In this article, the author writes about Nintendo fans using 層 as a suffix:




And, at last:


In Weblio's definition, the indication of 層 as something related to position, status and class becomes clear, and there is even an example using the word 「ファン」 to describe a group/collective/assortment of people.

I can kinda get the usage of 層 in the first example here, where the author refers the "the class of fans which are the most passionate", as well as the second and third where what kind of class is referred to is also clear. But the fourth one bugs me, which 層 exactly does he want to refer to here? Given the context, we know it's those "passionate kind of fans", but if that were to be a single phrase, would it still make sense?

  • 1
    Fan base. Target audience.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 0:36
  • 1
    Did you know this is a translated article? Here is the original article in English. I personally think the last one should have been translated simply as ファンベース rather than ファン層, so I understand your confusion.
    – naruto
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 0:41

2 Answers 2


As you have correctly inferred, 層 refers to a specific layer/tier/(sub)group of people, especially a group of consumers that share the same characteristics/interest in some market. For example, 任天堂は新しいファン層を開拓した means Nintendo has developed a new fanbase by releasing a type of game they had never created (perhaps you could say this referring to FE Heroes). The first three examples of 層 you have cited are perfectly natural.

However, in the sentence in question, the word fanbase in the original English article refers to Nintendo's fans as a whole, not a certain subgroup of (existing or potential) Nintendo fans. To be honest, 任天堂はファン層という点では時間の余裕がある in that context made little sense to me, so I think you can safely forget this translation. They could have translated this fanbase simply as ファンベース.


In my own subjective experience, I've encountered 層【そう】 in reference to a "layer" of a particular demographic. We don't talk about demographics as "layers" in English, so it might sound a bit funny, but in your sample texts they're essentially talking about those specific groups of people who are 1) ardent fans of Nintendo, 2) difficult to satisfy, 3) loud-mouthed (😄) or influential, and 4) again, fans.

For your fourth example, a different way of looking at it might be this:

Nintendo has some time to work with, since the company has so many fans.

Put more literally:

Nintendo [TOPIC], fan demographic [QUOT] say point on [TOPIC] time [POSSESSIVE] margin [SUBJECT] exists. →
Nintendo has a margin of time, in that [they] have a fan demographic.

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