This question might sound stupid but it got me thinking for some hours. A friend bought me this gel pen from a Japanese store in my country, and it is written in the pen:


instead of かわいいです kawaii desu.

I do not understand why です is in katakana. I mean, katakana is used for non-Japanese words, as far as I was taught when I was going to Japanese classes.

So I do not understand... Probably it is just because they wanted to do it that way! In that case, sorry for bothering!


  • 5
    Katakana is not only used for non-Japanese words. See for example japanese.stackexchange.com/q/1930/1628, japanese.stackexchange.com/q/5312/1628, japanese.stackexchange.com/q/3119/1628
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 21:21
  • 1
    Their answers are quite interesting in their topic! But I think this is not related to them! As for what they are speaking is for strong words (like adjectives), or honomatopeias, or standing it out more. So if it was kawaii in katakana, alright, but desu? @Earthliŋ
    – M.K
    Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 21:24
  • 4
    I agree with you (and upvoted your question). My comment was just a comment on your remark "katakana is used for non-Japanese words, as far as I was taught when I was going to Japanese classes". For example this answer mentions it could be used for "personal style", which probably goes in the right direction, but I think more can be said about かわいいデス (and I'm looking forward to the answers).
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jan 19, 2019 at 22:01
  • 1
    Maybe it means "Kawaii Death".
    – istrasci
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 16:17
  • 1
    Thank you for answering this question. My cousin just gave me one of these pens for Christmas, and I've been trying to figure out why the inscription was in both. I was pretty sure they didn't mean "cute death," but why write the verb in katakana, I couldn't figure out.
    – Andrea
    Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


The final part of a Japanese sentence is sometimes rendered in katakana for various reasons. Examples include:

  • ごめんネ
  • ひどいヨー
  • 分かってマス!
  • 美味しいデス
  • 大丈夫かナ?

In fiction, this typically happens with people who were raised abroad (e.g., 金剛 and 九条カレン) or who have a bit eccentric personality (e.g., 野田恵). In particular, using です/デス everywhere ignoring ordinary grammar is recognized as one of the cute "character-specific sentence-endings (キャラ語尾)"; users of this type of です speak like おはようです, やめろです or がんばるです. So, to be as specific as possible, I think the emphasis on デス in your example is for adding a bit of cute and/or exotic flavor to the otherwise uninteresting sentence.

There are a few real native Japanese speakers who use katakana like this in a casual online chat and such, believing it's interesting, cute, or whatever. It's a matter of personal taste, but it may feel like someone who is trying to make themselves look young.


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