Do As You Please! In the Kitchen — 勝手に

Kitchen is a fairly straightforward word in Japanese: キッチン (kicchin) or the slightly more Japanese sounding 台所(だいどころ). But how many of you have heard of calling it 勝手(かって)? 勝手 is usually a fun word when you want to show annoyance and is most commonly found in the phrase 勝手に(verb), for “do (verb) as you please!” Usually there is a hint of a person being selfish and you are letting them know that. 勝手にしろ!

Do As You Please! In the Kitchen

But 勝手 means kitchen also.

Your door in your kitchen that leads outside your house (backdoor)?

勝手口 (かってぐち)

You can already feel the historical sexism oozing out of this one. It actually started with Japanese archery.

Your right hand, which pulls the string is referred to as 勝手. This hand has a lot more freedom (and ability to do as you please) than your left hand (押し手 — おしで) holding the bow. This freedom was later compared to the only place which a woman could use freely: the kitchen. Yeah…


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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Do As You Please! In the Kitchen — 勝手に — 6 Comments

  1. Ah… 勝手口 is specifically a KITCHEN door, lol…
    I actually found that word once quite a while ago, and I remember searching for it on google images and just ending up with a general impression that it was an exit door (which, really, would work fine, if not better, with the kanji).

    As for language enshrined sexism in Japanese, my favorite has to be

    • ? 
      Considering 乳首 (weblio辞書から: 乳房の先の突き出した部分。乳頭。) is the word for “nipple” the image results I get aren’t nearly that bad…

      I definitely remember getting “far less appropriate” image results from searching words that seemed far more innocuous than 乳首… Sometimes normal words just have really weird slang meanings.

      • haha! Maybe my japan google image search safe was switched in reverse. Wowza. I wish I only saw nipples. It was one of the few cards I’ve resorted to google images for too haha!

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