of Japanese Terms
Definitions courtesy of Wikipedia. For more information, click any word
to visit Wikipedia's full article.
||Anime is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation".
In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to
Japanese animated cartoons.
||Bushidō, meaning "Way of the Warrior-Knight", is a Japanese word
which is used to describe a uniquely Japanese code of conduct and a
way of the samurai life, loosely analogous to the concept of
chivalry. It originates from the samurai moral code and stresses
frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery, and honor unto death.
Bushido was also influenced by Shinto and Buddhism, allowing the
violent existence of the samurai to be tempered by wisdom and
||The term chanbara, also commonly spelled "chambara", means
literally "sword fighting" movies, roughly equating to western
swashbuckler films. Chanbara is a sub-category of jidaigeki, which
equates to period drama.
Historically, the genre is usually set during the Tokugawa era
(1600–1868), the samurai film focuses on the end of an entire way of
life for the samurai, many of the films deal with master less ronin,
or samurai dealing with changes to their status resulting from a
||Eiga Chirashi ("movie flyers") are placed in cinema lobbies in
Japan to promote current and future movie releases. They often take
the form of a miniature replica of the movie's poster with
promotional photos and copy on the reverse.
The standard Chirashi is a single B5 sheet (approximately
7"x10"/18cmx26cm) with the poster design printed on the front in
colour. The reverse side can be monochrome or full-colour,
occasionally it may be stamped in a designated space with the name
and contact details of the cinema where the Chirashi was picked up
or have these printed in a strip along the bottom.
Double-sided and two or four page Chirashi are sometimes produced.
The paper used can vary, from gloss to matte, thick to thin. The
majority of Chirashi are printed on slightly heavy, glossy paper.
Eiga Chirashi are very collectible - they are available only for a
limited time, sometimes exist in several variations, feature artwork
used only for the Japanese market (often with cool re-creations of
the movie's original logo in Japanese characters)
Due to their compact size, Chirashi are easier to collect than
posters and can either be filed or used decoratively as you see fit.
Collecting Eiga Chirashi is a popular hobby among Japanese
||Cosplay, short for "costume play", is a type of performance art
in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a
specific character or idea. Characters are often drawn from popular
fiction in Japan include manga, anime, tokusatsu, comic books, video
games, hentai and fantasy movies. There is also a subset of cosplay
culture centered around sex appeal, with cosplayers specifically
choosing characters that are known for their attractiveness and/or
revealing (even explicit) costumes.
||The Edo Period, or Tokugawa period is a division of Japanese
history which was ruled by the shoguns of the Tokugawa family,
running from 1603 to 1868.
||Roughly "Japanese movies". The cinema of Japan has a history
that spans more than 100 years. Japan has one of the oldest and
largest film industries in the world – as of 2009 the fourth largest
by number of feature films produced.
||A gravure idol is a Japanese female model who primarily models
in magazines, especially men's magazines, photobooks or DVDs.
Gravure models are commonly photographed wearing bikinis or lingerie
but may also appear wearing schoolgirl uniforms, Japanese street
fashion, and kimonos. Many popular female idols in Japan launched
their careers by starting out as gravure idols.
||Hentai is used when referring to sexually explicit or
pornographic comics and animation.
||Jidaigeki means "period drama" and is usually set in the Edo
period of Japanese history, from 1603 to 1868. Jidaigeki show the
lives of the samurai, farmers, craftsmen, and merchants of their
||In its broadest sense, kaidan refers to any ghost or horror
story, but it has an old-fashioned ring to it that carries the
connotation of Edo period Japanese folktales.
Kaiju is a Japanese word that means "strange beast," but often
translated in English as "monster". Specifically, it is used to
refer to a genre of tokusatsu entertainment.
Related terms include kaijū eiga (monster movie), a film featuring
giant monsters or a single monster, kaijin (referring to roughly
humanoid monsters) and daikaiju (giant monster), specifically
meaning the larger variety of monsters.
The most famous kaiju is Godzilla. Other well-known kaiju include
Mothra, Anguirus, Rodan, Gamera and King Ghidorah.
||Manga is the Japanese word for "comics" and consists of comics
and print cartoons. In the West, the term "manga" has been
appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan, or by
Japanese authors, in the Japanese language and conforming to the
style developed in Japan in the late 19th century.
||A ninja, or shinobi was a covert agent or mercenary of feudal
Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war. The functions of the
ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination,
as well as open combat in certain situations.
||Pink film (Pinku eiga or Pink eiga) is a style of Japanese
softcore pornographic theatrical film. Films of this genre first
appeared in the early 1960s, and dominated the Japanese domestic
cinema from the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s. The pink film, or "eroduction"
as it was first called, is a cinematic genre without exact
equivalent in the West.
||Samurai is the term for the military nobility of pre-industrial
Japan. The samurai followed a set of rules that came to be known as
bushidō. While they numbered less than 10% of Japan's population,
samurai teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and
in modern Japanese martial arts.
||A shogun was one of the (usually) hereditary military dictators
of Japan from 1192 to 1867. In this period, the shoguns were the de
facto rulers of Japan though they were nominally appointed by the
||Tokusatsu is a term that applies to any live-action
film or television drama that usually features superheroes and makes
considerable use of special effects (tokusatsu literally translates as
"special filming" in Japanese).
||Yakuza, also known as gokudō, are members of traditional
organized crime syndicates in Japan. The Japanese police, and media,
call them bōryokudan (literally "violence group"), while the yakuza
call themselves "ninkyō dantai" ("chivalrous organizations"). The
yakuza are notoriously known for their strict codes of conduct and
very organized nature.
||Yōkai (lit. demon, spirit, or monster) are a class of
supernatural monsters in Japanese folklore. Yōkai range eclectically
from the malevolent to the mischievous, or occasionally bring good
fortune to those who encounter them. Often they possess animal
features, (such as the Kappa, which is similar to a turtle, or the
Tengu which has wings), other times they can appear mostly human,
some look like inanimate objects and others have no discernible
shape. Yōkai usually have a spiritual supernatural power, with
shapeshifting being one of the most common.