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5 Meanings of OSU in Japanese

5 meanings of osu in japaneseJapanese Language Learning

Hello from Japan! It’s Junko. The Japanese word OSU has four meanings. Spellings and Kanji characters for them are all different. About which OSU do you want to know? With this post, I’ll explain all four meanings of OSU!


osu written in katakana, meaning male in japanese
osu written in kanji, meaning male in japanese

OSU = male

Written in Katakana or a single Kanji character. This Osu means “male” and is used for animals, insects, and plants only. I mean you can’t use it for humans.


osu in mapanese, meaning push

OSU = push, press

Here are some examples of the usage.
扉を押す (Tobira wo osu) = Push the door

ボタンを押す (Botan wo osu) = Press the button

はんこを押す (Hanko wo osu) = Press the stamp


osu written in japanese, meaning recommend

OSU = recommend

This Osu means to recommend someone or something. Recently, young people got to use “OSU” to show their favorite people or characters they’re addicted in. The word OSHI is frequently used as a noun. Please note OSHI is a kind of geeky slang and we don’t use it in the formal scene. I think elder Japanese even can’t understand the meaning since it’s a new word born just several years ago.

A greeting phrase for martial arts

osu written in japanese kanji, meaning a greeting phrase among men

OSU is a traditional greeting phrase among martial arts players like Karate, Judo, and Kendo. It’s said Ohayo Gozaimasu was shortened and became OSU, but the fact is unclear. Anyway, OSU is a very common and familiar phrase for men. It’s a manly phrase and girls don’t say it.


Son Goku in Dragon Ball says “Ossu! Ora Goku!” in Japanese. This OSSU is the same as OSU!


osu written in jpanese, meaning vinegar

OSU = vinegar

The word SU alone means vinegar in Japanese. But in daily conversation, we call vinegar OSU. The first O is written in Hiragana letter. O is a prefix for saying something politely and used for other things as well. For example, Shoyu (soy sauce) is called OSHOYU, and Miso is called OMISO.

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