Summer: So, the first question is about the (1)definition of “azatoi” in Japanese and how it has recently started to (2)shift from a negative one into a positive one. In the past, it meant someone who was (3)calculating, but now can (4)refer to someone, I (5)defined it as “clever in their (6)interactions with others.” But there are other (7)connotations to the words[word], it seems, such as “burikko,” (8)etc. Um, I’d like to ask you guys, what does an azatoi person look like in Japan?

Kyoka: It’s a really difficult word, because it’s like a cultural word, isn’t it? If, if you see it in America or, like, if you say it in other countries, it has their own culture within it, so . . . It’s really hard, definition, but I think we all can agree that this word basically means “being cute.” Right?

Tak: It’s pretty much the same as being cute, but I’m thinking, like, azatoi is like being (9)overly cute, like an (10)exaggerated version of cute.

Ko: The word azatoi, it’s like somebody who’s kind of, like, calculating, they’re (11)sneaky. It can be, like, even at work, if someone’s trying to (12)move up in the job. Originally, it’s (13)not necessarily (14)gender specific, right? ’Cause I’m like Summer, I didn’t hear the word azatoi a lot when I was (at university in Japan), it’s actually kind of (15)pretty recently, mostly for this, ha-ha, kind of event.

Kyoka: Personally, azatoi (16)started off with the word of expressing, in, a certain type of (17)cute(ness). Like, if there’s lots of genres to choose. But then it was mostly known a—for girls because girls would (18)pretend to be, or show them, their cuteness in order to gain interest. I think Tak said, it’s like an over-calculated thing in the beginning, but now it’s not like a calculation, it’s more of something that’s fun, that everyone’s enjoying to do. In particular, it’s like “ensyutsu,” if you say it in Japanese — it’s really hard to express this in English. It’s a way of expression of[for] acting, as cute. So if they’re doing it naturally, it might not be azatoi. It might be a certain overly dramatic . . . It’s like, “Oh, this person’s like an anime character.” For, for example, like you’d say it in America, and in English, I’d say to you “This girl’s a really, cutie. She’s a (19)bubbly person.” It would be kind of the same thing, but in Japan, they’d say “tennen.” So it’s like a natural expression. For example, though, that’s like a habit. But azatoi would be really (20)on purpose.







(1)definition 定義 (2)shift from A into B AからBへ変化する (3)calculating 計算高い、打算的な ★後出のcalculationは名詞で「計算、打算」の意。 (4)refer to ~ ~に言及する、~のことを指す (5)define A as B AをBだと定義する (6)interaction 意思の疎通 (7)connotation 言外の意味、含み (8)etc. ~など (9)overly 過度に (10)exaggerated 大げさな (11)sneaky 卑劣な、こそこそする (12)move up in ~ ~で出世する (13)not necessarily 必ずしも~ない (14)gender specific 一方の性に特定した (15)pretty かなり (16)start off with ~ ~から始める (17)cuteness かわいらしさ (18)pretend to be ~ ~であるふりをする ★後出のcutieは形容詞で「かわいい」の意。 (19)bubbly 明るい (20)on purpose わざと、故意に ★後出のpurposefulは「意図した」の意。


Tak: So it’s a really (1)blurred line between a purposeful azatoi — like, someone who’s naturally like that. I think there’s a (2)thin line. But if you’re doing it (3)knowingly to get a certain, a goal, to achieve something, then maybe that’s considered azatoi. I think there’s not so much of a negative connotation to the word anymore. It’s not even a bad thing to be azatoi. I think it’s because there’s a lot of celebrities that are (4)categorized as azatoi, but they’re really (5)wellliked by both men and women, um, of all ages. So

Kyoka: A lot of J—people in Japan, I guess, especially the celebrities, do it often. And I think the word azatoi really got its word, when it started off with the idol community, because it’s really well-known to the idol community.

Tak: (6)There’s no word for azatoi, obviously, but — or a burikko — I’m thinking, like, (7)Baby Spice (8)comes really close to that in popular culture. The Spice Girls, they have their different personalities, it’s like a really (9)manufactured character, but a lot of people like Baby Spice. In movies, too . . . I’m think—(10)Reese Witherspoon in (11)Legally Blonde k—kind of plays, like, a (12)ditzy, like, cute character but also really intelligent. I think those characters come close to burikko and azatoi. They’re still likable characters in North American culture, I think.

Ko: I don’t know about, if I can agree with you about Legally Blonde, because her character is, like, one of those kind of people who’s, like, a hundred percent, like, so I don’t know if she’s being calculating. For me, I would look at (13)Mean Girls, the movie, (14)Regina George’s character. “Oh, I love your bracelet!” (15)or something like that, she doesn’t really mean it. She’s just trying to get that person to like them — which is not a good thing.






(1)blurred はっきりしない (2)thin line 際どい境界線 (3)knowingly 認識して (4)categorize A as B AをBとして分類する (5)well-liked 好かれて (6)there’s no word for ~ ~を表す言葉がない (7)Baby Spice ベイビー・スパイス ★(1976- )。本名はエマ・バントン。イギリスの5人組女性アイドルグループ「スパイス・ガールズ」のメンバー。 (8)come close to ~ ~に近づく (9)manufactured 作られた (10)Reese Witherspoon リース・ウィザースプーン ★(1976- )。アメリカの俳優。 (11)Legally Blonde 『キューティ・ブロンド』 ★ 2001年のアメリカ映画。一流大学を舞台にブロンド女子学生が奮闘するコメディー。 (12)ditzy 間抜けな (13)Mean Girls 『ミーン・ガールズ』 ★ 2004年のアメリカ映画。高校が舞台のコメディードラマ。 (14)Regina George レジーナ・ジョージ ★映画『ミーン・ガールズ』の登場人物で、セレブ女子グループのリーダー。 (15)~ or something like that ~とかそのような





※本記事は、『ENGLISH JOURNAL』2021年6月号特集の内容を再構成したものです。


サマー・レイン(Summer Rane)

サマー・レイン(Summer Rane) アメリカ、シアトル出身。早稲田大学卒業後、東京大学大学院で研究を行い、現在はスタンフォード大学大学院言語学博士課程在籍。10年以上の英会話講師としての活動を基に、英語教材の執筆や、YouTubeで英会話コンテンツを配信中。