Category Archives: culture & language

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?)


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

%d bloggers like this: