Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am in a Japanese 101 class. We are suppose to translate the following sentance:

日本ぶんかの先生は、イケメンですが、ぜんぜんやさしくないですから、あまり好きじゃありません。

I am having trouble with that katakana イケメン. So far, I have:

The Japanese culture professor is ? but he/she is not lenient at all so I don't like
him/her very much

I am pretty sure we haven't had イケメン in class. And trying to pronouce "ikemen" doesn't sound like an English borrowed word (at least to me).

Google translates it as "Twink" and I have found some places that say handsome, cool, etc. But I don't know what to trust. Can anyone explain to me the meaning(s) of the word?

share|improve this question
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

イケメン is a new word which means "Good looking male person".

イケ comes from イケてる which roughly translates to "cool", "good" etc. メン is a word play, and has two meanings; メン as in "men" i.e. the English word for men, and メン as in 面(めん) i.e. the Japanese word for "face".

It is used exclusively to refer to the physical attractiveness of males.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 Thanks for the help! :) –  Rachel G. Dec 2 '12 at 2:59
add comment

As the others have said, イケメン is basically a word that describes a male as being attractive/good-looking. Don't use this for females.

As sort of a supplement, I've also seen the word イケてる been used, which can function as a verb too. This was in a book though, I've never heard a native Japanese use this in normal conversation, but it may help you get a feel for the usage of イケ.

このプロット結構イケてると思う。
I think this plot is quite 'cool'.

EDIT

Ah, hadn't seen Enno's anwer describing イケてる yet. Guess you got the question covered now ;)

share|improve this answer
    
re:"このプロットをイケてると思う。 I think this plot is 'cool'."-- I believe your japanese sentence is not grammatical. Perhaps このプロットはイケてるだと思います。would be better. –  yadokari Dec 2 '12 at 6:16
1  
I got this sentence from a native Japanese book (from a library, don't have the exact title here), which would make it a bit unlikely that it's incorrect. Though, don't get me wrong, I'm not fluent in Japanese by all means, (or perhaps I made a mistake in copying). The original sentence (stripped it down for the example): 僕はこのプロットを結構イケてると思うんです。 だ seems unnecessary, イケてる can function as a verb (jisho.org), the use of the を particle seems slightly off to me too. If any more advanced users would like to comment on this, I'd be glad to edit :) –  Frishert Dec 2 '12 at 12:09
1  
yes I too am mainly wondering about the を. I don't see how that works there. you should ask that as a question or I will if you do not. –  yadokari Dec 2 '12 at 19:53
    
I'll go to the library this week and check that book again. If it turns out I copied the sentence wrongly, I'll put up a question :) –  Frishert Dec 3 '12 at 1:59
2  
Took a bit longer than expected, but nonetheless: I miscopied the sentence indeed, originally it had no particle. Adjusted the post. –  Frishert Dec 12 '12 at 7:47
show 1 more comment

It's not a loan word, it means "good looking". This illustrates a common problem with basic Japanese teaching, they tell you that words written in katakana are loanwords, but don't go into all the other uses of katakana (though loanwords is the most common and 7 times out of 10 that is the case).

Specifically in this case, certain colloquial words whose kanji is sufficiently outdated use katakana.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 Thanks for the info. Enno answered first though so I marked theirs as the answer. –  Rachel G. Dec 2 '12 at 3:01
    
@RachelG. Yea, that's totally fair. he answered halfway through my typing this answer :P –  Ataraxia Dec 2 '12 at 3:03
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.