「ピカピカの車 pika pika no kuruma（a shiny car）」
「ニコニコしたおじさん niko niko shita ojisan（a smiling older man）」
「ドキドキしたあの頃 doki doki shita anokoro（that moment when my heart was pounding ）」
If you have been learning Japanese for a while, you must have heard these expressions along the way.These「ピカピカ pika pika」「ニコニコ niko niko」「ドキドキ doki doki」are called「オノマトペ Japanese onomatopoeia」and are used in everyday conversations.
「ピカピカ」(pika pika), for example, means shiny. If you search for the meaning of shiny in Japanese, you will probably find 「輝く（kagayaku）」and「光沢のある（koutaku no aru）」 before「ピカピカ」. However, unless you are writing a formal letter or giving a formal speech, Japanese people rarely use「輝く」and「光沢のある」 we often say「ピカピカ」.
There are more than 1,000 Japanese onomatopoeia and if you can use them in your daily conversations, they will add color to your Japanese learning. Most importantly, you will sound 10 times better!
Luckily, we got the most popular manga (anime) in Japan, One Piece. And most of Akuma no Mi (Devil Fruits) are named after Japanese onomatopoeia which represents the superpower of the fruit.
For example, 「ヒエヒエの実 Hie Hie no Mi」is one of the Devil Fruits that enables the one who ate it to transform into ice and control them at will.「ヒエヒエ Hie Hie」comes from the word「冷え冷え」and that means cold.
Isn’t it great!? There are so many Akuma no Mi that are named just like Hie Hie no Mi, and you can easily remember how to use them because you already know them!
- 2 Types of Japanese Onomatopoeia
- Learn Onomatopoeia With Akuma no Mi
2 Types of Japanese Onomatopoeia
Before we get started with learning everyday-use onomatopoeia with One Piece, I want to explain 2 important types of Japanese onomatopoeia.
「擬音語 Giongo」 are words that represent sounds.
For example,「ドン Don」is commonly used to represent loud sounds such as the sound of a door being closed loudly.
「ドアがドンと閉まった Doa ga don to shimatta（The door is shut loudly）」
「擬態語 Gitaigo」, conversely, are words that represent actions, states, and emotions. 擬態語 shows what feelings or actions may sound like if they can be heard. Also, many 擬態語 are made with a single short word repeated twice.
For example,「ピカピカ pika pika」is 擬態語 that represents the state of shininess. 「あの人の頭はピカピカだね Ano hito no atama wa pikapika dane（That guy’s head is very shiny）」
Additionally, the Pokemon character ピカチュウ (Pikachu) is named after both Japanese onomatopeia, 擬態語 and 擬音語, which are ピカ (Pika, 擬態語 gitaigo) and チュウ (chu, 擬音語 giongo for squeak made by a mouse).
Learn Onomatopoeia With Akuma no Mi
「悪魔の実 Akuma no Mi」, an English translation is Devil Fruits, are mysterious fruits in One Piece that give superhuman powers to the ones who eat them in exchange for permanent inability to swim. One takes a bite and is already empowered, and the rest of the fruit becomes just a horrible-tasting fruit. Therefore, there are no two people who have the same power.
悪魔の実’s user is called「能力者 nouryoku sha」. 能力者 is usually feared by non-能力者 due to their superhuman powers. Because of what 悪魔の実 can do to the eaters, one 悪魔の実 is sold for over 100 million bellies (belly is the currency used in One Piece. 1 belly ≒ 1 yen).
Today, I will introduce 10「悪魔の実 devil fruits」that are named after Japanese onomatopoeia in order of appearance.
1. バラバラの実 (Bara Bara no Mi)
Firstly, I am sorry not to include ゴムゴムの実 (Gomu Gomu no Mi) which is Akuma no Mi that Luffy ate. However, ゴムゴム is not onomatopoeia. ゴム is rubber and just repeated twice.
「バラバラの実 Bara Bara no Mi」is Akuma no Mi that allows the user to split their body into small pieces and control them at will. The user is Buggy the Clown. English Name is Chop-Chop Fruit.
バラバラ or ばらばら is usually used when things are scattered or broken into pieces like Buggy. For example, 「ばらばらになった服 Barabara ni natta fuku（Cloths that are torn apart）」.
ばらばら is also used when people split or break up. 「ばらばらになった家族 Barabara ni natta kazoku（A family that are separated）」「グループをばらばらにする Gurupu wo barabara ni suru（Break up the group）」
As you can see that 「ばらばらにする barabara ni suru」is used when you separate or break up things.「ばらばらになる barabara ni naru」, on the other hand, is used when things or people are separated or broken up by something.
2. スベスベの実 (Sube Sube no Mi)
「スベスベの実 Subesube no Mi」 is Akuma no Mi that allows the user’s body to be extremely smooth and slippery. The user is Alvida. English Name is Slip-Slip Fruit.
スベスベ is normally used to describe that something or someone’s skin is very smooth or silky. For example, 「君の肌はスベスベだね Kimi no hada wa subesube dane（Your skin is very smooth）」「このカシミアのスカーフはスベスベで柔らかい Kono kashimia no suka-fu wa subesube de yawarakai（This cashmere scarf is very smooth and soft）」.
3. モクモクの実 (Moku Moku no Mi)
「モクモクの実 Moku Moku no Mi」is Akuma no Mi that allows the user to transform into smoke and control them at will. The user is Smoker. English Name is Smoke-Smoke Fruit.
もくもく or モクモク is the state of smoke, clouds, or anything that looks like clouds coming out one after another like the Smoker in One Piece who creates smoke out of his body.
For example,「煙がモクモクしている Kemuri ga mokumoku shiteiru（Smoke is rising）」「今日は雲がすごいモクモクしてるね Kyou wa kumo ga sugoi mokumoku shiterune（Today’s clouds are so fluffy and they look like white cotton balls, don’t they!?）」.
Mokumoku also means silently and very focused.「黙々と仕事をする Mokumoku to shigoto wo suru（Focus and work silently）」.
4. バクバクの実 (Baku Baku no Mi)
「バクバクの実 Baku Baku no Mi」is Akuma no Mi that allows the user to eat anything including wood, metals, and people. The user is Wapol. English Name is Munch-Munch Fruit.
バクバク is the state of people eat a lot of food. For example,「あの子はバクバクとよく食べるね Anoko wa bakubaku to yoku taberune（That boy eats a lot like a monster）」.
バクバク also has a meaning as the state of the heart beating.「心臓がバクバクした Shinzou ga bakubaku shita（My heart was pounding like it was gonna come out of my mouth）」.
5. メラメラの実 (Mera Mera no Mi)
「メラメラの実 Meramera no Mi」is Akuma no Mi that allows the user to transform into the fire and control them at will. The previous user was Ace and the current user is Sabo. English Name is Flame-Flame Fruit.
メラメラ is the state of the fire or flame burning. For example,「メラメラと火が燃えている Meramera to hi ga moeteiru（The fire is burning）」.
メラメラ also means ‘extra’ and can be used to describe someone who has the ambition to do something or is angry at something. 「明日のテストに向けてやる気がメラメラと燃えているよ Ashita no tesuto ni mukete yaruki ga meramera to moeteiruyo（My motivation for the test tomorrow is burning like fire）」.
6. スパスパの実 (Supa Supa no Mi)
「スパスパの実 Supa Supa no Mi」is Akuma no Mi that allows the user to transform their body into steel blades. The user is Mr.1 (Daz Bonez). English Name is Dice-Dice Fruit.
Although we don’t say「スパスパ Supasupa」much, alternatively we say スパっ (one supa with a small tsu at the end) instead. 「スパっ supa」is used to describe something that is very sharp that can cut things cleanly.
「このナイフはスパッと切れるから気を付けて Kono naifu wa supatto kireru kara kiwotsukete（This knife is very sharp, so be careful with it）」.
It is also used to finish up a conversation you were having.「彼女は会議をスパッと切り上げて帰宅した Kanojo wa kaigi wo supatto kiriagete kitakushita（She wrapped up the meeting quickly and went home）」.
7. トゲトゲの実 (Toge Toge no Mi)
「トゲトゲの実 Toge Toge no Mi」is Akuma no Mi that allows the user to grow spikes on their body and turn their body into spikes. The user is Miss Doublefinger. English Name is Spike-Spike Fruit.
「刺々しい or とげとげしい（togetoge shii）」is the state of something that is spiky like cactus. For example,「このサボテンは刺々しい Kono saboten wa togetogeshii(
This cactus is very spiky）」.
刺々しい also refers to someone who has a harsh attitude towards someone.「彼は彼女にとげとげしい態度を取った Kare wa kanojo ni togetogeshii taido wo totta（He took a harsh attitude towards her）.
8. ゴロゴロの実 (Goro Goro no Mi)
「ゴロゴロの実 Goro Goro no Mi」is Akuma no Mi that allows the user to transform into lightning and control them at will. The user is Enel. English Name is Rumble-Rumble Fruit.
ゴロゴロ is Giongo with the sound of thunder. For example,「雷がゴロゴロと鳴った Kaminari ga gorogoro to natta（The thunder was rumbling）」.
ゴロゴロ also means to be laying down and doing absolutely nothing.「昨日の休みは何もしないでゴロゴロしてたよ Kinou no yasumi wa nanimoshinaide gorogoro shitetayo（I was just lying in bed and doing nothing on my day off yesterday）」.
9. ノロノロの実 (Noro Noro no Mi)
「ノロノロの実 Noro Noro no Mi」is Akuma no Mi that allows the user to emit Noroma Photons that slow down things and people when they touch them. The user is Foxy. English Name is Slow-Slow Fruit.
のろのろ or ノロノロ is the state of something or someone moves very slowly.「彼のノロノロ運転では今日中に目的地に着かない Kare no noronoro unten dewa kyouju ni mokutekichi ni tsukanai（With his slow driving, we cannot reach our destination today）」.
「亀みたいにのろのろ歩かないで早く歩いて Kame mitaini noronoro arukanaide hayaku aruite（Don’t walk like a tortoise, walk fast）」.
10. スケスケの実 (Suke Suke no Mi)
「スケスケの実 Suke Suke no Mi」is Akuma no Mi that allows the user and what the users touch to be invisible. The previous user was Absalom and the current user is Shiryu.
透け透け or スケスケ, すけすけ comes from the word「透ける sukeru」which means to be see-through. For example,「彼女の服が透け透けでブラが見えている Kanojo no fuku ga sukesuke de bura ga mieteiru（Her shirt is see-through that her bras are showing）」「お父さん、頭皮が透け透けだよ Otosan, touhi ga sukesuke dayo（Dad, your scalp is clearly visible）」.
That’s it for today. Did you like it!?
Today, 10 useful Japanese onomatopeias are introduced. If you are a big fan of One Piece like I am, you must have mastered them already. Especially,「ゴロゴロする gorogoro suru」「透け透けの服 sukesuke no fuku」「スベスベの肌 subesube no hada」are commonly used in everyday conversations.
There are more than 1,000 Japanese onomatopeias, so what I introduced today is just the tip of the iceberg. However, enjoying the process of learning new words and phrases is more important. My English has improved a lot because I love how I learn English by watching Friends and movies, and so can you.
If you have friends who are learning Japanese, please take a moment and share this with them. That means the world to me. Also, if you have questions or feedback, please feel free to comment below or message me via Twitter.