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Beware of Perverts!

While not an overwhelmingly common sight, in some districts of Japan you may come across signs like the one below that warn against folk of stranger dispositions.

変質者出没!

へんしつしゃ しゅつぼつ

Sightings of Perverts!

変質者 is an alternative word for the more common term 変態, meaning pervert. You might have heard ‘hentai’ being used in popular Japanese cultural media such as anime and manga, usually in a comedic context. It can be used in jest, but also used seriously in an accusation against a molester or groper. It also has more varied meanings such as ‘kinky’ and ‘sexy’ depending on the situation. 変質者, in contrast, is a slightly more formal term literally meaning ‘someone with a strange disposition’ to refer to people who are a menace to society. The common scenario is one of a lecherous old man stalking women home from the station, or a groper on a crowded train. The usual word to refer to a groper of molester is チカン, as in the example below:

主に満員電車の中に出没するチカン

おもに まんいんでんしゃの なかに しゅつぼつする チカン

Molesters often appear on crowded trains


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