Japan Word of the Day #70 – Nanpa


Today’s Word is: Nanpa (ナンパ)

Nanpa is a way of flirting, seducing, or picking up women that is commonly performed by Japanese men. It could be translated as “girl hunting” in today’s culture. Subjects of nanpa are usually strangers to the ones who perform it, and it usually takes place in public (on streets, train stations, restaurants, bars…also on internet in recent case).

Nanpa was originally an adjective to describe someone who is traditionally considered “soft” in terms of dressing up in flamboyant styles and has tendency to indulge himself. Nanpa in this case is usually written in kanji (軟派), as opposed to the other one which is written in katakana (ナンパ).

When girls try to pick up men in a similar fashion, it’s called “gyakunan” (逆ナン), where gyaku means “reverse” and nan is short for “nanpa.”

Most common locations in Tokyo where nanpa takes place are Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro. In Osaka, a bridge connecting Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi, “Hikkakebashi,” is notorious for nanpa encounter. Just be aware of it when you are traveling alone or with only girls!

Image source: Shin Toripi Tsushin

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