Find out this year’s trendiest slang for Japanese female teenagers and you’ll be grouped in the cool crowd while strutting the streets of Shibuya.

It seems that young women have always played a pivotal role in popularizing new slang and influencing linguistic trends throughout modern Japanese history. Sometimes these new language forms are inaccessible to those even just 10 years older, who are then left scratching their heads and wondering if what they heard is actually a foreign language.

We previously shared the nominees for the 2019 top buzzwords in Japan, but today, let’s take a look at the 2019 Buzzword Awards as chosen by none other than Japanese JC (slang for “joshi chugakusei”, which translates to “junior high school girls”) and JK (slang for “joshi kosei”, which translates to “senior high school girls”). The top selections were voted on by a team of female students at AMF (“Appreciation, Modesty, Full Power”), a company established in 2013 by then 15-year-old Rika Shiiki whose goal is to conduct independent networking, research, and marketing into the trends of Japanese female junior high school and high school students while at the same time introducing cute JC & JK trends worldwide. The selected buzzwords were arranged and ranked within the four separate categories of People, Things, Apps, and Language.

Without further ado, let’s introduce the top buzzwords in each category before they become obsolete!

▼ JC & JK Buzzword Awards 2019 / JC・JK流行語大賞2019

People category: Official Hige Dandism / Official 髭男dism

Called “Higedan” for short, this four-member male band is extremely popular among Japanese junior and senior high school girls. They gained immense popularity through YouTube and other subscription-based services for their catchy melodies and lyrics, not to mention wholesome music videos.

▼ The song “Pretender” became a mega-hit in April 2019.

Things category: HandClap dance / ハンドクラップダンス

Set to the song “HandClap” by Fitz and the Tantrums, this dance refers to a workout choreographed by two Korean YouTubers that’s said to help you lose 10 kilograms (22 pounds) in the span of two weeks. With its quick movements, simple gestures, and upbeat tune, the routine has become a popular selection for Cultural Festivals and Sports Days held annually at schools throughout Japan.

Just try watching this video without moving your hands at all!

Apps category: Soda / SODA

Soda is a very common camera app used especially by female students that provides instant styling, makeup, and beauty enhancement filters at the moment a photo is taken. Among young Japanese women, there’s a kind tacit agreement that you will always, always take photos of each other through Soda and not through your regular phone camera…

▼ A comparison of three different photo apps. The second photo uses Soda.

Language category: Pien / ぴえん

Pien is a shortened form of pieeen, which is internet slang for a crying sound that you make when something unfortunate has happened. It’s often used throughout social media at the end of a sentence and in tandem with a sad emoji.

Sample tweet: “Good night, everyone!! Pien. Vacation is over…”

In similar fashion, the team at AMF also put out a list of up-and-coming buzzwords that they think will make it big in 2020. Keep your eyes and ears open for the following top winners as we head into the new decade.

▼ 2020 JC & JK Trend Predictions / 2020年JC・JKトレンド予測

People category: Kyutaro Sueyoshi / 末吉9太郎

Kyutaro is one of the five members of CUBERS, a J-Pop group formed in 2015. He’s a self-described “idol otaku idol” and often posts funny videos of himself parodying other otaku with his trademark high-pitched voice and squeals. He also popularized the phrase waita~! (which appears as the second entry in the Language category) as slang for when you’re really excited about something. The AMF team predicted that he’ll become a household name next year.

A typical post on Kyutaro’s Twitter account: “An otaku taking a commemorative photo after a concert”

Things category: Chinese-style makeup / 中華メイク

We’ve seen Japanese women, including our own Japanese-language reporter Meg, embrace Korean makeup trends over the past decade. Moving into the future, it seems like Chinese trends will be on the rise in Japan. The Chinese style is marked by its use of dark eyeliner and vivid red lipstick. Japanese YouTuber Shikanoma introduced the current Chinese-style makeup trend on her channel over the summer and has greatly contributed to the beginning of its spread.

Shikanoma’s video shows viewers how to apply makeup in the most popular Chinese way.

Apps category: Daigojinkaku / 第五人格

Identity V, as it’s called in English, is a survival horror mobile game set in an aesthetically gothic-looking world. While originally published by a Chinese company, the global version is now available for you to download today and become an expert in survival by early next year.

▼ The original trailer for Identity V

Language category: Wanhon / 網紅

Pronounced wanhon in Japanese (from the Chinese wang hong), this is a general term used to describe a social media influencer within the Chinese cultural sphere (including YouTubers, bloggers, etc.). A wanhon has amazing clout and reaps the economic benefits of their popularity, sometimes to the same degree as top actors. The term is gaining traction in Japan largely due to the number of young Japanese women whose goals are to become a top wanhon themselves.

If the female team at AMF is correct, 2020 will see a rise of Chinese influence among young women in Japan. With certain Studio Ghibli films making their debut in China in 2019, we wonder if the opposite will also prove to be true.

Source: PR Times
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: PR Times
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