How to Text in Japanese: 13 Japanese Internet Slang and Texting Terms

Like lol and jk, Japanese people have their own version of Japanese internet slang and texting lingo — also known as ネットスラング (netto surangu). Have you ever tried using social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter in Japanese? Things are going fairly well! That is until you reach that one word. You’ve never encountered it before; it doesn’t even seem vaguely familiar. What on earth does it mean? Perplexed, you go to look up the word and, in the definition, you see the reason for your confusion: slang.

Japanese internet slang is confusing at the best of times. Words can change based on a speaker’s age, gender, accent, background, interests – and whether or not the conversation is in real-life or online. Worse, because Japanese internet slang terms aren’t official Jgapanese language, you can’t find them in textbooks. 

As confusing as they may be, Japanese internet slang terms are important to know if you want to be able to speak or text informally — or even make new Japanese friends. Plus, with so many places to practice Japanese online, knowing internet slang terms is especially important. While we’ve already covered some useful slang terms for in-person conversations here, take a look at the internet-based words below to start slinging slang like a native online! 

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About Japanese Internet Slang

スラング (surangu) is a loanword from English that means “slang”. As with any language, you’ll come across numerous words, expressions, and abbreviations that are exclusively used on the internet or in text messages. Japanese internet slang terms can be difficult to understand because it doesn’t follow the same rule as the normal Japanese language. If you have Japanese friends on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you may find it challenging to comprehend what they are saying. 

Like the regular Japanese writing system, which uses hiragana, katakana, and kanji, Japanese internet and texting slang uses romaji (ローマ字), or the roman alphabet. They are often shorter and more casual, incorporating English words and expressions. Additionally, they can change rapidly over time, making it essential to stay updated with the latest trends.

Furthermore, Japanese slang often uses wordplay, abbreviations, acronyms, and puns that may be difficult to decipher without an understanding of Japanese culture and context. For example, a common Japanese slang term “JK” refers to “joshi kousei,” which means high school girl, but the abbreviation itself doesn’t necessarily indicate its meaning to non-native speakers.

Take a look at the example below.

どこかから DQN が 現れて わりこんでいったよ!ムカつく!
Doko ka kara DQN ga arawarete warikonde itta yo! Mukatsuku!
A DQN appeared from somewhere and cut in the line! Annoying!

See the word DQN that sticks out among Japanese characters? Pronounced ‘Dokyun’, it’s used to describe someone who is stupid and acts without thinking. Because it’s technically written in romaji, we might quickly assume that the other text had made a typo — it’s actually not!

Popular Japanese Internet Slang Terms Used on Social Media

Using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube is super fun, but it’s important to know the text slang terms that are everywhere. This is especially true for Twitter, where brevity is key and phrases need to be shortened, or in text messages where speed-texting is more important. So let’s check out some awesome Japanese text slang terms that are frequently used on the internet!

1. 飯テロ

Reading: meshi tero
Meaning: food terror

Do you ever see a photo of really delicious food and get upset that you can’t eat it? This is exactly what 飯テロ is talking about! 飯 (meshi) means food, and テロ (tero) means terror or terrorist; combined, they refer to when someone uploads such pictures on social media and makes people hungry (especially late at night)4! The more appetizing the food, the more テロ (tero) is unleashed!

Kare wa pasuta no shashin o agete, meshi tero shita.
When he uploaded those photos of pasta, he did “food terror.”

2. リア充

Reading: riajuu
Meaning: Someone who has a fulfilling life offline

We all know it’s not good to spend too much time on the internet. But, for many of us, the internet is key to countless hobbies and interests. However, for リア充, they tend to find most of their happiness in the real world. Taken from the phrase リアルが充実している (riaru ga juujitsu site iru), which means one’s real-world life is fulfilling, リア充 are usually characterized by having significant others, many irl friends, non-internet based hobbies, and active lifestyles3.  In other words, they have a satisfying life away from the internet!

Kanojo wa piano o hiitari, e o kakitari suru noga suki desu. Riajuu desu!
She likes to play piano and paint; she is a riajuu!

3. w or 笑

Reading: wara
Meaning: laughing

This is the Japanese version of LOL! The “w” or 笑 is taken from the beginning part of the verb 笑う (warau), which means “to laugh.” Just like LOL, it’s usually used at the end of a sentence, and the more w’s you add, the harder you are laughing! 笑 is usually seen as the more “mature” way to write this, but many men just use “w” instead.

Uchi no neko, watashi no makura de neteru wara
My cat is sleeping on my pillow lolll

4. 888

Reading: pachi-pachi-pachi
Meaning: clapping sound effects

What? This isn’t a word! It’s just numbers! Well, remember that the Japanese love to use onomatopoeias. The onomatopoeia for “clapping” is pachi-pachi-pachi, and 8 can be read as either hachi or patchi. So, if you put a bunch of 8’s next to each other, you get the clapping sound when you read it! Most of the time, you will use this to denote congratulations. Just like with “w”, the more 8’s you write, the more clapping you are doing!

言語学の学位をとったんですね! 888
Gengogaku no gakui o tottan desune! Pachi pachi pachi
You got your degree in Linguistics! (clap, clap, clap)

5. フロリダする

Reading: furorida suru
Meaning: to leave a conversation to have a bath

Usage: Yes, this does sound like Florida. No, it does not have anything to do with that state. Instead, this very specific verb is actually a combination of the words furo (bath) and ridatsu (to withdrawal), and refers to leaving a conversation (either online or through text) to hop in the bath or shower. A lot of Japanese people soak in the bath before bed, so this word probably came about because so many people need to take a break from the conversation!

Kanojo wa 8:45 ni furorida shita.
She left the conversation to shower at 8:45.

6. KY

Reading: keiwai
Meaning: A person who cannot read the room

It may be strange to see the Roman alphabet here, but it will make sense in a little bit! KY comes from the expression 空気読めない (kuuki yomenai); this literally means to be unable to read the air. Instead of typing all this out, however, many Japanese people just take the “k” from kuuki and the “y” from yomenai to make this abbreviation! People who are KY tend to have behaviors inappropriate to the situation at hand or are simply oblivious to what is happening around them. This is definitely not something you would want to be called!

Kareshi to wakareta bakari no tomodachi no mae de, jibun no kareshi jiman toka, ano ko, KY-sugi.
In front of a friend who just broke up with her boyfriend, she boasts about her boyfriend, and that girl (can’t read the room).

7. なう or ナウ

Reading:  nau
Meaning: Doing something right now, at a place right now

A lot of people like to use social media to show people what they’re up to. Sometimes, this means letting people know what they’re doing as they’re doing it! If you want to say what you’re doing now, you can just use the word なう (nau)… which sounds almost like now. This makes it pretty easy to remember!

京都なう/ たこ焼きナウ
Kyouto nau / takoyaki nau
I’m in Kyoto now / I’m eating takoyaki right now

8. 乙

Reading: otsu
Meaning: Good job! Well done!

Ever want to congratulate someone online, maybe for a good round in a game or in a video comment? 乙 is perfect for this! 乙 stands in for the Japanese phrase お疲れ様でした (otsukare sama deshita), which means thank you for your hard work. Many times, this is said at the end of a work day or after a big task. The kanji 乙 doesn’t have any relation to this phrase, by the way; it’s just used for its reading!

9. 炎上

Reading: enjou
Meaning: to be roasted on social media

Social media can be a wonderful place, but it can also be a harmful one as well; we’ve all seen how common it is for someone to be heavily criticized, or “roasted” online. Leaning into the fire analogy, Japanese netizens started using the word 炎上, which actually means flaming, to describe when this happens. Things can get pretty hot using this word!

Kare wa sono pantsu o haite, enjou shita.
When he wore those pants, he got roasted.

10. オワコン

Reading: owakon
Meaning: Dated content, no-longer-current media

Usage: With new content and trends being created every minute, things can get dated on the internet pretty quickly. To talk about content that has already passed its prime, オワコン is the perfect word. It’s formed from a combination of 終わった (owatta, meaning finished) and コンテンツ (kontentsu, contents)4. So, it’s content that’s finished being relevant! Now, I wonder how long it will take before this word goes out of date.

Zonbi eiga wa owakon ni natteshimatta.
Zombie movies became dated content.

11. △

Reading: sankakkei
Meaning: Mr./Mrs.___ is cool.

Alright. We’ve already had both the Roman alphabet and letters appear in this list. Now, what on earth is a shape doing here? Well, it’s a little complicated. The Japanese word for a triangle is sankakukei, but most people pronounce it as sankakkei as it’s easier. The san- in the beginning is pronounced the same as さん, or the honorific title meaning Mr. / Mrs. Then, –kakkei is a short form ofかっこいい (kakkoii), which means cool or attractive. So, put them together, and you get a reading of a triangle that can also mean so-and-so is cool. It’s a play on words that also saves time typing! (FYI: Many Japanese netizens will use this for celebrities or anime characters!)

みどりや△ 。
Midoriya san-kakkee.
Mr. Midoriya is cool.

12. ずっ友

Reading:  zuttomo
Meaning: friends for life

We all know the abbreviation for BFF – Best Friends Forever. But what if you want to say this in Japanese? Turns out you can just call your closest friends ずっ友! Like a lot of words on this list, ずっ友 is a combination of two words: ずっと (zutto), meaning forever, and 友達 (tomodachi), meaning friends3. It was first used by young girls taking pictures together, but now it’s expanded so anyone can use it3; sounds like the perfect word to say instead of “cheese”!

Ryokou no ato, zuttomo ni narimashita.
After their trip, they became BFFs.

13. Wkwk

Reading: wakuwaku
Meaning: to be excited

If you’re a fan of the series SPYxFAMILY, one of the popular anime series available on Netflix, you might already be familiar with ワクワク (wakuwaku). The adorable main character Anya says a lot! ワクワク is an onomatopoeic word meant to imitate excitement3; and if you’re excited about something, you may not want to spend too much time typing it out! Many Japanese internet users just type wkwk instead as a result, taking each letter from the beginning of each kana used. You can use wkwk in a myriad of situations, such as starting a new school or finding out your adoptive dad is really a spy in disguise!

アニャはピーナッツを食べたがっています wkwk。
Anya wa piinattsu wo tabetagatteimas wakuwaku.
Anya wants to eat peanuts!

Kaomojis (*^_^*)

Finally, we can’t finish an article about Japanese internet and texting slang without touching on kaomoji. Kaomojis, or literally face characters, are faces created using different elements and symbols found on your keyboard. You can almost think of them as old-school emojis! Just like emojis, kaomojis help to make the meaning of your words clear and to emphasize certain feelings. There’s a lot of focus placed on the kaomoji eyes, which makes them very expressive and particularly appealing to Japanese netizens. Many users place them at the end of a sentence or idea, or even just by themselves!

A lot of kaomojis are clear as to what they mean, such as (^_^;) being embarrassment or (-_-)zzz being sleeping. Some are a little harder, such as m(_ _)m being apologetic (bowing) or (#`Д´) being anger. However, the more you see kaomojis and get used to them, the more you will be able to pick up on their meaning! To learn more about kaomoji usage and see a huge list of faces, try checking out this webpage!


Whether it’s on social media, online games, or just chatting with friends, slang is bound to pop up everywhere you go. Hopefully, now that you have this list of Japanese internet and texting slang, navigating the Japanese web will be a bit easier! The next time you reach that one word, you’ll already know what it means. For more useful tips about life in Japan and the Japanese language, keep following the Coto Academy blog!

Want to talk more like a Japanese native and get more practice in speaking Japanese? Why not check out some of our classes at Coto Academy? We focus on fun, practical lessons. We also have online courses, which would be the perfect place to practice what you’ve just learned! Fill out the form below for a free level check and course consultation.

What are some popular Japanese internet slang terms and expressions used on social media platforms?

Some popular Japanese internet slang terms and expressions used on social media platforms include “w” (short for “warai” meaning laugh), “www” (representing laughter).

Why is it important to know Japanese internet and text slang terms when communicating online with Japanese speakers?

Knowing Japanese internet and text slang terms is important when communicating online with Japanese speakers because it helps to improve understanding and connection with others. These terms are often used in social media, messaging apps, and other forms of digital communication.

How do Japanese internet and text slang terms differ from traditional Japanese language?

Japanese internet and text slang terms differ from the traditional Japanese language in various ways. They are often shorter and more casual, incorporating English words and expressions. Additionally, they can change rapidly over time, making it essential to stay updated with the latest trends.

Can Japanese internet and text slang terms be offensive or inappropriate to use in certain situations?

Yes, some Japanese internet and text slang terms can be offensive or inappropriate to use in certain situations. It is crucial to understand the context and appropriateness of these terms to avoid offending others or using them inappropriately. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when using internet slang in any language.

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