• SHARE

Last year saw a lot of new Japanese terminology pop up in conversations about the 新型コロナウイルス (shingata koronauirusu, novel coronavirus). Below are a few examples of what has been seen in headlines during the first three months of 2021:

  • 下げ止まり (sagedomari): A compound verb of 下がる (sagaru, to fall) and 止まる (tomaru, to stop), meaning something that has been decreasing has come to a halt. You’ll hear the media use 下げ止まり to describe the stagnation of coronavirus cases. Ex.: 首都圏4都県では感染者数の減少ペースが下げ止まっている (Shuto yon-todōfuken de wa kansenshasū no genshō pēsu ga sagedomatte-iru, The number of coronavirus infections has bottomed out in four prefectures and in [the Tokyo] metropolitan area).
  • アフター・コロナ (afutā korona): While ウィズ・コロナ (wizu korona, with coronavirus) was used frequently last year to describe life during the pandemic, アフター・コロナ refers to a time “after coronavirus” when we’ve all hopefully had our vaccinations. Ex.: アフター・コロナに備え、貯金を始めた (Afutā korona ni sonae, chokin o hajimeta, In preparing for the post-COVID era, I’ve started to save money).
  • リバウンド (ribaundo): Taken from the English “rebound,” this word is often used with regard to regaining weight after a diet. These days, however, it’s being used to suggest the risk of a resurgence in infections. Ex.: コロナウイルスの感染状況は下げ止まりどころか、リバウンドの可能性もある (Koronauirusu no kansen jōkyō wa sagedomari dokoro ka, ribaundo no kanōsei mo aru, The situation of infections has come to a halt, but a rebound is possible).
  • 二重マスク (nijū masuku): As the kanji suggests, this term refers to the wearing of two face masks for better protection from the coronavirus’ variants. Ex.: 二重マスクをする人が増えている (Nijū masuku o suru hito ga fuete-iru, More and more people are wearing two masks).
  • 辞退ドミノ (jitai domino): This term brings together 辞退 (jitai, refusal/ pulling out [of a race]) with ドミノ (domino), which refers to the English idea of a “domino effect” (when one event initiates a succession of similar events). After Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori’s sexist remarks, a number of torch bearers declared they would withdraw from participating in the torch run. Some, however, withdrew due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Ex.: 聖火ランナーの辞退ドミノが止まらない (Seika rannā no jitai domino ga tomaranai, The withdrawal of torch runners doesn’t seem to be stopping).

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)