Kuudere – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you trying to describe a fictional character — or even a real person — who has a cold, emotionless, exterior but who may be hiding a sea of love and caring behind that facade?

The anime term “kuudere” could be the exact word you are looking for.

Discover what kuudere means and how it originated in this post.

Meaning

The Japanese anime term kuudere refers an archetypal character. Characters that fall into this category present themselves as stoic, cold or distant, emotionless, and cynical.

Kuudere characters are, however, usually understood to be hiding emotional depth under their “mask”. Those who earn their trust may get a glimpse of their real selves.

Kuudere characters usually serve as side characters, and specifically love interests, but they can also be protagonists.

Example Usage

Are you curious to learn how kuudere might be used in a sentence? These examples can help you out:

  • I have recently started watching anime, and as I’m learning more about it, I’m most drawn to kuudere girls because they’re more three-dimensional than most.
  • Oh, that kuudere girl? I know she seems like she doesn’t care, but deep down, she’s a very loving, sweet, and even shy person!
  • If my girlfriend were an anime character, she’d be kuudere for sure — she tries to appear cold and confident to hide her sweet personality because she’s afraid someone will hurt her.

Origin

The Japanese word kuudere — also sometimes spelled kudere — combines two other words:

  • Kuuru, which is simply the Japanese pronunciation of the English word “cool”, and can carry the same spectrum of meanings. That is to say, kuuru can mean trendy or edgy, but also detached and emotionless.
  • Deredere (also spelled dere-dere), which means to fall in love or to become infatuated.

The term kuudere — and the archetypal character that it represents — is commonly found in Japanese anime series. However, kuudere characters can also be found in other types of fiction.

Anime shows have been shown in the West, especially the United States, for much longer than most people realize, as the first wave arrived in the 1960s in the form of Astro Boy. However, the term kuudere appears to have started rising in popularity in the early 2000s.

Kuudere was first defined on Urban Dictionary in the year 2009, for example, and the spread of anime-related terms can largely be explained by internet culture. The use of the word kuudere in English continues to spread.

It is important to understand that kuudere is just one of many archetypal anime characters.

Words Similar to Kuudere

Each of the archetypes commonly drawn on in anime culture as well as broader Japanese fiction are clearly defined. Several similar but distinct concepts exist:

  • Tsundere characters are not just cold, but downright hostile or bossy. They hide a similarly loving personality under their cold exterior.
  • Dandere characters are quiet, introverted, and may appear to be antisocial, but likewise have loving personalities.

Words Opposite to Kuudere

  • Yandere characters may try to seem kind, caring, and devoted, but are hiding a heap of trouble underneath. They may be jealous and possessive or otherwise cause all sorts of problems.
  • Yangire characters have destructive and psychopathic tendencies but may pretend to fall into the kuudere category to draw their love interest in.

What Is the Correct Word?

The correct word is kuudere, meaning a fictional person with a cold or aloof demeanor who is hiding a loving and caring personality (deep) inside. Given time, the kuudere’s true self may come out.

Ways People May Say Kuudere Incorrectly

Since the Japanese term kuudere combines the words for “cool” and “love interest”, some may wrongly understand it to mean any cool love interest.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Kuudere

You can use the Japanese anime term kuudere to refer to a fictional character that fits into this archetype. You could also describe actual people who seem to fit the bill as being kuudere — and indeed, the archetype might even apply to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *