a few days ago I find out that the term "子役の闇" exist, but I can't quite understand its meaning. I have seen it used on places like twitter and 2ch but it seems there's no English equivalent for this. I guess a literal translation would be something like "The desperation of the child actor" or something along those lines but I'm not sure about it and I don't think it makes much sense in English.

Can someone help me out?


  • That is nothing unique to the Japanese-speaking world. Have you not heard of Macaulay Culkin or Gary Coleman?
    – user4032
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 14:43

2 Answers 2


闇{やみ} is often colloquially used to mean "deep, dark secrets"."unknown, unseen side (negative)" or "the dark side".

So in your example, 子役{こやく}の闇{やみ} means the "the dark side of child actors". People would use that when discussing bad things happening in the child actor industry.

There is also a term [N]の闇{やみ}が深{ふか}い, meaning [N] has some dark secret, or sometimes just that there is something doesn't seems quite right (and therefore there must be some deep, dark secret somewhere).

  • Thanks for the clarification, "dark side" sounds good for what I have to do, thanks again!
    – YuriMaker
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 8:22

'Child actors' very negative sides.' I would translate like above.

闇 (darkness) in internet contexts often means very negative sides of something in contrast to its very positive sides.

  • So, in this case 闇 would simply refer to the downsides of being a child actor? Guess I was overthinking it, thank you.
    – YuriMaker
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 14:39
  • Yup you are totally right.
    – user19858
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 14:40
  • 2
    @YuriMaker Personally, I wouldn't translate it to "downsides",. as that sounds too light.
    – Jimmy
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 18:44
  • 1
    As @Jimmy says, "downsides" is like "disadvantages", meaning not going to regular school, not having regular friends, dealing with the media exposure, etc. I think "negative" or "dark side" are best.
    – user3169
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 4:10

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