This will be useful…

…when trying to explain what “aegyo” is.

I think the concept of 애교 is similar to the Chinese idea of 撒嬌/sa jiao, or the way I’ve heard it most, sai-nai (from Taiwanese).

On a baseline level, it means acting cutesy, like a kid, but it has an exaggerated, affected and almost manipulative connotation, which causes many people to recoil. Aegyo behavior often features in the context of pouting or whining, wheedling to get something, be it affection or shiny, new things.

Apparently it makes many native Asian men weak in the knees, or at least soften up. Not sure if it’s really a positive or negative though – I get called sai-nai a lot by extended family when I’m back in Taiwan, and I feel kind of insulted. My dad will say I shouldn’t be. I guess it’s the perceived affectation that ignites my repugnance…

Such an interesting cultural feature though. Your thoughts? (And is there a Japanese version?)

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Some extra links for people interested in further reading and thoughts:

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Posted on June 14, 2012, in culture & language and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hm, I’ve heard it a lot in terms of fathers who like having daughters vs sons – because daughters act with aegyo, making them more lovable than sons.

    • Hi GHa :D Interesting! Seems to be a lot of that father to daughter kind of preference, aside from the traditional heir leaning. Have also heard parents like girls because they stick around to care for you when you get old, and they’re more social.

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