'74-'77 Senkyoushi-go 宣教師語

Senkyoushigo (Missionaryspeak) - 1974-77


the BIGOT, later known as STEVE-KUN

Webmaster Note: Many have pondered over the years upon the Japan LDS missionary linguistic phenomenon, senkyoushigo (missionaryspeak). I've compiled a list of terms used in the Sendai Mission when it was first established, thinking it might be fun to go down memory lane with these. Of course, in 1974 these terms seemed to have existed forever, handed down from generation to generation of lo, the many missionaries who had come before. However, just like any "language," word usage changes over time and also changes geographically, and accordingly, senkyoushigo differs from mission to mission and from jidai to jidai (era). Universal missionary terms such as Green Bean or Trunky are not included. To get a perspective on terms used in other missions, see Kobe Mission's vocabulary. There has even been a linguistic article published on senkyoushigo that I found interesting. Check out "Senkyoshigo-Missionary Language of Japan," in American Speech, 1988 Vol. 63 page 137-149 at a university library near you. The article was written by a Fukuoka mission RM, Kary Smout, while he was at Duke University.

A separate list of Senkyoushigo used after the first jidai appears here. Thanks to all who have contributed to these two lists. If your Sendai Mission jidai widely used some additional words, or you have suggestions, please let me know via a 'Comments' entry.

Senkyoushigo used 1974-1977:
(Entries shaded in gray are reportedly no longer in use.)

TERM 1974-1977 Sendai Mission Definition Examples of Usage
APHID A younger, usually pre-high school age TRIFID. (Extinct for many years, but per an 2004 RM, this term re-emerged during his jidai) No one came to eikaiwa today but a bunch of APHIDS and TRIFFS
______BANDIT A suffix describing a person who practices his non-native language on a native user in order to improve proficiency, sometimes to an annoying degree. e.g., Eigo BANDIT , Kanji BANDIT (reportedly still heard), Tango BANDIT My DODE is so JOCK at kanji– He’s a kanji BANDIT!
BENKYO’D Anglicized from (J) benkyou, discount, price reduction. To negotiate a discount price I BENKYO’D for a JOCK new telephoto lens at the cameraman’s shop.

BENNY ______
From (J) benjo, restroom, toilet. A Japanese SQUATTER-style holding tank facility that usually REEKED.
As an adjective:
BENNY DITCH: A gutter/drainage trench alongside roads that acts as a magnet to missionaries and their bicycles, as well as to Japanese men standing relieving themselves (tachishouben).
BENNY SQUAT: The position assumed when using a SQUATTER , or just waiting for a bus or conversing with neighbors, commonly used by obaasan.
BENNY TRUCK: A vacuum truck summoned to empty out the contents of a BENNY. Sighting of a BENNY TRUCK was an immediate signal to take a detour and plug your nose.
BENNY BITE was when the BENNY tank was full and it splattered back at you.
Have you used the BENNY at the Sakata Shibu? – it’s a real REEKER!
BIGOT Mailman, wearing a white helmet, riding a red scooter or squeaky red bicycle. Probably evolved from the notion that BIGOTS avoided delivering letters not addressed in Kanji. Also called YUBINJIN. Now called STEVE. I wonder if the BIGOT delivered today.
B MONSTER A twisted opposite of (J) bijin, beautiful woman. Japanese women with dyed red hair and liberally caked-on make-up. In 2003, I learned that some elders currently use the term D.O.B., short for Daughters of Babylon for this phenomenon DODE, did you see that B-MONSTER in my English Class tonight?!
BULL KAI From: (E)bull+(J)-kai, meeting. Idle chat, bull session. (in use until <>1986) HORDA, it was a big BULL KAI.
CRUD The term used for (J) inkin tamushi, the heat rash similar to athlete’s foot that foreigners, particularly those hailing from the arid Western U.S., seemed to develop and thrive on their legs and crotch areas during the humid summers in Japan. It was very difficult to get rid of, and caused embarrassing exams in doctors offices. HORDA DODE, I think I’m getting the CRUD !
D.C. Short for the precepts espoused in DALE CARNEGIE’s HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE. This book was required reading under President Teurya. According to Drew Hunsaker (77-79), these teachings were coined as D.C. An ironic twist to the abbreviation for one of the three key LDS scriptures, the D&C or Doctrine and Covenants. Don’t try using that D.C. on me, DODE!
DENDOU BAG In the 1970s, this referred to a shoulder bag, usually fake leather, in which we carried our flip charts, dictionaries, cameras, lesson plans, umbrellas, scriptures, and anything else you could cram in there. You trusted your first DODE to help you pick out a good one. Backpacks are now used.
In 2009 I heard this now refers to small tool bags worn on a belt that hold a BOM, a few pamphlets and leaflets (chirashi)
DIE To have one’s mission term end and return home.
(Note: I heard in 2012 that then Pres. Rasmussen outlawed this term and as a result, "translated" is said to be used in its place.)
My DODE’S gonna DIE next month
(If translated, "My DADDY will be TRANSLATED next month.")
DODE From: (J) douryou, companion. One’s missionary companion. DODE, where are you?
DOMO-ER From: (J) doumo, grateful. Grateful person. I’d be a real DOMO-ER if you’d do this for me.
DROPPER SQUATTER, but implies one that...well, you figure it out. Iwaki and Aomori had second-floor DROPPERs directly above the first-floor SQUATTERs. See also PLOPPER. Bombs away….
DROP THE WALL The state of mind where thoughts of things back home are blocked out. DODE, you’ve got to DROP THE WALL and stop comparing everything to things back home.

FUD ______
From: (J) o-furo, bath. Also refers to (J) sentou, neighborhood public bath. As an adjective: FUD LADY, FUD TOWEL. (in use until at least 1986) The pipes are frozen, DODE, let’s go to the FUD.

FUTTON _____
Anglicized from: (J) futon, mattress, traditional floor bedding . Rhymes with button, as opposed to the correct Japanese pronunciation, fu tone. As an adjective: FUTTON MONSTER, FUTTON COVER. DODE, that FUTTON MONSTER just wouldn’t let me get up out of my FUTTON.
GO Shortened from: (J) Nihongo, Japanese language. My DODE has good GO.
GOCHISO’D Anglicized from: (J) gochisou, delicacy, feast. Used whenever we were treated to a meal, true to (J) term. HORDA SA, did we ever get GOCHISO’D tonight--ton katsu!
HORDA, w/ LEE,SA From: (J) hora, (feminine) exclamation similar to Oh My Heck, used in joking disgust. LEE or SA added for emphasis. (reportedly extinct by about 1986) HORDA LEE, this stuff tastes like leather!
KEYED, KI’D From (J) ki (spirit) (genki no ki), or perhaps shortened or derived from (E) keyed-up. Excited, looking forward to something. I’m so dang KEYED about the mission taikai next week!
KOMARU’D Anglicized from: (J) komaru, to be troubled, at a loss. I always get KOMARU’D on door approaches.
JOCK Good, pleasant, proficient. Could refer to a JOCK person. We met a lot of JOCKS today at Eikaiwa.

From: (J) jan ken pon, the (J) version of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Used by us to determine a winner (or loser) of practically anything of consequence. Let’s JUNG for the first FUD! (early use)

You wanna JANKEN for it? (current use)
MONO From: (J) mono, thing. This mild term of derision referred to a thing, usually a person, being ridiculed. I got no mail and you got seven letters? Aw, ya REEKIN’ MONO!
MORAU’D Anglicized from: (J) morau, receive. Used when you received something valuable from someone else. Hey!, look at this bike I MORAU’D today from some obaasan.
MUGI From: (J) komugi, wheat. Legendary wheat gruel mission rules suggested/ required we eat. Similar to oatmeal, but darker and more coarse –kept you regular! The mission home sold it-also obtainable from animal feed stores, since it was really produced as pig feed. Bags of MUGI sometimes contained bugs.

In 2003, I learned a second meaning then in use for MUGI: Japanese women, from a passed-down legend, "The Mugi and the Oats." This is apparently referring to the fact that a horses prefer oats, but if fed wheat, after a while even wheat tastes OK. This is alluding to how Japanese women start to look pretty fine to especially missionaries who are nearing the completion of their two-year mission.
Oh no, DODE, not MUGI for breakfast again!

Remember the oats is the battle cry to not fall prey to the allures of the sometimes tempting MUGI.

Non-productive red-tape time, usually associated with errands where time-consuming procedures abound in Japan for foreigners, such as trips to banks, post offices, or governmental offices. Believed to have evolved from the seemingly mindless monthly waste of time taking inventory of and tracking down missing Missionary Housing Fund items, from pots and pans to sekiyu stoves in missionary living quarters that were conspicuously labeled MHF in indelible red nail polish. Alternatively believed to refer obliquely to Murphy’s Law, the proposition that If something can go wrong, it will, in regard to red tape. We ran into a lot of MURPH today at the shiyakusho. We got MURPHED OUT at the bank.
NAKU’D Anglicized from (J) nakunaru, to die , to run out, disappear. Term for church investigators who lose interest. I had ten investigators but five NAKU’D (NAKUNARU’D)
PICK Another term for REEK. Another all-purpose nonsensical allowable swear word. Could be used in tandem with REEK. PICK, I got no mail and you got another REEKIN’ care package? You MONO, you’re such a PICKIN’ REEKER!
REEK All-purpose verb/adjective/noun, generally used nonsensically like a swear word, but not in a vulgar tone. This term can refer to inanimate objects as well. Could be used in tandem with PICK, a similar nonsensical word. This PICKIN’ bike of mine is such a REEKER! I’m going to have to go MORAU another one!
SITTER Western-style sit-down porcelain toilet. In 1974, only the Sendai (Kamisugi) building and Hirosaki had SITTERS. SITTERS were often accompanied by how to use diagrams to prevent unfamiliar users from standing on the seat or lip and assuming the position as if the toilet were a SQUATTER. Such unauthorized use led to many soiled shoes and an occasional broken ankle.  
SQUATTER A Japanese-style floor-level lavatory where squatting is mandatory. Back then, most were a hole leading into a large tank that was pumped out when full by a BENNY TRUCK. Could also refer to one that flushes into a public sewer system, now much more common. According to John Gappmayer (92-94), SQUATTER later referred primarily to the Japanese-style toilets that could be flushed, whereas PLOPPER was a new descriptive term for those that didn’t flush. (Believed extinct for years, but now apparently revived)  
SUCK From (E): to suck-up, but involves the use of a necktie by others not sucking-up to signal that brown-nosing was detected

Used when a missionary lavished an excessive amount of compliments and praise on another missionary who was usually their superior. APs, (commonly in those days referred to as "Apes"), zone leaders and even district leaders would sometimes fall victim to this type of verbal assault which they politely endured.

When this overt brown-nosing occurred, the leaders or anyone within ear shot would not say a word but would begin to take the lower part of their tie and casually lift the end up or flip it up over and over again. This was to signify that the vacuum created from the sucking was so strong it was pulling their tie up.
This suck/tie thing was well known by all the missionaries (circa 1974-77), but President Teruya and his wife were totally unaware. This was clearly evident at the president's last mission conference. Here's what happened: The last night of the conference there was a talent show and President Teruya and his wife had been seated front row center. In between each performance, an elder would come out in a cardboard missionary robot costume and entertain until the next act was ready to go. Close to the end of the show the robot came out and began to heap lavish, over-the-top praise on the president and his wife. At the end the robot turned sideways and stuck its whole tie straight out at a 90 degree angle. It literally brought the house down--people were laughing so hard they were falling of their chairs. President Teruya and his wife stared at each other in bewilderment, completely unaware of what had been so funny, which only made everyone laugh harder.

Thanks to Daniel Stone, aka the Robot, for this submission. If any elders have any pictures of that conference and especially the robot, please post them here on the Site or e-mail to him--he has always wondered what he looked like from the audience.

School-uniformed teenaged females, who in a naïve and artless way were sort of charming and giddy. This term was generally not used in a demeaning way. This has now been shortened to TRIFF. In recent years, meaning has reportedly changed to depict girls who are attracted to missionaries and may have a more demeaning tone. My English Class REEKED tonight. Just a bunch of TRIFIDS!
YUBINJIN From (J) yubin, mail jin, -suffix for person. Another term for BIGOT, currently called STEVE-KUN.  


Mission History Section Links:
Senkyoushi-go: Teruya Jidai   post-77
Temples:  Tokyo   Fukuoka   Sapporo