No25 [Language] Omoshiroi yo NIHONGO!

Welcome once again, to the fascinating world of the Japanese language.
Japanese like to shorten words and sentences so much that in many cases all that is left at the end are a few letters.

Japanese word / phrase of the month


KY (ケーワイ)

KY is the shortened version of the phrase “kuuki yomenai” (空気読めない) and is used to describe those types of people who remain blissfully oblivious of the social situations around them. If you do a direct translation, It literally means “cannot read the air”. A KY is the type of person who is clueless about the situation they find themselves in, doesn’t know what’s going on or cannot take the hints given by others, so they don’t behave as they would be expected to. There are many things that are only considered appropriate to say or do only at certain times or in certain situations, and a KY person can be very awkward by not “reading the atmosphere” and doing something completely inappropriate instead. The Japanese rarely say “no” directly, so you often have to be able to read body language and other cues very well to avoid a misunderstanding and wind up being called a KY. Sometimes the sentence “Kuuki yome!” (literally “Read the air!”) is heard in conversations, mostly between friends, to really drive home the point that someone should pay more attention to the situation. There are several variations on KY as well, including the even more extreme one below.


SKY “Super kuuki yomenai” (スーパー空気読めない)

“Absolutely cannot read the air” Let’s take a look at when this could be used.


At a wedding party…
A: 結婚式のパーティーなのにあの人は別れの歌を歌うなんて…
(Kekkonshiki no pa-ti- nanoni ano hito wa wakare no uta wo utaunante…)
It is a wedding party and that person is singing  songs about break ups.
B: あの人SKYだよね。
(Ano hito su-pa-ky dayo ne.)
He is Super KY (He really has no idea what he’s doing does he?!).