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Unicorn? Penguin? What Type of Guy/Girl Are You?

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Unicorn? Penguin? What Type of Guy/Girl Are You?

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In Japan, there’s been a recent trend to categorize guys and girls into different types. The categorizing is said to have started with the popularization of the term soushoku-kei danshi, or herbivore men. After this term spread across Japan in the late 2000s, people started to invent more terms to identify different types of guys and girls. Now these types include carnivore guys, penguin girls… and even asparagus-bacon guys?
(Note: kei = type, danshi = guy, joshi = girl)


At the start, the two terms herbivore guys and carnivore guys were used to separate guys in Japan into two groups.

Herbivore guys: soushoku-kei danshi (草食系男子)

This term was first used in mass media by the columnist Fukusawa Maki, in Nikkei Business. The term gained momentum after being picked up by fashion magazines, and gradually became a word that everyone in Japan could recognize. It was even chosen as one of the top 10 buzzwords of the year 2010. So, who are herbivore men?

In general, guys of this type are considered to be more feminine. They are more likely to be thin, rather than muscular, like sweet foods, be interested in fashion, like the indoors, and not have as much of a sex drive.

Carnivore guys: nikushoku-kei danshi (肉食系男子)

As the name might suggest, carnivore guys are quite the opposite of herbivore guys. Carnivore guys are thought to be generally masculine, straightforward, decisive, confident, communicate well with others, and have a high sex drive. On the other hand, they are also considered to be more likely to be aggressive and to cheat on their partners.


After realizing that not all guys fit into either herbivore or carnivore, more types began to be emerge.

Asparagus-bacon guys: asupara-bēkon-kei danshi (アスパラベーコン系男子)

At first, it might be hard to imagine what asparagus-bacon guys would be like. In Japan, there is a common dish in which asparagus is wrapped in bacon and fried. This term is supposed to represent guys who are like bacon on the outside, but asparagus on the inside, or in more simple terms having a manly appearance but are more soft on the inside. They are thought to have appearances similar to carnivore guys, but personalities closer to herbivore guys.

Rolled-cabbage guys: rōru-kyabetsu-kei danshi (ロールキャベツ系男子)

A rolled-cabbage guy is the antithesis of an asparagus-bacon guy. Instead of a soft vegetable being wrapped by meat, rolled cabbage is meat wrapped in a soft vegetable. As you might guess then, rolled-cabbage guys are guys who are similar to herbivore guys in appearance, but tend to be more masculine and carnivore-like in personality.

And the list goes on. Other groups include:

Creamy guys: kuriimi-kei danshi (クリーミー系男子): Guys who are sweet-looking and always kind but also strict at some times and willing to take responsibility.

Fasting guys: danjiki-kei danshi (断食系男子 ): Those who are not interested necessarily in romantic relationships. Can spend a lot of time alone with their hobby and prefer to hang out with their guy friends than go on dates with girls.

Unicorn guys: yunikōnu-kei danshi (ユニコーン系男子 ): Herbivore men who have superior academic backgrounds and well-paying jobs.

Otaku guys: otaku-kei danshi (オタク系男子 ): Guys who love otaku culture. They are thought to be good with kids, accepting, and generally positive thinkers.


For girls however, there aren’t nearly as many different groups. There are a few overlaps in terms, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the term will mean the same thing for boys and girls.

Herbivore girls: soushoku-kei joshi (草食系女子 )

Herbivore girls are thought to be more feminine and timid. Often they are also shy, reserved, modest and negative. They like to daydream and are kind, but have difficulty in self-asserting and tend to be not very confident. And since they are not very confident, they have difficulty confessing to the people they like, and usually don’t send the first text. They are known to be modest and won’t wear clothes that show off too much skin.

Carnivore girls:nikushoku-kei joshi (肉食系女子)

These girls are assertive and willing to take risks. They think positively, have a lot of energy and are good at being alone. Carnivore girls are not afraid to take the first step in relationships, therefore girls who have had dated many people are often thought to be carnivore-type girls. In terms of dress, carnivore girls are thought to be showier and flashier.

Healing girls: iyashi-kei joshi (癒し系女子)

In terms of dating partners, healing girls tend to be popular with guys as Iyashi-kei joshi  are great at healing and comforting the people around them. They think positively and are always smiling, but act leisurely. They’re also thought to be good at cooking and listening. Their clothing choices are more feminine with skirts and looser clothes.

Bunny girls: usagi-kei joshi (うさぎ系女子)

As you can tell from the name, bunny girls are girls that resemble bunnies. They are sweet and are cute in everything that they do. But they also get lonely easily and are scared by the slightest things. They are gentle and more comfortable in quieter places without huge crowds.

Penguin girls: pengin-kei joshi (ペンギン系女子)

Penguin girls are realists. They can think calmly in any situation and are good at analyzing and thinking logically. They are serious, good at what they do, and will not let their opinions be swayed by people around them. When they do happen to make mistakes though, penguin girls tend to drag on the mistake and reflect upon it.

These are just a few of the different types of girls and guys categorized in Japan. Although many of the types overlap, it seems that guys are more likely to be compared with foods and characteristics of foods, whereas girls are often compared with different types of animals. So, what type of girl/guy are you? And why do you think that there are so many different categories for types of guys and girls in Japan?

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Author
Erika
Erika

Born in US, currently a student in Japan. Loves Japanese culture, both traditional and contemporary.

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