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For NANPA area codes, see North American Numbering Plan.
For other uses, see Nanpa (disambiguation).

Nanpa (ナンパ?), also transliterated as nampa, in Japanese culture is a type of flirting and seduction popular among teenagers and people in their twenties and thirties. When Japanese women pursue men in a fashion similar to nanpa, it is called gyakunan (ギャクナン?).[1]


Nanpa was originally[when?] rendered in kanji as 軟派 (lit. "the soft school") and had a different meaning: people interested more in fun and self-indulgence than in "hard" pursuits like politics, academia, or athletics. In contemporary Japanese culture, nanpa most often refers to "girl hunting" and there is a strong negative connotation associated with it.

The word for boyfriend hunting by women, gyakunan, derives from gyaku (?, lit. "reverse"), and the first part of the word nanpa.[1]


Nanpa is seen most often in young men ranging from their late teens to mid-twenties. Groups of "nanpa boys" will gather around places with busy, predominantly female foot traffic (bridges, subway stations, shopping malls, etc.) and approach women in search of a date. The nanpa groups generally wear high fashion with nice suits, expensive shoes, and extravagant hair styles. Because of their style of dress, nanpa boys are occasionally misinterpreted by foreigners as employees of host clubs, who also roam such areas speaking with various women.

Because of increasing number of nanpa participants and rising complaints, many Japanese regions are reacting more harshly to participants. For example, many youth hangouts such as arcades are posting "No Nanpa" signs, and police in highly populated Japanese cities have been enforcing these rules. This may be in reaction to a growing fear in young Japanese women of abduction or rape. The Shibuya district is particularly strict on nanpa boys in the wake of the abduction of four girls by a middle aged man in July 2003[2]

Same-sex nanpa[edit]

Japan also has a same-sex nanpa culture, especially within the gay entertainment district of Shinjuku ni-chome.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Botting, Geoff. "Japanese women on top." The Japan Times, April 8, 2001. Reprinted from Spa!, April 4, 2001. Reviewed November 1, 2010
  2. ^

External links[edit]