Some anime/manga characters (OR, those inspired by anime/manga) have those weird three-line blushy things on their cheeks. These characters tend to be cutesy and childish.

What are those lines called (a Japanese term would be appreciated)? What exactly are they for? Are they just blushes or something?

Tenchi Muyo Totally Spies

  • 2
    Look like stylized eyelashes to me.
    – JohnP
    Mar 14, 2018 at 16:57
  • 1
    it's just to depict the character blushing
    – paulnamida
    Mar 15, 2018 at 16:38
  • @paulnamida, how can a person blush 24*7? Mar 18, 2018 at 7:21
  • wrinkles, perhaps? Mar 18, 2018 at 11:18
  • I always assumed they were a kind of freckle. Mar 18, 2018 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


This is what is implied to be a blush or flushed cheeks. Its meaning outside Japanese media may be a bit skewed depending on the source.

A blush is a still called a blush in Japanese. Rarely are there specialized terms for common expressions such as blushes. There may be specific types of blushes for specific circumstances. The nature of using lines to depict blushed is a stylistic, and varies between artists. Some use shading, others use lines, some use ovals. The reason for the blush is usually an implicit one, where the audience is intended to read to mood. It might not always be as clear to the audience, but that's a matter if execution by the author or artist.

The type of blushing often seem on separate cheeks is what can be referred as a "persistent red-face(i.e. flushed face)" (終始赤面) as with many manga and anime iconography, their meanings are implicit based on the context of the situation. The character may be blushing or have flush cheeks for a variety of reasons. The blush might be because they are a cheery person with rosy cheeks, there character maybe slightly embarrassed, the character maybe have a flushed face to to being happy about something, or the character might be flushed have a high temperature from a fever or running around.

There are no set rules, as it often at the whim of the style of the author or artist. Good authors and artists are able to better convey thing to their intended audiences. There is no "one size fits all" solution here.

It's implicitly understood by Japanese reader as such, because its an often seen trope in anime and manga-related media and has been for many generations. To Western audiences, not well versed in the iconography, theses seem to be weird, quirky, and/or exotic bit that may be hard to grasp for those not well in inferred literary devices certain authors use to convey context or emotion. Not everything is black and white and set it stone, especially if you want a deeper characterization and plot from your preferred form of media.

  • Thanks. The Japanese term you've given did help me find one enlightening result (lullabycount.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-159.html), and those lines do seem to be healthy/cheerful blushes rather than freckles or cheek-accentuating lines, although I'd appreciate if you could point me to the specific reference you acquired this term from. Mar 18, 2018 at 17:17
  • There is no specific reference because its not a specific term unique to the media, like ahoge. It's a generic term for a commonplace depiction of a literary trope. The term in itself is self explanatory akin to being "red faced." Certain languages have better words to describe things than others. "Hot" in English can describe temperature or taste (i. e., spice) literally and figuratively. In Asian languages, there are specific words for temperature hot and spicy hot. When someone says something is hot, your can infer the meaning by its the context it was said. Similar circumstance here.
    – кяαzєя
    Mar 18, 2018 at 17:32
  • What I meant was "Where did you get it from?" You must've gotten it from somewhere, right? At least somewhere like an index of literary tropes or something. Although I said it'd helped me find one illuminating result, all the other results were irrelevant, which makes it somewhat less convincing. Mar 19, 2018 at 3:14
  • 1
    It's anecdotal. There is no one source to draw from. It's intended to debunk generalizations and make for relevant contexts, especially those involving a differences in ethnic culture. If you search the term with and without the "manga" keyword, you'll get different results. I can point you to wikis like niconico encyclopedia, but it will be the same as telling you to googling it (the answer.) The definition is explained, but the context might not be relevant. The blog you reference is the same way while a bit more subjective its still an anecdotal account.
    – кяαzєя
    Mar 19, 2018 at 7:05
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – кяαzєя
    Mar 19, 2018 at 7:34

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