In my wanderings around Japan giving my kana knowledge some practice I've noticed both the words "ガール" (gāru) and "ガールズ" (gāruzu) in use at least in signage. Obviously they are borrowed from English "girl" and "girls" in turn, but is either or both of them now considered to be Japanese words, or are they merely seen as English written in katakana?

If they are now considered to be Japanese words, how do their usages differ from the native Japanese words for "girl"?

And if both are now considered Japanese can "ガールズ" be considered a plural of "ガール", especially since Japanese doesn't normally have a grammatical concept of plurality?


1 Answer 1


Japanese also called ガール as ギャル, but the word ギャル is taken by blackish/brownish (may be sun-burn or make-ups) girls, see the ギャル on Wikipedia.

So, I guess someone start using ガール as normal girls.

And I think ガールズ comes from something like popular 東京ガールズコレクション (Tokyo Girls Collection) fashion show or ガールズトーク (girls talk).

And also ガール、ガールズ has some good sense about fashionish, stylish, so poeple might use it just because it is cool (カッコイイ).

  • The first place I saw "ガールズ" was on hostess bars in Kyoto if that helps. Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 5:33
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    WWWJDIC has entries for both "ガール" and "ギャル" by the way and translates them as "girl" and "gal" respectively. Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 5:36
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    ギャル is most definitely associated with the specific trend skillfully described by YOU above and would never be used as a general synonym for "girl" or "gal". Don't think I have ever heard ガール[ズ] and only ever read it in contexts similar to what hippietrail describes, ie.: places that tend to use lots of random katakana English for fashion effect.
    – Dave
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 6:47
  • ガールズバー is another quite popular Japanese word. They aren't exactly hostess bars, more like a regular old men 居酒屋(Wikipedia says ショットバー whatever) with very young female staff who play hostess. A sort of fast food hostess bar for the proletariat. BTW, not saying @hippietrail didn't see it on actual hostess bars.
    – user145
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 15:07
  • @jbcreix: I think I did see "ガールズバー" on other signs in the area and I didn't know the different betweens "girls bar" and "hostess bar". So maybe "ガールズ" was even an abbreviation of "ガールズバー"? Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 11:30

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