Burikko - Japanese with Too Much Cuteness

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Burikko [ぶりっ子] is a Japanese term used to describe people who act and speak in a childish way, it can be considered a type of style, culture and behavior that penetrates within the culture Kawaii and Lolita. In this Guide we are going to talk all about these girls who behave with excessive cuteness.

Ever wondered why Japanese women don't shave their pubic hair? Click below to also read our article: Why Japanese women don't usually shave.

What does Burikko mean?

Burikko [ぶりっ子] is an intentional femininity appeal (beauty, cuteness), in which women pretend to be ignorant and spoiled in front of the opposite sex, pretending to be powerless. It can also be translated as false child or pretend child.

We use that word to describe predatory girls who act like pure, innocent, and very feminine (like “I don’t poop, I ride unicorns, and I don’t know what sex is?”) but actually know exactly what they’re doing, to get What you want.

The origin of the word comes from [振りっ子] and [鰤子] where first the suffix buri [振り] indicates a style, manner and path. the noun fury [振り] also conveys the idea of agitation, balance, appearance and behavior. The ideogram [鰤] that make up some archaic versions refers to the Japanese Amberjack fish.

the suffix buri was used to refer to several words in the Japanese language. Perhaps by examining these expressions you can get a sense of the meaning of the word and variants. See below:

  • Kawaiiko buru [可愛い子ぶる] - Cute child;
  • Iikoburu [いい子ぶる] - Good child;
  • Nekowokaburu [猫をかぶる] - Dress up like a cat;
Burikko - Japanese girls with excessive cuteness

In short, the word Burikko literally means to act, to follow a style, a manner, to look and behave like a child [子]. The word refers to pretending to be a thing, that is, a child, with childish and innocent behavior.

There are verbs that resemble the origin of the word as the verb buri [振る] means to [assume the air of...] or [behave like...] or onomatopoeia buruburu [ぶるぶる] which means trembling, showing an excess.

Another coined word was "Hamachikko"derived from fish buri young man who is called hamachi. The aim was to separate young women who acted like children (burikko) of adult women who acted like children (hamachikko), but the term was not popularized and nowadays it is used only burikko.

A person who hides his true nature and shows a different personality to a person.

meaning of burikko

Burikko Behaviors and Characteristics

Burikko encompasses many behaviors that express forced childishness, from a submissive gaze to a child's voice. Gestures, grimaces, tilts and MOE behavior are characteristics of Burikko. Below are the main behaviors:

Burikko's Main Behaviors

They also often make cute gestures and facial expressions, some heavily exaggerated, that show fear or surprise in everyday situations. Even the way you sneeze burikko are usually cute.

They act like damsels in distress, and use their sympathy to get the boys' attention. They often puff out their cheeks, tilt their head to the side, or touch their finger to their face while speaking, sometimes lightly covering their face with their hands.

They often puff out their cheeks to make an impression like "Moo! I'm angry!" or "Moo! Don't be mean!" or "I'm sad to say this!

Burikko - Japanese girls with excessive cuteness

Some gestures of burikko involves mouth of bat called ahiruguchi [アヒル口] where they pursed their lips a little. Another gesture is called a sparrow face called a chungao [チュン顔]. Another cute feature of these girls is their ability to look up using only their eyes.

A traditional and natural flirting technique is touching yourself. Burikko also tend to touch each other often, they also intentionally hold the other person's hand just to say thank you (something rare in Japanese culture). They can also shake boys' shoulders to ask for something.

Some burikko usually let their tongue out of their mouth, a gesture called tehepero [テヘペロ] similar to Peko-chan from Milky. A very strong gesture that conveys a sense of humor and cuteness.

Burikko - Japanese girls with excessive cuteness
Tehepero and other burikko gestures

Uchimata - Walk with feet inward

Uchimata [内股] is the name given to the way some Japanese girls walk, with their toes facing inwards. In the West it may be known as Pigeon Finger and some even treat it as a disease.

In Japan it's the opposite, few girls really walk like that, many do is force this walking style because they find it cute and kawaii. This is believed to be common in Japan because of the way Japanese people often sit with their legs back.

some japanese burikko they also tend to sprint, run little runs at school in a sweet, flashy way that wins any man's heart.

Burikko - Japanese girls with excessive cuteness

Faking disabilities and forgetfulness

Usually the burikko pretending not to be able to do a certain thing so that the boys will do it for her. Something like not being able to open the lid of a candy, not being able to get something off the shelf, burning your finger in the kitchen, not being able to lift something (even if it's light).

Men feel like alpha males when they help these girls with trivial tasks, a great art of seduction known not only to girls burikko. They also often pretend to forget something, forget something at home or how to use a certain tool or machine.

If they pretend not to be able to accomplish something, they expect the boy to do it. In this case another feature comes in, the famous "act of begging". They usually say things like "buy me a souvenir", "I can't do it, do it for me" or simply express the desire to eat something.

Dialogue and Communication of the Burikko

usually a girl burikko she is always positive, cheerful and lively, she usually talks about herself in the third person, using her name instead of me. They also often use feminine pronouns like atashi (I). Because they are positive girls, they usually give a lot of compliments.

They also often use honorific suffixes "chan" or "tan” both for the third person and for others. Another custom is to extend words, especially at the end of sentences [ばか~]. They also often start their sentences with a “etto" [え〜と] which means eeh...

Many Japanese women, especially famous ones, tend to speak with a very childlike thin voice, one of the main characteristics burikko. Some go too far and end up making strange sounds and moans that can even remind you of relationships.

This is one of the reasons why some westerners don't like anime, since often the characters have a cute and childish voice, in addition to making those weird moans. Of course, I personally think that the Japanese language contributes to this high pitch of sound.

They also tend to make a lot of compliments, all excessively and in a very loud tone. Things like "Wow!", "Cute!", "Cool!" and "I'm happy!"... Usually the burikko use the tone of voice soprano, the highest-pitched female suit with the greatest vocal range of all types of voices.

Burikko Vocabulary

Not only do they speak like children, they also use children's words. See below some of the children's words used by the burikko:

Burikko-goJapaneseMeaning
おちゅかれさまお疲れ様Good job
よちよち*よしよしright there
しゅごいでしゅね〜すごいですねCool huh?
よくできまちたよくできましたGood job
わんわんPuppy
ぶーぶーCar
* Yoshi Yoshi - Word that expresses consent and comfort for children. 

Another word often used by burikko is the kawaiii expression [可愛い〜] that is often overused. They practically think everything is cute!

Other frequent words considered cute are:

  • Ukeruu [うける〜] - Receive;
  • Mechasugoine [めっちゃすごいね] - Incredible
  • Omoshiroii [面白い〜] - Interesting;
  • Kakkoii [かっこいい〜] - Cool;
  • Wakannai [わかんない〜] - Abbreviation of Wakaranai (I don't know);
  • Dekinai [できない〜!] - Cannot;
  • Chotto kowaindesukedo [ちょっと怖いんですけど〜] - I'm a little scared;

Burikko-ji - Cute Writing

At the time of the popularization of the kawaii movement, some childish writing styles emerged called burikko-ji, maru-ji, koneko-ji and manga-ji which involved stylized, rounded letters with childlike features such as hearts, stars and kittens.

It also refers to girls who live drawing kaomoji in texts or simply use lots of cute emoticons in electronic text messages. Not all girls who use this writing style can be categorized as a girl burikko.

Burikko - Japanese girls with excessive cuteness
Burikkoji writing example

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Style and Appearance of Burikko

What clothes do burikko wear? What hairstyles do they do? Now let's see some styles and appearance of the burikko.

At burikko will usually wear short skirts, even in heavy rain or wind. If they choose to wear pants, they will usually be short and tall pants because they avoid hiding their legs. They also like one-piece dresses, they are always cute clothes with flashy features.

Unlike the Harajuku girls, the burikko avoid bright colors, prefer light colors mixed with colors like pastel, pink and purple. Even so, colors such as red and blue may be present in some pieces. White and pink are the most used colors because they express purity and femininity.

Burikko are also fond of flowers, ribbons, lace and ruffles. Some like lace materials and appeal to transparency. Ruffles are present on the sleeves, skirt and even on the handles of the bags.

Burikko fashion cares a lot about details. For example nails, smartphone cases, headphones, wallets, regular holders, business card holders, scarves, bags, scarf cases, socks, etc. Cute objects are usually chosen that differ from the traditional.

Some burikko often wear long sleeves that cover up to the fingertip called moesode [萌え袖]. The legs are exposed creating the famous absolute territory Zettai Ryouiki.

Burikko - Japanese girls with excessive cuteness

Burikko hairstyles

usually the girls burikko They also have a childish hairstyle, usually the famous twin tail or double tail, which consists of tying the hair in both ears. Currently there is no rule, but we can see such hair in anime, Idols and maids.

Another popular hairstyle among burikko is loose brown hair. Usually a brown, beige, gray brown or just a few highlights in the hair causes a cute atmosphere according to the girls burikko.

Another popular hairstyle is bangs, some even cover the eyebrows or eyes. It seems like a complicated thing to do, taking hours of dedication every morning. Other girls claim that short hair that looks even masculine has positive results because it becomes men friendly.

Burikko - Japanese girls with excessive cuteness

Burikko's Abilities

In addition to the characteristics and behaviors mentioned above, being burikko it involves having some special skills that also define that culture.

Usually a Burikko girl is good at acting. She can even shed fake tears if she wants to.
Regardless of her true intentions, she can pretend to be anyone at will. They like to act and receive praise, so many are famous idols.

Girls who have burikko behavior have a wide vision called horse vision (they have 350 degree vision). They can observe as much as possible around them and can manipulate situations and adapt flirtations.

Another skill is high absorption, girls need to learn and practice gestures, often observing people around them and how they react to these gestures. usually new girls burikko need to imitate others, usually famous idols, hence the absorption ability.

Other strengths and skills to excel in burikko are:

  • They are hardworking.
  • They are outgoing;
  • They speak firmly;
  • They are attentive;

The Problems of Being Burikko

Many girls want to adhere to this lifestyle or some of its traits just for looking cute. The big problem is that this word ended up gaining a pejorative side of a fake girl interested in conquering men with fake behavior.

This is not the only problem for girls who want to adhere to this culture, usually other women hate girls who act like this behavior burikko. The reputation generated with men is good, but with girls of the same sex it is never good.

Because it is a flirting technique, acting only in certain situations with such behavior can create a perception that you are a false or self-serving person. The girls burikko does not always have the same attitude towards everyone.

usually the girls burikko has a hostile attitude towards women who are attractive in appearance and inside. They tend to take a cold attitude towards these other women who don't need to pretend or try.

The best advice for girls who want to follow aspects of the culture burikko it's just being natural with everyone. Many Japanese women tend to have innocent behavior as a way of life and not something temporary or fake.

If you are considerate of everyone and show your true personality, you can be a burikko no problem.

Burikko – Japanese women with excess cuteness

The Origin of the Term Burikko

The term was coined during the 1980s and is sometimes attributed to Japanese comedian Kuniko Yamada, although its exact moment of invention is unclear. That's because some shounen manga used similar expressions to refer to pretend girls.

Mangaka and illustrator Toshifumi Eguchi around 1978 used expressions such as kawaiikoburuna [かわいこぶるな!] and burikkodana [ぶりっこだな] to refer to a girl who pretended to be cute. Such expressions probably gave rise to the word burikko, which was later questioned by some experts.

As mentioned above, it was a popular word for children and young people due to the origin of male comics, but this word has spread in the form of a replacement for the conventional word “Kamatoto” (described later).

It has established itself as a new word not only for young people, but also for middle-aged and older people. All this with the help of the comedian Kuniko Yamada who popularized the term in 1981. Soon after this term began to appear in magazines and even became the name of a manga magazine for adults specializing in lolicon.

Although the term sounds pejorative, many girls consider it to be friendly teasing. Many girls at the time had a flirtatious streak, which resulted in burikko. Nowadays many women adopt this behavior as a lifestyle without taking it to the extreme.

Burikko has become a sub-culture kawaii among 12- and 18-year-old girls in the 1980s. About 50% of girls at the time wore something culturally related, be it gestures or writing. Buriko is also a word used to refer to the edible eggs of the hatata fish.

Burikko – Japanese women with excess cuteness

Japanese Burikko Famous

Seiko Matsuda was one of the first idols to be called Burikko because of her mischievous and unsympathetic behavior. People watched her suspicious gestures and behavior, she even lied and cried on music shows.

The voice actress and actress Minami Tanaka he often ruled the world with his superior eyes and burikko poses. She used to say that her gestures and comments were intentional. Today many girls follow this style to become famous.

Yuko Ogura is another that has named itself with a nickname and has a nasal voice. Tamao Sato is another teenager famous for her wet eyes and over-the-top, seductive reactions. She became famous for punpun pose [プンプンポーズ] which places both fists on its head. We also recommend researching Sayumi Michishige and Momoko Tsugenaga.

Burikko - Japanese girls with excessive cuteness

Kamatoto - Predecessor of Burikko

The word kamatoto [蒲魚] usually written in katakana has a similar meaning to burikko. According to the dictionary the word kamatoto it means feigning innocence, ignorance, or naivety.

Again, this is a woman who knows, but pretends not to know and behaves like a sexually naive. The word “Kamatoto” existed long before the popular word “Burikko” and was originally used in the late Edo period for prostitutes who pretended to be innocent.

The origin of the word Kamatoto derives from Kamaboko a type of surumi with the addition of the word toto [とと] a nickname used in Kansai to refer to fish. This nickname came from the word tou [疾う] which means quickly, referring to the time of consumption of fresh fish.

Another theory is that the term came from girls who pretended to be rich daughters to try to get men's attention.

Burikko – Japanese women with excess cuteness

Reasons that lead Japanese women to Burikko

About 27% of Japanese women have tried to appeal to their childish side when flirting with a man. Ever wondered why Japanese girls act like children? See some psychological studies that show the possible causes of burikko. Most of the time it just involves the desire to stand out or be cool.

One of the psychologies of the burikko is the lack of confidence in one's appearance, which leads the girl to cover her appearance with cute gestures, actions, and words. A woman who is satisfied with her facial and body parts often hides her complexes from the opposite sex using burikko.

Another reason is that the girl doesn't like her own personality, so she usually hides who she really is. An introverted woman who doesn't like herself, plays a different self when flirting, acting like a child to be treated kindly by the people around her, thus generating trust.

Another reason that leads a girl to have this behavior is the desire to be loved by a specific person, who probably likes this type of behavior. Maybe she just wants to win the boy over using her cuteness. Sometimes she also wants to be loved by everyone.

There seems to be a psychology where girls want to appeal to their femininity. In Brazil this happens when girls wear provocative clothes and cleavage, while in Japan the culture leads girls to act in a cute and childish way. Burikko conveys femininity through language, gestures and clothing.

Of course some girls just want to be called cute, that's why they act in such a way. Others are fierce girls, but who change their behavior in order not to hurt other people.

Burikko – Japanese women with excess cuteness

What Do Men Think About Japanese Burikko?

Some Japanese people say they like the burikko style because it's cute. Even if it is calculated, fake or made up, they are somehow attracted to this cuteness. Others say they like it because they get compliments and it makes them feel good.

At burikko are good listeners and good speakers. They look you straight in the eye and nod, “Yes,” and listen to the story with all their might. The simple fact that these Japanese women have the courage to look them in the eye already positively differentiates them from the others.

Even if the girl isn't flirting or interested, they will usually act friendly with men. Men like it because they consider attitude, something that many Japanese women and not even Japanese men tend to have. They are strained in different ways.

This makes relationships with men without attitude much easier. Some also say they like the burikko because they feel alpha male, they feel in charge, they feel they are being useful and helping something.

Of course, there are some men who find it ridiculous, headless, and over the top, but others claim that such attitudes ignite their love. Others find it difficult to accept because they know the true face. Not to mention the reputation that some propagate.

Videos about Burikko

Finally, let's leave some videos showing their appearance and behavior:

YouTube video
YouTube video
Research sources
- Eigobu
- マウンティング女子の世界 - 女子の人間関係 - Japanese Wiki 

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