Toward a better understanding of Chihiro Onitsuka phenomena and the Japanese culture.




bare feet

Since people always take off their shoes when entering a Japanese private house, it is not very strange for Oni to become barefooted whenever she sings. That way she is more comfortable and feels easier to sing, as she claims.



The heroine of Hayao Miyazaki's film Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi). The witch we all are crazy about. Incidentally, Chihiro Onitsuka was born in Miyazaki Prefecture.


A hypocorism for "Chihiro". Pronounced as chee-chun.


An abbreviation of Chihiro (probably).


A drink without which Oni cannot pass a single day.


The disease from which Oni wishes she wouldn't suffer again.



Oni's sleeping hours.


give tit for tat (yararetara yarikaesu)

Chihiro's motto since her early days, which in fact means she will always make up for any inconvenience she caused (according to her own explanation).


Hamster incident

An unhappy event that originated from a talk in a live television program "Music Station" broadcast in February 2001, in which Oni said she accidentally caused her pet hamster to die. Because she was laughing when she made the comment, this gave a false idea that she is abusive to animals. The truth of this scandal is said to be that she laughed in an attempt to cover her embarrassment.

Hepburn system

One of many ways of romanizing Japanese. Opted for on this site. e.g. "Gekko" instead of "Gekkô" (ISO 3602, a.k.a. kunrei-shiki) or "Gekkou" (99 system).

Cf. Tokyo / Tôkyô / Toukyou.

Incidentally, "Chihiro Onitsuka" is spelled according to the Hepburn system. Under the ISO 3602 or 99 systems, her name is spelled "Tihiro Onituka" (pronounced in the same way as "Chihiro Onitsuka").


To sing to one's self-accompaniment, usually on the piano or the guitar. Or a song performed in this way.


"infection" adversities

An unfortunate coincidence that drove Oni to the bottom of Fortune's wheel. Only four days after the song's release, the 9.11 terror attacks were carried out. All promotion efforts concerning this song were canceled because the lyrics "Pieces of my blasted heart are scattered all over" might bring up the image of the attacks. Selling of the CD singles was also suspended.


Japan Gold Disc Awards

INSOMNIA received the Rock Album of the Year award in 2002 (

Jewel Kilcher

The goddess for Oni.



The magical power (or mana) that is believed to reside in language. Many Japanese, especially the elderly, believe that if you utter an ominous word, something evil would actually happen to you. Therefore, "break", "separate", "leave", or anything that hint at untying the marriage knot are taboo words at a wedding ceremony.


left hand

Oni's left hand makes mysterious movements. Sometimes functions as a pitch controller, as she claims.


One of the candidate given names for Oni. Her parents finally rejected this name in favor of "Chihiro". That is, Oni might have been named "Lemon Onitsuka".


The essence of WWW. Can be a source of trouble among Japan-based websites because they have a general tendency to be quite restrictive about being linked from other sites. Linking to these sites without obtaining prior approval may cause unwanted complications.


A Japlish for "rock/pop concert". Pronounced as a rhyme for "five".

live house

A Japlish for "concert venue".


Melody Little Bears

The mysterious chorus that joined the "CROW" recording session. Rumor has it that this was a scratch team made up of MSR employees.


Refers to those who are suffering from mental disorder, especially those who engage in self-injury or attempt suicide habitually. Often used derogatorily. Abbreviation of "mental health".
Also: menhera (menher-er).

Morning TV

Fuji Television Network's morning news program. Strong in entertainment topics. Its Japanese title is Mezamashi Terebi, which means "Eye-opener TV". (The translation "Morning TV" was found in the Japan Times.)

motorcycle accident

On February 9, 2002, Oni got involved in an traffic accident as a passenger on a motorcycle that one of her friends was driving. Luckily she was only slightly injured.


Melody Star Records. The company where Oni belongs.



Oni's active hours.



A variant of Onichii. Literally, an ogre or a demon. Pronounced as O-knee.


A variant of Onichii. Pronounced as O-niche.


An abbreviation for ONItsuka CHIhiro. Pronounced as O-knee-chee. (Note: In Japanese context, family name comes before given name. See "word order for personal names" for further details.)

"On the streets of Shibuya dwells an ogre" (Shibuya no machi niwa oni ga iru)

The advertising copy written for Oni's debut.



A quality every Chihiro fan must have.



The Japanese equivalent for "Mr." and "Ms." Gender-neutral. Can be used for either given or family name (e.g. Onitsuka-san, Chihiro-san), or even for full name (e.g. Onitsuka Chihiro-san).


The symbol for Oni. Used in her autograph.


What Oni needs to keep away from.



Oni's favorite speech. Speaking without using polite words against others' expectations. Literally, "wording for the same age". (Note: In the Japanese language environment, you are expected to use honorific words when talking to your superiors or general public. The idea is dominant that tameguchi should be used only when you are talking to your close friends or inferiors.) If you take sides with Oni, you could call this a friendly attitude, but many people consider it rude to use tameguchi to superiors or general public as she does.

tattoo [New!]

In Japan, having your skin tattooed implies a farewell to the straight and narrow and a declaration of your intention to join the underground world. For example, tattooed people are often refused admission to public baths, spas or swimming pools. And many organizations, public or private, reject job seekers wearing a tattoo. This situation, however, may be experiencing a gradual change as more people wear tattoos as a fashion or as a means to express themselves.


TV Asahi's surrealistic comedy series in which Naoko, an unpopular female magician, and Mr. Ueda, a goofy and overconfident physicist, untangle one paranormal mystery after another. "Gekko" and "Ryuseigun" were used as the theme for TRICK 1 and TRICK 2, respectively. Chihiro herself appeared in the last scene of TRICK 1, singing "Gekko".


word order for personal names

There have been disputes as to the word order for romanized Japanese personal names. That is, family name first or given name first. For example, Chihiro Onitsuka's family name is Onitsuka and given name, Chihiro. In ordinary Japanese context, her name is always "Onitsuka Chihiro".

Most Japanese schools seem to have encouraged their students to invert their names when romanizing them so as to imitate the English word order. In December 2000, however, the National Language Council made a recommendation that the family name be followed by the given name, that is, the original Japanese word order be maintained.

Contrary to this recommendation, this site uses the "traditional" English word order for Japanese personal names. For one thing, it is because the Official Site uses this order. Regrettably, this kind of confusion should continue to exist for some time.

Here's a tip for you: if you see a personal name written in ALL CAPS as done by French people (e.g. "ONITSUKA Chihiro" or "Chihiro ONITSUKA"), it is the family name.

(More entries will be added over time.)

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