Gender[queer],  Japan[ese],  Q&A,  Queer[ness]

Q&A: “Is there a word for non-binary in Japanese that you know of?”

anonymous said:

I’m going to be moving to Japan in a couple of months for work, and I am non-binary. Is there a word for non-binary in Japanese that you know of? Also, I usually use 私 in school/professional settings but I tend to use 僕 and more masculine language around my friends that know Japanese. Is it advisable to use pronouns like this or should I just use female pronouns even though I barely identify with female? I will probably be in a fairly rural area. (would you mind tagging as w so i can find?)

hi and welcome to Japan in advance. 🙂

Xジェンダー / x-gender is the Japanese equivalent of non-binary. just as with the word non-binary in English speaking countries, the majority of people in Japan will have never heard of the word Xジェンダー unless you’re in trans friendly / aware spaces. the word exists and awareness of Xジェンダー people is rising in Japan just as non-binary awareness is rising in other countries, but you’ll still find yourself having to explain what the word even means a lot. even to LGBT people.

re: pronouns, my recommendation would be to continue what you’re already doing now when you get to Japan, at least in the beginning while you’re still getting to know the people around you and what you can and can’t get away with.

personally, i do pretty much the same thing. i use 私 at work, outside of work i tend to avoid pronouns for myself all together (which thankfully is possible in Japanese) or i alternate between various pronouns because i don’t feel comfortable using any of them.

it helps me to keep in mind that 私 is not a strictly feminine/female pronoun, especially in work/business settings. it’s considered polite / humble and is commonly used by both men and women when speaking formally or humbly.

….i have to keep reminding myself of that every time i involuntarily cringe when i hear myself use it. it’s been hard unlearning what my college textbooks taught (or rather didn’t teach) me about 私. ( ´Д`)=3

anyway, i hope the post that probably triggered this ask hasn’t made you too anxious about coming to Japan. there are shitty things about Japan just like any other country, but i’m sure you’ll have a great time here. feel free to contact me by ask or private message anytime if you ever need help or anything. 🙂

YouTuber and Blogger, Vesper is an American expat currently living in Japan.

Leave a comment?