How to say “flirting” in Japanese

September 17th, 2012By Category: Uncategorized

nanpa (suru) ,  gyaku nan (suru)


When a guy calls on a girl to invite her somewhere, either in a club or on the street. As a verb, is said: “nanpa suru” The opening for the invitation is usually an “invitation to tea”, “invitation to karaoke”, or “invitation to go for a drink.” “Gyaku nanpa” occurs when a girl calls out to a guy to invite him somewhere.

Japanese Example

A:Kinou, club de mecha type no ko ga itandakedo.

A:Nanpa shiyo toshitara, hokano yatsu ni saki kosarechattandayo.

A: さいきん、彼氏ができたんだ。
B: どこで知り会ったの?
A: 渋谷で逆ナンした!?

A: Saikin, kareshi ga dekitanda.
B: Doko de shiriatta no?
A: Shibuya de gyakunan shita!?

English Translation
Two guy friends are having a conversation
A: There was a super hot girl at the club yesterday.
B: Oh.
A: I tried to pick (nanpa) her up, but another guy beat me to it.

Gyaku nan: The opposite of nanpa, when a girl approaches a guy.
A conversation between two young women
A: I got a boyfriend recently.
B: Where did you meet him?
A: I picked (gyaku nanpa) him up in Shibuya.

The word “nanpa” comes from the Japanese word for “moderate”(軟派nanpa). If you use it too much, you might be taken for a someone shallow person.


Author of this article

Iidabashi Japanese Language School

The Iidabashi Japanese Language School motto is "Be Unique, Have fun Globally!" We teach classes focused on conversation skills to foreigners living in Japan.

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  • leslie nguyen

    Shallow person eh? Interesting rather. Thanks for the article!

  • Yukiko Watanabe

    Thank you for your comment!