I tried to look it up in a dictionary, on jisho.org and also by googling for it but I couldn't find out how to say "to mutilate" in Japanese.

I really need this word since it's legal here to crop animal's tails and ears, declaw cats and apparently it's common to chop off part of a cat's ear to "mark" the cat.

I desperately need to be able to say "Mutilating animals is considered a crime in Europe" and "I'd never adopt a mutilated animal" because I'm sure I'll soon again be in a situation where I want to say these things.

  • The short tail of Japanese cats is a genetic trait. They aren't mutilated.
    – marasai
    Dec 4, 2014 at 8:54
  • 2
    For guaging general usage of a Japanese term once you've found one, Twitter is a great resource. You can search arbitrary phrases.
    – Ncat
    Dec 5, 2014 at 2:01
  • 1
    That seems against Cruelty to Animal Act. law.e-gov.go.jp/htmldata/S48/S48HO105.html
    – user4092
    Dec 5, 2014 at 2:28
  • @b-wilson I'm not too familiar with Twitter. What do you mean by "guaging"? Dec 5, 2014 at 13:01
  • @user4092 Well, it appears that this act is not enforced. I just talked to a woman 2 weeks ago who told me how she "had to" (lol?) declaw her cat because he was using the sofa to scratch his claws. Dec 5, 2014 at 13:02

2 Answers 2


By mutilation, are you referring to the intentional removal of a part of tail or ears, as described in this Wikipedia article? (I mean, not for an abusive purpose but for historical/practical reasons?)

Then corresponding and technical-sounding nouns for this seem to be 断尾【だんび】 (tail cropping) and 断耳【だんじ】 (ear cropping). There seems to be no specific single verb for this, but you can say "断尾・断耳を行【おこな】う", "(耳/尻尾の一部を)切除【せつじょ】する" or "切【き】る" anyway.


However, I think ordinary Japanese people are not familiar with this custom in the first place (and that's one of the reasons why these are not explicitly banned in Japan, I guess). So even if these words exist, you may not make yourself understood by these, before explaining it.

耳を削【そ】ぐ means the total removal of an external ear, and sounds to me as if it were for an abusive/vindictive purpose.

  • "mutilate" is a verb you use to describe an act of harm like for example if a person cuts off your finger they "mutilate" you and afterwards you are "mutilated". And in Europe, "cropping" (for whatever reason) is considered "mutilation". Hence I would like to know the corresponding word in Japanese. Dec 5, 2014 at 12:58
  • Here's a different example, in a different context, maybe it helps: in countries of war people who have been crippled by a nearby explosion are also referred to as mutilated. So in English, "to mutilate" may not happen on purpose but it has a negative connotation. Dec 5, 2014 at 12:59
  • What verb would you use to say "These children were mutilated by a nearby explosion"? Dec 5, 2014 at 13:03
  • So what do you think is wrong with saying "ペットの断尾・断耳に断固反対します" or "ヨーロッパでは断尾・断耳は違法です"? This I think is the specific corresponding word for "mutilation" in this sense. You can also say "尻尾を切断することは違法" "尻尾を切り落とすことは違法" "耳を傷つけることは違法" etc, but all these sound too obvious and wouldn't make much sense as a political message you may want to convey.
    – naruto
    Dec 5, 2014 at 23:57
  • naruto, I don't want to use the word corresponding to "cropping" because I want to know how to say "mutilate" in Japanese, if there is such a word. It's a broadly applicable word and it would be helpful to me also in different situations. Like e.g. if I took this knife here and cut off your index finger people would say "Naruto was mutilated by Rudy the Reindeer", but in Japanese. (for the record, using Google translate this would be ナルトはルディトナカイによってバラバラた) Dec 6, 2014 at 11:48

I don't know the answer (never needed those words myself) but Aedict turns up two results for "mutilated", both from JMDict :

  • 殺{そ}がれた耳{みみ} : Mutilated ear.
  • 鼻{はな}を削{そ}がれる : To have one's nose mutilated, to have one's nose cut off.

So I guess you are looking for 削ぐ, also written as 殺ぐ, which means :

  • To chip, to slice off, to sharpen
  • To thin down, to reduce, to weaken

Hope this was of help !

  • Yes thank you, your answer is helpful. I'm wondering though if "sliced off" is as close as possible to "mutilated". "Mutilated" implies that it is an unnecessary and evil action whereas sliced off is neutral. I will wait some time before I accept your answer just to see if there will be other suggestions. (It might well be that そがれる means mutilated and the dictionary is missing one of the possible meanings/translations. I just looked on jisho.org and it also translates it as "to clip off") Dec 4, 2014 at 8:52

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