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Tweet of The Week 120: Is ‘Police Tantrum’ The Latest Japanese Internet Slang?

Are Japanese people mixing up words on Twitter or is it all a joke?

By 4 min read

People studying in Japan often ask GaijinPot Study a very tricky question: is Japanese hard?

If you ask Japanese people themselves, 68.5% will say 日本語にほんごむずかしい (Japanese is hard) in a heartbeat. Even native speakers admit to struggling, especially with written Japanese.

Indeed, Twitter proved brought the matter up last Monday when the expression “police tantrum” (警察駄々けいさつだだ) started trending. The hashtag confused users, who wondered what the heck it could mean, and by the end of the day, it became 話題わだい (the topic of conversation).

Are police throwing tantrums?

『警察駄々』

こんなかんじかとおもった!

30分さんじゅうぷんクオリティ。

“‘Police tantrum’

Here’s what I thought it meant.

Made it in 30 minutes.”

Netizens are divided on the reasons leading to such a misunderstanding.

In this comic strip, a ちび (cute and short character) policeman is having a tantrum, crying and rolling on the floor. He is asking to search the other character’s belongings. That’s a good guess, but it turns out “police tantrum” wasn’t about Japanese police behavior.

What does it all mean? Well, it all started with users mixing up police tantrum” (警察駄々けいさつだだ) and “police matters” (警察沙汰けいさつざた). Netizens are divided on the reasons leading to such a misunderstanding. A lot of folks, including the press, questioned the literacy level of today’s Japanese people.

Others think the sound proximity between the words 沙汰ざた (zata) and 駄々だだ (dada) could have just lead to an honest mistake.

A matter-tantrum mix-up

警察沙汰と警察駄々

“Police matter and police tantrum”

警察駄々とかその誤用ごようについて、ほんまなくなったとか教育きょういく問題もんだいとかいう意見いけんるだろうし一因いちいんではあるだろうけど

いままで日常にちじょうかくれてたものがSNSで可視化かしか共有きょうゆうされてバレた」

って言うのが一番いちばんなんじゃないかな

“There will probably be opinions saying that words like ‘police tantrum’ and other misuses are caused by educational problems or lack of reading. But I think it’s mainly that regular things that used to be niche, can now be seen and shared on social media.”

You say dada I say zata

「警察駄々」がトレンドに入っている…

子音弱化しいんじゃっかのwikipediaのスクショなんですけど、これみたら「zata」が「dada」に聞こえるのもありるのかなと思った。

“’Police tantrum’” became a trend…

Looking up Wikipedia’s section on lenition, I think it’s possible to hear ‘dada’ instead of ‘zata.'”

Because the internet never forgets, users were quick to draw a link with Ryutaro Nonomura, the Japanese crying politician.

The internet never forgets

警察駄々はらんけど、これは狂気きょうきの駄々。

“I don’t know about police tantrums, but here’s a mad tantrum.”

Japanese Internet Slang

Social media and forums are great ways for you to practice your Japanese. It’s immersive while not being too challenging, and you can talk about stuff you like with communities that share the same interests.

There are places dedicated to language learners too!

Here’s some (very) basic Japanese internet slang (ネット用語ようご) for you to fully enjoy the experience. Some are wordplay with kanjis, some are abbreviations, and finally, some are just, well, typos that somehow stuck.

For more Japanese internet slang, check our Tweet of the Week 21.

Japanese internet slang Meaning
うp(for アップロード) To upload (a file, a picture).
おつ Meaning “second” (or B, as in B-class), became the abbreviation of おつかさまです ( ‘good job’) on the internet.
マジレス Is the contraction of まじ (seriously, for real) and レスポンス (response) and implies “serious response.” It often comes up on Twitter, where the borders between serious talk and jokes can be blurred.
kwsk This is a shortcut for くわしく. It asks for “details” as in “give me more details” or “see below for more details.”
グロ中慰 グロ stands for グロテスク(grotesque) while 中慰 stands for 注意ちゅうい  (attention, notice). The expression cautions users that the following images or pictures are potentially shocking. 中慰 is originally a military term that has nothing to do with caution. Its usage here results from a frequent typo.
日本語でおk Used among Japanese speakers, the expression is not a kind invitation to talk or write in Japanese (“in Japanese, OK?”), but a (slightly) insulting mockery.
ソース It derives from the English word ‘source’ (of information).
ggrks Not very kind, this is the abbreviation of ググレカス which means… “google it (yourself and don’t ask)!”
ワロタ Loled.
おk and おこk It means “Ok” and “OkOk”.
おこ Comes from おこる (being angry).
あか Abbreviation of アカウント (account), which leads to ヤフ垢 (Yahoo account), ほん垢 (real account) or サブ垢 (sub-account).
こマ? Abbreviation of これまじ?(“for real?”) when you want to confirm the authenticity of an information.
そマ? Abbreviation of それまじ? (“for real?”), but contrary to the previous expression, it implies a stronger disbelief.
エゴサ From エゴ (ego) and サーチ (search), it refers to the action of looking for information about yourself online.

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
警察けいさつ keisatsu Police
友人ゆうじん yuujin Good friend
ネット用語ようご netto yougo Internet slang
かける mikakeru Notice
検索けんさくする kensaku suru Search
誤用ごよう goyou Misuse
一因いちいん ichiin Cause
かくれる kakureru Be hidden, concealed
可視化かしか kashika Vizualisation
共有きょうゆうされる kyouyu sareru Be shared
あり arieru Possible
狂気きょうき kyouki Madness, crazy

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