Could someone please clarify the meaning of 自意識過剰? Does it mean the person is overly self-conscious of other people's looks/opinions (e.g. very shy person), or does it imply an overly huge ego (e.g. narcissist)? Both (somehow)? Something else entirely?

Thank you.


It seems I'm not the only one confused about here, e.g. here http://matome.naver.jp/odai/2138723251351191301 one person says it can mean both, while the other confirms my intuition that it doesn't make too much sense for two opposite things to share a common word (being shy vs. egocentric/narcissist).

Still, it would be interesting to hear if anyone manages to find a more meaningful distinction as it could shed some light on the way Japanese approach to their public image and how it may differ from ours (a fascinating topic in itself, I suppose).

1 Answer 1


It refers to a person who is worrying too much about evaluations from others.

As a consequence, 自意識過剰な人 can appear both as narcissists and shy worriers, but I think their appearance is not important.

Even when this term is used for "narcissistic" people, it implies they are not fully confident, and they are trying to beautify themselves out of unnecessary anxiety. On the other hand, a true narcissist does not care about other people's criticism.

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