What does chuuni byou mean? 中二病



One of the words frequently used among Japanese youth is “chuunibyou(中二病:ちゅうにびょう)”.

It is often used in the otaku world, and if you like Japanese anime, dramas, and manga, you may have heard this word once.

“Byou(病)” in “chuunibyou” means “disease”.
But this is not the name of the disease.

Let’s take a closer look at “chuunibyou”.

What does “Chuuni byou(中二病:ちゅうにびょう)” mean?

Simply put, “chuunibyou(中二病)” is the behavior of adolescent children (especially boys) aged 13-14, which they behave as if they were grown up, they just do something inconsequential, or they believe they were somebody in a fantasy world.

The following are common examples of “chuunibyou” behavior:

If you are an adult, you may have similar memories.

・ He/she suddenly begins to drink bitter coffee that he/she does not like.
・He/she was listening to pop songs but suddenly started listening to foreign music.
・He/she pretends not to be interested in the trend and says he/she likes minor things (it sounds like they knew the real thing, but this can be said that they like themselves who like such minor things).
・He/she suddenly starts to tell his mother to “respect their privacy.”
・He/she believes they are cool and acts anti-socially (they don’t have any particular message to the society)

・He/she believes that he/she is different from ordinary people.
・He/she behaves as if he/she was a hero.
・He/she admires supernatural powers and believes to have hidden powers.

The last example is the main example of “chuunibyou”.
They behave as if they were a hero from some anime or mangas.
They are chosen ones having special powers and are involved in a grand plan. And they may often bring it into the real world.
In addition, they begin to use literary and dramatic Japanese words that sound difficult.

Origin of chuunibyou

In Japan, children graduate from elementary school and go on to junior high school.
(Up to junior high school is compulsory education.)

The junior high school has three years and is called as follows.
The abbreviations in parentheses.

中学1年生、chuugaku ichi-nensei
Junior high school 1st grader

中学2年生、chuugaku ni-nensei
Junior high school 2nd grader

中学3年生、chuugaku san-nensei
Junior high school 3rd grader

In general, adolescence begins when children are 13-14 years old, and it is also around this age that the tendency of “chuunibyou” tends to appear.
The age around is the second grade of junior high school, that is, “chuuni”.

As mentioned above, “byou” in “chuunibyou” means “disease”.
This “byou” has nothing to do with the real illness.

However, it looks like a disease in a sense when viewed from the people around him/her, so the word was created to make fun of such behavior.

In many cases, such behavior is self-healing as they get older.
However, some people behave like “chuunibyou” even when they grow up.
They are also called “chuunibyou”.

This word comes from a radio program.
As part of the program, it was asking the listeners to send stories of a little embarrassing behavior during adolescence of them, or stories of embarrassing behavior that adolescent children were likely to do.

Initially, the program talked “they were rebellious against school education” or “they had a little enlightenment and did some activities”.
Then, they gradually changed it and enjoyed talking stories that sounded philosophically and laughable such as “what is factorization useful for?”, “adults are dirty”, “I went on a trip to find myself” or “I was looking for a real best friend”.

As they gathered such stories, they concluded that children in the second year of junior high school tend to do such things.
For this reason, the word “chuunibyou” was born.