”As a Japanese person, it’s not something I can feel proud about,” says commenter as British royal family shakeup teaches English vocabulary.

This week, the U.K.’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced their intention to relinquish their positions as senior members of the British royal family, and also their goal of becoming financially independent. It’s a big shakeup for the monarchy and its traditions, and one on which public opinion is, understandably, divided.

One supporter of the move, however, is U.S. comedian Ziwe Fumudoh, who tweeted that she was “proud of meghan markle for yoko ono-ing the royal family.”

The general population in Japan isn’t getting very worked up either way over Harry and Meghan’s decision (Japan’s just got through its own changing of the aristocracy, after all). However, a number of Japanese Twitter users, such as @hosizoragohan, were startled to find out that “Yoko Ono” can be used as a verb.

“I didn’t know what it meant for Meghan to be ‘yoko ono-ing,’ but it looks like it’s the English version of being a ‘circle crusher.’”

As referenced in the above tweet, Japanese slang uses the term “circle crusher” to describe someone, generally a female, who joins a school club (which are called “circles” in Japan) and sparks a breakdown in the friendship between existing members, often because of an active or desired romantic relationship. But while the concept of an outsider busting up a group that was functioning fine and friendlily until she came along exists in Japan, Japanese peoples’ minds don’t immediately jump to Yoko Ono when they think of someone like that, leading to other Twitter reactions including:

“Whoa, Yoko Ono became a verb!”
“But you could also say that Yoko Ono saved John Lennon’s soul. Using ‘Yoko Ono-ing’ like that shows the negative character of British [sic] people.”
“Even to this day, outside of Japan she’s treated as the person who destroyed the Beatles.”
“I remember reading an English article about Courtney Love 30 years ago, and they said she Yoko Ono-ed [Nirvana] 😅As a Japanese person, it’s not something I can feel proud about.”
“What a nasty, vulgar way to describe it. Yoko Ono did nothing wrong.”
“Well, that’s the world’s most famous Japanese person for you.”

Calling Yoko Ono the world’s most famous Japanese person is a bit of a stretch (if this international poll is anything to go by), but as the first person named “Yoko” or “Ono” that many English speakers learn about, perhaps it’s not surprising that her short, easy-to-remember name gets used as a shorthand verb for “breaking up a group dynamic.” If it’s any comfort for the conceptual artist, though, at least her name hasn’t become slang for “giving a really unsatisfying concert at Glastonbury Festival.”

Source: Twitter/@hosizoragohan via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Wikipedia/Mr.Nostalgic
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he was brought up in a family that listened to a lot of Motown and the Ramones.