Eternal Temporality

Always dies, sometimes lives

Zokugo 02 – Social Life

Posted by Darkslime Z on 2011/05/08

Today we’ll look at a few quite commonly used words to describe people: イケメン(ikemen) and ヒッキー(hikkii).


Those of you that have ever watched a J-Drama probably already know what this one means! イケメン is referring to a cool, awesome, cute guy. Like, the kind of hunksickle that’s every highschooler’s dream to date. Yeah, so it’s only used by females – usually adolescent/teen girls – or by gay dudes. The word has been around for least a decade now, and is used all the time.

The origin of this word, however, gets a little tricky. The イケ actually stems from a word イケてる, which actually happens to be another colloquialism to describe someone cool/handsome/etc., which in turn has its own origins that I’m not going to get into here. The メン comes from a couple of different places. First of all, for English speakers, this is obviously the word “men”. However, the Japanese kanji 面(also pronounced ‘men’) can hold the meaning of a person’s face. Either way, the meaning works out to be the same.

As イケメン is only used to refer to men, one could use イケメン as well. In addition, the word can be used as an adjective, such as in イケメン男(a hot guy) or イケメン俳優(a hot actor).

Finally, on the Internet only, the word 逝け面 may be used – technically this is also pronounced イケメン, but means the exact opposite: a clumsy, unattractive guy. However, if you hear the word in casual conversation, you can assume it to mean the above.

Conversation Example



We now depart from mainstream culture to visit the dark underbelly of Japan’s society. I’m sure everyone has heard of the hikikomori problem making itself plain in the country – those people that do nothing but stay in their rooms their whole life, playing video games and surfing the Internet and essentially being drains on society. Usually, they’re otaku as well, which obviously doesn’t help the problem any.

The word ひきこもり comes from 引き篭もる(ひきこもる), which means “to stay or be confined indoors”. Thus, a ひきこもり is then someone who is confined(or confines themself) indoors. If you shorten this word, you get ヒッキー, which uses the English suffix “-ee” that we so often hear children use.

On a lighter note, it’s possible that this term may be used to refer to Utada Hikaru, a famous Japanese American singer and songwriter, known over here in the States for various theme songs for Kingdom Hearts. But chances are, if you see this word somewhere on 2channel, it means hikikomori.

Conversation Example

I was going to write something for this, but figured that you really shouldn’t try and use it. ^^; So, see you next week!


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