In Japanese, there are many casual words that contain the kanji character ‘活’ (katsu). This character is short for ‘活動’ (katsudou) meaning ‘activity’, and the words including ‘活’ describe a variety of unique activities. This article introduces such unique words with their meanings and what ‘activities’ they describe. Besides, it illustrates how famous each word is on a scale of 1 to 3 with the number of stars. The one-star word is quite new and may not be acknowledged by some Japanese people, especially by old generations.
就活 (“Shūkatsu”) ★★★
就活 stands for ‘就職活動 (Shūshoku katsudou)’ meaning ‘job-hunting activities’, where ‘就職’ (Shūsyoku) means ‘get a job’. This term is usually used by students who start job-hunting for the first time. The activities include having job interviews, attending job fairs, and visiting Alumni who work in one’s preferable company. In Japan, a myriad of university students start 就活 wearing new black suits in their third year, and search for a job before they graduate. This custom is in fact very controversial since it hinders students from focusing on their studies at university.
(Don’t confuse ‘終活’ with the previous word ‘就活’, both of which have the same pronunciation.)
終活 stands for ‘人生の終わりのための活動’, meaning ‘activities to prepare for the end of one’s life’. That includes (but not limited to):
- writing one’s will
- making preparations for one’s funeral and tomb
- organising one’s money and financial assets for one’s heirs
- deleting private data such as social media accounts and ‘inappropriate’ files on PC that one does not want others to discover after one’s death
The last activity is especially called ‘デジタル終活’ (digital 終活). The term and concept of 終活 are relatively new, and it has been gathering more and more attention recently.
婚活 (Konkatsu) ★★★
婚活 stands for ‘結婚活動 (Kekkon katsudou)’ meaning ‘activities for getting married’, where 結婚 means ‘marriage’. That includes using matchmaking apps/services, joining a new social community, and going to ‘婚活パーティー (Konkatsu party)’, where people gather with the aim of finding someone to get married with. It is also considered as 婚活 to do something beneficial for increasing the chance of getting married, such as going to a beauty salon, buying fashionable clothes, and starting a new hobby.
妊活 (Ninkatsu) ★★
妊活 stands for ‘妊娠活動 (Ninshin katsudou)’ meaning ‘activities for getting pregnant’, where ‘妊娠’ means ‘pregnancy’. This term is usually used by a married couple who want to have a baby. Although the main act for 妊活 is quite obvious, 妊活 also includes the act of staying healthy to prepare for pregnancy, such as having nutritious food, quitting smoking and drinking, and doing exercises. It is often stressed that these acts are not only important for women, but also for men.
朝活 (Asakatsu) ★★
朝活 stands for ‘朝活動 (Asa katsudou)’ meaning ‘activities in the morning’, where ‘朝 (Asa)’ means ‘morning’. It describes waking up early in the morning and doing something beneficial for one’s life, such as studying, jogging, and working out. This is something that most people have tried and then given up within a few days.
パパ活 (Papakatsu) ★
パパ活 stands for ‘パパを探す活動’ meaning ‘activities for girls to search for one’s “Papa (Dad)”’. Well, don’t take it as it is and feel sympathetic for them, as ‘Papa’ here does not mean their own father or anything; it actually indicates a ‘sugar daddy’, a man who pays money in return for dating with the girls. One of the alleged characteristics of パパ活is that it does not involve any sexual conduct, and the girls get paid by dating casually with their ‘dads’, such as having lunch/dinner, shopping, and/or going to karaoke. On the internet, quite a few girls, even including teenagers, look for their ‘dads’ who are willing to pay their proposed wage. Needless to say, this situation has been viewed as a very big issue in Japan.
タピ活 (Tapikatsu) (a brand new word) ★
タピ活 stands for ‘タピオカティーを飲む活動’ meaning ‘activities to drink tapioca tea (bubble tea)’. Recently, bubble tea has been the craze among girls in Japan, and they form long queues in front of bubble tea shops, although bubble tea itself has been sold in Japan for a long time. This trend is said to be triggered by teenage girls who are keen to have fashionable drinks and take instagramable photos, and the term ‘タピ活’ has also started to be used by them. Therefore, if you are an old bloke and yet use this word, it will sound quite odd, unfortunately. Since this word is coined following the craze, it is likely to be outdated before long when the trend has come to an end.