Japan Word of the Day #45 – Naka No Hito (person inside a character)

Today’s Word is: Naka No Hito (中の人)

Naka no hito” is an internet slang term for a saiyuu(声優), a voice actor casted for a certain character in anime and games. Naka (中) means “inside,” and hito (人) means “person.” Thus its literal translation would be a “person inside.” Here’s an example for how to use it in a sentence.

「ヤムチャの中の人ってタキシード仮面と同じ人だよね」
“Yamcha’s voice actor (naka no hito) is the same as that of Tuxedo Kamen, isn’t it?”

yamcha-dragonball-rinkya-japantuxedo-mask-rinkya-japan

 

Naka no hito for the two characters above are Toru Furuya, who’s voiced for numerous characters including Amuro Ray (Gundam), Pegasus Seiya (Saint Seiya), Koyuske Kasuga (Kimagure Orange Road), etc.

The term was originally meant for voice actors only, but nowadays it is also used for anyone whose profession is to act out characters other than themselves. Thus any actors for live-action films (not just voice actors but Hollywood actors), people in charge of running corporate Twitter accounts (for example, IKEA Japan’s Twitter personality is quite funny and popular), people inside yurukyara mascot suits, and so on.

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