Japanese Word of the year 2021! Top 10 Buzzwords Picked Up!! | Hiro8 Japanese Culture Blog

Japanese Word of the year 2021! Top 10 Buzzwords Picked Up!!

Japanese Word of the year 2021!

2021 soon ends.

Many things happened this year and word of the year reflects the things!

Here, I picked up Japanese top 10 word of the year!!

Let’s see them to catch up with Japanese trend in 2021!!




Real Two-Way / Show-Time (リアル二刀流 / ショータイム)

Top 1 is all about Shohei Ohtani.

If you are a big fan of baseball, you must know about Shohei Ohtani of Los Angeles Angels.

He received a Major League Baseball MVP award this year!

Surprising point of Shohei Ohtani is he is a two-way player.
In the same game, he plays as a designated hitter and starting pitcher.

He almost broke the record of double-digit wins and home runs in a single season made by Babe Ruth for the first time in 103 years.

Although it did not happen, he is said to be the most two-way player ever.

The phrase show-time is the phrase announcers call him when he appears.

That’s a kind of pun mixing his name Shohei and Show-time.

Ussee Wa! (Shut Up!) (うっせぇわ)

Usse (うっせぇ) means Shut up.

This is the song by Ado.

The song was all about “Do not instruct me”.

You have to keep the rules when you grow up.

You have to check economic trends during commuting.
You have to pour beer for your boss at Izakaya (Japanese style bar).
You also have to order for your boss.
Etc.

Ussewa!!!!!

This is the heart’s cry!

Plus, we had to refrain from going out because of COVID-19.
Karaoke, Izakaya, live concert, etc.
Government always asked us to keep the rules.

We understand it.

But if all those things keep continuing like forever while some officials break the rule, we finally snap and say

Ussewa!!

The reason this song made a hit was the song reflected our real shout inside today.

Oh, but don’t get me wrong, I never think like that.
That’s the way it goes, I think like that.

Only when I had to join drinking party and senior or boss instructed me silly things like pour beer for them, I might have been Ussewa, haha!!

Oya Gacha (Parent Lottery) (親ガチャ)

Oya (親) means Parents.

Gacha (ガチャ) is from Gacha Gacha, that is, Gashapon.

You know, we can not choose our parents.
The moment we were born our parents were decided.

Some might be very lucky and the others may not.

Your parents’ financial status decides your education and future, some might say.

It’s like a lottery.
And like Gashapon.

Only when we open the capsule, we know what we get.

Now the disparity between the rich and the poor has been expanding.
This is not only in Japan but all over the world.

And it’ll continue.
Pandemic added the fuel to it.

There were such backgrounds behind the word Oya Gacha created.

Gon Zeme / Bitta bita (ゴン攻め / ビッタビタ)

Gon Zeme (ゴン攻め) and Bitta bita (ビッタビタ) were the words used during play-by-play commentary.

Tokyo Olympics held this 2021 and professional skate border Ryo Sejiri gave a running commentary on one of the new sports skateboarding.

He used the words Gon Zeme and Bitta bita in the comment.

Gon Zeme means to challenge difficult points actively such as stairs and handrail.

Bitta bita means the situation when the performer made the skill or technique successfully on the stage.
This is also a onomatopoeia.

Actually, I’ve never heard of both Gon Zeme and Bitta bita before.
I think many others also did not know those words until this commentator used the words on TV.

New words Tokyo Olympics created, I can say.

Gender Equality (ジェンダー平等)

Gender equality in Japan is still falling behind.

平等 means Equality.

It became controversial when Yoshiro Mori, former Tokyo Olympics chief remarked “Meeting which includes many females takes time” at a councilor committee meeting.

The complain taken as a sexist remark and made him step down the position.

For senior posts in company, government, the ratio of females is still less compared to male.

The situation has been improving as many people raise voices.

This Gender Equality is also not the problem only in Japan but worldwide.
And one of the target set in SDGS which spread across Japan this year, especially.

Beyond the sex or race, we have to aim much more equal society.

Jinryu (Flow of People)(人流)

This Jinryu (人流) is also new word which I’ve never heard of before.

Jinryu means Flow of people.

Started used to show flow of people during pandemic.

Event, restaurant, commuting, etc.
This Jinryu was the key factor to take control COVID-19.

Sugimu Rising (スギムライジング)

Sugimu Rising (スギムライジング) is the technique used by Hidetaka Sugimura.

He was the Boccia player representing Japan in the Tokyo Paralympics.

He used his signature move rising often and won gold medal in the end.

People called the rising he used as Sugimu Rising.

This is the another word made from Olympics, isn’t it.

Z Generation (Z世代)

Z Generation (Z世代) is the generation born in between the late 1990 and 2000s.
Today’s teenagers and early twenties.

There were already high-spec internet when they were born.
Using Smartphone and familiar with TikTok, YouTube, e-sports, etc.

Many of them will also involved in the field of AI, VR and AR.

Their set of values or philosophy is also different.
Pay more attention to SDGs and social problems than older generations.

Privately, I feel positive effects from Z Generation.

Bottakuri Danshaku (Baron Ripper-off ) (ぼったくり男爵)

Bottakuri (ぼったくり) means Rip-off.

Baron Von Ripper-off was the word to express IOC president Thomas Bach.

This Baron Von Ripper-off was actually used in the article of the Washington Post.

Many Japanese were against holding Tokyo Olympics but it was held as you know.

IOC and Japanese government held the Olympics forcibly.
And people knew this is all about money thing.

So, this Baron Von Ripper-off used in the Washington Post was just fit.

Mokusyoku (Keep your mask on unless eating) (黙食)

We never had this custom of Mokushoku (黙食).

Mokushoku means Keep one’s mask on unless eating.

Certainly, COVID-19 made this new custom.

To prevent droplet infection from spreading, it was necessary.

It was a strange scene to see people keep eating without talking at a restaurant.

Strange but necessary.

Hope the day to come when we can enjoy our meals without caring Mokukshoku and mask at all.

Summary of Japanese Word of the year 2021 Top 10

I can say words this year are something related to Tokyo Olympics and COVID-19.

That’s understandable.

Word of the year really reflects today’s society.

What kind of words chosen in your country?

It might be good to check them and think back what happened this 2021 and imagine your future 2022.

Thank you very much for reading my article this year, too.
I keep writing next year to deliver useful or interesting information even for a little bit.

Hope you have great year!!
良いお年を~!! (^ ^) /




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