This Is How We Talk About Japanese College Girls, And It’s Not Okay


This article will introduce you to the most degrading and just simply mean terms being said all over Japan as if its not a big deal or “its just a joke, get over yourself.” But is it really ok to just laugh about it that young men treat us like this? I don’t think it’s normal. Maybe I’m being “too American” or “too dramatic”. Although, I truly think it is about time for Japan as a country to be educated in general about sexism. Have a seat and sympathize with Japanese female college students because we are reassured that once you hit that senior bar, it’s the end of it. Quite literally as well.

Here are the terms we get assigned for so generously:

Freshman (Ichi-hime)

Ichi-hime means “first princess.” It is pretty universal by now that freshman’s in college is like the branding year of the self. No one knows you so it’s the time when people label you as basically hot or not. If you be the “it girl” you basically set your college life with the insurance of hundreds and hundreds of Instagram likes. On top of that, if you’re in Japan, you will be treated royal just like a princess!! Yayyyy! If I say that I’m a freshman in Japan, men will crawl all over me. There was not a single weekend I wasn’t invited going out for drinks during freshman year because we get more invitations than seniors. We all know by now of the culture of “kawaii” in Japan. If you’re a freshman in Japan, literally every man will tell you “your so kawaii! Are you a freshman??” “I knew it! Freshman’s are always kawaii!!” They go nuts over Ichi-hime’s…. And literally will pretty much do anything for them….

Sophomore (Ni-gal)

So if you’re a sophomore, you will either be the same person or a total different person who goes off track a little bit. Because you basically learned what college is like in a year and now you just have to do the same thing all over again, OR maybe explore and have more FUN. In Japan, Gals are a term used for girls who walk around with super short skirts, 5 pounds of makeup, maybe 8 pounds of perfume and walking around with guys 24/7. I guess it’s called a “slut” if I want to translate it in English. But slut is a loaded word for me so I don’t like to use it. Anyways, sophomore girls are people who want attention according to all of my male Japanese friends. Because they were treated royal last year but now basically they are treated like crap because they aged a year. So this is why how female sophomore’s in Japan tries to out shine the freshman’s by doing some frisky things… But it’s useless, because we’re just aging and no one can stop that right?

Juniors (San-baba)

San-baba means “third old lady”. At this point, your tuning 21 and you start worrying about your skin condition, wrinkles, you can’t pull off all nighters anymore and whatever girls are screaming about. Whenever I introduce myself as a junior in Japan, men degraded me so often. I went out to drink with my friends among other freshman’s and sophomore’s. When I said I can’t drink anymore, men will say “What?! How can you already be finished?!” “Your so boring!!!” “It’s the sign that you’re getting old!!”, etc. BUT, when a freshman (Ichi-hime) says she can’t drink anymore, all of the guys are WILLING to drink for them or to help them with any kind of inconvenience the freshman is having. They basically get all the support that the freshman needs. To be honest, when men say stuff like that in front of me, I get really upset and even a little weird out about it. How can they casually say something that is pretty much a trigger word as being a sexist?? I guess we all live in Japan, and sexism is “not a thing” so no one cares.

Seniors (Shikabane)

I’m assuming you all get my point by now but once you hit the senior bar, you are close to a dead person. Shikabane means literally “dead body.” WOW. Thank you for basically erasing me from this planet and treating me as if I’m not alive anymore. I went out drinking a few months ago with a mixture of all grades. I was already prepared that I was going to be treated like nothing so I was just chillin and minding my own business talking with my friends. Then a guy came up to us and said, “You guys look so bored! All the other freshmen are drinking like crazy over there! So much to be a Shikabane, ha?!” (chuckle) I was not pissed at the moment, but I was like “For the love of god, why does it have to be about the age or the grade we are in that determines are fun or youth?!” WHAT? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY GENERATION IN JAPAN?!

These are the “fancy-sexist terms” that you will be entitled to during your college life in Japan. I mean towards the end, my mind was conscious that “I’m gonna be treated like crap once I get old, so I should use my time wisely while I’m a freshman”. My mind was perfectly set and ready that as a woman in Japan, getting old will suck so I just had to deal with it.

Although, if men are treating a 22 year old like crap, how is like for mature adults in their late 20s and over in society? I sort of get the idea that it’s not great. Of course it’s not great. Who am I kidding? Men in Japan are used to calling out women as we age. It’s almost obligation for them to say so because there’s no fun if you don’t joke or laugh around about it. These days, Kris Jenner (FYI Kim Kardashian’s mom) gets so much bashing that “she’s not acting/dressing her age”. I think that’s really mean. Of course, there is a line when you’re dressing exactly the same way with your 16 year old daughter, but showing off skin or wearing high heels shouldn’t be a taboo “because we are old”.

I lived in Japan my whole life for 22 years now and I received s**t loads of degrading comments from men my age. I am worried for Japan when men my generation says so called sexist things to women as if it is normal and “It’s just a joke”. I wrote this piece because I want the world and Japan to know that Japanese men are uneducated about a lot of stuff and I want them to know that the S**t you guys say, is not ok. And I had it with ignorant people but I’m ready to sit down and talk.