her Japanese has an audible accent—and the way she says "good morning" became an In-Universe Memetic Mutation.
アメコミ (Comic Books)
- Ninjette from Empowered, as well as the various McNinja clans she is estranged from, use this a great deal (oft complete with Kana/Kanji). Indeed her very name ( Kaburagi Kozue) counts as such given that she is a white girl from New Jersey.
- The comic artist Pat Lee used a Katakana font to put random Japanese letters beneath his name in a header for his website◊. The problem: that makes his name "Michiyamenotehi Funana." This "Japanese translation" actually comes from a rather misleading website who proposed to "translate" your name in Japanese, but all it did was to change each letter for a specific katakana. (An actual translation of his name into Japanese would be something like パトリック・リー.)
- One of the reasons that Drift from IDW's Transformers comic drew so much hatred before his debut was the Gratuitous Japanese ("Dorifuto") and rising sun motif on his car mode. According to his creator, Drift is supposed to be a tribute to the land that birthed Transformers...which is an even bigger backfire because while the toy molds were indeed Japanese, the brand and the characters were of American origin.
- Drift's toy makes it all the funnier, though, thanks to the addition of gratuitous Japanese on his totally badass plus one sword. This sword is an ancient Cybertronian weapon passed down through the mysterious third faction of Knights Of Cybertron, and the implication is that Drift basically defiled it with the kanji for "peerless" to be more gratuitously Japanese.
- In a case of back-engineered Gratuitous Japanese, Ben Dunn's Ninja High School started off a Japanese character with an almost offensively fake "Asian-like" name — Itchy-koo — and eventually hamhandedly backformed a real Japanese name around it ("Ichi-kun", from "Ichinohei Hitomi") with the implied explanation that it had been mispronounced all this time. Even by her parents.
- A LOT of Anime fanfics feature characters speaking random Japanese words and phrases, which makes little sense since one would assume they're suppose to be speaking Japanese all the time.
- Parodied in She Found Out, a Death Note fanfic.
- Particularly egregious is Narrabundah 1/2 by Erac "Ratbat" Sigma, where you not only have to struggle through vast amounts of unfootnoted Japanese, you also have to deal with transcribed Scots and Welsh accents, obscure Anzac slang, and some just outright bizarre character speech patterns, all of it in obsolete script format.
- The Cowboy Bebop fanfic Tenshi Trail takes this to ridiculous extremes, making completely unnecessary word substitutions in both the dialogue and actual writing. What makes this even more baffling is that the show does not take place in Japan and none of the main characters are Japanese. Some examples include:
"Dozo note let me stay."
Hentai note thoughts ran through Jet's head.
That dream made nai note sense to him what so ever.
"Naze note are we teishing note ?"
He looked yuki note white with dark ruby and kuro note eyes.
- My Immortal uses quite a bit of Fangirl Japanese — in a Harry Potter fic.
- It's extremely common in Gundam Wing fanfiction for everyone to call Duo "Braided Baka" — regardless of character's national origin, and Wufei tossing around "Onna", when everything else is in English.
- Played straight in the Digimon Tamers fanfic Digital Prey, though it's mostly limited to the names of the canon characters and their attacks, and occasionally using Japanese honorifics when the characters address each other.
- Parodied in the Kingdom Hearts Meta Fic Those Lacking Spines with Pence in the High School AU chapters, who speaks in a garbled mix of Japanese, Spanish and English.
"Vivi-chan! NAN DESU KAN! Domo kawaii arigatou Mr. Roboto!"note
"Kairi no BAKA! Baka Kairi forgetta Pence-chan existikimori!"note
And, even more ridiculous: "Naminé-sempai is so gaijin she komo dachi tomo teriyaki sukimura sakura the Rearu Fork Brues... Iie, iie, no way Jose."note
- There is a DBZ fanfic out there where the author uses "baka" straight. As a noun. He pluralises it by adding -s.
- Not to mention the constant fanfics that have Vegeta calling Bulma "Onna" and talking about how he's the "Saiya-jin No Ouji" and came from "Vegeta-sei"
- Dragonball fandom is particularly guilty of this trope, though in some cases it's because authors are using Japanese to represet alien (usually Saiya-jin) dialects. Perhaps a rare case of a Justified Trope given that Toriyama used English for Vegeta's attacks for exactly this purpose.
- The Deva Series has quite a bit of Gratuitous Japanese, often in the form of common statements such as "Hai" and "Gomen nasai", and occasional phrases ("Ohayo, minnnaaaa-ssaaaaan!").
- A horrific example of this very nearly destroyed the Improfanfic series Final Fantasy Legacy, and was the very first instance of an Impro part actually being pulled (entirely removed from the series and disregarded by all future authors) to save the story. The original author for the sixth chapter (of what would go on to be a 60+ chapter story) committed multiple sins, including killing off half the characters, throwing a brand-new story into ending mode, and spewing rivers of gratuitous Japanese into a story which, at that point, had used absolutely no Japanese whatsoever. Some of the worst examples:
Chapter title: "Shoujou no Kokoro to Akuma no Higeki"
... dare ga? Kimi wa dare?
"Davin... don't you remember? Wasurenai yo?"
"Ore no kichigai."
"Iya, Darovan-sama, boku wa kimi—-"
"Kore ga ore no daiichi no osoroshii kachi da! Ore o mitte soushite osorete! Ningen o koroshitearu! Shoukan shite iru kaibutsu o koroshitearu!!"
- Sailor Nothing does this a lot, although it may be intentional.
- As does the Slayers Trilogy series (both it and Sailor Nothing are by the same author); unlike the above story, it draws from a quirky western fantasy setting, so it's pretty unecessary. As good as the story is, the use of this trope (Ano'...) is one of its biggest drawbacks.
- '[Eiga Sentai Scanranger tended to do this. Sometimes it made sense, because a lot of characters were of Japanese descent, but it also manifested when the writer was trying to come up with cool-sounding "alien" names (e.g. kagami/mirror = Kagamirron, the name of a mirror universe). Also, why in the crossover with Choujin Sentai Jetman did the characters keep slipping into Japanese...after an alien used her powers so there was no such thing as a language barrier when the story seems to assume the reader's native langue is English?
- Naruto fanfic authors often suffer from this, because they fail to do any research:
- There is no such honorific as "-teme"! It's a pronoun! A PRONOUN! To quote Naruto, 'Sasuke, TEME!' means 'Sasuke, you!!' "Teme" is considered a very, very rude, insulting version of "you", and not "bastard", not "jerk", not anything else!
- Considering the context it is often used in, i.e. the tone of voice, terms such as "bastard" and "jerk" are more apt to get across what Naruto is actually meaning to say. Japanese, as a language, does not translate well into English.
- Similarly, Sasuke does not call Naruto "dobe" ("dead last") ''nearly'' as much as fanfic writers love to use it. In an odd aversion, his distinctive insult "usuratonkachi" ("useless idiot," lit. "thin hammer") is almost completely ignored (thankfully). And it's treated like an Affectionate Nickname while Naruto adding -no-Baa-chan or similar to Tsunade earn him a punch.
- Adding "no jutsu" to the end of every technique, to the point where even the Mundane Utilities have the word jutsu after it, as well as how "jutsu" is treated as some foreign ninja word in Crossover fics
- Also apparently the fandom think that kit and Vixen are Japanese.
- Many writers also often use "sochi" (sic) for "son", instead of the proper musuko.
- Kyon Big Damn Hero doesn't have much Gratuitous Japanese but the unusual part are the yakuza terms, which tend to get used occasionally, translated once in the text itself, and replaced by English equivalents. The effect can be... odd.
- Starkits Prophecy uses this a lot. In case you didn't know, all the characters are cats. This actually makes the Gratuitous Japanese more plausible; writing the cats' dialogue in English is a just a Translation Convention, so it doesn't matter what language is used. There's also a high chance that it's a Troll Fic (see My Immortal).
- Kimagure Orange College started out using only a few Japanese words or phrases. However, around episode 25 there started to be entire passages of dialogue in Japanese (which required that translations be provided.) So either the authors wanted to show off their Japanese language skills, or KOC was slowly being phased into a Japanese language fic.
- The Axis Powers Hetalia fandom is an interesting case, as the canon actually has a personification of Japan for whom it's a widely accepted practice to have him use Japanese Pronouns and even the occasional Japanese term in fanworks as a sort of Verbal Tic. However, some fanworks still definitely go overboard with this trope for him, and there's debate over whether having Korea refer to China as "aniki" is an acceptable or unacceptable use of this trope.
- One author just gave up and had his character use American slang in a Naruto fic .The sad part ,the fic got better .
- April Richards' Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers fanfics have a tendency to portray Tommy with a dark, mysterious past. And he's Japanese. For the record, he's not. He has Native American roots.
- Really, any writer who uses the term "shoujo-ai" to refer to Schoolgirl Lesbians, despite the fact that in Japan, shoujo-ai refers to Lolicon.
- What's funny is, the actual Japanese term for Schoolgirl Lesbians is "Girls Love," in English. It's also the literal meaning of the words 'shoujo' and 'ai.' So we use Gratuitous Japanese the same way they use Gratuitous English when referring to the same thing.
- Gender Flip, and you get Boys Love and shounen ai for Yaoi Guys.
- Also, using hentai for porn (it actually means pervert(ed). Typically used of a person.) Ero (for erotic) is more likely to be used in Japan; for example, an H-game is an Eroge, erotic game (game pronounced as gemu.) Also also, Nakama doesn't strictly mean teammates with a family-like bond. Otaku as geek is not an affectionate term; basically, it's less 'affectionate term for enthusiastic fan' and more 'loser who will never get a girlfriend because he has no life and speaks only Klingon.' However, like many such things, it may be adopted by people it's said of and soften with time - to some. See N-Word Privileges. But know your Japanese friend well before you call him an 'otaku' for liking Star Trek. First time he heard the word, it's highly unlikely it was said with a smile.
- Basically, all this can be summed up by saying most anime fandom Japanese terms are technically accurate but are used in a very different manner than the same words are in Japan.
- Many fanfics confuses 'nee-chan' (big sister) for 'nii-chan' (big brother).
- Eva-fanfic The Second Try keeps "baka" and "hentai"... almost exclusively for Asuka insulting Shinji. It also keeps a grand total of one honorific when referring to Aki, which is mainly used to emphasize how adorable that particular character is.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Stage of History parodies this by having Setsuka (a caucasian woman born and raised in Japan) speak almost entirely in this untill she pulls a starscream on Zalshamal.
- A justified, subverted and parodied version in FMA fanfiction The Seven Names of Envy Angevin. Ling Yao uses lots of gratuitous Japanese, but nobody else does (although Mei is yet to be determined) and Roy Mustang even calls him on not actually knowing Japanese. In the anime, Ling and Mei are the equivalent of being Chinese, so having them be Japanese is a break from canon...then again, it's an AU fic.
- In Bleach, many characters have the rank of "captain" and "Lieutenant/Vice Captain/Assistant Captain" (depending on what translation you're reading- "Lieutenant" is used in the dub, "Assistant Captain" in the Viz translation of the manga, and "Vice Captain" is most common for fansubs). Many fanfics leave these untranslated as "taicho" and "fukutaicho" respectivly.
- The characters of the Tamers Forever Series all start using Japanese honorifics during Silent Sorrow. Fortunately, the author is one of the few fanfic writers who actually knows what these words mean. so this is actually a Subverted Trope
- The Human Whose Name Is Written In This Fanfiction gives us a Parody Sue named Yumi Toyota Nintendo Sushi-Fuji.
- Boys Und Sensha-do uses a fair amount. For example, Kay, of all people (who would be more likely to use Gratuitous English instead) yells "NANI!?" in the middle of a match.
- In the AU 893 a Yakuza-raised Harry Potter makes frequent use of this.
- In Swimming In Terror, at least the author's notes have a lot of Gratuitous Japanese. There is also a part where someone is called Kawaiiko.
- In Cannibal! The Musical, the characters meet a tribe of Indians called the Nihonjin, who speak Japanese.
- In Erik the Viking, the oarsman taskmaster is inexplicably Japanese, who hilariously insults the galley slaves:
Row! Row! You incomprehensible, horizontal-eyed, Western trouser-wearers!
Eurgh! You all look the same to me!
How I abominate your milk-drinking and your lack of ancestor-worship, and your failure to eat your lunch out of little boxes!
SILENCE! Unceremonious rice-pudding eaters!
How I despise your lack of subtlety and your joined-up writing!
You, who have never committed ritual suicide in your lives!
- In Alison Goodman's Singing the Dogstar Blues, one of the heroine's two mommies is Japanese, and the heroine has picked up some of the language from her and scatters it at random in her speech (as does the mother in question). Unfortunately, it's not very good Japanese — which might be excusable in the heroine's case, since she's not fluent.
- Carmela Rodriguez of Young Wizards does this occasionally (though usually only with the odd word in Japanese rather than whole sentences).
- Even James Clavell's Shōgun (part of the Asian Saga) suffers from this. The various Japanese bits written into the story range widely, from sentences where he obviously asked an actual native Japanese speaker for a translation, to phrases constructed from words gotten out of a dictionary and inserted into English grammar. Interestingly, Clavell's overly-simplified explanation of Japanese verbs is immediately contradicted by one of those sentences from an actual Japanese person.
- Example: When Toranaga asks if a ship is seaworthy, he ends up asking if the sea is worthy of respect.
- The William Gibson novel Idoru is taken from the Japanese word for Idol Singers, which itself is Gratuitous English. However, Gibson's transliteration is wrong- it would be spelled Aidoru.
- Battle School slang incorporates a lot of Japanese. Most notable is the use of "kuso" as an expletive and synonym for "bullshit", though in real Japanese slang it's a bit different and is an absolute synonym for simply "shit".
- Neal Stephenson's frequent use of the term "Nippon" and complete avoidance of the word "Japan," extending to referring to people as "Nipponese." This makes sense when used by an American soldier in the Pacific Theater of World War II in Cryptonomicon, less when used in the cyberpunk future of Snow Crash.
- Subverted in Red Mars: the First Hundred colonists were primarily Russian and American, but a major figure among the First Hundred was Hiroko Ai, who pioneered the gift economy that eventually contributed significantly to the sustainable lifestyle that came to dominate a terraformed, colonized Mars. Her phrase shikata ga nai (literally: choice is not present [casual speech]; idiomatically: there is no [other] choice; it's used in an "oh well, that's life" sorta way) becomes a proverb used by the First Hundred when confronted by a dilemma forced upon them by circumstance. It is both grammatically correct and used appropriately for once.
- In the web-novel Domina, Lizzy insists on only using Japanese when speaking with her Japanese friend Akane. A few comments imply that she tries to speak to everyone in their native language, but Akane is the only one who understands the language in question.
- ''Shadows on the Moon features this. Understandable, since the country the novel takes place is heavily based on Japan.
実写テレビ (Live Action TV)
- Queen's song "Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)" uses this — it's hard to tell, because Freddie Mercury's pronunciation is terrible, and the lyrics sheets use archaic romanization that renders "wo" as a terminal "o" on the end of the preceding word, rendering portions of the lyrics gibberish to people only familiar with more recent romanization systems. This isn't enough to make it one of The Oldest Ones in the Book, but it is enough to make it Older Than They Think. This being the 70s, the song was written specifically as a thank you to their vast legions of Japanese fans.
- A similar example would be their song "Mustapha", which is basically Gratuitous Arabic. At least "Let Us Cling Together" used real words.
- And of course, Styx. Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto, Mata au hi made, domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, himitsu wo shiritai... Despite the hideous accent (though what could be expected from a robot) it's more or less correct Japanese though.
- But who can forget Chicago doign a Japanese version of Questions 67 & 68 while on tour in Japan...
- There's also the Freezepop song "Tenisu no Boifurendo", which is sung completely in Japanese, except lacking any semblance of correct pronunciation. It's actually quite hilarious.
- There's a "Japanese" version of Tokio Hotel's Durch den Monsun. Notice those quotation marks? Yeah...
- To be more specific, the verses and a few lines in the bridge are sung in Japanese (with an unintentionally hilarious accent) while the rest is still in German.
- Gwen Stefani and her "aww, super-kawaii!" near the start of the videoclip for "Hollaback Girl".
- Her song "Harajuku Girls" has the line "It's super kawaii, that means super cute in Japanese" repeated throughout the song.
- And rendered in kanji in the printed lyrics.
- "Mitchiko from Tokyo", as recorded by Gene Vincent, features garbled Japanese ("Wa tasi noko domo") and one instance of butchered German in the lyrics. To be fair, Gene Vincent pronounces "geisha" right and mushing "number ichiban" into "numb and itchy bun" was possibly deliberate on his part.
- The David Bowie song "It's No Game, Pt 1" features a Japanese woman growling the prose translation of Bowie's lyrics. Bowie has said that he included her to refute cultural stereotypes of meek and submissive Asian women.
- There is a song called 'Gomenasai', which is sung in full English except for the Gratuitous Japanese. One of the lines is "Gomenasai to the end..." Seriously. What makes this an even funnier example is that the band in question is t.A.T.u., and their native language is Russian. But it's a literal translation (as much as can be allowed) and not Gratuitous English, except of course for the word 'gomenasai'.
- MC Frontalot's Shame of the Otaku.
- Machinae Supremacy has several songs with a woman speaking Japanese audible, including in the beginning a cover of Gimme More by Britney Spears. The only time where Japanese is part of the actual lyrics of a song is in the chorus of "Kaori Stomp".
- The Japanese version of "Caramelldansen", where the lyrics are sung to sound similar to the original Swedish lyrics.
- The English version of Pizzicatto Five's "Baby Love Child" inexplicably contains the line "You love me yes you do, aishitemasu". This isn't even in the Japanese version of the song; the corresponding lyric in that version is "Aishi au to tsukarechaushi".
- My Chemical Romance's song "Party Poison" includes a woman speaking frantic Japanese in the background.
- Smile.dk does this in some of their newer songs as a homage to their popularity in Japan.
- Sixpence None The Richer did a version of their One-Hit Wonder Kiss Me, entirely in Japanese.
- The Japanese version of "Krafty" by New Order. You can tell Bernard Sumner does not speak the language. The interesting thing is, the lyrics were written by Masafumi Gotō of Asian Kung-Fu Generation.
- One can say Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla" couldn't be played without this. There is an interlude with a newscaster speaking fluent Japanese, asking the citizens to seek refuge after the titular Kaiju is seen around Ginza.
- Which you can actually speak (because it's a talky part) in the Rock Band version of the song!
- REM's cover of The Clique's "Superman" features a Japanese snippet about the rampage of Godzilla before it begins.
- Near the end of "Upside Down (And I Fall)" by Jakalope the singer chants "Ichi! Ni! San! Shi!"
- Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" does the same thing, though it's more near the middle.
- There is a Japanese version of the VeggieTales "Hairbrush Song". Note: Includes Gratuitous English.
- Lemon Demon (Neil Cicierega) employs Gratuitous Japanese in a few of his songs. "Hyakugojyuuichi" featured the credits music from older episodes of Pokemon . "New Way Out" featured the lines, "Nana korobi ya oki. Rooma wa ichinichi ni shite narazu, baby," (which basically mean, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" and "Rome wasn't built in a day.")
- Mew's song "Special" features the chorus "Agarina, you can't say no / Agarina, this time you will go", agarina meaning "come on in".
- Area 11 sprinkles Japanese throughout several songs, and the first part of "Bōsōzoku Symphonic", "Ryōkan" being a Japanese poem set to music is entirely in Japanese.
- Sayonara by Miranda Cosgrove.
- Pato Fu has "Made In Japan", which is in Japanese aside from the Title Drop and Scatting based on "Mahna Mahna". Which makes it a Brazilian band singing a track in Japanese with an English title, with an Italian sample.
- Vengaboys' "Kiss (When The Sun Don't Shine)". Although the song is entirely in English, the music video was filmed in Japan and has scattered Japanese words and lyrics.
- Ben Folds Five's "Song For The Dumped" (the "Give my Money Back" song) starts in English, suddenly turns to Japanese and then comes back to English in the middle of the chorus.
- Neon Jungle's Braveheart includes counting down from four in Japanese before instrumental segments.
- The liner notes of most albums of The Cars are simultaneous in English and Japanese.
- Vaporwave artists and songs tend to have their names rendered in Japanese characters. Sometimes part of the title will be in all-caps English, though. It's complicated. Just as an example, 情報デスクVIRTUAL has songs called "「GOODNIGHT BLESS YOU」つかの間のSPIRIT", "札幌地下鉄・・・「ENTERING FLIGHT MUSEUM」", and "MAXI Ferrari ~ レーススラム". And this is just three songs from one album.
テーブルゲーム (Tabletop Games)
- Since Japan took over the world - economically, at least - in Shadowrun, several Japanese terms have made their way into the common vernacular. So it isn't "gratuitous" in-universe, but during gameplay? It's gratuitous as HELL, omae.
- The first edition of Legend of the Five Rings uses some really gratuitous Japanese in skill names. Examples: "Kagaku" instead of "Alchemy" or all weapon skill names in Way of the Lion, even if Western names were given in the rulebook earlier.
- Hilariously, the game also includes a few sample Japanese phrases to use to sound badass in combat including, "I'll tear you in half!" The catch? That phrase is lifted directly from the subversive, parody travel guide Wicked Japanese in its section of things for women to say to rebuff unwanted advances, and is feminine in tone thanks to the "wa" at the end.
- Mekton Zeta actually has a guide to gratuitous phrases to shout out. As you'd expect, it includes "gattai".
- Magic: The Gathering's Kamigawa block is guilty of this somewhat. It's set in a world inspired by Japanese mythology, so some untranslated Japanese is to be expected, but some card names (such as Slumbering Tora) really aren't necessary.
- It also parodies this with the flavor text for "Akki Drillmaster": "What part of 'hayaku ikee!'note did you not understand?"
- BattleTech the Draconis Combine is Japanese themed factions and its ranks are identified in Japanese names. Such as Taisho-General. There are also plenty of Japanese named mechs such as the "O-Bakemono", "Akuma", and "Naginata".
ビデオゲーム (Video Games)
ウェブコミック (Web Comics)
- Parodied in the webcomic Sword Of Heaven, wherein one of the characters bears a weapon named "Muhoushuu-Nihongo-Namae" — a subtle joke by the author, as the name means "Gratuitous-Japanese-Name."
- Ronin Galaxy: There isn't too much of this surprisingly, given that the comic takes place on the equivalent of Japan-the-Planet. The examples of this trope are primarily in the titles of the chapters, such as "Gaijin Girl" and "Cho Han Hustle". Kira Moritomi also calls Leona a "stupid gaijin" on page 60. The title itself is alternatively written in katakana.
- Making fun of this became a running gag in Life Of Riley.
- Referenced in DMFA here.
- Two Lumps has the occasional strip with kanji characters, despite neither Mel nor James knowing how to read kanji.
- El Goonish Shive: Elliot, being an anime fanboy, insists on using gratuitous Japanese to call out his attacks. (He even asked for a do-over once when he forgot.)
- In Bomberman Land Parody there's a minor character named Angel who only speaks in a bunch of messed up Japanese, despite being an American.
- Freddy from Ghastly's Ghastly Comic constantly speaks some special Otaku language. The Japanese don't understand the sounds Freddy emits, but this doesn't disconcert him... her... uh, whatever.
- Justifiably invoked by Trope-tan in The Way of the Metagamer.
- Ninja Rick occasionally uses this trope
- In this strip of Housepets!, Earl Sandwich even mentions the trope by name, saying that Itsuki can keep using it because it's cute.
- For some reason or other, present in Shiftylook's Valkyrie comic; the title character uses Japanese honorifics and adjectives almost to the exclusion of English equivalents. This despite being a Nordic woman in a fantasy setting that probably doesn't even have a Japan.
ウェブオリジナル (Web Original)
- Some in Greek Ninja.
- Nyan~ Neko Sugar Girls run on this trope more than anything else.
- Large Bagel is possibly even worse about this, however it's an obvious joke.
- TV Tome Adventures does this with the scant voiced lines for a few characters and attack names in "homage" to fighting games that commonly went without english voicework in localization. The actual dialogue, however, is completely in english except when it's played for laughs. Some examples didn't do the research, like is "Kalasu Angel", a name the creator (initially) thought meant "Angel of Death" but actually meant "Angel of the Crow".
- Retsupurae's title is this (sort of) in a sense, as in Japanese it woud be pronounced "Let's Pry", although it's less grating than other examples. Their logo is also the kanji for "failure.".
- One of the riffed LPs also fits the bill, as they mock the player's overuse of "minna" ("everyone"), thus leading the video to be titled "Mina Man 9".
- Gaia Online both parodies this and plays it straight. The Kira Kira earrings use Gratuitous Japanese to deliberately annoy some of the users. Playing things straight, the artist Drinky Tengu has made two items which only use Japanese names for poses. (The Furugasa, which features Obakemono, and the Yama [no Kami] no Tamago, which is fittingly enough a Tengu.) And finally, Logan and Agatha (neither of whom are Japanese, though they have hung out with Ninjas in the past) named their secret love child Mirai, Japanese for "future".
- Sakura, the Cat Girl student in The Official Fanfiction University of Redwall, is a stereotypical Japanophile. She intersperses her speech with Japanese words, and has also dropped into Japanese Ranguage on at least one occasion. Not always the right word; she once referred to Nagru's ermine Dirgecallers as "neko-chan". It's not clear whether she just didn't know the word for ermine or if she actually thought they were kittens - she's not particularly bright, so it could be either. She later runs into Agent Drake, who is from a Japanese-speaking continuum and represents an author that has done her research. Eventually this results in her offering to sell internal organs.
- Often a charge within the Protectors of the Plot Continuum, who seem some pretty ugly abuses of Fangirl Japanese. One particularly bad case involved a character using "baka" in Redwall. With poorly placed footnotes. Another one involved Gratuitous Spanish, which, as Agent Mara explained, wasn't even spelled correctly.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: In Episode 48, Yugi tells Kuriboh to activate "Super Chibi Kawaii Desu Moe" mode.
- In Suburban Knights, MarzGurl cosplays as San from Princess Mononoke, and does her whole part in Japanese.
- The first season of Mortal Kombat Legacy has two episodes done almost entirely in Japanese due to taking placein feudal Japan. Even Scorpion's "GET OVER HERE!" is done in Japanese, although his nickname is, for some reason, pronounced in English. The second season inexplicably switches to Translation Convention, and even flashbacks of the Japanese episodes from Season one are redubbed in English.
- Mocked in Welcome to deviantART, as the narrator states that the site has its own language program, where you can learn words like "desu", "kawaii", "sugoi", "nii-chan", "neko", and "waifu":
"...which all roughly translate to FUCK OFF
- The 23rd GI Joe PSA is entirely in Japanese (mostly from a basic learning tape). The ending "G.I. JOOOOOOOE!" is even translated to "GEE WARA TASHI FU SUKURUUUUUU".
- In Danganronpa Abridged Thing, this is Sayaka Maizono's stock in trade, and is Played for Laughs. She frequently inserts Japanese words and phrases into her dialogue, often refers to herself as "Maizono-hime". Naegi ends up falling into this when trying to think like she does, and her killer tries to argue that if she was really the one who wrote his name down, she'd have written "-kun" after it.
Maizono: You're such a silly baka, Naegi-kun! Hai! Watashi wa Maizono Sayaka desu!
Naegi: Oh, yeah, I know your name is Maizono, but w-w-wait! You remember me?!
Maizono: Well, sumimasen, Naegi! You think that just because Maizono is a super famous sugoi idol and a totally kawaii princessu she'd forget the little people?
- After Maizono's death, apparently Fujisaki hard coded her style of speaking into Alter Ego. While Kirigiri told it to "Cut that weeb shit out, please.", turns out the trait was HARD-CODED.
- Role reversal in "Rail Whores", an abridged one-shot of Rail Wars. Takayama, played by Faulerro, the voice actor for Naegi (and countless others) is the one who employs the trope to Sydsnap (Maizono's voice actor)'s character, Sakurai.
Takayama: "MY NAME IS TAKAYAMA. TA-KA-YA-MA. WATASHI WA TAKAYAMA DESU."
Takayama: "ARE YOU FEELING A-DAIJOBU? DO YOU NEED ME TO MAKE YOU FEEL KIMOCHI-II?"
Sakurai: "She's old, not retarded, you idiot!"
Takayama: "WELL SUMIMASEN, SAKURAI-KUN!"note
- in Madoka Abridged Mami spouts some in a Valley Girl voice when she's talking about the car accident.
Mami: Kyubey, like, tasukete, onegai
- Another scene when Madoka runs into the possessed Hitomi.
Hitomi: ara, Kaname-san, gokigen'yo?
Madoka: Where are you going? And why am I not questioning your vacant expression and odd greeting?
西洋アニメ (Western Animation)
- Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi. In their case, the characters are meant to be Japanese, and they don't tend to use any complex terms. This does lead to a strange case with the theme song (the full version, at least), where Japanese singers are singing an English song that has gratuitous Japanese thrown in at several points.
- South Park: However, Trey Parker actually speaks Japanese, adding in Bilingual Bonus jokes here and there, particularly in "Good Times With Weapons" with the song "Let's Fighting Love".
- "Suburashi chin chin mono! Kintama no kame aru!"
- "Taisetsu na mono protect my balls!"
- Another example is the Okama game platform. A bit of a hidden joke, as not many viewers would know okama means something like "homo" or "tranny".
- And in the episode "Over Logging", in which we find out that Stan's dad has a fetish for Japanese girls puking in each other's mouths (among other perversions), said porn features "dialogue" along the lines of "kawaii deshou" and "watashi wa * barf* daisuki..."
- During the Black Friday arc, anything involving Sony is filled with this, including an Anime Theme Song for Princess Kenny.
- And from the episode "Mecha Streisand", we have: "Babura Babura Ichiban Kiraina Hito! Babura Babura Hana ga Okii!"
- In American Dad!, one of teenage son Steve Smith's nerd friends is a stereotypical Japanese boy named Toshi (or possibly Toushi). He's so stereotypical, in fact, that he exclusively speaks fluent Japanese. While the viewers get to see subtitles whenever he speaks (and his dialogue is often quite humorous), it's evident that Steve and his other friends have no clue what he's saying. At one point, Toshi goes into a lengthy monologue in objection to something Steve had asked him (if he owned a camcorder), and Steve responds along the lines of "Wow, that's a lot of words for 'yes'."
- This is made even stranger by the fact that Toshi's mom and sister both speak fluent English and translate for Toshi when they're around. In one episode, Toshi's mom lampshades this by asking her son, "Why do you only speak in Japanese? I can't even understand you. I don't even speak Japanese!"
- The show finally addresses the situation when the four boys get into an argument and Snot screams "LEARN ENGLISH!", causing Toshi to retort with his only English line: "EAT. MY. BOWLS!"
- The Simpsons has two memorable examples. One is from the "Mr. Sparkle" episode, which featured this advertisement in a company video sent to logo-lookalike Homer. The second one is in "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo", in which Homer and Bart show off their Omniglot skills once again.
Homer: Satori no himitsu oshieru no? (Should we tell them the secret of inner peace?)
Bart: Dame yo, are wa gaikokujin da ro! (No, they are foreign devils!)
- And let's not forget, also from the second one:
Homer: Shimata baka ni! (D'oh!)
- Splinter will occasionally use this in the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with honorifics and such, as will the characters from the Usagi Yojimbo universe (a convention imported from the comic books). However, a more egregious use occurs in Fast Forward, where a race of vaguely bird-like aliens with no established connection with Japan are named the Inuwashi Gunjin.
- One episode of Robot Chicken involved a fake advertisement set in Japan with Sarah Michelle Gellar. The dialogue was authentic Japanese, but consisted almost entirely of meaningless aphorisms, such as Saru mo ki kara ochiru ("Even monkeys fall from trees").
- The episode "Speak No Evil" in My Life as a Teenage Robot had Jenny speaking in Japanese for pretty much the whole episode. Justified in that Jenny can change language to whichever one she needs at the moment, and the episode began with her going to Japan. It also helps that Janice Kawaye, Jenny's voice actor, is fluent in Japanese.
- Almost all the names in Maryoku Yummy are Japanese, and while some are appropriate (their world is called Nozomu, which means "to wish"), others are not (Hadagi is a kind of underwear).
- The tribe names in Rollbots, though modified with Xtreme Kool Letterz.
- My Life Me
- A Pup Named Scooby-Doo actually used this really well in one episode. The gang is besieged by a samurai-like ghost who wants a set of ancient samurai swords. As part of their trap to catch the ghost, Velma tells the ghost something in Japanese, leading it to utter "Huh?" before grabbing it and escaping. When the ghost is captured and unmasked, Velma revealed that she told the ghost that the swords he grabbed were fake. If the ghost really was Japanese, it would have understood her warning.
- Kira from Rugrats occasionally uses Japanese. She calls Chas "koibito" and "anata", and has called the kids "aiji" at least once.
実生活 (Real Life)
- Many Otaku slang words like "Baka".