Japanese Acronym Glossary
Spend any time interacting with Japanese people, and you'll soon find out how pervasive the use of acronyms and abbreviations are in Japanese - much more so than in English. Most of them are derived from English words, but the average English speaker will often have no idea what they mean. Communicating smoothly with Japanese therefore involves more than knowing standard Japanese grammar and vocabulary. It also requires knowing what multiple alphabetic abbreviations mean.
The following glossary of Japanese acronyms and common Japanese abbreviations includes Japanese abbreviations of English words and phrases, such as OL, or "Office Lady," for a female office worker.
They also include acronyms using the alphabet but standing for Japanese phrases.
Other abbreviations are for Japanese airlines, companies, government ministries, national organizations, banks and sports associations.
Use this list to make sense of much of what you read and hear in Japan, and to add some sophistication - and spice - to your communication with Japanese people.
ABC - Asahi Broadcasting Corporation.
AJJ - Anthropology of Japan in Japan.
AIST - National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.
ANA - All Nippon Airways.
APU - Ritsumeikan Asian Pacific University.
AU - Mobile phone branch of KDDI.
AV - Adult Video.
AY - a doofus, a klutz, a no-hoper - from the Japanese 頭弱い (atama yowai) lit. weak head," but indicating ineptitude, wrongheadedness, and lack of sense rather than a specific lack of mental prowess.
BGM - Background Music.
bj - Basketball Japan - usually not written in capitals.
BOJ - Bank of Japan.
CDEX - Center for Deep Earth Research.
CEATEC - Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies.
Chuden - Chubu Electric Power Company.
CiRA - Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University.
CL - Central League (baseball).
CM - Commercial Message.
CRIEPI - Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry.
CTV - Chukyo Television Broadcasting.
DBJ - Development Bank of Japan.
DPJ - Democratic Party of Japan.
ETC - Electronic Toll Collection.
FE - Fuji Electric.
FNN - Fuji News Network (TV)
FSJ - Folklore Society of Japan.
GEOS - Global Education Opportunities and Services, bankrupt English language school chain.
GFJ - Goods From Japan.
GS - Gasoline Stand.
H - Hentai / EtcHi - perversion.
HAT Kobe - Happy Active Town Kobe.
HIS - Japan travel agency.
ICOCA - IC Operating Card.
IDC - International Digital Communications.
JA - abbreviation for Japan Agricultural Cooperatives.
JABI - Japan American Business Initiatives.
JAC - Japan Air Commuter, a subsidiary of JAL.
JACET - Japan Association of College English Teachers.
JAE - Japan Adult Expo.
JAE - Japan Aviation Electronics.
JAEA - Japan Atomic Energy Agency.
JAF - Japan Automobile Federation.
JAFRA - Japan Association For Railway Advertising.
JAIA - Japan Automobile Importers Association.
JAL - Japan Airlines.
JALT - Japan Association of Language Teachers.
JAMA - Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
JAMSTEC - Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.
JASCA - Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology.
JASDF - Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
JASSO - Japan Student Services Organization.
JAXA - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
JAWS - Japan Anthropology Workshop.
JAZA - Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
JBIC - Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
JCP - Japan Communist Party.
JESCO - Japan Environment Safety Corporation
JET - Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme.
JETAA - JET Alumni Association.
JETRO - Japan External Trade Organization.
JFA - Japan Football Association.
JFC - Japan Finance Corporation.
JGB - Japanese Government Bonds.
JH - Japan Highway Public Corporation.
JK - Josei Kosei (female high school student) - associated with "compensated dating" and the child prostitution industry, aka "JK business".
JLCFSA - Japan Long Course Ferry Service Association..
JLPT - Japan Language Proficiency Test.
JMA - Japan Medical Association.
JNTO - Japan National Tourist Organization.
JP - Japan Post.
JPY - Japanese yen - the currency of Japan.
JR - Japan Railways.
JRA - Japan Racing Association.
JRA - Japan Reishi Association.
JRC - Japan Red Cross.
JSC - Japan Sports Council.
JSC - Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
JT - Japan Tobacco.
JTB - Japan Travel Bureau.
JUCE - Japan Universities Association For Computer Education.
JVC - Victor electronics.
JYHA - Japan Youth Hostel Association.
KDDI - Japanese telecommunications company.
KEPCO - Kansai Electric Power Company.
Keidanren - Japan Federation of Economic Organizations.
KK - Kabushiki Kaisha - company, firm.
KIX - Kansai International Airport.
KY - Clueless or socially unaware - from the Japanese 空気読めない (kuki yomenai lit. "Can't read the air").
Kyuuden - Kyushu Electric Power Company.
LDP - Liberal Democratic Party, Japan's ruling political party for much of the post-war period.
LO - Last Order.
MANACA - IC travel and shopping card in central Japan centered on Nagoya.
METI - Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry.
MEXT - Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology.
MHFG - Mizuho Financial Group.
MIC - Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
MITI - Ministry of International Trade & Industry (now known as METI).
MLIT - Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
MRI - Mitsubishi Research Institute.
MUFG - Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.
NAOJ - National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.
NEC - Nippon Electric Company.
N'EX - Narita Express train.
NGK - Nagoya-based spark plug company.
NHK - (Nihon Hohsoh Kyokai) - Japan's state TV & radio broadcaster.
NII - National Institute of Informatics.
Nikkanren - Japan Ryokan & Hotel Association.
Nikkeiren - Japan Federation of Employers' Associations.
nimoca - Nice Money Card - an IC travel card in Fukuoka (written in lower case).
NKP - New Komeito Party.
NME - National Museum of Ethnology.
NNN - Nippon News Network.
NPA - National Police Agency.
NPB - Nippon Professional Baseball.
NRU - National Railway Workers' Union ("Kokuro"). Read more on the NRU.
NSK - Nippon Seiko Kabushiki Kaisha.
NTA - National Tax Agency.
NTT - Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation.
OB - Old Boy.
OL - abbreviation for 'Office Lady' - a female office worker.
OMG - abbreviation for "Oh my God!"
3P - ("three people") Japanese slang word for ménage à trois or threesome.
PL - Pacific League (baseball).
PL Kyodan - Church of Perfect Liberty.
PSJ - Photographic Society of Japan.
PSJ - Primate Society of Japan
RT - 1. Like attracts like - from the Japanese 類は友を呼ぶ（Rui wa Tomo o yobu lit. "Each type calls its friends"); 2. Radio callisthenics - from ラジオ体操（Rajio Taisou); 3. Eating raamen - from ラーメン食べる（Raamen Taberu); 4. Parked on the street - from 路駐（RoTyu, N.B., the "ty" here is one way in Japan of alphabetizing the sound "ch"); 5. Real Time
SCJ - Science Council of Japan.
SDF - Self-Defence Forces. Japan's de-facto armed forces.
SDP - Social Democratic Party.
SEALDs - Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy.
SL - Steam Locomotive.
SMBC - Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.
SMFG - Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.
SUICA - Super Urban Intelligence Card.
TCAT - Tokyo City Air Terminal.
TEPCO - Tokyo Electric Power Company.
TIC - Tourist Information Center.
TSE - Tokyo Stock Exchange.
TUC - Tokyo Union Circulation. A union consisting of many ex-police officers involved in the pachinko industry.
TUJ - Temple University Japan.
TVO - TV Osaka.
UCC - Ueshima Coffee Company.
W - double
YCAT - Yokohama City Air Terminal.
Zennoren - All-Japan Federation of Management Organization.