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Is "flyjin" a Japanese word?

If so, does it have an antonym?

And what is the correct way to write it in Japanese? Is it フライジン or フライ人{じん}?

For those who might be unfamiliar with the term, "flyjin" is a word derived from "gaijin" to describe foreigners who "flew away" from Japan after the earthquke, tsunami, and nuclear incident on March 11, 2011.

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When I searched for "フライジン" or "フライ人" on Google, most of the results in Japanese had to explain what it meant, and a lot of them were either translations of foreign news articles or people asking "what's a flyjin", so I'm guessing it is used more in English than Japanese. I was going to coin a new term of "stayjin", but it looks like somebody's already done that... –  cypher Apr 8 '12 at 0:51
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I agree with cypher: although “flyjin” is a word in English based on a loanword “gaijin” from Japanese, I do not think that most Japanese-speaking people consider フライジン as a Japanese word at all. (Personally, I did not know the word “flyjin” or フライジン.) So I do not think that this question is a question about the Japanese language. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Apr 8 '12 at 1:01
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Much like 3.11, "Flyjin" is overwhelmingly a word coined and used by non-Japanese, when speaking English. Therefore I fail to see the point of the question on JLU. –  Dave Apr 8 '12 at 16:45
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@DaveMG as per my comment to your answer: we essentially agree... except I do not think the question as it stands (with only a very late and minor interrogation on the reason to be for the entire question) is well formulated. –  Dave Apr 9 '12 at 0:56
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@DaveMG I regard your edits as being in good faith. –  Andrew Grimm Apr 9 '12 at 3:02
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Given that the word is constructed out of the Japanese language, it would be an understandable mistake to think the word was Japanese.

However, "flyjin" is not a Japanese word.

The word "flyjin" was coined within the English speaking foreign community in Japan, where the issue of people leaving Japan after the earthquake was a topic of much discussion.

Japanese people, for the most part, are unaware, and unconcerned, about the issues that gave rise to the term. Thus the term "flyjin" is almost entirely unknown to Japanese people.

Following from that, there is no widely accepted "correct" way to write it in Japanese. Nor is there an accepted Japanese equivalent term. If you are speaking to a Japanese person about "flyjin", you will have to explain the concept however you see fit.

For antonyms, they also exist only within the subculture of English speaking foreigners in Japan, and would not be considered "Japanese" words. Still, there are two contenders. One is "stayjin", the meaning and origins of which are self evident.

Another is a term coined by a friend of mine: "fryjin". It refers to "fry", as in those who stayed after the earthquake were "fried" by the radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plants.

The best part about it is that in katakana, it's the same as "flyjin": フライジン. So Japanese can't tell the difference between the words, just as they don't really differentiate between foreigners who stayed and those who didn't. I like the metacontextual implications.

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+1 for the use of a play on words in one language that would not really be understood in that language. –  silvermaple Apr 8 '12 at 13:48
    
The Japanese Wikipedia has an article on Engrish. Apparently the Japanese word for Engrish is - Engrish! (Makes sense, in that the Japanese word for English is eigo). –  Andrew Grimm Apr 8 '12 at 14:01
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"Is Flyjin a Japanese word?" is about the only way I could see this belonging on JLU... But then again, perhaps my general annoyance with the topic that this question (very unsubtly) tries to broach is informing my opinion here. –  Dave Apr 8 '12 at 16:52
    
@Dave: I think you're basically right, but Andrew does essentially ask that in the last line of his question: "is it not used much within Japanese as opposed to English?". I also agree that the potential for delving into the implications of the word, as opposed to just its definitions (and antonyms), carries risks, but no worse risk than "why is gaikokujin more politically correct than gaijin", which was also asked and answered here. –  Dave M G Apr 8 '12 at 17:06
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@AndrewGrimm: I think you might be missing an important point: The Japanese for the most part do not know, or care, about the topic of "flyjin". Thus there is no common Japanese phrase or word for this. So if you find yourself explaining it to a Japanese person, you can explain it however you like. –  Dave M G Apr 9 '12 at 0:53
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