Sorry if this has already been asked somewhere or if this is an unconstructive question...

I feel that my English speech is sometimes a bit effeminate (in informal conversation, that is). I would like to replicate this in Japanese... I have often read (here on StackExchange, for instance) that this is not so permissible in Japanese, but is this really the case? Are there any expressions/grammatical affectations/etc. that are considered feminine but can be used by men?

I understand also that the question is subjective... I tried my best to keep from flame-baiting...


2 Answers 2


One of the things about Japanese is that gendered speech is pretty explicit, and if you are a male using feminine speech you're going to come off as gay or as a transvestite or something else in the gender bending stereotypes of Japanese culture. My general advice would not be to use explicitly feminine speech but rather to avoid using overtly masculine speech. Call yourself 僕 instead of 俺. Avoid rough inflections and slang, so instead of saying like いらねーぜ just say いらない. Just listen to the way that males usually speak and tone it down. If you stick basically to standard Japanese without resorting to harshness then you might not necessarily come off as feminine but you won't come off as someone trying to project a masculine air.

  • You should also tend towards polite expressions (desu/masu) over plain forms (but if you only use polite expressions, you're not going to have any friends in the first place). By the way, it's not too bad for men to lean towards being effeminate but it's less tolerated for women to use male speech patterns too often.
    – HAL
    Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 22:52
  • I agree that simply not using male speech (as a male) gives you exactly the "slightly effeminate" that you are looking for. (On the other hand feminine speech would be more like "gay, and proud of it" or "foreigner", and at times the two aren't perceived to be very different...)
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 20:23

My advice is similar to ssb (do not "use explicitly feminine speech but rather to avoid using overtly masculine speech"):

A couple of the years ago I was told that my Japanese was very polite - not in the sense of using keigo all the time, just polite, in a way that shows respect. I was naturally flattered but the answer was simply that as my Japanese got better I got better at saying something the way I wanted to, in other words, I got better at speaking Japanese the same way I spoke English (which unfortunately is not really polite all the time by any means but...)

I suggest you do the same.

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