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http://mainichi.jp/life/kimochi/archive/news/2012/20120205ddn013070029000c.html

The article above, about how a girl wants to be loved, is entitled

愛され系 

I am wondering which definition of 系 this is, and how best to understand it and translate it into English. My friend gave the unwieldy "Being Loved Type", while I proposed "System of being loved" (a direct translation?), but maybe "Method of being loved" or "How I want to be loved" works. What do you think?

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Interesting! The accepted answer indicates that "Being Loved" describes the type; but apparently (and I would have to agree) the English ear expects "Being Loved" in "Being Loved Type" to categorize the type. –  Karl Knechtel Feb 8 '12 at 21:23

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

As you see, the article also mentions 美人系 and 可愛い系.

In casual speech, the Japanese sometimes divide the attractiveness of girls/women into categories like

美人系 The beautiful type

可愛い系 The cute type

セクシー系 The sexy type

'愛され系' is not typically heard (and this is probably why the article is using 「」 around it), but it seems that this girl created this category to categorize her own attractiveness as well, namely as 'someone that is easy to approach, that people feel comfortable talking to'.

So 系 here definitely means 'type'.

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1  
How is "easy to approach" reflected in the word? Does され contain that implication? –  Flaw Feb 6 '12 at 3:54
    
It's not, really, that only follows from the article. The literal translation would just be 'The type that is loved'. –  dainichi Feb 6 '12 at 4:00
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thanks! i guess "the lovable type" would be a good translation –  yadokari Feb 7 '12 at 2:23

This usage of is a recent slang (from about 1980s) initiated by the commedian duo とんねるず, particularly in a TV show called ねるとん紅鯨団. It is one of the various hedge words that young generation prefer. It means 'the ... kind'. The most popular words are 体育会系 'people who joined a club activity at school that belongs to the 体育会 "association of athletic-related clubs" ', [汗]{かん}キツ系 'someone who stings like sweat' (汗きつ 'severe sweat' is a rhyme with [柑]{かん}[橘]{きつ}). It is often used for mentioning an attribute of a person, but it does not necessarily have to be about a person. Unlike what dainichi writes, it was used more often to classify boys/men rather than girls/women.

I don't know why, but young (and not-so-well educated) people use unnecessary hedge words all over the place in Japan as well as in other countries. Other examples are: ...みたいな, ...的. Incidentally, many of these words were introduced by とんねるず. In America, these kinds of people insert the word like all over the place in a sentence, which started in San Fernando Valley, California.

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I think the usage of hedge words indirectly absolves the speaker from the full consequences/responsibilities of the sentence said. I think any statement becomes easier to disclaim with more hedge words. –  Flaw Feb 6 '12 at 6:00
    
thanks sawa i appreciate the specificity –  yadokari Feb 7 '12 at 2:25

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