‘Bakugai,’ ‘toripuru suri’ share top honors as year’s most memorable buzzwords in Japan

by and

Staff Writers

This year’s most memorable buzzwords in Japan were announced Tuesday, with the words bakugai (explosive shopping spree carried out by Chinese tourists) and toripuru suri (“Triple Three” achievements in baseball) jointly taking home the top honors.

Eight other winners of the 2015 U-Can Shingo Ryukogo Taisho (2015 U-Can New Words and Buzzwords Awards), announced by the Jiyukokuminsha publishing house, included two phrases tied to political events, most notably the Diet’s passage in September of the controversial security bills, and the massive protests organized by the bills’ opponents.

Shuntaro Torigoe, a journalist who headed the selection committee, said 2015 was a year of politics.

The winners are “a mirror to reflect the reality of Japan,” Torigoe said at an awards ceremony in Tokyo. “The top 10 list shows what Japanese society looked like this year.”

Meanwhile, Luo Yiwen, president of the Laox electronics store chain and one of the award recipients, said his company will strive to keep the bakugai phenomenon going. “Bakugai shows the high quality of Japanese goods,” he said.

The buzzwords were chosen from a short list of 50 words and phrases that were picked based on results from a questionnaire answered by readers of an annually published book explaining news events.

Here are some explanations of the year’s best and other top buzzwords:

Grand prize:

Bakugai

“Explosive shopping spree” — a phrase referring to record-level shopping sprees by Chinese tourists.

Toripuru suri

“Triple Three” — a rare baseball achievement in which a player excels in three categories: a .300 or better batting average, 30 or more home runs, and 30 or more stolen bases. Two players — the Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ Tetsuto Yamada and the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks’ Yuki Yanagita — achieved the feat this year.

Other winners include:

Abe seiji wo yurusanai

“We will not tolerate Abe’s politics” — a slogan used by people opposed to the security legislation backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and later passed by the Diet.

Anshin shite kudasai, haite masu yo

“Don’t worry, I have my underwear on” — a pet phrase used by comedian Tonikaku Akarui Yasumura, who appears on stage wearing just underpants and strikes poses that make him look like he is completely naked.

Ichioku so katsuyaku shakai

“A society in which all 100 million people have an active role to play” — a policy goal announced by Abe when he reshuffled his Cabinet in October, with a ministerial post named for the task.

Enburemu

“Emblem” — a word that appeared frequently in the media in the wake of plagiarism allegations surrounding the now-withdrawn logo designed by Kenjiro Sano for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Goromaru pozu

“Goromaru pose” — rugby star Ayumu Goromaru’s trademark pose before making a kick.

SEALDs

The acronym for Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy, the youth protest group that mobilized tens of thousands of demonstrators against the security legislation.

Doron

“Drone” — A man was arrested in April for landing a drone carrying trace amounts of radioactive materials on the roof of Abe’s office, prompting the government to draw up new laws on the previously unregulated activity of flying drones.

Mainichi, Shuzo!

“The Daily Shuzo” — the name of a page-a-day calendar filled with over-the-top motivational messages by tennis pro-turned-TV commentator Shuzo Matsuoka.

  • Heather Hopkins Clement

    It would be nice if this article included these buzzwords in Japanese–not just romanization.

    • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

      Are they really buzzwords that *every body* is using, or are they just a segment on the wide-shows? Seriously, learn proper Japanese instead of something that will be ‘so yesterday’ in 3 months?

      • J.P. Bunny

        Yep. “Everybody” was using the top buzzwords last year as well. Can anybody remember any of them?

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        How about ‘Kizuna’? That’s all been forgotten (along with the Tohoku homeless) now that Abe wants nuclear power back on!

      • J.P. Bunny

        Luckily, all those words went in one ear and out the other (if I even bothered to pay attention). The only one I can remember is “Gets!” and that’s because Japanese TV won’t let Dandy Sakano stay dead and buried.

  • ishyg

    Bakugai is really fitting. I’ve visited Akihabara last weekend and I saw a tour bus used by the Chinese, with them standing outside with their bags full of Japanese electronics like rice cooker and stuff. The only thing that comes to mind before when talking about Akiba and foreigners are fellow anime and idol fans.

    Also, and I really do think this is weird and a bit ironic, but we saw Chinese tourists in Ginza shopping for luggage.

    • http://durf.org/ Peter Durfee

      The luggage is a pretty standard buy for this tourist set. You come to Japan with a small bag and leave with a bunch of large ones containing all your purchases for yourself, your family, and your friends.

      • ishyg

        That makes sense. I probably didn’t picture it like that at first since I don’t frequently travel out of the country for touring.

        The weird thing is that, while what you said makes sense, they’re buying several luggages. Luggage as souvenir?

      • ishyg

        That makes sense. I probably didn’t picture it like that at first since I don’t frequently travel out of the country for touring.

        The weird thing is that, while what you said makes sense, they’re buying several luggages. Luggage as souvenir?

  • Heather Hopkins Clement

    Thanks, Peter!