I’m typing a message to my Japanese friend and I want to add lol at the end of the message. Is there a Japanese equivalent for “lol”?


Answer by Professional Japanese Teacher




The word for laughing in Japanese is 笑(わら)い warai. In the early days of the Internet, people typed it within a bracket as (笑(わら)) to mean “laughing, humour” and this became “lol”. After a while, the brackets were omitted and later on, it further simplified to just “w”.

Young people use the kanji 草(くさ) kusa (grass) to denote “lol” as well. How did “w” become “草(くさ)”? If you typed a lot of “w” to show lolz (more than one laugh), it looks like this:

Nebooshite isoide gakkoo kitara kyuukoo datta www
I overslept but when I rushed to school, class was canceled ROFL

Doesn’t multiple “w” look like a lot of grass on the ground? That was why people started using 草 to mean strong laughter.

Kinoo katta monoga kyoo kara seeru datte kusa
The things I bought yesterday are on sale today lol

Take note that this is considered an internet slang so it’s probably best just to use it among friends and not in your messages with your colleagues or boss.