7 Japanese Words Learned From Anime (U Words)

Welcome to readers one and all! This is a list of Japanese words I learned from watching anime. They all start with “U.” Here they are in alphabetical order. Enjoy!


1. Ugoku

(A Parasyte from Parasyte: The Maxim)

It means to move or to function. I learned this word, randomly, from a scene in Parasyte: The Maxim. A Parasyte switches to a new human host and tries to control it, saying, “Ugoku!”


2. Umarekawaru

(Shirley from Code Geass)

This words can means to be reborn, either literally (have your spirit reincarnated) or figuratively (make a fresh start in life). I learned it from Code Geass. Shirley’s death is one of the saddest anime deaths I’ve seen to date. When she’s dying, she tells Lelouch that she loves him, and that she’ll be reborn — umarekawaru — and fall in love with him again in the next life. 😥


3. Umi

(Kanji for umi/sea)

It means sea or ocean, and can refer to the beach. I can’t remember where I first learned this word, but I think it was (not surprisingly) a school rom-com where everyone goes to the beach and some enthusiastic girl cries, “Umi!”


4. Unmei

(Himari from Penguindrum)

Unmei is the word for destiny or fate. I learned it from Mawaru Penguindrum. One of the show’s main themes is fate, so they say the word a lot.


5. Uragiri

This word means betrayal. I don’t remember where I heard it, but I thought it was “iragi” for the longest time. The anime that taught me the correct word (uragiri) was Betrayal Knows My Name, or Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru.


6. Uso

It means “lie” as in not the truth. I learned it from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. All throughout, characters doubt, distrust, and misunderstand each other, often accusing them of lying. One particular scene made Higurashi famous in the anime community of that time: the one where the sweet, cute girl Rena suddenly becomes savage and scary, screaming that the main character is lying. “Uso!”


7. Uta

This beautiful word means “song.” I learned it relatively recently when I memorized the lyrics for the song “On a Journey,” the first opening song for Spice and Wolf. Part of it goes, “Tabibito tachi ga utau, mishiranu uta mo,” meaning “The travelers sing, though it’s a song I don’t know.” It’s a gorgeous song.


Thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful Sunday!

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