I was watching 夜{よる}のクラゲは泳{およ}げない and in one of the lines of dialogue, a former idol (A) talks about why she quit, and the other person (B) asked if she was referring to 燃{も}える as online slang:

(A) まあ、なんていうの? ちょっと燃{も}えたっていうか…

(B) 燃{も}えたって、ネットでってこと?

I have seen 炎上{えんじょう} being used colloquially (インターネット上) to describe 'cancelling' someone, but have never seen 燃{も}える being used in a similar way. Can 燃{も}える be used as slang in this way, or is it used to refer to something else?

  • 1
    Does "cancel" mean 炎上?
    – aguijonazo
    Commented May 6 at 4:45
  • 1
    AFAIK the term to describe it is "flamed" in English. Commented May 6 at 5:43
  • @aguijonazo It's a modern phrase used to describe cutting a person out of society because their opinions don't match with liberal values. A classic example would be J.K. Rowling being cancelled for her stance on trans-gender rights. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cancel_culture Commented May 6 at 9:13
  • 2
    @user3856370 - I don't think that's the same as 炎上.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented May 6 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


I don't think cancelling is the appropriate phrase, but 燃える and 炎上する are used in similar contexts.

炎上する means roughly to catch fire or to go up in flames, and often used in this physical way (when a building is burned down, for example). In the internet, it is used when there is a burning fire of criticism and argument towards something or somebody. Nowadays it is mostly accepted as a kind of term. Even our Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has some reading on this: ネット上での炎上を巡る議論, defining 炎上 as

「ウェブ上の特定の対象に対して批判が殺到し、収まりがつかなさそうな状態」「特定の話題に関する議論の盛り上がり方が尋常ではなく、多くのブログや掲示板などでバッシングが行われる」状態である[18]. 18: 荻上チキ(2007)『ウェブ炎上―ネット群集の暴走と可能性』

So "when there is a surge of criticism against a specific target and will not go away soon" or "when the argument and discussion about the specific topic gets extraordinarily heated, with a large number of blogs or forums joining the fierce opposition against it", it is an 炎上. Unlike cancelling, it doesn't necessarily result in, nor ask for, cutting the person out.

Flaming seems to be similar in this sense. But it seems that flaming can be a specific act by a specific person? If that is true, 炎上 is different: it doesn't result from the act of one person or any specific group of countable people. Rather, it is more of a result of many criticism by a large number of unspecific people (sort of general public). I suspect that the Japanese 炎上 might stem from English flaming, but I wasn't able to find any information either supporting or denouncing the hypothesis by a quick search.

燃える, to burn, has a similar meaning to 炎上する when describing the physical phenomena (rapid oxidation), so it is also used as a more colloquial word for the phenomena online. There are similarly related expressions like 燃料 (when adding more unnoticed information that can cause more critisism), etc.

So yes, when A says "まあ、なんていうの? ちょっと燃えたっていうか…", s/he did something online and got a surge of strong criticism, but because the wording is not so specific, (B) tries to clarify by asking "on the Internet?".

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