Ever heard an “ara ara” (あら‐あら) in Japanese?
Wondering what the ara ara meaning in Japanese is?
First, you should know that it’s an interjection – something you say that expresses a spontaneous feeling. Like, “Oh” or “Ah.”
Well, there are 2 meanings. There’s 1) the “ara ara” in anime and 2) the REAL “ara ara” usage in real life.
And this guide, you’ll get both, with plenty of examples. Cool? Cool.
1. Ara Ara Meaning in Japanese Anime
You’re probably here because of anime, right?
So, what does “Ara Ara” mean in anime?
Ara ara can be translated into the following variations below.
And it’s used in many ways, just like, “well, well” or “oh, my.” You can use it when you’re surprised, disapproving, or just being affectionate.
- Oh my
- My, my
- Oh dear
- Well, well
- My goodness
- Tsk, tsk
In anime, female characters will use it to express the feelings mentioned above (surprise, disapproval, or affection). Some anime will also show “ara ara” as being used in a suggestive or flirtatious way but that only applies to anime and not the real world.
So, if that’s the anime version, how’s it used in real life?
2. Ara Ara Meaning in Japanese – Real Life
“Ara” is an interjection and means “oh” or “ah.”
So, if “ara” means oh, then the literal meaning of ara ara is “oh, oh.”But of course, with Japanese, it’s less about literal translation and more so understanding the nuance of how the word is used.
Listen to the pronunciation below
Like most interjections, “ara” is used to express some level of surprise. You’ll hear it from women using it as “oh” or “ah,” and mothers talking to their kids in an affectionate way. Like, “oh, you’re all dirty.”
Here are some examples of ara in Japanese, with translations:
- Oh, hello.
- Ara, konnichiwa.
- Oh, I’m sorry.
- ara, moushiwake gozaimasen
- Oh dear! I’m short of money.
- ara, okane ga tarinai.
- Oh, you shouldn’t have.
- Ara, waza waza sumimasen.
- Ah, Fuyuka (a female name).
- Ara, Fuyuka.
As you can see, all if not most of these phrases carry some level of surprise. Like, “Oh, I forgot my money,” or “Oh, it’s you.”
And of course, you can always double up the “ara” to get the “ara ara.”
This means pretty much the same thing as a single “ara.”
Back to You & a Warning
Now you know the ara ara meaning in Japanese.
You probably heard it in anime and wanted to know what it means.
But, keep in mind… what’s shown in anime isn’t true to life. If you want to use the word amongst your anime friends, that’s fine. If you want to bust out the anime “ara ara” in Japanese conversations with native speakers, it probably won’t have the impact you hoped it would.
– The Main Lingua Junkie