I have been watching Fate/Stay Night, the Unlimited Blade Works one. In this particular episode, as Shirou (male character) tells other characters that Saber (female character) will stay at his place, they are very surprised and use the word 同居{どうきょ}.

The subtitles I have used the word "shack up" to translate that idiom. However, in English "shack up" has a sexual connotation :

  1. To live together and have sexual relations without being married.
  2. To live, room, or stay at a place

However, in Japanese it does not seem so :


But as the other protagonists are quite shocked at this, and that Fate/Stay Night is after all based on an erotic game, does 同居 carry a sexual connotation in colloquial Japanese ? Or is it just poor translation ?

  • Having never heard the phrase "shack up" before and doing some quick research the implications of the word don't match up with the intended meaning(coming from someone who has read and watched it). Personally I wouldn't find this "development" shocking but in general, any anime series/whatever where it involves a female staying other at a males house will have these kind of reactions like it's actually a big deal. – bobbinonzeocean Feb 26 '15 at 21:16
  • Tangential to your question: whether or not "shack up" has sexual connotations depends on which variety of English you speak. For some people, it's ambiguous (are they having sex, or are they just cohabiting?), but for others, it strictly means "to stay at a place" and lacks any sexual element. – senshin Feb 26 '15 at 22:51

Your observations are correct. 同居 does not necessarily imply sexual relations. For example 両親と同居する, 兄と同居する, and so on are perfectly natural.

同棲 (or 同せい since 棲 is not in the Joyo kanji list) is the one that does imply having sexual relations without getting married. 両親と同棲する is incorrect.

Of course, 俺と同居しよう or 俺と一緒に住もう would be actually understood as a proposal for 同棲 or even marriage in great many cases, especially when this is said between a young man and a woman. I don't know the story of Fate, so I can't judge if it was a bad translation.

  • 同居しよう, 一緒に住もう, or 俺と同居して, 俺と一緒に住んで(くれ) for example but 俺と同居しよう is weird ;) – desseim Feb 26 '15 at 22:11
  • Don't forget it's ever confusing better half 別居 which may or may not denote a married couple living separately b/c they hate each other. – kiss-o-matic Feb 27 '15 at 14:31

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