Senpai wa Otokonoko – Glossary and Translation Comparisons

    Licensed translations of Senpai wa Otokonoko are available in seven languages. This page will be updated as additional translations are released.

    LanguageCountry/RegionPublisherPublication Date
    JapaneseJapanLINE Manga (serialization; e-book)
    Ichijinsha (print)
    December 7, 2019
    November 25, 2021
    EnglishUnited StatesWEBTOONMarch 9, 2023
    Traditional ChineseTaiwanLINE WEBTOON (serialization)
    Tong Li Publishing Co., Ltd. (print)
    December 25, 2021
    March 6, 2023
    Simplified ChineseChinaDongman ManhuaDecember 27, 2021
    ThaiThailandLINE WEBTOONFebruary 13, 2022
    KoreanSouth KoreaNAVER WEBTOONFebruary 18, 2022
    FrenchFrance, BelgiumWEBTOONMarch 28, 2022
    GermanGermanyWEBTOONMay 28, 2022

    (Note: I don’t have access to print copies outside of Japanese, which may use a different translation from WEBTOON. Unless otherwise specified, names and scenes were checked against the WEBTOON version.)

    Series Info | Glossary


    Localized logos in each language, as shown in Chapter 2
    Senpai wa Otokonoko
    [My] Senpai is an Otokonoko/a Boy
    EnglishSenpai is an Otokonoko
    Traditional Chinese前輩是偽娘
    Qiánbèi Shì Wèiniáng (serialization)
    Xuézǐ Shì Nánhái (print)
    [My] Senpai is an Otokonoko
    [My] Female Senior is a Boy
    Simplified Chinese前辈是男孩子
    Qiánbèi Shì Nánháizi
    [My] Senpai is a Boy
    Runphi Sutsuai Khonni Pen Phuchai
    This Gorgeous Senpai is a Man
    Korean선배는 남자아이
    Seonbae-neun Namjaai
    [My] Senpai is a Boy
    FrenchMy crossdressing crush
    GermanMy Crossdressing Crush

    The Japanese title writes おとこのこ otokonoko in hiragana phonetically, so it could be interpreted both as 男の子 “boy” or as 男の娘otokonoko” (a boy who acts femininely, such as by crossdressing). The Traditional Chinese, French, and German translations go with the “crossdressing” interpretation, while the Simplified Chinese, Thai, and Korean translations go with the “boy” interpretation. Note that the Thai logo has an exclamation mark at the end that is not present in the text title on WEBTOON.

    The Traditional Chinese print version translated “senpai” using the feminine word 學姊 xuézǐ instead of the gender-neutral word 前輩 qiánbèi that WEBTOON does. This allows it to draw a direct contrast between Makoto’s feminine appearance at school with him being a boy, without relying on the Japanese-inspired 偽娘 wèiniáng.

    The English translation goes with leaving it as “otokonoko”, and puts a translator’s note at the end of the first chapter that “Otokonoko is a Japanese term used for men who have a culturally more feminine gender expression.” It doesn’t mention the “boy” interpretation, however.

    The title is presented from Aoi’s perspective, with her senpai being Makoto. In Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, pronouns do not have to be included when they can be inferred, so “my” does not have to be included explicitly. In English, French, and German, pronouns must be included for it to be grammatically correct. The French and German translations refer to Makoto as her “crush” instead of as her “senpai”, likely to avoid using the Japanese word directly. Note that the French logo is in title case while it is in sentence case for the text title on WEBTOON.

    It’s common for media such as manga and webtoons to use English titles in France and Germany, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the French and German titles are in English, even differing from the official English title. This can be because the licensor specifies what title international releases should use (typically one in English), or because the licensee wants to keep an English title for mass market appeal or stylistic reasons.


    Main characters Makoto Hanaoka (center), Saki Aoi (right), and Ryuji Taiga (left)
    LanguageMakoto HanaokaSaki AoiRyuji Taiga
    Hanaoka Makoto
    Aoi Saki
    Taiga Ryūji
    EnglishMakoto HanaokaSaki AoiRyuji Taiga
    Traditional Chinese花岡真琴 / 花岡眞琴
    Huāgāng Zhēnqín
    Cāngjǐng Xiào
    Dàwǒ Lóng’èr
    Simplified Chinese花岗真琴
    Huāgāng Zhēnqín
    Cāngjǐng Xiào
    Dàwǒ Lóng’èr
    Thaiฮานาโอกะ มาโคโตะ
    Hanaoka Makhoto
    อาโออิ ซากิ
    Aoi Saki
    ไทงะ ริวจิ
    Thainga Riochi
    Korean하나오카 마코토
    Hanaoka Makoto
    아오이 사키
    Aoi Saki
    타이가 류지
    Taiga Ryuji
    FrenchMakoto HanaokaSaki AoiRyûji Taiga
    GermanMakoto HanaokaSaki AoiRyûji Taiga

    まこと Makoto is a unisex name. It can be more clearly gendered when written in kanji, with names like being more masculine and names like 真琴 or 麻琴 being more feminine.

    Their Chinese names are simply their Japanese names read in Chinese. Note that Makoto’s name also has to be written using Chinese characters, so it’s given the kanji 真琴, which leans feminine in Japanese. The primary dialogue font of the Traditional Chinese translation uses the traditional form of the character zhēn, but it makes no difference in terms of meaning.

    Their Thai and Korean names are fairly straightforward transcriptions of their Japanese names. Taiga is typically transcribed as ไทกะ Thaika in Thai, but since /g/ can be pronounced as a ng sound [ŋ] in the middle of words, this spelling also sees some use.

    Their English, French, and German names are romanizations of their Japanese names, presented in Western order (given name then family name). The circumflex (^) in Ryuji’s name in French and German indicates a long vowel, much like the macron (¯) does in Hepburn. For French and German speakers, vowels with a circumflex are typically much easier to type and more likely to be included in fonts than vowels with a macron. On the other hand, English speakers tend to avoid diacritics altogether.


    Ms. Aoi先輩
    Traditional Chinese蒼井同學
    Cāngjǐng tóngxué
    Classmate Aoi前輩
    Simplified Chinese苍井同学
    Cāngjǐng tóngxué
    Classmate Aoi前辈
    Khun Aoi
    Ms. Aoiรุ่นพี่

    Note that in Japanese, Makoto refers to Ryuji as りゅーじ in hiragana rather than in kanji, but this distinction isn’t retained in any of the translations.

    The English translation includes translator’s notes in the first chapter explaining that “Senpai is a term used to address a person who is older, more experienced, or is in a higher social position.” and that “-san is a suffix used to address friends, equals, strangers, and acquaintances.”

    The French and German translations drop the honorifics most of the time, and have Aoi refer to Ryuji by his surname instead of as Shisho. In the line in Ch. 5 where it’s introduced, Aoi calls Ryuji a “genius” instead.

    Chapter titles

    Only the English and Korean releases translated the chapter titles. While WEBTOON is technologically capable of displaying chapter titles, the other language releases don’t include them and refer to the chapters by their chapter number only. Most of the time the title is just a phrase plucked from the body of the chapter itself, but there are a few exceptions where the title adds something extra that does make this unfortunate.

    I don’t have any copies of the Traditional Chinese translation in print, but since the Japanese volumes included the chapter titles and a table of contents, I have no reason to assume they weren’t included.

    Note on typesetting

    In the original Japanese version as well as the English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Thai, and Korean translations, standard dialogue is in the color black. The panel outlines and the hand-drawn line art, bubble outlines, SFX, and asides are all in the same shade of brown (#41262E).

    In the English translation, the font used for thoughts and narration has an awfully wide letter spacing and leading. While it definitely looks distinct from the dialogue font because of this, it’s still a bit off-putting at first.

    In the French and German translations, dialogue is also typeset in that particular shade of brown. While they both use WildWords for it, the German translation also chooses to use the same font for asides and the similar-looking Kiss and Tell for SFX. This makes all of the text seem very uniform to me.

    Specific chapters

    The end of Ch. 1

    Makoto reveals that he is a boy in Ch. 1

    You can see from the first few bubbles how the original Japanese version has long bubbles that flow from right-to-left. This is because languages like Japanese and Chinese can be written vertically in columns from right-to-left, so manga likewise adopted that format. Most of the translations keep the Japanese format, except for the Korean and English ones, which redo the bubbles to be wider and rounder to better fit horizontal text in rows, as well as redoing the panel layouts to flow from left to right.

    As of writing, the English version does not include the scene where Makoto is taking off his wig and lifting up his shirt. It’s unclear why this is the case, but it’s possible that it was an editing mistake or due to stricter standards on nudity causing it to be removed. The version released in Mainland China and South Korea move one of the bubbles to cover up more of Makoto’s midriff, but don’t go so far as to remove the scene entirely. The Traditional Chinese, Thai, French, and German translations keep the scene intact with the original Japanese bubble placement.

    “Otokonoko” (Ch. 2)

    Aoi reacts to Makoto saying that he is actually a boy in Ch. 2
    Traditional Chinese偽娘
    Simplified Chinese伪娘

    The word 男の娘 otokonoko is used in Ch. 2 by Aoi, the only time that specific phrase is used in the entire series. Later comments on Makoto’s crossdressing generally use the word 女装 josō “dressing in female clothing, crossdressing (for a male)” instead. The English translation simply uses “crossdresser”.

    The Chinese translations use the word 偽娘 / 伪娘 wěiniáng, which was specifically coined to refer to the Japanese concept of otokonoko. The Thai word สาวดุ้น saodun can refer to both futanari and otokonoko. The Korean translation writes “otokonoko” phonetically, and includes a translator’s note in the bottom-right, giving a definition of what it means.

    The French translation translates otokonoko as “queer“, set in italics most likely to indicate that it’s an English loanword. The German translation translates it as “transgender“. Let’s take a closer look at her entire set of lines:

    LanguageTextBasic Translation
    …How cruel.
    I wish I’d known sooner.
    To think…
    …that you were…
    …an otokonoko!!
    (Your belly…)
    Isn’t that just the beeest!!
    Does that mean I can enjoy the guy version of you and the girl version of you?!?!
    English…How could you hide something like this?
    If only I knew sooner.
    I can’t believe it…
    …a crossdresser!!
    (Your stomach… I can’t even…!)
    How frigging awesome is that?!
    So what you’re saying is, I get to enjoy a male and female version of you?!
    FrenchC’est pas vrai…
    Si seulement je l’avais su plus tôt…
    du coup…
    t’es un queer !
    (Je pensais que t’étais… / une fille !)
    Mais c’est trop biiien !
    Ça veut dire que j’ai le droit à deux version de toi pour le prix d’une ?!
    That can’t be true…
    If only I’d known sooner…
    you’re a queer!
    (I thought you were… / a girl!)
    But that’s sooo cool!
    Does that mean I get two versions of you for the price of one?!
    GermanDas ist nicht wahr …
    Hätte ich das nur früher gewusst …
    Also …
    … dann …
    … du bist transgender?!
    (Ich dachte, du wärst … / … ein Mädchen!)
    Das ist ja echt toll!
    Bedeutet das, dass ich zwei Versionen von dir zum Preis von einer bekomme?!
    That can’t be true…
    If only I’d known sooner…
    …you’re transgender?!
    (I thought you were… / …a girl!)
    That’s so cool!
    Does that mean I get two versions of you for the price of one?!

    I find it interesting how similar the French and German translations are to each other, especially with the translation choices they made compared to the Japanese. Things like the rewrite of the “ONAKA…” aside and the play on the idiom “two for the price of one” make me think that they were both based on the same translation. According to the French translator’s LinkedIn, she translated it from Japanese to French, so it’s most likely that the German translation was via French, especially given how dissimilar they both are from the English.

    I’m not sure why they didn’t just refer to Makoto as a “crossdresser” or the like given that that’s what’s in the title, much like how “otokonoko” is in Japanese. Ultimately, I don’t think this scene is too important, since it’s just Aoi’s first impression of Makoto after finding out that he crossdresses. Nothing later on references this scene, and whether she assumed correctly or not doesn’t matter.

    “Memory of a goldfish” (Ch. 5)

    (Coming soon!)

    “Telekinesis” (Ch. 6)

    Aoi and Ryuji communicate with each other non-verbally in Ch. 6

    A look that says “Now it’d be okay for me to talk to him, right?”
    A look that says “It’s fine, I guess”
    English*Telekinesis* “Now’s okay to talk, tight?”
    *Telekinesis* “Sure, I guess…”
    Traditional Chinese「我現在可以跟他説話了吧?」的表情
    A look of “I can talk to him now, right?”
    A look of “It should be okay now”
    Simplified Chinese现在我可以搭话了吧?的表情
    A look of “Now I can talk to him, right?”
    A look of “Why not?”
    Making a face like “Now it’s okay for me to talk to him, right?”
    Making a face like “Well, I guess it should be fine?”
    FrenchComprendre : “Du coup, là, c’est bon, je peux lui parler ?
    Comprendre : “À ton avis ?”
    Understand: “So, is it okay now? Can I talk to him?”
    Understand: “What do you think?”
    GermanTelepathie: „Ist jetzt der richtige Zeitpunkt, um mit ihm zu reden?“
    Telepathie: „Wenn du meinst …“
    Telepathy: “Is now the right time to talk to him?”
    Telepathy: “If you think so…”

    The original Japanese and the Asian translations indicate that Aoi and Ryuji are reading each other’s facial expressions to communicate without speaking. The French version translates って顔 it as comprendre, which means “to understand”.

    The German version translates it as Telepathie, which means “telepathy”. The English version similarly translates it as “telekinesis.” Note that “telepathy” specifically refers to mind reading, while “telekinesis” refers to a psychic ability to move objects with their mind, such as spoon bending. There’s no telekinesis occurring in this scene, so it’s likely the translator mixed the words up.

    “Okama” (Ch. 6)

    Ryuji insulting Makoto back when they were in kindergarten in Ch. 6

    Japaneseおい おかまやろう
    Hey, okama.
    He’s an okama though.
    EnglishHey, Hanaoka.
    He’s a sissy boy, isn’t he?
    Traditional Chinese喂,人妖。
    Hey, tranny.
    He’s obviously a tranny.
    Simplified Chinese喂,娘娘腔。
    Hey, sissy.
    He’s obviously a sissy.
    Thaiเฮ้ย! เจ้ากะเทย
    เป็นกะเทยแท้ ๆ
    Hey! Kathoey.
    He’s a real kathoey.
    FrenchHé, toi ! La fille manquée !
    Il est habillé en fille, pourtant !
    Hey, you! The tomgirl (lit. failed girl)!
    He’s dressed like a girl, though!
    GermanHe, du! Das verlorene Mädchen!
    Er ist doch wie ein Mädchen angezogen!
    Hey, you! The lost girl!
    He’s dressed like a girl, though!

    In one of the extra chapters included with the first volume, it’s revealed that Ryuji came up with the okama insult based on Makoto’s full name, (はなおか)こと Hanaoka Makoto. This pun wouldn’t translate well in any other language without having to change the character’s names.

    “Boku”/”Watashi” (Ch. 6/Ch. 14)

    Makoto mostly uses the feminine-leaning personal pronoun 私 watashi while dressing as a girl and the masculine-leaning 僕 boku while dressing as a boy and in his thoughts from the start of the series until Chapter 14, after which he no longer uses watashi and uses boku even when dressing as a girl. (Ryuji uses 俺 ore and Aoi uses 私 watashi.)

    Japaneseおやすみ 私
    さよなら 私
    Good night, me (watashi).
    Goodbye, me (watashi).
    EnglishGood night, me.
    Goodbye, me.
    Traditional Chinese晚安,我自己。
    Good night, myself.
    Farewell, myself.
    Simplified Chinese真琴,晚安。
    Makoto, good night.
    Makoto, farewell.
    Good night, me.
    Goodbye, me.
    FrenchBonne nuit, mon autre moi.
    Adieu, mon autre moi.
    Good night, my other self.
    Goodbye, my other self.
    GermanGute Nacht, mein anderes Ich.
    Leb wohl, mein anderes Ich.
    Good night, my other self.
    Goodbye, my other self.

    Chinese and Korean don’t have gendered first-person pronouns. Thai does have gendered first-person pronouns, but it looks like Makoto uses ฉัน chan for both boku and watashi. It appears that it’s more commonly used by women, but some men use it too. The Chinese and Thai translations don’t keep the distinction and have Makoto simply refer to “watashi” as himself. However, this translation choice adds the implication that Makoto is hiding and discarding himself as a whole.

    French and German also don’t have gendered first-person pronouns. The French and German translations translate it as “my other self” in the final lines of Ch. 6 and Ch. 14. I think this translation is nice with how it keeps a distinction between the two selves, but it also marks the “other self” as being secondary or less important. For an example of what I mean, would you rather be introduced by someone as their “friend” or as their “other friend”?

    Ultimately, which of the two treatments is better comes down to personal preference.

    “Renraku” (Ch. 7)

    Japanese何時間に1回なら連絡していいですか?How many hours between each time I contact you would be good?
    EnglishHow often is it okay to mail you?
    Traditional Chinese請問我每個小時可以聯絡你一次嗎?Can I contact you once per hour?
    Simplified Chinese我能多久找你聊一次天啊?How often can I chat with you?
    Thaiให้โทรไปหาทุกกี่ชั่วโมงถึงจะดีเหรอคะ?How many hours between each call would be good?
    FrenchJe pourrai t’appeler combien de fois par jour ?!How many times a day can I call you?!
    GermanWie oft am Tag darf ich dich anrufen?!How many times a day can I call you?!

    This line sets up a joke because of the gap between Aoi and Makoto’s expectations: she wants to contact him every few hours, but he only wants her to contact him every three days. The Traditional Chinese and Thai translations keep the joke by keeping the gap between Aoi’s expectation of “hours” and Makoto’s reaction of “days”. The French and German translations instead contrast “how many times a day” with “every three days”. The English and Simplified Chinese translations change it so that Aoi only asks “how often,” to which “three days” is a reasonable answer.

    In Japan, SMS text messaging never caught on because the different cell phone carriers could not agree on a common standard, so you could only text people with the same carrier as you. Instead, Japanese people tended to exchange carrier-provided email addresses to email each other in circumstances where in other countries you would exchange phone numbers to text each other. As messaging apps like LINE increased in popularity, they were also informally included under the “email” umbrella. This leads to some ambiguity, where it can be unclear exactly how people are communicating with each other. In this series, the protagonists explicitly use LINE for their group chats as shown at the start of Ch. 10 in the original Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Thai, French, and German translations.

    Missing panels (Ch. 8)

    (Coming soon!)

    “Uragoe” (Ch. 9)

    (Coming soon!)

    “Hatsu” (Ch. 11)

    One of the photos taken at the purikura photobooth (Ch. 11)
    Japanese初プリFirst purikura
    Traditional Chinese拍貼初體驗First photo-taking experience
    Simplified Chinese初次拍摄First photo shoot
    Thaiสวยด้วยแอพPretty with app
    FrenchMon premier purikuraMy first purikura
    GermanMein erstes PurikuraMy first purikura

    The English version misread the kanji 初 hatsu as ネタ neta, so they translated it as though it read ネタプリ netapuri.

    Train station signs (Ch. 11)

    (Coming soon!)

    “Suki na seibetsu” (Ch. 12)

    (Coming soon!)

    Aoi’s eye (Ch. 12-13)

    (Coming soon!)

    “Dansō” (Ch. 17)

    When you were crossdressing as a guy, you eyes were dead!
    What do you mean by crossdressing as a guy?!
    EnglishYou were like a zombie, walking around dressed like a guy.
    What do you mean, “dressed like a guy?!”
    Traditional Chinese你扮成男人時, 眼神死氣沉沉的。
    When you were pretending to be a guy, your eyes were dead.
    What do you mean by pretending to be a guy?!
    Simplified Chinese你扮男装的时候, 眼睛里都没有神了!
    When you were crossdressing as a guy, your eyes were completely dull!
    What do you mean by crossdressing as a guy?!
    When you were crossdressing as a guy, you looked like you wanted to die!
    What do you mean by crossdressing as a guy?!
    FrenchParce que t’avais l’air au fond du trou, sapé en mec !
    Comment ça, “sapé en mec” ?
    Because you looked like you were in the dumps when you dressed like a guy!
    What do you mean, “dressed like a guy”?
    GermanDu sahst nämlich aus, als wärst du in ein tiefes Loch gefallen, als du dich wie ein Kerl angezogen hast!
    Wie meinst du das, „wie ein Kerl angezogen“?
    Because you looked like you fell into a deep hole when you dressed like a guy!
    What do you mean, “dressed like a guy”?

    The phrases 女装 josō and 男装 dansō literally mean “women’s clothing” and “men’s clothing”, but in Japanese, they specifically refer to when someone crossdresses and wears these clothes. From this, we get phrases like 女装男子 josō danshi, which means “crossdressing boy (boy wearing female clothing)”, and 男装女子 dansō joshi, which means “crossdressing girl (girl wearing male clothing)”.

    In the original, the joke is that Ryuji’s word choice insinuates that Makoto was basically a girl crossdressing as a guy. In the English translation, they translated 男装 dansō as “dressed like a guy”. The implication here is less clear-cut, since a guy can “dress like a guy” in English, so the implication that the subject must be a girl is not as present.

    That’s all for now, but if you have any suggestions for other scenes I should take a look at, let me know on the Discord. I’ll be updating this page as more chapters and translations come out.

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