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Gratuitous Japanese

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"Hey bitch you look kawaii."
Willow, My Immortal

Koko de yokeina nihongo o setsumei shite kudasai.


As the Anime community is full of foreign fans, translations abound in manga, anime, Fansubs and Scanlations, online slang, and Fanfic for the medium.

But that doesn't mean everything gets translated.

Sometimes, the terms are hard to translate and are likely familiar to an audience of even casual anime viewers anyway, such as Honorifics, Japanese Sibling Terminology, various pleasantries and exclamations. Sometimes an English dub will leave Japanese in because the mouth flaps won't fit any reasonable English translation. Words like "baka" and using "Kami" as synonymous with "God," leading to "Oh, thank Kami(-sama)!" start feeling perhaps a bit shoe-horned in for flavor.

And then there are authors who dump entire sentences (or more) in Japanese into their text in...well, a language that isn't Japanese. While some may provide footnotes or glossaries for the convenience, the sudden transition to a block of Japanese is still jarring for many readers.

Fansubs also have a bad habit of adding gratuitous Japanese, along with a footnote with a translation. It's pervasive enough that it led to the meme "Just according to keikaku (Translator's note: keikaku means plan)" from a parody of a Death Note fansub. This, however, has led to hypercorrection, leading fansubbers to use inaccurate translations of hard-to-translate terms like "tsundere" that even This Very Wiki will leave untranslated as distinct concepts. Translation is hard.

Whether to include honorifics, localize idioms, translate certain special terms, or use translator notes at the top of the screen is a massive debate. Most people tend to be united in their dislike for finding walls of Japanese text in the middle of a translation, but smaller "flavor bits" are usually better received.

It becomes really noticeable when it finds its way into fandoms and Fan Fic for media like Harry Potter, which isn't Japanese and has no Japanese characters (usually).

TV Tropes itself has had a bit of problem with this trope in the past, leading to rules against naming new tropes after Japanese phrases that aren't necessarily clear to people who speak primarily English (and this is an English site, after all).

Gratuitous English is the anime version of this: 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.

This is a subtrope of Gratuitous Foreign Language and really should be used with extreme care. Often occurs with an Untranslated Title.

事例一覧 (Examples)

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     広告 (Advertising) 
  • Metro Manners, a PSA for the Los Angeles Metro made for an English-speaking American audience, parodies lots Anime and Henshin Hero tropes, so it features mostly Japanese narration and Japanese text onscreen. The Japanese voice-over isn't actually important to the message but adds to the feeling that the clips are from a Super Sentai-type show.
  • An ad for the release of the Russian Cybiko handheld computer in the US had a Japanese voice reacting to and being amazed by the various features of the device. This is probably due to the fact that at the time (early 2000s), Japanese mobile devices were seen as having the latest technology.

     日本のアニメと漫画 (Anime & Manga) 
  • The English dub of Ai Yori Aoshi maintains most of the honorifics. Kaoru and Aoi address each other as "Kaoru-sama" and "Aoi-chan", and Kaoru's classmates call him "senpai".
  • Black Lagoon has Rock speaking Japanese one time, even in the dub. Justified because he's acting as a Translator Buddy, and that he's speaking his native tongue to a Yakuza head.
    • For reference, the characters are speaking English as a lingua-franca, while the original Japanese airing is in mostly in Japanese. Unlike most anime, the characters are not speaking in Japanese, in universe. Most of the cast are American aside from the Narrator, Rock, and the show is based in the Thailand coast.
  • 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.
  • One episode of Ocean's edited dub of Dragon Ball Z had Mr.Popo shout "Kami-san" after Kami dies because of Piccolo's death to Nappa, since the two are linked together.
  • The English dub of Duel Masters included some Japanese phrases such as "Ike" ("Go!") and "Todome da" ("The finishing blow!") during the games.
  • 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.
  • In season 2, episode 10 of Genshiken, when Kousaka introduces himself (in Japanese) to the American Angela, who had been speaking English up to that point, she responds in kind and introduces herself to him back in Japanese (or attempts to, at least). In the dub of the episode, this is retained, despite the fact that Kousaka is now speaking English. This is especially jarring, as the dub had been doing everything in its power to write around the absence of a language barrier that was present in the sub (and will continue to do so all the way through the next episode).
  • Due to the popularity of Initial D the Toyota Sprinter Trueno is also known as "Hachi-Roku" (eight-six). This is due to the fact that the car's chassis number is (AE86), and it's usually left untranslated by fans. Due to Toyota's way of numbering, this means that the engine bay will fit an 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.
  • Starting from Part 3, the English dub of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure left the word "muda" (useless) untranslated when used as a kiai. The earliest dubbed part, Phantom Blood, however, did have Dio say "useless" in English.
  • The English translation of Kagurabachi, aside from some inconsistencies, has spell names and the names of the Sacred Blades remain in Japanese instead of being translated.
  • In Kiniro 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.
  • "Murai-kun Wants to Fuck Mizuno-kun": The English translation, which was printed as Bonus Material for the mangaka's other series Booty Royale: Never Go Down Without a Fight!, leaves the semi-derogatory Japanese slang terms onabe,note  nabehomo,note  and okamanote  untranslated in the manga's dialogue, though the first two are explained in footnotes (the third was previously explained in Booty Royale when Nekomiya Miya was introduced).
  • 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 as "sensei", which in real life is used for those in respectable occupations, not just teachers but also doctors and writers (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.
  • All the adaptations of Ninja Slayer has this in both English and Japanese versions. How they managed to pull this trope when the native language of the story in already in Japanese? By using the language in a very incorrect way, like using honorifics when you should not use them, especially when addressing to someone who is your most hated enemy, your senior or similar circunstances, not to mention mixing English, Japanese and even Chinese words or out-of-place terms, like the Big Bad being named Laomoto Khan.
  • 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").
  • Official dub of Ouran High School Host Club:
    • Resident harem and dating sim otaku Renge Houshakuji uses Japanese terms like "moe-moe" for no other reason than to make her stand out as the obsessive member of the cast. Other uses of such words by other cast members do get translated when appropriate.
    • Haruhi addresses her seniors in school as "senpai", and the other club members call her "Haru-chan".
  • 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.
  • 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.

    アジアのアニメ (Asian Animation) 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: The wolves' Chinese names end in "太狼" ("Tàiláng"). This is a pun on the Japanese language. "太狼" ("Tàiláng") and "太郎" ("Tàiláng") are homophones in the Chinese language, and "太郎" is also the Japanese name Tarō, meaning "the first son". Japanese names can appear aggressive in the Chinese language, and this fits the evil wolves.

    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 fair-skinned, young female from New Jersey.
    • Ninjette can apparently speak Japanese quite fluently if necessary
  • 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.
    • The current edition and version kind of makes sense - for a while - in that when she first introduces herself as "Itchy-koo" she's trying to seduce and marry a random American she has no respect for and is playing Gratuitously Japanese to get mileage out of "cultural misunderstandings", before apparently getting a mild case of concussion-induced Identity Amnesia that has her believing she is sweet-tempered, infatuated, and likes the nickname. This doesn't mesh that tightly within the greater continuity either, but not much in the comic does.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): Sonic shouts a very triumphant "Sayonara, Eggman!" when he destroyes the giant mech made out of the Eggperial City.

    二次創作 (Fan Works) 
  • A Crown of Stars: It is used every so often. Mainly honorifics, some stock sentences and Asuka using "baka".
    ‘Iku wa yo, Asuka,’ she thought to herself.
  • Advice and Trust: Some bits here and there (mainly Asuka calling Shinji "baka" or some honorifics), but its use in this story is not too jarring.
  • The Child of Love: It is used here and there. For example, in chapter 3:
    Asuka(sighing):"Well...Asuka! Ikuhayo [Here we go]!"
  • Chronicles of the Siren War: Deliberately invoked in-story by Thorson; after the Battle of Midway, he starts feeling that the term "shipgirl" might rather undersell the various women he's both led and fought against, and asks Fusou what they call themselves in the Sakura language. He finds the answer ("kansen") a lot more to his liking, and the narration from that point onward favors using it over "shipgirl".
  • Evangelion 303: Averted most of time, but the author used it once to give a shout-out to the original material:
  • HERZ: Honorifics, Japanese terms and sentences abound in the text (this is due to an annoying trend spread among anime fandom back then: many fanfiction writers littered their texts with plenty of Gratuitous Japanese).
  • Higher Learning: Asuka -and some other characters- uses "baka" ("idiot") the whole time. Sometimes she even adds an honorific to the word (such as when she calls Shinji her "baka-chan" or "baka-kun").
  • In Once More with Feeling, Asuka calls Shinji baka (stupid) very often.
  • 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.
  • One chapter of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic story The Iron Horse: Everything's Better With Robots! parodies this common fanfic trope in one non-canon chapter, with characters hitherto speaking English suddenly using Japanese honorifics (inconsistently and sometimes multiple ones) and eating Pocky with green tea.
    Gadget: N-nani?! Pinkie-senpai, how did you get in here! Mou! Does Twilight-sensei-sama-hime know you're here?
  • 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.
  • Tales of the Undiscovered Swords occasionally gives its sword OCs dialogue lines written in Japanese, followed by translations. These lines are meant to be stock lines that would be said if the characters were implemented in the game. This includes introduction, fatigue recovery, internal affairs or critical hit lines and sometimes even library descriptions and kiwame letters.
  • 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 
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • StarKitsProphcy 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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-dō! 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.
  • The incredibly bad Homestuck fan fiction Tarvos and Fairie: A Love Story is loaded with this, including but not limited to "Koibito Minano".
  • Spider-Ninja: The Hamato family use Japanese phrases throughout the fic:
    • During their family's first meeting with SHIELD, Leo and Mikey start arguing. Splinter tells them "Yame!"note , shutting them up.
    • When Fury tells Petra that her parents were SHIELD agents, the first thing she thinks is "Nanitte?" note 
    • Splinter, when giving his kids orders, will often finish with "Wakarimasu ka?"note 
    • The Green Goblin gets in on it when he introduces himself, screaming "Konbanwa!"note  at the top of his lungs.
    • When he loses a bet to Mikey (much to the amusement of his brothers), Raphael growls "Shimatta!"note . Splinter immediately reprimands him.
  • Touken Danshi and The Order Of The Phoenix: Harry, who's a Japanese prince in this fic despite still being fully white and ethnically British, likes to commit this in Britain towards British people. Most egregiously, Touken Ranbu swords, who are actual Japanese people, do this too.
  • There is a The King of Fighters fanfic called Sore ga Ai, Deshou?.note 
  • An odd example occurs in Foundling where Yukari says, "Sore wa jinseidesu." note , Romanized Japanese, which wouldn't be too unusual, as the story is set in Japan, however, it does stick out in an otherwise (translated) English story.
  • In This Bites!, most techniques are translated into English, but Haki stays Japanese.
  • My Little Pony: Nakama Is Magic is full of this, including from the mane six.
  • Lampshaded in Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls by Sunset Shimmer during her Soul Reaper training when she asks why so many techniques, release commands and other things use Japanese terminology. Clover replies that since the original Soul Reapers were from Japan, they just kept the naming conventions out of tradition. Hilariously, it's actually because Bowtie (or as he prefers to be called, Chonekutai) of the Zero Division loved the country of his birth so much that he insisted on using the "beautiful" language whenever he could, even in the modern day to fellow Zero Division member and his younger sister Medley's exsaperation. Similar justification is given to Human Twilight as to why Quincies still use German terminology, as that was the country of their King, Sombra's, birth.
  • Princess of Konoha uses a large amount of Japanese, Several chapters include a section that translates the words and phrases.
  • The Junior Officers chapter "Midnight Emergency", which takes place in Kitsune's hometown of Iwaki, Japan, uses some Japanese phrases.
  • There are multiple instances of this in The Zero Context Series by several characters. Zapana is the most frequent abuser of this, addressing Aldonza and Callista with the "-chan" honorific and at one point addressing Viridi by her Japanese name "Nachure" when sufficiently irritated.
  • Shards of a Memory: The turtles and April refer to Master Shard as kaasan, an informal and very personal term for "mother." When Shard faces Karai when she tries rescuing April, Karai sarcastically calls her Hahaue, the more formal expression.
  • In Street Fighter/Evangelion crossover Neon Genesis Evangelion Senshi No Michi, Asuka calls her master 'sensei', and her sentences are peppered with 'baka'.
  • Override leaves the summoning chants of each unit untranslated, though written with English characters.
  • Oni Ga Shiku Series:
    • The title of the fic itself. "Oni Ga Shiku" seems to translate to "laid by demons" or something similar.
    • Several phrases, terms or nicknames in the dialogue go untranslated; for example Izuku's crude nicknames for the Goldfish Poop Gang, the occasional exclamation of "Nani?", or Izuku ending a sentece with "okini" to show that he switched accents. Occasionally the author notes will provide translations.

    西洋アニメ映画 (Films — Animation) 
  • In Sing, the red panda trio speaks only in Japanese, despite living in a city where everyone speaks English. Buster even has to pull out a translation dictionary at one point to try to talk to them.
  • In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Peni Parker speaks Japanese as she greets her friends.

    実写映画 (Films — Live-Action) 
  • 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!
  • The Shredder's early scenes in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014). He speaks to Karai and Sacks in Japanese. However, it's established pretty early that he can understand and speak English just as well.

    文学 (Literature) 
  • 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).
  • James Clavell's Shogun 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. In another, Mariko implores another character to please don't commit an act of violence with the word "dōzo", which doesn't mean "please [I beg you]" but "please" as in "please [suit yourself/ take this]".
  • 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.
  • Baccano!: Since the series takes place in Prohibition-era America despite having a Japanese author, it manages to do this even in the original Japanese. In The Slash Firo manages to massively piss Isaac and Miria off enough (by knocking over their domino setup too early—it's Serious Business, people) that they start yelling at him in Japanese. Firo is just as confused as the audience would be.
    Isaac and Miria: わああん!フィーロの唐変木!無知蒙昧!底抜け凡愚の世間知らずーっ!note 
    Firo: Wuh, where're... What?
  • In Ender's Game, 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.
  • In The Many Horrors Of Being A Tokyo Waitress by Asi Hart, this trope is played for maximum cringe in the Ms. Hibiki sequences. Played with later when Jonas and his girlfriend go to the movies, where they encounter such gems as:Konno monogatari zettai bakane desu and the classic: Watashi wo nihongo wakari nai. They decide to watch something else.
  • 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" 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.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades normally leans on Gratuitous English because it's set in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to England and therefore uses Translation Convention, but also has an example of Gratuitous Japanese in the second chapter when Nanao, a samurai from the far eastern nation of Yamatsu, tries to explain the concept of shiawase (literally happiness) as viewed in her family's sword style to her friends. For a warrior like herself, it means to seek joy and happiness in a Duel to the Death with an opponent one respects and admires.
  • 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.
  • In Safehold, the Safeholdians in general speak shifted English - rendered as English in text - but use many Japanese terms, such as seijin or rakurai for their own concepts - for example, the latter means "lightning" in Japanese, but Safeholdians use it for Langhorne's Kill Sat. This comes from the Holy Writ, which in itself contains many more Japanisms for religious terms. Justified as Writ's author, Maruyama Chihiro, was of Japanese descent.
  • Present in "Okuyyuki", which features an ancient Japanese sentient magical katana in one of its main roles. Her dialogue is quite peppered with Japanese words and phrases. Fortunately, it's rather good Japanese, on the whole, as spelling and grammar goes.
  • In Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, Kochanski is learning Japanese. When another officer sees her book and calls it pretentious, she replies "Pretentious? Watashi?" The officer is baffled, but Lister - despite not speaking Japanese himself - realises she's riffing on the Gratuitous French gag "Pretentious? Moi?"

    テレビドラマとバラエティ番組 (Live-Action TV) 
  • In Arrow, the Japanese super-soldier serum Mirakuru is an often discussed plot point that runs through multiple seasons, leading to characters frequently saying "Mirakuru" in conversations, but not "Miracle."
  • Saturday Night Live parodied this brilliantly in "J-Pop America Fun Time Show", a public-access TV show run by students from a Japanese class who are, as their faculty sponsor points out, woefully uninformed about the language they're studying.
  • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, a remake of Kamen Rider Ryuki intended for an American audience, kept the "Kamen" untranslated despite the fact that the English name "Masked Rider" is also used in Japan. Producer Steve Wang stated in an interview that he prefers the actual Japanese moniker over the translated form, but admittedly he also wanted to distance Dragon Knight from Saban's early adaptation of Kamen Rider BLACK RX, simply titled Masked Rider.

    音楽 (Music) 
  • DJ Snake's "Taki Taki" rhymes the name of the motorcycle company Kawasaki with the city of Nagasaki, comparing the explosive force of the atomic bomb dropped on the city to the booty that is blowing up on the dance floor.
  • Queen: "Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together)" was written as a thank you to the band's huge Japanese fanbase. As such, it has a Japanese title and a bilingual chorus with both the English and the Japanese lyrics having essentially the same meaning, although it uses a slightly archaic romanization (and additionally, "Toriatte" is misspelled on the cover of A Day at the Races, although it was spelled correctly for the single the band released in Japan); "手をとりあって" would be more commonly romanized as "Te o Toriatte" these days.
  • 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.note 
  • Chicago doing a Japanese version of Questions 67 & 68 while on tour in Japan...
  • The Freezepop song "Tenisu no Boifurendo", which is sung completely in Japanese, except lacking any semblance of correct pronunciation. It's actually quite hilarious.
  • A "Japanese" version of Tokio Hotel's Durch den Monsun. By "Japanese" we mean "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:
    • 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. It is 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. (How much this was done deliberately so "number ichiban" became "numb and itchy bun" is unknown).
  • David Bowie: Michi Hirota's shouted word parts on "It's No Game (Part 1)" are Japanese translations of the English lyrics; according to Bowie, the intent behind her inclusion was to subvert western stereotypes of Asian women (and women in general) as meek and submissive; Hirota even uses the first-person pronoun ore to drive the point home.
  • The song "Llorando se fue" (A Bolivian song behind the more known "Lambada") has a Japanese verse sung in an accent that confused some listeners that thought that verse was sung in Quechuan instead of Japanese.
  • 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 Pizzicato 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.
  • 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 Öyster 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.
  • R.E.M.'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.
    • This also can be heard at the near end of "Get Ur Freak On" by Missy Elliot.
  • 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 Piero Umiliani's "Mah Nà Mah Nà".note  Which makes it a Brazilian band singing a track in Japanese with an English title, with an Italian sample.note 
  • "Kiss (When The Sun Don't Shine)" by Vengaboys. 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" 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.
    • A pretty good example for an artist name is 憂鬱 ("Yūutsu", literally "Melancholy" or "Depression"), who is Canadian. (It's also a Nonindicative Name, since most of the artist's work isn't particularly depressing; their most famous track, Sun, gives off rather optimistic the-sun-is-rising vibes.) Note: Whether 憂鬱 is vaporwave or one of its related/derivative genres is a topic of debate, but close enough for our purposes.
  • Avril Lavigne's song Hello Kitty starts with "Minna saiko arigato, k-k-k-kawaii!"
  • The opening for Aqua's "Barbie Girl" video features Japanese characters. There's no reason for this and they never used Japanese again in their videos. It's probably a part of the 90s aesthetic.
  • Elioele Storie Tese's song "Fossi figo" says at one point (translated) "that strange feeling that we young people call chin chin ga ue wo muiteiru" (something to do about an erect penis). Why? Because they're just weird like that.
  • "The Kawaii Song" by Neotokio3 features lyrics such as "Boy, you're so kawaii/So super kawaii" amongst various anime related Shout Outs.
  • Kero Kero Bonito is a London-based pop trio who takes tons of inspiration from Japanese city pop and video game music, and most of their songs contain bilingual lyrics in English and Japanese, though as singer and lyricist Sarah Midori Perry is a half-Japanese native herself, it's all authentic. One of the band's greatest draws is playing around the vagueness of language, sometimes hiding additional meaning behind the Japanese lyrics, or just as a joke (their band name is actually meaningless, and not just in Japanese).
  • Mitski drops a Japanese line in the chorus of "First Love/Late Spring": "胸がはち切れそうで" ("mune ga hachikire-sōde", translating roughly to "my heart feels like it's going to explode"). Like the Kero Kero Bonito example above, she's half-Japanese so it's a Justified Trope.
  • The album version of Lisa Fischer's "How Can I Ease the Pain" has her say "Gomenasai... aishitemasu" in the intro for reasons unexplained (and in not great Japanese).
  • Electric Youth have a song titled "Arawa", which is Japanese for "naked", but also an acronym of "As restless as we are", the song's refrain.
  • Trocadero employs it in two songs written for Rooster Teeth: "Colors", the ending theme for the Red vs. Blue season 5 finale, has the first chorus in Japanese - because one of the fake-out endings upon release mimicked the credits of a game, complete with Japanese names; though the one Gratuitous Spanish instance in the regular chorus remained untranslated, as does the second "When we're together" - and "Good Fight", from the Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures Episode 100 that mocked anime for all it was worth.
  • Bad Bunny's song "Yonaguni" (which is named after Japan's westernmost island, in the Okinawan archipelago) switches from Spanish to Japanese for its last few lines.
  • Iron Maiden's seventeenth album is Senjutsu, which roughly means "tactics and strategy".
  • Tears for Fears: The song "Floating Down the River" has neru, the Japanese word for "sleep", in one of its verses.
  • Ginger Root is heavily based on East Asian City Pop, primarily 80s Japanese, and befitting its vaporwave inspirations, many songs are interspersed with Japanese in contrast to none of the members being Japanese. This is deliberately invoked, especially for the band's Expanded Universe, where the One-Man Band is a last-minute replacement for a J-Pop idol suffering a nervous breakdown before she makes a US debut and becomes extremely popular in both Japan and the US in alternate universe of 1983 when everyone was certain Japan would dominate the world economically.

    オペラ (Opera) 
  • The march of the Mikado's troops in The Mikado is an actual Japanese marching song of the Imperialists who overthrew the Shogunate, not an invention of Gilbert and Sullivan, although the very, very old-fashioned Romanization in the production itself might make it hard for a modern speaker to figure out:
    Miya-san, Miya-san,note 
    O-n'ma no mae ninote 
    Hira-Hira suru no wa nan jai nanote 
    Tokoton yare ton yare nanote 
  • Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly is set in Japan, and contains a whole bunch of Japanese words and names. Almost all are incorrect or used incorrectly: "Sarundasico", for example, is not a Japanese word; it is almost certainly a corruption of "Sarutahiko". That he is invoked by a Buddhist priest is another error. Ciocio (chōchō), at least, does in fact mean Butterfly.

    ピンボール (Pinball) 
  • Godzilla (Stern): Some of the more important text during gameplay is written in both English and Japanese, like the monster names when choosing a Kaiju Battle or the jackpots during Godzilla Multiball. In this case, it's meant to hearken back to the source material's country of origin.

    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.
    • One of the most infamous mistakes among the fandom is that many early cards misued the particle no by not realising Japanese sentences often seem reversed if they're translated into English word-for-word. So while no is akin to 's it acts more like of, resulting in, say, the ancestral spirit (Shiryo) of a character named Bayushi being rendered as "Shiryo no Bayushi." Somebody eventually got around to learning Japanese grammar, and later releases corrected these errors, releasing cards such as "Ichido no Shiryo." Same thing happened with onis, who in this universe are created when someone sacrifices their name to an evil spirit of Jigoku (Hell). Early editions had "Oni no [character]," later sets, "[character] no Oni."
  • 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?"
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, all of the Raigeki cards (Raigeki, Raigeki Break, Crystal Raigeki and others) are called Raigeki in every language... except in Japanese, where it's called サンダー (Thunder, written in katakana), making it a rare case of both Gratuitous Japanese AND Gratuitous English. This was because in the early days of the card game, the TCG would use a Japanese name if the Japanese used an English name, so you also had Hinotama (Fireball) or, infamously, Fushioh Richie (Nosferatu Lich).
  • BattleTech the Draconis Combine is heavily Japanese themed and its ranks are identified in Japanese names, such as Taisho-Generalnote . There are also plenty of 'mechs with Japanese names, such as the "O-Bakemono", "Akuma", and "Naginata". The Draconis Combine's ruling house traces their lineage back to Japan back on Earth, explicitly stylizes itself after medieval feudal Japan, with Japanese used as the official court language. Despite years of attempting to impose Japanese on their subjects, the majority of the Combine's population speaks Arabic, English and (for much of its history) Swedish as native languages, thus making some of the compound titles partially justified.
  • Pokémon Trading Card Game: Every single Mega Evolution card does this. One example: Mega Tyranitar's card has gratuitous katakana in the artwork. You might think it's a remnant from the Japanese version of the card, except that the original Japanese art had the same word in English. Really bizarre that they would redraw it to use katakana for the English version, considering that there's nothing particularly "Japanese" about Tyranitar, and the original English text wasn't even Engrish...

    ビデオゲーム (Video Games) 
  • X-Universe:
  • Persona:
    • In the English version of Persona 3, Bebe, the foreign exchange student, constantly uses Gratuitous Japanese, followed by English translations. Justified in that it's difficult to think of another way to emphasize that he's going out of his way to speak Japanese when it's not his native language... in a game that's now in English. In the original Japanese, Bebe would be speaking gratuitous samurai Japanese. The translators described it as "talking like he's in a samurai movie".
    • Many characters in the English dubs of Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5 use Japanese honorifics, but thankfully avoid going overboard.
  • The North American version of Devil Survivor has a textual example by what appears to be accident; namely, some of the blue text pertaining to Gin's actions were left in their original Japanese. For instance, when you defeat him on Naoya's route, the text reads "ジンをさせた!"
  • Super Mario 64's player guide calls the Maw-rays in the game "Unagi", which is Japanese for freshwater eels. However, clearly, the one in the actual game is a moray. Which is not classified as freshwater at all. In fact, the Japanese name is "Utsubo". Which means Moray, meaning that the player guide swapped out a Japanese word for another word that ironically ends up being an incorrect classification. Super Mario Odyssey fixed this by giving them an official translation "Maw-Ray".
  • In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Marth and Roy speak Japanese in all versions of the game. This may be because Nintendo intended dummy them out for the American release, but the localization team liked them enough to keep them in the game. Most of the characters in Melee actually still had Japanese voice actors - with many of them using English catch phrases ("Mission Comprete!"). Strangely, everyone who actually spoke got an English voice actor in Brawl (including fellow Fire Emblem character Ike, since he had an English voice actor in his own game)... except Marth. Given that he still speaks Japanese in the fourth game, despite Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon getting an English release in between it and Brawl, it's likely that this has become something of a tradition at this point. However, in Ultimate, Marth and Roy are finally voiced in English outside Japan. All of this only serves to perplex those who consider the in-game inversion; Lucas from Mother 3 has always had English dialogue in Brawl (even in the original Japanese), despite the fact that he's from a game that Western gamers have been fruitlessly clamouring for for years.
  • Played with in Street Fighter Alpha with Sodom, a hardcore otaku. Many of his win quotes are in Japanese, but he mangles the pronunciation horribly, and they're written as he pronounces them. (For an example, he pronounces ichiban — "number one" — as "itchy bun".) Other examples include:
    • "Die job death car?" (daijoubu desu ka?, Are you alright?)
    • "Show sea send bang!" (shoushi senban!, Ridiculous!)
    • "Nip on die ski!" (nippon daisuki!, I love Japan!)
    • "Don't touch my mustache!" (dou itashi mashite, You're welcome!)
  • In SSX 3, Japanese competitor Kaori Nishidake speaks approximately zero English; The only time she does is at the character selection screen.
  • In Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army, an off-screen foreign NPC (you observe her by examining the portion of her fence that is on screen) is described as wearing "a shirt with an angry face on it with three Japanese words above it. The words read BABY DUCK ENEMA."
  • The game Daikatana is arguably an entire game that resulted from this trope; the name "daikatana" itself is a misreading of a word that is usually read as "daitou". (See the page on Alternate Character Reading for details.)
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Akaviri weapons include the Tanto, Wakizashi, Katana, and the unusually-read Dai-Katana (See the page on Alternate Character Reading for details).
  • Sudeki. Even the developers admitted they were going for "suteki", which is "lovely/fantastic" in Japanese.
  • An RPG Maker game entitled Romancing Walker featured a female ninja named Hayami who used not only Japanese honorifics but Japanese pronouns in an otherwise English-speaking game. Apparently the game was originally Japanese; presumably the honorifics and pronouns left in (all very humble and outdated) were to show her personality or status. For example, Hayami and other ninjas from her clan referred to themselves as "Sessha" instead of "I" or "me", which was common of ninja in feudal Japan and certain media. Hayami also referred to the hero as "Ryle-dono" (the game footnoted "dono" as "sir", which is technically incorrect). Also, several of Hayami's weapons retained their Japanese names, such as the stone-cleaving katana "Iwa Kiri Maru", which translates to something like "rock drill sword".
    • Another more blatant case of this is in the "class" of Hayami, which reads "Kuno Ichi".
  • Yukie in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines randomly inserts Japanese words into her dialogue, such as "Arigatou godaimasu" ("Thank you very much"). She also pronounces Los Angeles as "Rosu Angeresu", despite not having any trouble differentiating between L and R at any other point. Her pronunciation of "Los Angeles" is also completely different from how Japanese normally pronounce it (Rosanzerusu).
  • Some releases of the original Metroid have the Morph Ball labeled with its Japanese name, Maru Mari.
  • A German company called Shin'en Multimedia, who's primarily focused on making shooters, seems to do this a lot, as can be seen from their company name. For more specific examples:
    • Every single stage in Nanostray 2 (and possibly the first one) has a Japanese word in its title, complete with matching kanji.
    • In FAST Racing League, all of the opposing racers names are in along with the course and league names are all in Japanese.
    • The main stage bosses in Jett Rocket and its sequel have part German, part Japanese names.
  • Chipp Zanuff from Guilty Gear sprinkles ridiculous Japanese into his speech a lot. He's supposed to be an American who only speaks English, but in the Japanese version, his dialogue must be in Japanese due to the Translation Convention. How, then, to display his ignorance? Give him comically inappropriate Japanese for his battle cries, including shouting "Sushi! Sukiyaki! Banzai!" as he performs a combo special, and saying "Kamikaze!" while performing his win pose.
  • Likely in reference to the previous example, one of the personality types for the Ninja class in Disgaea 4 has him spouting similarly inappropriate Japanese in a foreign accent.
  • The code for the Japan flag pants in The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction is "furaggu" ("flag").
  • In Siren: Blood Curse, Howard and Seigo can speak both English and Japanese, and Miyako can only speak Japanese. It's done really well with Seigo, who sounds like he's having trouble talking in English because it's not his native language. Justified because the game takes place in Japan.
  • Mariko "Spirit" Tanaka of Wing Commander typically greets the player with "Konichi-wa", and often uses honorifics in her speech in the first game, referring to the player by his last name and callsign as "-san", and once refers to the colonel as "Colonel-sama", in order to represent her Japanese identity. In the second game, she mostly refrains from doing this, except for sometimes substituting "Arigato" for "Thank you" and saying "Tengoku de omachi shite imasu!" ("I will be waiting for you in Heaven!") before her death.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In the French version of Final Fantasy X, the game uses the English voices, but Auron's swords keep the Japanese names. This was most likely because the translated names would have overlapped with the names of Tidus's swords, with the bonus of fitting with his "samurai" theme.
    • The attacks of Monster Arena boss Ironclad are untranslated romaji in the English version: "Reppageki" (Buster Attack), "Bushinzan" (Martial God Slash) and "Shinryuudan" (Divine Dragon Slice).
    • In Final Fantasy X-2 International + Last Mission, which uses the American voice-actors, occasionally Yuna will use badly-pronounced Japanese words during combat.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, the Samurai's abilities all have Japanese names. This may be because the Japanese version itself is an example of this trope, with all the Samurai abilities written entirely in Kanji.
  • Yoshimo in Baldur's Gate 2 speaks a couple of Japanese phrases, though they're spelled unconventionally. "Soh dehs ney?" meant "Soh desu ne?", while "Yokatta" appears to be spelled right. He also mocks his tendency to do this mercilessly ("The tourists love that stuff!"). His favorite seems to be "HIIII-YAAAH!".
  • The title Ninja Gaiden roughly means "A Ninja Story", which, while not wrong, is an odd name change, since the series was originally called Ninja Ryukenden in Japan, which roughly means the "Legend of the Ninja Dragon Sword" and the localization staff simply traded one Japanese word with another.
  • Titanfall features a few unlockable AI voices in different languages, including one that speaks in Japanese. Also, one of the buildings in one stage has katakana painted on it that reads "Titanfall".
  • The high-end ballista crossbow in Diablo II called Buriza-Do Kyanon is just "Blizzard Cannon" written with Japanese pronunciation, thus making it a reference to the company who made the game.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: Travis Touchdown and Shinobu both blurt out "Moe!" for something good. The latter does this to emulate the former, though she pronounces it awkwardly ("Mo-Way!") and doesn't know what it means despite being the #1 Assassin of Asia. This has an extra twist, since the term started as schoolgirl slang until Western fans began using it ironically. Shinobu's real name is Scarlet Jacobs and she's (presumably) American - she just took a Japanese nickname (the dictionary form of shinobi) for no apparent reason.
  • Deathsmiles's entirely western cast includes a girl whose English parents named her Sakura. A very rare Japanese example not played for humor.
  • Punch-Out!!: Piston Honda in the NES version behaves more like a Japanese Tourist, because they put this into his character. The following is one of his between-round quotes: "Sushi, kamikaze, Fujiyama, Nippon'ichi..." Remedied in the Wii version, where he is now Piston Hondo, and a boxer with Samurai motifs. Plus, now he speaks exclusively in genuine Japanese.
  • In Clean Asia!, you can see some katakana at the bottom of the screen when you enter an area.
  • Mirror's Edge has gratuitous katakana on shipping crates... all gibberish. And gratuitous Simplified Chinese. Does that mean..?
  • The early Compile shmup Gulkave is a bizarre example in that it was only released in Japan, yet all its in-game text was in English except for a few lines of romanized Japanese in the hard mode ending.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: the Empire of the Rising Sun faction actually averts this trope in its cinematics, not including any Japanese at all. The unit names, however, include a few Japanese words sprinkled in — mostly ones English-speakers would be familiar with, such as the Tsunami Tank and Steel Ronin. Unit dialogue also includes some snippets of Japanese, but overall they come off with much less of it than the Gratuitous Russian used by the USSR.
  • The SNES port of Lemmings replaces the Number of the Beast level with one titled "Ohayo Lemming-san," a giant rendering of "Ohayou!" in hiragana. Most versions also have a level titled "Konbanwa Lemming-san".
  • Monsters Inc Scream Arena: The owner at Harryhausen's says "konichiwa" in the Harryhausen's intro.
  • Sonic Adventure 2:
    • The scene of Maria's death has her bid farewell to Shadow with a "Sayonara".
    • The game did not bother to translate the battle cries of the characters to English, leaving in the original Japanese vice lines and resulting in this trope.
      • Eggman shouts "Onore!" when using his boxing glove attack and says "Yossha!" (more or less, "I did it!") after racking up a decent combo, clearing a level, or, oddly, petting a Chao.
      • Knuckles enthusiastically shouts "Oraoraora!" when digging with the Shovel Claws, and Sonic yells "Teriaaaaa!" when defeating the Egg Golem in a cutscene.
  • Several Dragon Ball Licensed Games are titled with Japanese words which weren't in the Japanese versions' titles. Examples include Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi (Dragon Ball Z: Sparking! in Japan) and the American-developed Dragon Ball Z: Taiketsu (which wasn't even released in Japan). In Japan, the Gratuitous Japanese is removed: Dragon Ball Z: Budokai is Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 is Dragon Ball Z 2, and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3 is Dragon Ball Z 3.
  • Katakana is present on the title screen of I Wanna Be the Guy: Gaiden, and it reads "WannaGuy". (doubles as a Stealth Pun, as "wana" means "trap" in Japanese and "guy" is pronounced in the same way as the "gai" from "Gaiden")
  • In Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, a ship called the Argosy comes to Moga Village every so often. Their captain and his first mate, Neko (Means Cat) often use Japanese words in the middle of sentences, followed by the English meaning of that word. It's unknown whether it's a Shout-Out or not, but one of the Captain's lines is "We must formulate keikaku. Keikaku means plan!"
  • Kakashta no Kyuuden Zone from When Tails Gets Bored. It's more or less nonsense: Kyuuden means "palace"; kakashta probably stands for kakashita, which means "to have failed."
  • Apidya has the game's title rendered incorrectly in katakana on the title screen.
  • All of the level names of World 3 in Something Else. There's also a Miko who spouts off random Japanese words like Piston Honda in Punch-Out!!.
  • The PS2 adaptation of The Fast and the Furious features Japanese text in the loading screens. Considering that the game was made by British developer Eutechnyx that is really saying something.
  • Enforced with the Wii U's Wara Wara Plaza, which is a graphical display of recent Miiverse posts for the 10 currently most popular games: the name was apparently chosen by a poll and a translated version would've been something close to "Chatter Plaza".
  • NetHack does this if you play as a Samurai, renaming many of the items (helmet -> kabuto, booze -> sake) without changing their functionality. Some of it is very poor Japanese; "shito" (knife) was probably a typo for "shōtō" (which actually means "short sword"), and as far as anyone can tell, "gunyoki" (food rations) is a word the Dev Team just plain made up. The word "gunyoki" exists in Japanese but means "war plane".
  • Freedom Planet has its title rendered in Japanese (フリーダム・プラネット) in its logo.
  • In the English translation of Harvest Moon Ellen's bird is named "P-chan". It stands out more because the game takes place in a western, early 20th century setting where the characters presumably speak English.
  • In the Onechanbara games, Kagura is fond of spouting one-liners in Gratuitous English. As a nod to this, the English dub of Onechanbara Z2 Chaos has her do the same thing but in Japanese.
    • Zig-zagged in the game's theme song, "Ichiban Wa Me". The song is almost completely in English, save for the title and another lyric late in the song that goes "Ichiban wa boku-tachi", and since it's a Japanese game, it's technically the English that should be gratuitous and not the other way around... except that the singer and writer are both native English speakers. And then there's the title itself. It's kind of a Mind Screw.
  • The visual novel Max's Big Bust: A Captain Nekorai Tale features an animated cutscene in which Max, despite being Australian, speaks in Japanese (this is actually the only spoken dialog in the entire game). The reason for this was because all the animation was done by a Japanese company, but in game it's explained that Max had a Japanese nanny when she was growing up and thus is both bilingual and prone to reverting to Japanese when she's stressed. After the cutscene, both her name and dialog are written in kanji for a couple of lines until she snaps out of it.
  • Zero's Z-saber techniques in the Mega Man X series usually retain their Japanese names in the English localizations, with a few exceptions like Mega Man Xtreme 2 and Mega Man X5.
  • In The Legend of Zelda game Hyrule Warriors, Lana shouts "Se no!" when performing her finishers, Agitha (and sometimes Lana) exclaims "Sore!" when attacking, and Linkle will exclaim "Yoshi!"note  when confidently pointing herself forward (in the wrong direction).
  • In Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2, the Japanese words for "start" (スタート), "finish" (終了), and "rush hour" (ラッシュアワー) get sprinkled in during the levels.
  • In Fate/Grand Order, Osakabehime in the English localization speaks in a combination of this and combining Japanese and English together, resulting in words such as "Gomenasorry" or "Sore wa chigawrong".
  • In Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, the level Potion Commotion starts out with Alternate Tawna reminiscing about a Kaiju Tanuki she encountered in Neo-Nippon, and when seeing a magic dragon she says "awww, kawaii!"
  • PAYDAY 2: Jiro is Japanese, and as such, while in a heist he speaks exclusively in Japanese. This is in contrast with Joy, who despite also being Japanese speaks fluent English. (Speak to Jiro while in the safe house, however, and he'll speak to you in English.)
  • In Haven (2020), the planet Source's islets have quasi-Japanese syllabic names, going with the game's Animesque aesthetic. Many of the world's creatures also have Japanesque or Engrish-sounding names, such as Flowabag("flower bug"), Toriko("bird child"), Bigufurai("big fly"), Tamaju, Shifuta ("death lid"), Daiko ("radish"), Sukopi("scorpion"), and Bodigado("bodyguard"). Likewise, one of the soundtrack pieces is titled "Kusa Makura", which translates to "grass pillow".
  • The title of Pikuniku is also spelled in katakana on the title screen and official art. The game was made in the West and features no references to Japanese culture whatsoever. It's not even a real Japanese word since it refers to the two protagonists, Piku and Niku.
  • The cyborg ninja from Ghostrunner enemies you encounter midway through the game inexplicably shout a few phrases of Japanese. This is the only foreign language that appears in the game, every other character in this isolated, sub-one million population skyscraper speaks English, so this is really just here for Rule of Cool.
  • The Taiwanese video game franchise Richman has characters, such as Ninja and Miyamoto, whose dialogue are entirly in Japanese.
  • Gilson B. Pontes has a tendency to give his games pretentious titles, frequently in stilted English as his mother tongue is Brazilian Portuguese, and occasionally throws Japanese words in without fully understanding what they mean. The most coherent use of Japanese is Shadow the Ronin: The Revenge to the Samurai, which is wonky English rather than wonky Japanese, but every other time:
    • Spear of Destiny: The Kaiseki—a kaiseki is a traditional seven course Japanese dinner, meaning this effectively translates to Spear of Destiny: The Fancy Dinner. One can only assume Pontes was thinking of kiseki but decided to come up with a similar-sounding word after realizing that was the Japanese name of the Trails Series.
    • Taishogun: Rise of Emperor—to use German as an example, this is the equivalent of calling a game Reichskanzler: Rise of Kaiser.
    • Ashigaru: The Last Shogun—to use German as an example again, and taking context into accountnote , this is like calling a game Einjährig-Freiwilliger: The Last Führer.
  • Being a Japanese onryō, Sadako Yamamura brings some Japanese with her in her foray into Dead by Daylight, namely in her attack, which produces a glowing ring inscribed with kanji to damage the survivors — either 呪 in her normal costume, or 恨 in her "Rotten Remains" costume.
  • Sunset Overdrive: The second option for the "T-Shirt" is a red one that says "炎のような馬", a.k.a Fiery Horse?
  • Indie game The Spectral Web: Hitodama has a Japanese word in the title, referring to those floating balls of fire roughly analogous to will-o'-the-wisps, that are the game's antagonists. Playable character Hito is implied to come from Japan, but Japanese culture overall has no presence in the game.

    ウェブコミック (Webcomics) 
  • 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.)
  • Furry Fight Chronicles has some occasional Japanese words come out in some chapters. It's justified since the setting is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan.
  • 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 Legend of the Valkyrie; 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.
  • All of Mr L's and his daughter's attacks in L's Empire are done in broken Japanese. He does this because he thinks it sounds cool.
  • Averted by Saki from Frivolesque who IS of Japanese descent, and appears able to speak Japanese when she wants to, but doesn’t usually do so
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, the four ninja siblings speak Tokugawa era Japanese, though they are now learning English. When speaking Japanese, their dialogue is usually presented in English in <brackets>, but is occasionally written out in Japanese, often in kanji. Even sound effects connected to them are likely to be written in kanji.

    ウェブオリジナル (Web Original) 
  • Acedemy Sugoi Seiun has random Japanese words thrown into almost every line.
    Sakura: Hai, ka-san! Gomenne for not hearing my clock ~nya!
    Sakura's Mom: Daijoubu Sakura-nyan! Now go to school you silly neko!
  • The Albino Blacksheep animutation "I like Bukkake" takes delight in the fact that the name of the city of Nagasaki almost rhymes with the term bukkake, meaning to dash or sprinkle water, as found in the names of certain dishes of soba and udon noodles. (Also something far more sexual.)
  • Arfenhouse 6 features a scene lampooning anime featuring katakana that reads "ゴトヘルアナダイ ファキュ". Explanation
  • 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?
    • Alter Ego speaks in this manner as well, causing Naegi to complain that "the language is set to 'Maizono'". Kirigiri once asks it to "cut that weeb shit out, please", but it turns out that Fujisaki apparently hard-coded that style of speaking into it.
    • 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.
      Sakurai: Yeah, speak another language. That'll help her understand you.
      Sakurai: She's old, not retarded, you idiot!
      Takayama: WELL SUMIMASEN, SAKURAI-KUN!note 
  • Twilight in Friendship is Witchcraft is an otaku and occasionally uses Japanese. Being a parody of anime fans, she uses incorrect Japanese.
  • 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".
  • The 23rd of the G.I. Joe PSAs is entirely in Japanese (mostly from a basic learning tape). The ending "G.I. JOOOOOOOE!" is even translated to "GEE WARA TASHI FU SUKURUUUUUU!"
  • Some in Greek Ninja.
  • Homestar Runner: Japanese Culture Greg from Teen Girl Squad is a parody of American anime fans who randomly peppers his sentences with Japanese words (and always makes an Animesque face when he does so).
  • "Kotaku" doesn't mean anything in Japanese. Even if it looks close to "otaku," and "ko" can mean "small," it doesn't mean "small otaku."
  • Large Bagel is possibly even worse about this, however it's an obvious joke.
  • In Madoka Abridged Mami spouts some in a Valley Girl voice when she's talking about the car accident.
    Mami: Kyubey, like, tasukete, onegai
    Subtitle: NOW BITCH!
    • 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?
  • The Misadventures of R2 and Miku: Miku always uses "hai" in lieu of "yes" (though the subtitles simply use "yes" whenever she does).
  • The first season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy has two episodes done almost entirely in Japanese due to taking place in 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.
  • Even though the characters all live in Texas the paranormal investigation group's logo in Mystery Skulls Animated reads Mystery Skulls 💀 ミステリー・スカルズ note  referencing Vivi's Japanese heritage.
  • Neko Sugar Girls runs on this trope more than anything else. The characters constantly use random Japanese and very incorrectly, which causes Fridge Logic because they're supposedly Japanese in the first place. We get memetic lines such as "I'm very arigatoful". Luckily as the series went on it became more obvious that it's a Stealth Parody so it seems the makers are making fun of people who pepper their language with random Japanese.
  • 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.
  • Ranma 1/2 Abridged has some one-time-appearance characters speak only in unsubtitled Japanese.
  • Retsupurae's title is this (sort of) in a sense, as in Japanese it would be pronounced "Let's Pry", although it's less grating than other examples. Their logo is also the kanji for "failure".
    • A common target of their riffs in the early days, Burning Hunter, was also mocked for this sort of thing, particular his overuse of the word "minna" ("everyone"), causing them to joke that his LPs were a really bad attempt to get a girl named Mina to like him.
  • The Animesque fight scene in the Scott The Woz episode "Anime Games" has Japanese subtitles... that are in fact Google Translated gibberish that don't match up with what the characters are actually saying.
  • In Suburban Knights, MarzGurl cosplays as San from Princess Mononoke, and does her whole part in Japanese.
  • Parodied in Sword Art Online Abridged's second season. Alfheim Online in this treatment is populated by roleplayers following the leads of their faction leaders, so the Sylphs are all posh, and the Salamanders are rednecks. The Cait Sith, meanwhile, sprinkle their dialog with Fangirl Japanese such as "sugoi" and "josu," while their leader — Princess Hime Kuroneko Desu-Chan of the Nyan-Nyan Tribe — combines this trope with cutesy Cat Girl Verbal Tics and lisping.
    Princess Hime: They've got us sur-meow-ded, Sakuya-sama! What should we do?! Desu.
  • TOME 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".
  • 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."
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: In Episode 48, Yugi tells Kuriboh to activate "Super Chibi Kawaii Desu Moe" mode.

    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.note 
    • And from the episode "Mecha Streisand", we have: "Babura Babura Ichiban Kiraina Hito! Babura Babura Hana ga Okii!"
    • Also Chinpokomon, as chinpoko is a Japanese word for penis.
  • 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, unaccented 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!"
    • One episode had a scene where Steve is talking to Toshi on the phone. After a few seconds, confused Steve admits that he doesn't understand what he's saying.
    • 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!"
  • Similar to Toshi, Lin-Lin in Drawn Together, a Captain Ersatz of Pikachu he speaks only in (fake) Japanese with subtitles. The reason of this is explain in one episode though. Curiously everyone seems to understand him.
  • The Simpsons has two memorable examples. One is from the "Mr. Sparkle" episode, which featured an 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!)
    • Also, the title screen for "Homerzilla" in "Treehouse of Horror XXVI" is this, as katakana letters spell out "Hōmājira" (ホーマージラ), with the English title appearing on the bottom.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the Steven Universe episode "Winter Forecast", Connie says "itadakimasu" before taking a bite out of an egg sandwich Greg made.
    • Ronaldo, being the cast's resident fanboy, also does this from time to time, mostly on his Character Blog.
  • Young Justice (2010) featured original character Asami Koizumi, who only speaks a butchered version of Japanese in a very obvious American accent. Half her lines are simply "sumimasen!", which is mistranslated as a warning of danger. At one point, after a scientist asks her to help save his son, Asami responds with an untranslated word soup of "You're welcome. See ya. A moment. Excuse me!"
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "My Peeps", Billy damages his eyes from staring at the sun and Grim uses his scythe to fix them, with the side effect of Billy now being able to see the future and getting visions of people being maimed. The second time Grim tries to turn his eyes back to normal, Billy sees Grim and Mandy in an anime style and Mandy says something to Grim in Japanese, prompting Billy to hysterically say that he can't understand her.
  • Jellystone!: Peter Potamus is a massive otaku, so he occasionally uses Japanese. He uses the "-chan" suffix to refer to his fictional waifus, as well as Shag in "The Box Thief", calling him "Shagu-chan" (for the record, "-chan" can be used on young boys by people older than them). Shag himself refers to Japan as Nippon in "Mr. Flabby Dabby Wabby Jabby". In "Balloon Kids", Peter sings a song that goes "fune wa watashi no josei desu", which means "I'm a woman handed over by a ship".
  • Let's Go Luna!: In "You Can't Move the Moon", the Magic Globe greets the kids by saying "Konichiwa".
  • Molly of Denali: Kenji is Japanese, so he uses words like "ikimasu" and "oyasumi" sometimes. In "Welcome Home Balto", you can hear him calling his son "Tooey-kun" if you have a good ear.
  • Yam Roll: Most character and place names are Japanese foods, phrases, or just Japanese-sounding, keeping with Happy Kingdom's general theme.
    • Parodied a bit; Genki Desu's sister's name is Shmenki Desu.

    実生活 (Real Life) 
  • In general, many Japanese terms will be left untranslated in fansubs or scanlations, with translators claiming that they refer to concepts that are difficult to translate into English. In some cases (as with "tsundere"), they're right. But in others, they're not. One of the worst offenders is the word "baka", a derogatory term roughly meaning "idiot" or "moron", which is often left untranslated even though it could be easily swapped for...well, "idiot", with no nuance lost. Many of these words became part of Anime Fan Speak.
  • Western anime fans typically call Japanese voice actors "seiyuu", which is simply Japanese for "voice actor". That is, the Japanese will call any voice actor a "seiyuu", regardless of nationality. The reason for this is that Japanese voice actor expert Hitoshi Doi created one of the first detailed online databases of Japanese voice actors; since his English wasn't very good and he probably wasn't familiar with the proper term, he referred to them all as "seiyuu". Western fans thought there was something special about them that merited a new term, and it stuck when referring specifically to Japanese VAs. It's gotten to the point that many English-speaking Japanese voice actors, such as Yuu Asakawa, also call themselves "seiyuu" when interacting with Western fans.
  • The terms "anime" and "manga" have a similar origin. These are general terms in Japanese to refer to any cartoon or comic book, respectively. However, in the West, they've been adopted to specifically refer to works of Japanese origin. But anime and manga are at least sufficiently different from their Western counterparts for those terms to see much wider usage in the West, even among non-fans. It's also worth noting that the term "manga" was later borrowed by Chinese and Korean to refer to their own take on comics, Manhua and Manhwa, respectively.
    • Interestingly enough, Japan has inverted this into a case of Gratuitous English, as they refer to manga colloquially as komikku (Wasei-Eigo for comic).
  • Otaku slang words:
    • "Baka". Means "fool" or "idiot", though with slightly different connotations.
    • "Senpai" has also become Internet slang for a person you have a crush on, taken from generic Senpai-Kohai romances in anime.
  • The Vaporwave aesthetic, as well as older Cyberpunk settings before the Turn of the Millennium, uses a LOT of Japanese in the style of 80s and 90s CDs and storefronts - this is deliberately a throwback to how the West saw imported Japanese products, as well as fears that they'd overtake Western products.
  • In Hong Kong and Taiwan many stores like to put in の in place of their own possessive in shop names and signs as a way to give it a more "Japanese-esque" feel, as the two places are fond of Japanese culture. It's gotten to the point where a teacher actually stopped correcting her students because she deemed の to be a valid Chinese character now. The hiragana itself is based on the Chinese character "乃".
  • In the Western business world, Kaizen is a business model where all aspects of a company should improve whenever possible. In Japan, kaizen simply means to improve. Continuous improvement would more likely be referred to as "good business practice", not just in Japan but anywhere.
  • While we're talking about business, Tycoon came from the Japanese term "taikun" (大君) which meant "Great Lord", referring to an independent leader who did not have any imperial lineage, and was applied by the shogunate to distinguish themselves from the emperor. After opening diplomatic contacts with the West and the Meiji Restoration, the term shifted from supreme commander to wealthy business magnate.
    • Another is the term zaibatsu (財閥, "financial clique") which originally referred to vertically inclined family-owned business conglomerates in Imperial Japan, but thanks to cyberpunk had come to mean "multinational corporation". Modern Japanese conglomerates however refer to themselves as keiretsu (系列, literally "system") or simply the more common term kaisha (会社, "company", literally "meeting place").
  • Contrary to popular belief, the English term tidal wave is synonymous with the Japanese loanword tsunami. "Tidal" in this case does not mean literal tides, but rather a rise in water level, regardless of cause. After being restricted as a purely scientific term, tsunami eventually entered common parlance because it is useful to disambiguate "large waves caused by disturbance in the ocean" from "waves caused by tides", which the term tidal wave has come to mean in modern English.
  • Sword collectors and enthusiasts in the Western world often associate the term, "katana" (刀) as a specific type of Japanese sword distinct from another type of Japanese sword, such as the wakizashi (a smaller sword). In Japan, however, "katana" just means "sword", and it can refer to any type, even non-Japanese in origin, like a European style sabre. This doesn't alleviate the confusion, especially considering Japanese swords historically had many variations. The most specific type of Japanese katana Westerners often associate from popular culture and martial arts, is known as an "uchigatana" (打ち刀), which literally means "striking sword".
  • Martial arts schools often incorporate the style's original language. Thus, if you go to a karate class you'll likely hear commands like hajimenote , yamenote , etc., along with counting in Japanese. New students are sometimes even given a vocabulary sheet to learn.



Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Fangirl Japanese, Fanboy Japanese


Espio "speaking Japanese"

Espio thinks he can speak Japanese. He does however know one proper phrase.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / GratuitousJapanese

Media sources: