As I understand it, most foreign words in Japanese are written in Katakana. However, I am curious as to whether in contemporary written Japanese, hacker is written as a literal adaptation of the western word, or whether a idiomatically Japanese character/concept is substituted in its place.

For the purposes of this discussion, what I mean by hacker is "Person who attempts to subvert the security of digital systems" rather than the wider meaning of the term.

Is this even a concept in contemporary Japanese outside of its status as foreign word?

  • 2
    I'm certain that's not what your talking about, but if you really want kanji, look no further than Chinese: 黒客【ハッカー】, and 中国黒客連盟 (=Hacker Union Of China).
    – blutorange
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 19:11
  • Why wouldn't I be looking for kanji? Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 19:18
  • 2
    Using these kanji in the context of Japanese falls under the category of very creative writing; ie. you wouldn't use them normally. Like 吐露非狩古鬱【トロピカルフルーツ】
    – blutorange
    Commented Apr 1, 2015 at 19:23
  • 1
    [墓]{ハッカー}. Just joking...
    – marasai
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


ハッカー is widely recognized by the general population in the narrow sense OP indicated. But if you use this in, say, Japanese Stack Overflow, it will soon be corrected. "Hey, don't use ハッカー in that way! They're not criminals!"

クラッカー specifically refers to the evil ones, and is preferred by IT professionals.

That said, both ハッカー and クラッカー are still a bit slangy terms in Japanese. Although newspapers seem to use ハッカー freely recently, official government documents still avoid using them. For example, Information-technology Promotion Agency, which is a semi-official organization, does not use ハッカー/クラッカー, and uses other lengthy replacements like 攻撃者、侵入者、悪意のある第三者、悪意のある人…… in its security guidelines.

I don't know why you need a kanji version, but hope this helps.

  • 3
    +1 for the referral for 攻撃者 (~attacker) etc. If you prefer Kanji versions because they may sound more formal and/or professional, these expressions are what you're looking for.
    – Yosh
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 4:57
  • 1
    On a side note, it seems that words such as "attacker" or "intruder" are common in English papers as well. And: "The Information Assurance mission confronts the formidable challenge of preventing foreign adversaries from gaining access to sensitive or classified national security information."
    – blutorange
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 8:41

No. There isn't a single kanji nor a compound which means "hacker". Jisho.org returns no results when searching kanji, and only words containing ハッカー when searching words. People would just rather write new terms in katakana than to create a new kanji for them.

However, as blutorange stated, the Chinese word for it is 黒客 (pronounced hēikè), but of course, that's Chinese and not Japanese.

  • 5
    The Chinese term should be either 黑客 (Note the difference between Japanese and Chinese typography) or 駭客.
    – Ivan Chau
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 7:14

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