Japanese Swear Words: How to Say Bad Words in Japanese

Japanese culture is renowned worldwide for its emphasis on politeness and respect in interpersonal interactions. The Japanese are some of the most courteous people globally, adhering strictly to a complex system of social etiquette. Despite this, like any language, Japanese does have its array of swear words, although Japanese swear words tend to be milder compared to their counterparts in many other languages.

Curiosity about these aspects of language is natural and not inherently problematic. Learning how to say bad words in Japanese is a big part of understanding the language and culture more deeply. However, it’s crucial to use this knowledge responsibly. If you choose to use such words, it should be in a safe environment, preferably among close friends who understand the context of your words! This approach ensures that learning about these expressions is both informative and respectful to the culture from which they originate.

Without further ado, here are 15 Japanese swear words you won’t hear in your favorite anime movies!

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1.  馬鹿 (Baka): Stupid

“Baka” (ばか) is a common Japanese expression meaning “fool” or “idiot.” The severity of the insult can vary greatly from light-hearted teasing, similar to calling someone a “silly head,” to a serious slur affecting someone and their family reputation. The term consists of two kanji characters: 馬, which stands for “horse” (uma), and 鹿, meaning “deer” (shika). You can also spell it as バカ.


Omae wa baka na no?

You’re acting a bit stupid, aren’t you?

2.  アホ (Aho): Idiot

The word “aho” denotes “idiot” in Japanese. If you love Japanese TV series, you might be familiar with this term alongside “baka,” which shares a similar meaning. The distinction lies in regional usage: “Aho” is more common in the Kansai area and can range from endearing to offensive, while “Baka” is more popular in the Kanto region, though “Aho” carries a stronger sting there.


Sonna koto shitara, hontou no aho ya na.

If you do that, you’re really an idiot.

3.  ブス (Busu): Ugly Woman

“Busu” sharply criticizes a woman’s looks, labeling her as exceptionally unattractive. It’s an offensive term, mainly when used carelessly or towards strangers, potentially devastating their self-esteem. Such a word should be used with caution, as it’s highly demeaning.

Your behavior really makes you look like a “busu” today.


Sono fuku, busu ni mieru yo.

That outfit makes you look ugly.

4.  畜生 (Chikusho): Damn It!

“Chikusho” (ちくしょう) is typically exclaimed in frustration, similar to shouting “Damn!” or “Blast it!” In addition to its use as an expletive, it can also mean “beast” or “brute.” This term is a common response to situations of misfortune or minor annoyances, rather than directed at a person.


Chikushou, panku da!

Damn it, the tire’s flat!

5.  しんじまえ (Shinjimae): Drop dead/Go to hell

Shinjimae is a strong phrase people use when a conversation turns sour, and no agreement or resolution seems possible. It’s equivalent to telling someone, “Go to hell,” in English and is usually a sign of extreme frustration or anger. Remember, this is quite a harsh expression and should be used sparingly.


Nani o itte mo kikanai nara, shinjimae!

If you’re not going to listen at all, then go to hell!

6.  ちくしょう (Chikushou): Son of a Bitch

While “chikushou” can translate literally to “despicable person,” its use in Japanese can vary. This term can express intense frustration or anger, similar to saying “Son of a bitch” in English. Japanese speakers use it more generally as an expletive similar to “damn” or “crap” when reacting to unexpected or aggravating situations.


Chikushou, ma ni awanakatta!

Damn, I didn’t make it in time!

Angry-looking girl

7.  くそ (Kuso): F**k

Kuso is commonly used in Japanese to express frustration or dismay, equivalent to “shit” or “fuck” in English. It’s a versatile expletive that appears frequently in casual speech and is often one of the first swear words learned by foreigners and students of the Japanese language.


Kuso, mata okureta!

Shit, I’m late again!

8.  黙れ (Damare): Shut up!

“Damare” derives from the verb 黙る (damaru), which means “to be silent.” It’s used in its imperative form as a forceful command to tell someone to stop talking. This term is more direct and blunt than using polite requests like ください (kudasai) or お願いします (onegaishimasu). While it shares a similar purpose with うるさい (urusai), which means “noisy” and implies a desire for quiet, “damare” is explicitly a command and is considerably less polite.


Damare, urusasugiru!

Shut up, you’re too loud!

9.  どけ (Doke): Get out of my way!

Doke is another Japanese imperative, coming from the verb どく (doku), which means “to move aside.” It is used to demand space aggressively, such as when someone is blocking your way and you need them to move immediately. This expression is quite harsh and is generally considered rude, especially in crowded or public settings where a more polite phrase would be appropriate.どけ、急いでるんだ!

Doke, isoiderunda!

Move, I’m in a hurry!

10.  ふざけるな (Fuzakeru na): Don’t Mess With Me!

The phrase “ふざけるな” (Fuzakeru na) stems from “ふざける” (fuzakeru), meaning “to fool around.” Adding “な” (na) turns it into a forceful command not to mess around. This phrase can translate to “Stop fooling around” or more harshly, “Cut it out.” People use it express frustration when someone is not taking things seriously or is behaving inappropriately.


Fuzakeru na, honki de itterunda!

Stop messing around, I’m serious!

11.  死ねえ (Shinee): Die!

“Shinee” is perhaps one of the most harsh and confrontational phrases in the Japanese language, simply meaning “Die!” It’s extremely offensive and is likely to end friendships unless you use it among close friends who understand the humor.


Omae nanka shinee!

Just go die!

12. うざい (Uzai): Annoying!

“Uzai” is derived from “うるさい” (urusai, noisy) and “うざったい” (uzattai, annoying), and it’s used to express irritation towards someone or something that is being a nuisance. This term is akin to calling someone a “pain in the neck” in English. To emphasize annoyance, you can extend the ending, turning it into “ウゼェー” (uzee).


Kare ga hanasu to itsumo uzai na.

Isn’t he always a pain when he talks?

13.  クソ (Kuso): Sh*t!

“Kuso” translates directly to “sh*t” and is a common expletive that people use to express frustration or disappointment. It can also function as an adjective to intensify a noun, such as

“クソガキ” (kusogaki), meaning “sh*tty kid.”


Kuso, maniawanakatta!

Sh*t, I didn’t make it on time!

14.  お前 (Omae): Rude form of “You”

“Omae” is a direct and often rude way to say “you” in Japanese, commonly heard in male-dominated, confrontational dialogues in movies. It once held a more honorific status, but today it’s generally perceived as aggressive or overly familiar. It’s best to avoid using this term unless you’re very familiar with Japanese social nuances.


Omae, sore honki de itteru no ka?

Are you serious about what you’re saying?

15.  手前 (Temee): Insulting form of “You”

While “temee” might not qualify as a traditional swear word, it is an extremely derogatory way to address someone, translating closely to “you bastard” in English. It’s used mostly in aggressive conversations between men when they want to show how angry they are.


Temee, damare yo!

You bastard, shut up!

Beyond Japanese Bad Words: Learn Japanese Now

As we’ve seen, though they’re extremely friendly and polite most of the time, the Japanese have a fair share of swear words. These Japanese swear words might be milder compared to other languages, but they are still potent linguistic tools that reflect the emotions and cultural contexts from which they arise.

Curiosity about Japanese swear words can be more than just a guilty pleasure—it can be a gateway to gaining a richer, more nuanced understanding of Japanese culture and communication. If you want to delve deeper into the Japanese language, why not join us at Language Trainers? We offer personalized, one-to-one lessons that cater to your individual learning pace and style, available both online and in person. Our experienced instructors can help you navigate the complexities of Japanese, from the polite expressions that lubricate daily life to the colloquialisms that give flavor to personal interactions.

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Learning Japanese with us is not just about memorizing vocabulary but embracing a whole new way of thinking and communicating. Join us for a journey into the Japanese language in a relaxed and supportive environment. Get a free online Japanese lesson now or let us arrange an in-person Japanese course in Los Angeles or wherever you happen to live. Happy learning!