What does Baka mean, in anime & manga?

Many know that baka in Japanese literally means idiot, stupid, donkey, fool, clown, and many other curses in one word. A word that, from being used so much in anime, it ends up becoming part of the reduced Japanese vocabulary for any otaku in the West. But is that really the only use of the word? What is its origin and uses? What do the expressions that usually accompany the word mean? In this article, we will really understand what baka means in Japanese.


We have already made it clear what baka means in its basic Japanese sense. But there are still other details that were not clear. To understand, we need to take a closer look at the origin of the word baka. There are several theories about the source of this word, let’s look at a few things, and you can decide for yourself.

Some believe that it all started when a eunuch named Choko planned a rebellion against the Kogai emperor of the second Qin dynasty in China. He took a deer and presented it to the Emperor, saying it brought a rare horse. Some agreed out of fear of him. Those who disagreed were killed.

Another theory comes from the word mora (莫迦), which means ignorance and illusion. It is believed that the monks have begun to shift from reading backwardness to baka. Another theory suggests that the word baka emerged from the expression wakamono (若者), meaning young people. Others say the word comes from the expression “bankrupt family” , which in Zen scriptures is pronounced baka.


As you may have noticed, the word baka has several different uses. Sometimes, the tone of your voice defines how you are insulting and offending the person. You can simply speak randomly and harmlessly or even call the person very silly. Therefore, the word can also be used in a friendly and humorous way. It is common to make combinations of words together with baka to create different meanings and offenses. Let’s share some of them below:

  • Bakayarou = Stupid boy;
  • Bakamono = Idiot;
  • Oobaka = Big idiot;
  • Bakanakotowoshita = To regret having done something stupid;
  • The word baka is used in several other good expressions. Below we will see how the term is used in a good way:
  • Bakashoujiki = Naively honest, super honest;
  • Bakadekai = Huge, gigantic, immense, stupidly big;
  • Bakauke = Super fun, super popular, super well received;

The word is also often used in phrases and expressions indicating that a person is crazy about something, a fan of something. There are so many expressions related to baka that it is common to hear this word several times in anime, and not only when it comes to insulting or calling someone a donkey. We hope you have learned something new today, but if we have missed anything, feel free to lets us know. Until next time fellow anime fans!

Larthian & Syanka

Afar Anime is a co-managed site operated by a husband and wife anime-loving team. Since an early age, they have both shared a love for all things anime. Some of their favorite titles include Naruto, Sailor Moon, and Hunter X Hunter. Post are published weekly and old articles are updated accordingly. If you are interested in collaborations, feel free to reach out at animeafar@gmail.com.

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