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The English word "Hentai" likely came from 4chan. Thus, like a lot of Japanese loanwords that come from 4chan, I have to ask whether the Japanese actually use the word to mean "Anime porn" like in English.

If it isn't, or if a different word is more often used, could someone share what that word is? The Japanese people I communicate with always find my use of it confusing or wrong.

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    jisho.org/word/51869065d5dda7b2c6016d5d <--Boop The reason it doesn't make sense to them is because the word "hentai" has a different meaning than "hentaiseiyoku", which is the full-length version of the abbreviation used overseas. "Hentai" itself just refers to something that's abnormal or strange. – Pleiades Mar 13 '17 at 1:27
  • So.... what would they use instead? – Tirous Mar 13 '17 at 1:31
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    The word "hentai" meaning Japanese animated porn dates from at least 1992, since I first heard it in that year, which means it existed before 4chan. – Todd Wilcox Mar 13 '17 at 12:22
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    Yes it was in common use (with this particular English definition) long before 4chan was even conceived. Not sure where that assumption came from. – Z. Cochrane Mar 13 '17 at 13:11
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No, hentai is a typical "英製和語" that has gained a totally different meaning outside of Japan. It never means anime porn in Japan.

Wikipedia defines hentai as "catch-all term to describe a genre of anime and manga pornography." In Japanese, this idea is well described by a slang word 二次元【にじげん】 (lit "two dimension"). The opposing idea is of course 三次元【さんじげん】 ("three dimension", live-action ones or sometimes real people). They are often contracted to 二次 (lit "secondary")/三次 (lit "tertiary"). 18禁 is too broad and エロアニメ/エロ漫画 are too specific.

Most Japanese 二次元 fans understand these ateji argots: 虹 (lit "rainbow") for 二次元 and 惨事 (lit "disaster") for 三次元. Yeah, posting a 三次元 image to a certain type of image board is certainly disastrous to the users :)

EDIT: Oops, I should've mentioned that 二次元/三次元 by themselves do not necessarily refer to X-rated ones, while it's hard to imagine a 二次元 fan who dislikes 二次元 porn. 二次元コスパ does not sell X-rated goods, for example.

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    This was unexpectedly interesting, thanks for the info. I feel like no matter how many years I live in Japan, I will never learn these kind of things unless I was born as a Japanese... – stack reader Mar 13 '17 at 4:51
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    Sure, just being born in Japan is not enough in this case :) – naruto Mar 13 '17 at 5:05
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    So, if 二次元 is not always X-Rated, is there a word for specifically X-Rated 二次元? – Richard Winters Mar 13 '17 at 7:30
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    No I don't think there is a single word. You can say 二次元のエロ or something like that. In sexual contexts 二次元 is enough. – naruto Mar 13 '17 at 7:38
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    @KennyEvitt or "literally translated", but yes – Kaithar Mar 14 '17 at 3:28
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If I remember correctly from watching anime. They just put ero in front of the item type. So, ero-manga or ero-gemu it is.

OT, when we think about it for a second. From the original hentai word meaning, what is so hentai about anime porn? Is it because of nijigen (two dimensional) erotism is weird or is it because from commoner's (casuals) point of view, porn manga or anime is enjoyed by a hentai?

edit. there is actually word 'ecchi' which can be used like ecchi na hon (erotic book). From wikipedia link above, ecchi derived from Hentai first letter. So maybe, hentai was actually used at some point in Japan?

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    I can't comment the answer above, so I'm just going to do it here. IMO, again from my viewing of anime, naruto's answer is not quite correct. Nijigen simply means what 'anime style works' or 'anime' means in Internet English. – passerby Mar 13 '17 at 15:23
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    sorry correction, my comment about anime style only is not correct. Any drawing works can be called nijigen, it doesn't imply japanese style works only. – passerby Mar 13 '17 at 15:35
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    According to Japanese Wikipedia, エッチ was derived from ヘンタイ, but it did so by first being used as jargon (mostly by women) for certain sexual practices such as homosexual intercourse (so still not that far from the contemporary meaning of ヘンタイ in Japan). The same Wikipedia article states it was in the 80s that エッチ started to be used to refer to sex (or insinuating imagery, etc.) in general. – dkaeae Mar 14 '17 at 0:48

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