What does ‘Ara ara’ mean?

What does 'Ara ara' mean?

What does ‘Ara ara’ mean?

Every Anime and Manga fan has heard or seen the phrase, Ara Ara, more times than they can count. Typically, whenever it is used, it means the same thing, but there are times when the phrase means something different.

Any real OTAKU would be familiar with this expression except you are not a real fan. Here are some Ara Ara meaning and ways the phrase can be used.

This article looks at a simple interjection in Japanese, ara-ara. While simple, it definitely has some guidelines to be aware of and pitfalls to avoid, not to mention some easy confusions.
Don’t worry, we’re going to tackle all of it.

Let’s start simple…

What does ‘Ara ara’ mean?

The best approximation is usually a soft English , but it is one of those fuzzy artifacts of language where it is much easier to explain the feeling it conveys, rather than to give a precise translation.

Ara-ara is primarily a gentle and polite interjection, signifying mild surprise.

As such, you most commonly hear it coming from gentle, unassuming, relaxed characters.

Not to mention that when spoken softly, it can also nicely project a caring or affectionate undertone. So it is frequently chosen for characters who themselves have a mellow, motherly disposition.

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In other words, you wouldn’t ever hear this on the battlefield from some warrior except perhaps when used with intense sarcasm.

But you may very well hear it from a grandmother after her grandson grazed his knee. Or from an aunt on some family get-together.

Other Ara Ara Meanings

The Japanese language is very emotionally expressive, which makes it difficult to interpret many words with a direct literal meaning. So, depending on how it is used, you have to interpret the words. Sometimes it is used as an exclamation meaning ‘Oh Dear’ or ‘Well Well’.

In another context, Ara may mean ‘Oh or Wow’. For example, a character may say “Ara, Pika” which can be interpreted as “Oh there you are Pika” or “Oh hi there Pika” or “Oh look its Pika.” Saying it as Ara Ara is for creating emphasis so it can be interpreted as “Oh, Oh” or “Wow, Wow”.

Sometimes it is used to bring a dramatic effect to the conversation. So, when you interpret the expression in English in such context, it can mean “Whaaaaatttt???” or “What the Fuck? (WTF)”. The expression brings a goofy and overtly dramatic effect to that conversation depending on the tone on the conversation.

How To Use Ara Ara?

ara ara is an internet phrase that has very sexual connotations. It leans more on anime and meme culture, so most people may not understand what you’re trying to say when you use ara ara. 

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  • You’ve grown so big ara ara
  • Ara ara are you about to change?
  • Ara ara. Do you have a girlfriend?

The not-Japanese “ara” used in Japan!

Many people think of Japan as a wholly homogeneous society—same culture, same religion, same race, same language. But this assumption falls wide of the mark!

What does 'Ara ara' mean?

There are several different languages (including highly divergent dialects of Japanese) native to the lands that currently make up the nation of Japan.

One of those languages is Miyako, a linguistic offshoot of the Ryukyuan languages.

Ryukyuan languages are still spoken to some extent (over one million native speakers!), and mostly in Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture in Japan.

In the Miyako language, ara is written in hiragana as あら and refers to the husk of a fruit.

A word of caution

“Ara-ara” as a feminine interjection has some, uh, connotations that you’ll want to steer clear of if you use it in polite company, and especially around otaku.

In certain forms of “mature” Japanese media, ara-ara will be said by a somewhat older female in a sort of teasing way to a younger male.

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As a disclaimer, I know that this word has become somewhat “memefied” in the English speaking world.

I know that it primarily carries these “mature” implications in English, but I’m not 100% sure how it’s viewed in Japan. It may carry little, or no, strange connotations.

Either way, I’d use caution with this word until you feel wholly confident in your how you will deploy it.


In Japanese it is accented like ‘ahda ahda’, like a rolled R.

It is a Japanese saying, meaning “Oh me, oh my”. The Japanese expression can also be roughly translated as “oh dear”, “my, my” or “well, well”. The phrase is often used to hint at a female character’s sexual intentions towards a younger male, who is usually below the age of consent.

Its like “oh my” or “my my, (what have we here a cute innocent boy i can toy with)”. Implying a older female is planning to get a younger male.

The expression is seen a lot in the anime’ series “Love Hina”. Often used by the clumsy character Mutsumi Otohime. Japanese manga and anime series Aria character Alicia Florence uses the catchphrase on multiple occasions. Another example is the Japanese light novel Date a Live and its anime adaptation, where the character Kurumi Tokisake often uses the phrase.


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