PhotoGuide Japan PhotoWords

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Last updated: 2005-06-18

Compiled and written by Philbert Ono

What's this? List of photography-related words in English and Japanese. The Main List has 1100+ words (click on the alphabet links). Many of the words are also categorized in separate lists (General, Camera, etc.). Meanwhile, the J-E List is a separate Japanese-to-English list of essential words not included in the Main List. And Signs is a photo gallery of Japanese signs explained in English.

Note: If the Japanese term contains an English word, the English word is spelled in normal English in the romanization. This is for easier recognition and maybe easier pronunciation and understanding. If the Japanese term is identical to the Engiish, a left arrow <- is displayed (you still have to pronounce it in the Japanese katakana way). Macrons are provided to indicate long vowel sounds. Credits here.

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Adult-Oriented Words
ROMANIZATION
ENGLISH
JAPANESE
REMARKS
can gal campaign girl キャンギャル They appear on posters and other PR materials promoting swimwear, travel destinations, beer, and other products.
companion female attendants at trade shows コンパニオン Prevalent at camera and computer shows. They man the brochure booths and stand next to or hold the products.
etchi na shashin racy or sexy photo H(エッチ)な写真 Usually semi-nude, cleavage, or perhaps a long slit up the leg. "H" is the acronym for "hentai" meaning pervert. Note that it is pronounced "etchi" instead of the normal "eichi."
gravure gravure (literally) グラビア This usually refers to bikini or nude pictorials in magazines and Web sites. It has nothing to do with the printing process or technology called "photogravure."
hair nude nude photo with pubic hair exposed ヘアヌード This term became popular from the early 1990s when the pubic hair ban was lifted for books and magazines. Until then, pubic hair was censored in Japan.
hair shashinshu photo book showing pubic hair ヘア写真集 Such books became popular from the early 1990s when the pubic hair ban was lifted for books and magazines. Until then, pubic hair was censored in Japan.
nusumi-tori See tōsatsu. 盗み撮り  
sekigaisen tōsatsu infrared photos of women whose clothing look transparent through the infrared filter 赤外線盗撮、透視撮影、赤外線透視 This is illegal, but widely available at video shops.
race queen young female attendants at raceway parks レースクイーン Young women hired by racing teams at the race track for PR purposes. They wear eye-catching costumes (often miniskirts) bearing the sponsor's logo. Since posing for photographers is part of the job, they are a favorite subject for lonely photographers.
self nude nude self-portrait セルフヌード In the 1990s, many young Japanese women photographed themselves in the nude to gain attention. This word was thus coined. Often abbreviated as just "self."
suke-suke transparent スケスケ  
tanima cleavage 谷間 Literally, "valley in-between."
three size woman's measurements スリーサイズ

In Japan, they are measured in centimeters, not inches. The chest measurement is "bust size." A woman is considered to be busty from 90 cm.

tōsatsu (also nusumi-tori) peeping-tom photo 盗撮 Usually illegal, but very prevalent in Japan. Women should beware of hidden cameras (and camera phones) in locker rooms, toilets, hot springs, dressing rooms, etc. Also, infrared photographers at the beach and upskirt photographers on stairs and escalators. There are women hired to place hidden cameras or to photograph you unawares. Such photos and videos are legally sold or rented at video shops and Web sites.
waisetsu shashin obscene photograph わいせつ写真 This term is always associated with a crime or coerced posing rather than porno pictures.

A |  B |  C |  D |  E |  F |  G |  H |  I |  J |  K |  L |  M
N |  O |  P |  Q |  R |  S |  T |  U |  V |  W |  X |  Y |  Z 
  J-E List | Signs | General | Camera | Lens | Accessory | Digital | Supplies

  PhotoWords  Web 

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Transmitting from Tokyo, Japan.