Otaku USA Magazine
Oxford English Dictionary Adds 23 Japanese Words, Including Isekai and Tokusatsu

my isekai life

This month the Oxford English Dictionary is adding 23 Japanese words, including isekai and tokusatsu! OED’s website explains:

Isekai is a Japanese genre of science or fantasy fiction featuring a protagonist who is transported to or reincarnated in a different, strange, or unfamiliar world. The word in Japanese was originally used in the literal sense of ‘other world’ in Haruka Takachiho’s novel Isekai no Yushi (The Warrior from the Other World), published in 1975. This book, in which a high school student is brought to another world where he, armed with a legendary sword, embarks on a quest to rescue a princess from spirits and demons, is credited as being one of the earliest examples of the genre, and the use of isekai in its title later came to be used as the name of the genre itself, in both Japanese and English.

Tokusatsu is a genre of Japanese film or television entertainment characterized by the use of practical special effects, usually featuring giant monsters, transforming robots, and masked and costumed superheroes. The word is short for tokushu-satsuei, which literally means ‘special photography, special (visual) effects’, a combination of tokushu– ‘special’ and + satsuei ‘action of photographing’, or in film, ‘shot, take’. Director Eiji Tsuburaya pioneered practical special effects techniques in the 1940s and 1950s, which were used in such classic tokusatsu films as Godzilla (1954), as well as in several tokusatsu television series, beginning in the 1960s with Ultra Q and Ultraman.

This happens almost two years to the day that Wikipedia put isekai jokes on its homepage to celebrate April Fools’ Day. It shows that isekai is gradually getting more known.

Other Japanese words being added to the Oxford English Dictionary this month include tonkotsu, donburi, katsu, okonomiyaki, karaage, onigiri, yakiniku, kirigami, shibori, and kintsugi. Do you know what all of them mean?

Source: Oxford English Diction via ANN 


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin. She is also the author of its upcoming sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.