Japanese Insults (1 of 2)

Updated on December 13, 2016

The Basic Japanese Insults

I frequently get asked by my friends, students, and family members how to say certain "will not be repeated" words in Japanese. "How do you say **** you in Japanese?". To this I always have to respond snidely, "We're too polite and mature a culture to have an equivalent to that word in our language...but here's the next best thing." I'll keep this article PG for everyone's sake, and also because I really don't think American swear words have a literal translation in Japanese. On to the list:

  1. Kuso - This one can be used interchangeably with crap, or the "s" word if you're feeling dangerous. If you drop your hamburger on your suit that you just got back from they dry cleaners, this would be appropriate to say. Want to call someone less than good? Say, "Omae wa kuso da na", which means, "you're crap, aren't you?". Unless you're REALLY good friends with someone, the last comment should obviously be avoided, and using "kuso" as a swear to yourself when botching something up should be used sparingly as well.
  2. Aho - Another classic, this one simply means "idiot" or "simpleton". Just point your stern gaze and drop this one and you'll get your point across. If you forget to take the bathroom slippers off before you leave your business, you may be called this by your friends.
  3. Boke ("Bo" as in little bo peep, and "ke" as in kelly) - Similar to "aho", this one means "senile". If something is completely obvious and a person draws a blank stare in their attempt to grasp it, then you may call them a "boke". In essence, you can use this one as a replacement for "duh".
  4. Kuzu - This literally means trash and, as such, can be used in the exact same way you would use it in English. However, I'd call it a little on the stronger side, and very rarely do I hear this being used, even amongst friends. If you want to hurt someone's feelings, simply say "Kuzu yarou", which means, kind of, "you pile of trash", and then get ready for a fight.
  5. Kasu - Kasu is what's left over from the process of making Sake, after all of the tasty liquid has been removed from the container. There's a food called kasu zuke (zoo-Kelly) that uses the insoluble matter left over from the sake making process to season things like cucumbers. Anyway, the point is, it's the undesired junk that's left after all the good stuff has been taken away. In essence, it means trash, but "kasu" is not as strong as "kuzu", and you hear this used when younger kids especially are joking around. Just looking and saying "kasu" disdainfully is all you need to do.

On to the Next Hub if You're Feeling Ready

You'll find the continuation of this Hub here. For the sake of your good mood and happiness, I didn't want to overload you with too many bad vibes. Perhaps you should take a break and read about something cute and positive (fennec foxes anyone?), and then move on to the rest of the Japanese insults list. Continuation of Japanese Insults here.


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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Aha, so that's what it is! Thanks, Akbok! (and LOL to "what's my name in Japanese?")

    • Akbok profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Aomori prefecture, Japan

      Ruth: I'm glad you live a life full of animosity that merits the use of the multiple bad words I've written about. I envy you!

      Simone: Yeah, kuso is pretty ubiquitous in manga, anime, and tv shows over here. The shikuso you're talking about might be "chikusho" (darn it or damn it)? Thanks!

      Davito: I know exactly what you're talking about when it comes to those questions. It's usually the first thing people ask after "what's my name in Japanese?"

    • DavitosanX profile image


      9 years ago


      I studied some japanese, and people always asked me about the curse words. I got tired of telling them, "I don't know any! Jeez..."

      Now I know some :D Thanks, Akbok

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      9 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh, yay! These are fantastic! I did not know kuso before... but I guess I've heard it a lot... though I guess it always sounded kind of like... "shikuso" before... or something of the sort. Gosh, I wish I spoke Japanese. Great Hub!

    • Ruthcurley profile image


      9 years ago from Bozrah, CT

      LOL, very funny. I knew Kuso but will be glad to use the others now (of course judiciously). It's easy to get carried away swearing in a second language because there are no bad feelings attached to it. :-)


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