Robot 6

Oxford English Dictionary adds ‘hentai’ entry

Annual additions to the Oxford English Dictionary, “the definitive record of the English language,” always draw media attention because when a word or phrase is enshrined in the 127-year-old OED it becomes “official,” legitimate. It’s no longer just regional slang, professional jargon or an annoying acronym; it’s in the dictionary. Look it up, Mom!

This year’s updates are no different, drawing notice for an OED first — the heart symbol becomes the dictionary’s first graphic entry — as well as the inclusion of such text-messaging/online abbreviations as LOL and OMG. Thankfully SMH didn’t make the list of 45,436 new definitions (this year, at least).

But one that did is hentai, a noun that the companion Oxford Dictionaries — the OED site is subscription-only — defines as “a subgenre of the Japanese genres of manga and anime, characterized by overtly sexualized characters and sexually explicit images and plots.”

Which I guess will all help make that errant “OMG I <3 hentai” text immediately, if embarrassingly, understandable.

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5 Comments

Oh boy… that picture in the article is so going to get me fired, even if it is technically safe for work.

Pretty funny, but I can’t help but be a bit annoyed that they referred to anime & manga as genres.

Same here, Bahamut, though considering their definition of manga goes like this:

“a Japanese genre of cartoons, comic books, and animated films, typically having a science-fiction or fantasy theme and sometimes including violent or sexually explicit material.”

. . . we’re probably lucky they didn’t just go with “robot goreporn animation comics.”

@Angelica

Man, about the only thing correct in that definition is “Japanese”.

You’d think the OED would do extensive research on anime and manga before putting forward such a restrictive and nonsensical definition for manga. One could go on at length about the amount of variations in genre and tone illustrated in manga beyond sci-fi and fantasy. They are right on the money when it comes to the explicit violence and sexuality, though.

Calling anime and manga Japanese “genres” was also a big mistake. Given the fact that both are distinct art forms, the term “Japanese artistic genres” would have been much more appropriate.

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