There seems to be a tendency to have a heading (or emphasized text) in English, but the body of the text in Japanese.

For example, Tokyo train stations have posters with Saving Electricity in English, and the body in Japanese, and this anti-groping poster only has "NO" in English (which would only make sense if it's adding emphasis rather than informing an English-only reader), and this is an apparent example of English being used as a heading or for emphasis.

Assuming that the English isn't for the benefit of foreigners, is there a term (either Japanese or English) for such English text?

  • 1
    That poster isn't particular to groping. Looks more like domestic violence. Unless the fine print (which is unreadable in the image) talks about it.
    – istrasci
    Aug 11, 2011 at 14:22
  • Why is "saving electricity" not for the benifit of foreigners? And, you can't understand the intention of "off" put together with a pitcture of a cell phone?
    – user458
    Aug 11, 2011 at 14:40
  • 3
    @istrasci is closer, but is still not perfect. It is about violence (fights) within passenger cars or stations. Japanese trains are crowded, and fight within passenger cars (usually caused by space problem) is not rare.
    – user458
    Aug 11, 2011 at 14:44
  • @istrasci: I tried doing a google image search for the poster, but I was assuming that it was an anti-groping poster while doing so. ("No" wasn't enough keywords to go on, and I can currently only read Romaji).
    – Golden Cuy
    Aug 11, 2011 at 23:22
  • Another one: 「NO MORE映画泥棒」 displayed in theatres, with no English context at all, nor translation of the "NO MORE". I guess it is just a way to make a different impact. Or maybe because「映画泥棒を無くしましょう」would just sound ridicule. Might be off-topic, but I think a similar tendency can be found in company names and sport team names. Dec 5, 2012 at 8:42

1 Answer 1


I think there are three variants of this. 1. Translation or summary for the benefit of foreigners. 2. "Copy" which is there just to make things look pretty. 3. Words that pretty much became part of Japanese and are used as part of the Japanese text (words like no, yes, on, off, hello, world etc.).

In the second category, you have 2 sub categories IMO. a) text for the looks, i.e. lorem ipsum, b) text that is still intended to be read and understand, and the writer decided to use English for artistic reason.

2-a would be called 文字柄, and 2-b would be コピー or 英語のコピー. Maybe the design industry has a jargon for this, but I've never heard one before and don't think there is a word that is commonly used among the general population.

  • I think the question is about category 3. It is always simple English that most people in Japan understand. Dec 5, 2012 at 8:33

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