Sunday, August 19, 2012

Things People Don’t Talk about (6): What’s the Japanese Term for “Bimbo”?

What’s the Japanese term for “bimbo,” asks good friend RD. Beats me. Let me guess. Bimbos are not only stupid, they are also loud, which makes their stupidity obvious to everyone. There are plenty of stupid Japanese women too, but they act more demurely, which masks their stupidity (and intelligence in the opposite case).

What do you think?


MTC said...


Perhaps the word "bimbo" -- with its echoes of "jumbo" -- freezes our minds by restricting our musing to idiots of somewhat larger physical dimensions.

Were we to consider "bimbettes" -- petite "bimbos" -- one can list dozens of diminutive dimmer bulbs of the chandelier:

Itano Tomomi
Suzuki Nana
Kinoshita Yukina
Kohala Tomomi

You better than I can fill in the candidates from previous generations.

What would then be the term to describe ladies such as the above?

Jun Okumura said...

Good morning, MTC:

I would call Suzanne and Kinoshita Yukina obaka kyara; (I can't speak for the others since I don't know the others well enough or at all.) But they are tarento who have sustained successful careers by playing to their characters. In that sense, they are different from the likes of Lindsey Lohan, Jessica Simpson, and Bittney Spears, who have suffered from the shortcomings of their personal makeup. Now, I believe that many people will consider Paris Hilton and the Kardashian sisters bimbos extraordinaire. I’m not so sure. There’s a sense of sustained glamour and success about them that does not quite jibe with bimbohood; likewise, their upward career trajectories from sex tapes are not consonant with the floozy flat-lining that I at least associate with bimbos as highly depreciable assets. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Snooki seems to be the only died-in-the-wool bimbo that has enjoyed sustained commercial success. Is that because she’s just playing to her character—for example, Lucille Ball was one of the smartest and single-minded women in the TV business—or is it the brilliance of the concept behind Jersey Shore? Maybe we should ask our own Jersey boy P.S., who has knocked back a few with Snooki in his time.