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A while back in high school my classes watched "My Boss My Hero," in which the main character says ほんや, it was translated as "What?" (I think.) In any case, I've never heard anything stylistically similar, so I was wondering where it came from.

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I think it's closer to "huh" – it's just a sound. –  Zhen Lin Jun 7 '13 at 21:41
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何だろう・・・「おや?」とか「ほにゃ?」って言ったのかな? –  Choko Jun 7 '13 at 22:04
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「はにゃ?」みたいですね。ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/… 語源は「おーい!はに丸」あたりかな。 ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/… –  marasai Jun 8 '13 at 15:10
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Just speculation, but could it be related to Osaka-ben's 本間【ほんま】, perhaps? –  Kaji Jun 26 at 5:41
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@Kaji: Osaka-ben ホンマ would never be used for "What?". –  istrasci Jun 26 at 14:40

1 Answer 1

The main character of My Boss My Hero, Sasaki Makio, says はにゃ? as an expression when unsure or

As said in Wikipedia

疑問に思ったりすることがあったりすると「はにゃ?」と言うのが口癖

When in doubt while thinking, he says his favorite phrase, 'hanya?'

This is not a common Japanese word or saying and is unique to the character to help give him flavor.

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