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How to use Japanese internet slang


How to use Japanese internet slang

Welcome back to another “Video & Article” series with tutor Wakako. In this article and video we will talk about how to use Japanese internet slang. Have you ever heard the words “うp”, “ようつべ”, or “ググる”? Well, no worries. This article and video will solve the mystery of what these words could possibly mean!

Table of Contents


Have you ever used Social Media like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter in Japanese? Just like in any language you will find many words, expressions and abbreviations that are not used in actual conversation, but only on the internet or when texting. Let’s take a look at Japanese internet slang in today’s lesson!



The most common slang you’ll find these days is “w”. It is just this one letter, sometimes repeated several times. Can you guess what it means? It means “laugh” – it is basically the Japanese “lol”.
If you know the Japanese word for “laugh” you may be able to draw the connection quickly – “laugh” is “(わら)う” in Japanese. In the early days of the Internet, Japanese people used the Chinese character “(わら)”, putting it in brackets like this: ((わら)
This expressed laughing and humour – the old “lol”. However, after a while the brackets were omitted and people just typed (わら), and then it was further simplified to just “w”.


Now, “w” is a very common slang, so you may have seen or used this before. But do you know there is an even newer version of “laughing”? Young people tend to use “(くさ)” for laughing these days.

For example:

She can dance too good lol

The Chinese character used here means “grass”, or “くさ” in Japanese. So why does “(くさ)” refer to laughing? It’s because when you use many “w” in your text, it looks like this:

それなwwww (おれ)もそう(おも)ったわwww
That’s it LOL, I thought so too LOL

“Www” looks like a lot of grass on the ground. Therefore, people started calling strong laughter “(くさ)”. If you didn’t know the transition of this slang, you could probably never guess that “(くさ)” means “laughing”!

((わら)) > w >(くさ)


Another commonly used slang word is “(おつ)”. This is short for “お(つか)れさま”, which means “Thank you for your hard work”. “(おつ)” is pronounced “otsu”, which is the same pronunciation as the first part of “お(つか)(さま)”. People started to use “(おつ)” to avoid having to type the whole phrase of “お(つか)(さま)”.


Uploading videos or photos is called “うp”. When you type the beginning part of “up” on a Japanese keyboard, it shows as “うp”, so people started using this to mean “to upload” something.

So these two slang words together mean “Thank you for uploading it”:



Can you guess what “ようつべ” could possibly mean? It means “YouTube”. This is because just like with “うp”, when you type “YouTube” on a Japanese keybaord it will end up reading “ようつべ”. You should give it a try!


Have you ever heard someone around you use the word “ググる”? Using this has become so common it can hardly be called a slang word anymore. It means “to search in Google”. In Japanese “~る” is the dictionary form of a verb, so by adding “る” after “ググ” (short for “グーグル”), a coined verb was created.

I don’t understand how to cook this dish!

Did you try googling it?

Comments in Social Media such as Twitter or Youtube might be hard to understand at first because they use very casual language and a lot of slang, but they are real and contemporary words Japanese people use. So you can probably find it interesting.

That is all for today’s lesson. If you have any questions you can always clear them up by booking a lesson with one of our native Japanese tutors. See you next time!

単語たんごリスト(Vocabulary list)
SNS, ソーシャル・ネットワーキング・サービス Social Networking Service
面白(おもしろ) Funny, interesting
w Lol, slang word to express laughing
(くさ) Grass, or slang word to express laughter (like rofl, lol)
(おつ) Slang word for “お(つか)(さま)
うp(する) To upload
ググる To google

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