Most Japanese people have no clue what the English slogans on their shirts actually mean

Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

Japanese fashion brands made an habit of using English statements on their T-shirts. Even German words and phrases seemed pretty popular on my last trip to Japan. I found some relatively nice shirts with fruit names in German written on them. Apfel (Apple) for example. So nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a little different when a young schoolgirl in her puberty walks around with a shirt that says “heavy bitch”. Might not exactly be the statement she intended for herself. Most phrases are harmless though but often times just don’t make any sense. More and more Katakana is used by Western fashion brands nowadays so maybe we might see some nice reverse examples over here soon.

A Japanese TV-show went outside to the streets of Tokyo and interviewed some random people if they know what the phrases on their shirts actually mean. Most had no clue whatsoever. In the end it doesn’t really matter if the font adds something to the design and you’re not branding yourself an idiot with the message. I’m rarely wearing prints and always found “fashion with a message” a little cheesy. Just remember: Fuck celeb.

Picture by TokyoFashion

Written By
More from Jakob

My story about collecting Bape / A Bathing Ape

I still enjoy my humble Bape collection but am not that fond...
Read More
  • Lars Bos

    That’s something I noticed too, they tend to use a lot of filler words “Blue Volcano” “Hippy Tiger” But I think the main reason is that they like the phonetic sound of those words. Same thing with anime episodes (especially cowboy bebop). Which reminds me, if you want another look in the fascinating lives of Japanese youth (who quite regularly use those words) I suggest you start watching Terrace House on netflix. Should be boring, but it isn’t!

    • Never heard of Terrace House before and have yet to watch another Japanese netflix production: Atelier. Will give TH a go later today. Thanks for recommending. Strange that the netflix algorithm didn’t promote that one already.

      • Lars Bos

        Oh really? You’re in for a treat then! 6 young people living in a villa in Tokyo with a nice car. And while the western realityshows rely on fighting and arguing, these guys are exceptionally polite. It really is a very interesting look in the daily live of Japanese youth. There is also a Terrace House Hawai, but you should start with “boys and girls in the city”