Japan[ese],  Q&A

Q&A: “I showed a friend your post about how to say you’re nonbinary in Japanese, but he’s a demiboy…”

anonymous said:

I showed a friend your post about how to say you’re nonbinary in Japanese, but he’s a demiboy and there wasn’t anything for demiboys specifically on the list. I was trying to figure out what would work (barring katakana), and I came up with 半男、やや男、and 男の一種. Which of these would be better (or is there already a Japanese term?)

(re: this post)

sorry for taking so long to respond to your ask!

i’m afraid that i haven’t come across a Japanese equivalent (or even approximate) to “demiboy” (or to demigenders in general). the closest thing that i can think of is the commonly used:

  • FtMよりのXジェンダー / FtM yori no x-gender /(an) FtM-ish non-binary (person)
  • 男よりのXジェンダー / otoko yori no x-gender /(a) mannish non-binary (person)

………mmmm, yeah. *cough* as i said, these phrases are commonly used in Japanese, but your friend may not feel comfortable using them. understandably so.

i would caution against using 半男 (”handan” / “han otoko”) since (to me) it implies that one is literally half (50%) male, when in reality i think that many demigenders cannot be / shouldn’t have to be quantified like that…? やや男… given the context of this post, i understand what you mean by this. i suppose this could be used to describe one’s gender as a demiboy, but as a standalone word for a gender identity, i’m not so sure. i’d advise against using 男の一種 (”otoko no isshu”) as (to me) it sounds more like how one’d talk about different animal species or types of inanimate objects rather than gender identities…? i don’t know…

honestly, if i were in your friend’s situation, i’d personally use the phonetic equivalent of demiboy in katakana (デミボイ) alongside additional clarification in Japanese because:

  • i’d end up having to clarify what i mean using lots of words regardless; there’s no circumnavigating that even if you come up with something in Japanese.
  • “demiboy” itself is an identity that originates outside of Japan. no point trying to get around or ignoring that fact by not using katakana, imho.
  • even if a native Japanese equivalent does eventually come about, it may not necessarily carry with it all of the meanings or nuances that one wishes to convey with “demiboy”.

if your friend isn’t opposed to communicating his gender without trying to condense it into a single word or phrase, perhaps he could say something like:

jp: 《boku / watashi / jibun wa》 otoko ya otokorashisa to no kizuna wo kanjiru node, aru teido wa dansei to shite no seijinin wo motteru kedo, kanzen ni otoko de wa nai. demiboi desu.
en: i feel a connection to men and / or masculinity, so to some extent i identify as a man, but i’m not entirely a man. i’m a demiboy.

…as someone who is not only not in your friend’s shoes, but who is also not demigender themself, i don’t know if the above is an accurate description of your friend’s demiboy identity. if not, i apologize; please take it with a grain of salt.

either way, i hope there’s something in this tl;dr post that your friend finds helpful. perhaps others have suggestions that they could share in the notes? best wishes!

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

Leave a comment?