雰囲気イケメン (ふいんきいけめん, fuinki ikemen) is a Japanese slang word that literally means ‘handsome-vibe (guy)’ and describes a ‘quasi-handsome’ man — a man who looks handsome at first glance but actually just has a handsome vibe rather than a good-looking face. For instance, if someone says, ‘I thought he’d be handsome at first, but it turns out he was just 雰囲気イケメン, that means he was not a bona fide handsome guy as they had expected.
On the other hand, 雰囲気イケメン is also used in an approving way. For instance, a myriad of men’s magazines feature 雰囲気イケメン in their articles, offering some tips about how to attain ‘handsome vibes’ such as fashionable hairstyles/clothes or how to behave in a “handsome” way. Of course, everyone wishes to be handsome rather than just ‘handsome-vibe’, but for most guys, attaining handsome vibes is important to be the best of an ordinary bunch.
Related Word 1: イケメン (ikemen)
イケメン is a very famous slang word that means “handsome” or “a handsome guy”. It is an abbreviation of the phrase イケてるメン , where the first word ‘イケてる’ is an outdated casual word meaning ‘cool/awesome’. The second word ‘メン’ is said to come from either the English word ‘men’, or the Japanese word ‘面(めん)’ meaning ‘face’.
Not only a handsome face, イケメン describes cool behaviour as well. For instance, when your friend says to you ‘You look busy these days. Let me know if there is something I can help you with’, you can say ‘Wow, you are so イケメン’!
On the Internet, some people playfully use ‘イケメソ (ikemeso)’ instead of ‘イケメン (ikemen)’, but it’s getting outdated.
Related Word 2: 雰囲気 (“fuinki”/”funn iki”)
雰囲気 (ふいんき or ふんいき) means ‘atmosphere/vibe’ and is often used to describe a vibe of things (e.g., restaurants, cities) or people. What’s distinctive about this word is its reading: technically, it reads ‘ふんいき’ and that is what you should write on a Japanese kanji quiz; in reality, however, people usually pronounce it as ふいんき because that’s much easier to pronounce (for Japanese people). This reading is so prevalent that most Japanese typing systems allow both readings for 雰囲気.
Tanaka-kun, I guess you are a ‘handsome-vibe’ man
Wait, is that a compliment or not?
Many people say that a hairstyle is important to become ‘handsome-vibe’.