This year's U-can Buzzword Competition

U-can competitionU-can competitionThis year’s 2007 U-can Buzzword competition winners were revealed last week. If you live in Japan, you have no doubt been unable to escape from the media craze.

Here are a few from the top ten:

Hanikami OujiHanikami Ouji“Hanikami-Ouji”, literally translated as “The Shy Prince” took the top prize. The 15-year old pro-golfer was given the name during the KBS cup by a Setonaikai TV announcer.

Kieta NenkinKieta Nenkin“Kieta Nenkin” or “The Missing Pensions,” a phrase coined by a former financial writer after the LDP announced that they had lost over 5,000 pension records. Minister Masoe who is in charge of correcting this problem, came to pick up his award and profusely apologized, causing an uncomfortable atmosphere at this fun event.

Which leads us to the other buzzword “KY” or “Kuki-Yomenai” which means “Can’t read the atmosphere/air”. Someone is termed ‘KY’ if they are unable to ‘get the hint’ and stop doing whatever they are doing to make the atmosphere awkward.

IkkoIkko“Dondake~” which is too hard to translate but I guess the English version would be something like “Ohmygod!” or “Whatever” is used for shocking situations, especially if someone has been rude to you or you are slightly angry. The make-up artist/transvestite Ikko-san claims to have invented the word but there have been many reported incidents of it actually starting in a dark corner in one of Tokyo’s gay clubs.

Kojima YoshioKojima YoshioAnd lastly (and probably most annoyingly for most of you), “Sonnano Kankei Ne~” came in high on the rankings, reflected by the fact that comedian Kojima Yoshio is on almost every single TV program in Japan at the moment. “Sonnano Kankei Ne~” which roughly means “That doesn’t matter,” has become the catchphrase of 2007. Whether his gags are actually funny is difficult to say but he isn’t expected to last too long so “Sonnano Kankei Ne~” either way.

Other posts by Anna:


I personally prefer his saying 'opapi' but I don't know what it means.

Is there any reason why they took Citroen's logo?

I quite like "oppapiiii" too..."demo sonnano kankei nai."
I don't think it has a meaning really. Just do a silly face and it'll make everyone laugh.

O Pa Pi- is Ocean Pacific Peace!

ie peace around the pacific! no more nukes!!

Hmm..yes, it does look suspiciously like a Citroen Logo. However, on closer inspection you'll see that it's more of a bootleg Citroen logo. The sponsors were actually 'U-can' and that is their logo. U-can are a educational company:

Is this true? Is that what Kojima Yoshio's message is? It really has this deep meaning?


All the sudden, I'm viewing Kojima Yoshio in a new light!

Oh my, I have so many KY friends and never could define their attitude in plain English. I guess I just had to learn a bit of Japanese to do so. Thanks for the explanations and keep it up. It's a fun way of learning a new language.