What does × mean in titles of Japanese TV shows and comics? Whether it's a NHK show like Designer × Artisan or a comic like Hunter × Hunter, I've seen this symbol occur very often in titles. What does it mean? How do you pronounce it, in Japanese and English?

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    anime.stackexchange.com/questions/24142/… & quora.com/…
    – BJCUAI
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 4:57
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    "Artisan X Designer" is the title of an English-language program produced by NHK: therefore, how the "X" part of it is pronounced could hardly be called a Japanese-language question IMHO.
    – user4032
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 8:10
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    I’m sorry, but this usage of “x” is not English because it is nonsense. Claiming a program with such an x in the title is in English is a huge stretch, because the title is not in English; at best, it’s in a Japanified dialect of English. Inserting arbitrary symbols in English phrases is simply not something you can do. This is definitely a question about Japan.
    – AHelps
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 15:41
  • In any case, this exact question has been asked and answered before here. I'm on mobile so I can't see it at the moment, but it showed up in the related questions on desktop.
    – Leebo
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 22:59
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    Agree with @AHelps I've never seen a true English-language title with weird symbols like this one my entire life, because that's just not a practice for the English-speaking world. Japanese titles (of shows, comics, novels, songs) on the other hand can contain a wide array of symbols, including stars, hearts and music notes. Most of the time I'd just brush them off as purely ornamental and cutesy, but this multiplication sign in particular seems to have some meaning of "and" or "vs" due to the specific way it's commonly used. Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


In the examples I have witnessed (in Japanese advertising), it is used to suggest that combining two concepts/groups produce results comparable to those of a Cartesian product, which usually returns more elements than a sum/union.

It implies a meaning a bit similar to the expressions "1 + 1 = 3" , or "the group is more than the sum of its individual components".

So the idea conveyed by "Designer x Artisan" would be something like "they are not only Designer AND Artisan (Designer + Artisan), but they are actually something much more than that".

Here are explanations I found of the concept, from a native speaker:
この「×」という記号によって,コラボレーションという意味を成す,ということを我々現代人は直感的に理解します. そこで,この記号の元来の意味を考えてみましょう. 「×」という記号は,算数の掛け算で用います.僕は小学二年の時に掛け算を習いました.ある数値(スカラー)同士の掛け算の記号,という認識が最も一般的だと僕は思います. また,「×」記号はスカラー同士の演算だけでなく,様々な場面で使います.ベクトルの外積,行列の積,などなど. 掛けるという演算は,世の中の多くの場面に出現し,活躍しています

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    I'd be grateful for any feedback or criticism that I can learn from or use to help me improve my answer.
    – wip
    Commented Feb 6, 2019 at 13:35
  • Please take a look at the answer on the linked "duplicate" question. You claim to have "witnessed" examples of ×, but it looks like you read too much into its usage — how did you conclude that × is usually "used to suggest that combining two concepts/groups produce results comparable to those of a Cartesian product"?
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 13:13
  • Actually, all the answers from the question you mention apart one, support the same idea. Now for explanations of the concept from native speakers, see for example exp-realize-n.jugem.jp/?eid=99 : この「×」という記号によって,コラボレーションという意味を成す,ということを我々現代人は直感的に理解します. そこで,この記号の元来の意味を考えてみましょう. 「×」という記号は,算数の掛け算で用います.僕は小学二年の時に掛け算を習いました.ある数値(スカラー)同士の掛け算の記号,という認識が最も一般的だと僕は思います. また,「×」記号はスカラー同士の演算だけでなく,様々な場面で使います.ベクトルの外積,行列の積,などなど. 掛けるという演算は,世の中の多くの場面に出現し,活躍しています.
    – wip
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 17:27
  • I was referring to the answers on this question: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/58660/1628 I didn't downvote your answer, but I imagine it might be perceived as too speculative.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 18:50

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