Japanese Foreign-Language Clothing Glossary: M-Z Words

Figure 1.--.

We have only just begun our Japanese glossary, pulling together the Japanese terms from the Japanese section of HBC. As we have no Japanese language capability, here we have to rely on an on-line dictionary and our Japanese readers. Hopefully our Japanese readers will provide us more Japanese terms to add to the glossary or correct and refine the terms that we have found.

Mankanshoku: Dressed up/decked out

Marukubi: Round-necked shirt like a "T-shirt" that does not have a collar button.

Meriyasu: Hosiery or hose are tailored coverings for the feet or legs worn with shoes or sandals. The extent to which legs were covered and not just feet depended on the fashion trnds of the era, especially the hem length of pants, skirts, and related garments. Modern hose are made of knitted or woven fabric, but this has not always been the case throughout history. Hoisery in American usage is synomous with hose, but in Briatain may refer to any machine-knitted garment. The discussion here refers to the American usage.

Meriyasushatsu: Undershirt

Midzukuroi: Dressing oneself/personal grooming

Minari: Dress/outfit/getup/appearance

Mijimai: Dressing or outfitting oneself

Mijitaku: Dressing or outfitting oneself

Midzukuroi: Dressing oneself

Minzokuishou: National costume/(in) native dress

Mosuso: Cuff of pants or the hem of a skirt. Also used fior the train of dress or the foot of a mountain.

Naitodzuresu: Nightdress

Nekkutai: The term used for necktie is simply "nekkutai"--(English "necktie" with Japanese pronunciation). Worn by primary school boys only in a handful of elite uniformed private schools Rikkyo, for example) or for rare dressup occaions (i.e. weddings). A 12 year old or younger boy if wearing a necktie even today will also almost certainly wear short pants. Short pants are considered proper formal dress for a young boy, albeit a longer length today than a decade ago. Many secondary school uniforms now also require neckties as part of the uniform. The neck tie is the most vissible and variable fashion accessory worn by men. "Ties are very related to their times, reflective of trends in society," reports Mark-Evan Blackman, Chairman of the menswear department of New York's Fashion Institute of Technology. Neckties as we now know them are a relatively recent fashion accesory. The primary modern male neckwear can be be traced to the 17th-century cravat, a style developed from Croatian mercenaries honored by Louis XIV. As with so much of male fashion, the style is military in origin. Ties have only been worn by boys since the 1900s, although they only became widely accepted in the 1920s. They were extensively worn in the 1920s-40s as boys routeinly wore suits or blazers to school and to a variety of events and activities that now would call for casual clothes. In our more casual modern era, many American boys rarely wear ties and may not, in fact, learn to tie a knot until their teens. Usually British boys learn to handle a tie at an earlier age.

Nemaki: Sleep-wear/nightclothes/pyjamas/nightgown/nightdress.

Omekashi: Dressing up

Oopunshatsu: Open-necked shirt (literaly "open shirt")

Oshare: Smartly dressed/someone smartly dressed/fashion-conscious

Pantsu: Pants said alone mean underwear (i.e., the way the British use the word.) I think the word entered Japanese from British usage. In Japanese, "Pan" is used as a suffix in the word "tanpan" meaning very short shorts (tan means short) -- I think the image conveyed is old style rugby short-shorts.

Pant??: A HBC reader reports that the term for pantyhose is similar to "pantsu", but shorter--"pant"? I can't remember the exact term.

Ranningushatsu: Athletic-style shirt/running shirt. I believe this means the tank-top style without sleeves.

Reifuku: Ceremonial dress

Reisou: Formal dress

Riyou: Barbering/haircutting/hairdressing

Roosu sokusu: A contemporary fashion among secondary school girls is "roosu sokusu"--these are heavy loose white long socks that are worn about half way to the knees but loosely so they appear to drape the lower leg. The girls attach them to their legs with some sort of inner sticky belt. These are worn with very short skirts but would never be worn by boys unless the boy wanted to be a transvestite. It may simply be a coincidence, but very short skirts among girls began to prevail in Japan just as very short shorts among boys became unfashionable.

Ryakufuku: Everyday clothes/informal clothes (dress)

Sailor-fuku: This is the traditional Japanese girls' school uniform, known as Se-ra-fuku (aailor clothes). The middy blouse comes in many different styles. Many have red or other covered scarves. Summer blouses with shirts with short or long sleeves are usually white. Winter blouses are usually blue. The girls always wear them with skirts. A few pre-schools have uniforms with sailor styles for boys and girls, but this is not common.

Sandaru: "Sandaru" is the Japanese word for sandal and is based on the English word for sandal. Don't believe there was ever a fashion comparable to the English school sandal. "Geta" or wooden clogs were worn to school in the earlier part of the 20th century by many boys and taken off at the school entrance (most schools still require students to wear slippers inside school). Contemporary sandals are now widely worn by boys of all ages as casual footwear in hot weather with the ubiquitous knee-length athletic shorts. But most schools seem to prefer some sort of shoe to be worn to and from school.A sandal is a type of shoe fastened to the foot with thongs or straps. Sandals have been worn since ancient times. There are two basic types of sandals, closed toe and open toe sandals. The Italian term for sandals is "sandali" (plural) / "sandalo" (singular). There are no specific terms for closed-toe and open-toe, but you can say respectively "sandali chiusi" and "sandali aperti". Sandals were always popular in Italy, with some differences in the time and in the regions.

Sanpatsu: Hair-cutting/hair-dressing

Seihatsu: Hairdressing

Seihatsuzai: Hairdressing

Seihatsuryou: Hairdressing fee/charge for a haircut

Seisou: Uniform/full dress

Seifuku: Uniform/regulation dress

Seisou: Be dressed up/wear rich clothes

Sharekke: Being dressed stylishly

Shareru: To joke/to play on words/to dress stylishly

Sharekomu: To get dressed up

Shatsu: HBC has noted a variety of shirt-like garments.The term "shirt" is a realtively recent term. It only became widely used in the 20th century. In the 19th century, the term "waist" was commonly used to describe what we now call shirts. The term blouse was also used. While it had several meanings, the shirt-like garment was more for children and women than adults.

Shatsuburausu: Blouse or shirtwaist

Shitate: Tailoring/dressmaking/sewing/making/preparation

Shitateya: Tailor/dressmaker

Shitakubeya: Dressing room

Shichakushitsu: Dressing room

Shikifuku: Ceremonial dress

Shotto pantsu: I believe that the English term short pants usully refers to women's shorts although I'd want to check with a native speaker. A Japanese reader reports, "I have seen men's walk shorts also called shotto pantsu."

Shottsu: The English term shorts can be used to cover all these varieties and is the generic term for any shorts worn by men. Short pants are cut at or above the knee. Trousers cut below the knee we have generally referred to as knee pants if closed with buttons or left open. Trousers cut below the knee and gathered or closed with buckles we have referred to as knickers. Short pants have been referred to by different names in England. The English generally refer to short pants as "short trousers".

Sodetsuke: Armhole of a shirt

Sukato: The skirt is a skirted garment ithout a bofdice. Little American boys until well after the turn of the 20th Century wore dresses and other skirted garments like kilt suits. Other skirted garments include smocks and pinafores. American boys rarely wore actual Highland regalia with bright plaids. One skirted garment I know less about are actual skirts. Not sure Japanese boys ever wore anything like this. But they do sometimes wear traditional Japanese attire which looked somewhat like dresses. (See "Kimono").

Tabi: The traditional Japanese sock covered only the foot and had an indent between the big and second toe to accomodate traditional Japanese sandals. It was called "tabi" It was worn primarily by women and girls with kimono (and is still seen today when they dress in traditional fashion). Boys and men had something similar for formal attire; that may be tabi as well.

Tanpan: This means literally "short pants". "Tan" suggests very short. Tanpatsu, for example, means very short hair. I think that tanpan is used for any extremely brief shorts whether worn by boys or men (i.e., good old traditional rugby shorts) and has an aura of sports or athletics about it, while hanzubon means conventional traditional short boys' shorts.

Tetsudattekiseru: To help (a person) dress

Tii shatsu: T-shirt

Tokoyama: Actors' or sumo wrestlers' hairdresser

Toreenaa: Athletic training shirt or sweatshirt

Toreeningushatsu: Sweatshirt, literally "training shirt".

Usugi: Lightly dressed

Uwappari: HBC knows of no specific Japanese word for smock. The general term "uwappari" is used for a variety of protective garments: overalls, wrapper, duster, and smock. We think that this term is used for children's smocks is in Japanese, but have very little informnation. Smocks i Japan are only worn only by kindergarteners and pre-school boys. Smocks are a loose, lightweight over garment worn to protect the clothing while working. Initially the smock was a garment for adult workers, especially farm workers. Eventually mothers faced with the need of protecting expensive garments from the hard wear associated with children began dressing their children in smocks. The smock by the late 19th century had become primarily a child's garment, although it was also wrn by shop workers, artists, and other adults. The smock was essentially a large shirt or overgarment with the fullness controlled by the smocking (embroidery on pleats). The use of smocking (the decorative embroidery can be easily traced to the 15th century). Albrecht Durer's Self Portrait (German) shows a smocked shirt, and the Mona Lisa (Italian) has a smocked chemise. The use of needlework to control fullness is a very old technique and became known as smocking. Smocking needle work continues today and is a popular addition to fancy collars as well as garments for younger children.

Waishatsu: Business shirt. The literal translation is "white shirt", but wjite shirts are universally seen as appropriate business atire. The term originated when all business shirts were white. The term by the 2000s was also used for a business dress shirt in a color other than white--especially blue ones.

Wan peesu: I am not sure about the usage of "wan peesu" and "doresu" for "dress" in the ence of a woman's skirted garment. There are a variety of alternative meanings, woman's skirted garment, dress up, dress shirt, etc. We know that doresu is definitely used in the sense of "dress-up". A reader tells us, "I was taught that a woman's dress is known as a "wan peesu" (one-piece) as opposed to a sukato (skirt)". In discussing boys' dresses of a century ago (rarely if at all worn in Japan), I 'm not sure what word would be used.

Wasou: Dressed in kimono/Japanese clothing

Yooran: One HBC reader notes, "I've also come across the term ' yooran ', referring to a (delinquent) boy's school uniform, but I do not know what exactly it means, nor can I find another specific reference. A Japanese reader reports, "I had trouble with this one. My friend thinks it may refer to the jacket worn in contemporary-styled school uniforms; i.e., a blazer. But I can't confirm this -- I'll try."

Yosooi: Dress/outfit/equipment

Yosoou: To dress

Yousai: Western dressmaking

Yousaishi: Dressmaker

Youhatsu: Western hairdressing

Youfukuya: Tailor's (shop)/dressmaker's shop/tailor/dressmaker

Zori: Zori are the traditional Japanese straw sandals. Before World War II many Japanese elementary school children wore them to school, especially in rural areas.

Zubon: "Zubon" is the generic Japanese word for any Western-style trousers (American pants), long or short. Thus han (Japanese word for half) zubon for proper short pants as explained above. Boys have also worn pants and trousers of different length. [Note: the authors have generally chosen the American word pants. In British English the proper word would be trousers, pants in Britain refer to underwear.] Long trousers were common in the first decade of the 19th Century. Boys wore long pants with their skeleton suits. At mid-century knee-length pants had appeared for boys, but it was not uncommon to see even younger boys wearing long pants, but had generally been replaced by knee-length pants and long stockings by the 1860s boys under 12 years of age, but some older boys were also wearing them. The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine reported in 1863 that the knickerbocker suit "reigns supreme". It contibued to do well into the first half of the 20th Cenuary. The development appears to be a little later in America, but eventually American boys were also in knee-lenght pants. The knee pants were full, closed at the knee with buckles or buttons, or simply cut off at the knee. The age of boys wearing knee pants gradually increased in the late 19th Century. By the turn of the Century even older teenagers, boys of 18 and 19 years of age were commonly wearing knee pants. The pants worn by boys in the 20th Century have varied widely by decade and country. American boys commonly wore knickers in the 1920s and 30s, but in the 1940s increasingly wore long pants. English and European boys commonly wore short pants, but long pants became more common beginning in the 1960s. Since the 1970s American and European boys have begun wearing very similar styles of clothes, both for dress suits as well as play and casual wear. "Zubon" I believe is derived from Dutch. A handful of words entered Japanese from the Portuguese and Dutch languages back in the 16th and 17th centuries when Westerners first arrived in Japan. (The famous Japanese dish tempura is another such word, coming from the Portugues for time--tempore--while some even think arigato, that Japanese word for thank you, may come from the Portuguese obbligado.)


Watson, John C. World Otakunization Project, Amherst Division, E-mail message, September 26, 2003.


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Created: October 16, 2001
Last updated: October 4, 2003