Have you ever wondered what Wasei-Eigo is? We are going to tell you all about it. Hey guys, welcome to another online Japanese lesson From Bondlingo. Todays it’s all about Wasei-eigo, and for those who haven’t heard of it, Wasei-Eigo describes Japanese expression based on English words, however these words do not have the same meaning as they do in English, or in fact, do not have a meaning in English at all.

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Let’s learn about Japan’s Wasei-Eigo

We are going to be breaking down some examples for you today that you can analyse and use for yourself as well as give you a bit of the history behind how it all started. We hope you are ready to join us on the quest for knowledge of “wasei-eigo” people, it’s going to be a fun ride.

The history of Wasei-Eigo: How did it all start?

Wasei-eigo’s introduction into the Japanese language is said to have been present even as early as the 3rd century. Wasei-eigo (和製英語) means “Japanese made English”. These are English words that have been introduced into the Japanese language. These words have become so relevant in the Japanese language that they are just seen as part of the language.

Most of the time you will be able to tell a wasei-eigo phrase as it will have an English sound but not really make much sense in English. However, after considering the phrase, you may actually be able ot grasp the meaning of that specific word.

Now we are going to jump into some examples of Wasei-eigo to give you a clear picture of how these words sound an what to look out for. They can also be really useful to integrate into your own Japanese communication

Examples of Wasei-Eigo

IN KEY (インキー)

So here is our first example, this phrase is “インキー” which means locking yourself out of something. Imagine that you have locked yourself out of your car and your keys are left inside. This is know as “Inki-“ as you can see it very literal as its describing key’s that are inside somewhere. Now in English this grammatically doesn’t make sense but somehow you can understand the meaning right? Let us have a look at another one.

MY PACE (マイペース)

When you want to take things at your own pace this is the perfect Wasei-Eigo phrase to use. Coming from the English words “my” and “pace” use this phrase when you want to express doing things at your own pace and not be influenced by others.

MANNER UP (マナーアップ)

You will see a lot of Wasei-Eigo phrases that include the words “up” and “down”. It’s almost like a video game in which you describe certain skills and talents that level up and down. Manner Up refers to increasing our manners around others, literally levelling up your manners.

OYAJI GAG (オヤジギャグ)

This is a classic Wasei – Eigo phrase which means “Dad Joke” Oyaji meaning “uncle” and gyagu coming from the English word “gag”, this would usually describe those lame jokes that your dad / uncle would be telling over and over again. One of those classic cringy jokes that everyone hates to love.


Literally, “outside talent.” Here “talent” means celebrities of all stripes, regardless of their level of talent. The “outside” bit is shorthand for foreign or foreigner, so when you put the two together you get a foreign celebrity.


This wasei-eigo phrase combines 2 words, “homo-sexual” and “tomodachi” to create “Homodachi”. This word describes friends or lovers that are gay. This word can be used to describe friends and also from lover to lover.

APO NASHI (アポなし)

Here we have 2 words combined. First we have “apo” which is the Japanese loan word for “appointment” and “なし” which means “nothing”. As you can probably guess, this means that you don’t have an appointment. Whether it’s the hospital, a business meeting or a tattoo parlour, you can use this when you don’t have an appointment.

There are 100’s of examples out there and this is just a small taste into the wonderful world of Wasei-eigo. The beautiful thing is that you can most likely figure out the meaning by piecing together the words. Think of it as a fun game.

What was your favourite phrase everyone? Thanks for joining us today guys on our epic quest into the world of Wasei-Eigo, we really hope that you enjoyed it and took a lot from it. As always, if you have any questions, ideas or suggestions on things that you would like us to write about next, please feel free to get in touch and let us know your thoughts.  We hope to see you again in the next online Japanese article from Bondlingo

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