I was reading an article on language-learning hacks recently, and #13 of that list states (emphasis mine),

Some popular anime (popular in America at least, and mostly reserved for little boys in Japan) uses the kind of language which is in the real world almost exclusively reserved for Yakuza.

Is this statement true? What are some examples of this, and why is it done?

1 Answer 1


The Introduction to Yakuza Japanese has a list of grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary (and even lessons!).

There's also this Japanese Stack Exchange has a question: What are the stereotypical characteristics of yakuza speech?

And Japan Subculture's terminology page.

While Yakuza these days are mostly semi-legitimate, they still extort and is the largest criminal organization in the world. Just like how there's a taboo with tattoos in Japan because they're associated with Yakuza, the same connotations come with speaking like the way Yakuza do.

  • 3
    Can you tie this a little more to anime? Specifically, has (and why has) this language has made its way into anime?
    – Cattua
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 18:42
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    @Eric it's part of popular culture and associated with dilenquents/criminals. Outside of actual Yakuza being in the story (Gokusen, Nisekoi). Even "aniki" is used all the time to express the same sort of close relationship that would typically be used by Yakuza. There's a lot more of this on the TV Tropes Yakuza page
    – Jon Lin
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 18:51

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