The word is originally derived from a Chinese expression written with the same characters. The Chinese characters (少 and 女) literally mean young/little and woman respectively. In Japanese, these kanji refer specifically to a young woman approximately 7–18 years old.
Like most kanji compounds, the term shōjo is borrowed from Classical Chinese characters. The original term is written as "少女", which could be pronounced as shào nǚ in Mandarin (pinyin romanization), so nyŏ in Korean (McCune-Reischauer romanization), thiếu nữ in Vietnamese, and shōjo in Japanese (Hepburn romanization).
Translation: The myth of Yao: the country is being invaded by barbarians, the king is looking for warriors who are capable of taking the head of the general of the invading army, and for this the king will award (a) thousand Yi  of gold, (a) myriad of houses and young girl(s) as their wife/wives.
In the 7th century, the word was introduced into the Japanese language through the adoption of the Chinese-style Ritsuryō legal system, where it referred to females between the ages of 17 and 20.
In Japan, the word shōjo has many applications outside of the law. It refers to anything of, for, or about school-age girls. Examples include shōjo manga, shōjo culture, shōjo novels, shōjo hobbies, and shōjo fashions, among others.
|Look up 少女 or shōjo in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Shōjo manga, a Japanese manga demographic
- Shoujocon, a former anime convention held annually from 2000–2003
- Shōnen, shōjo's male counterpart, includes legal definition of shōnen and shōjo
- Women in Japan
- Yamato Nadeshiko
- Because of the difficulty of inputting macrons on many computers, "shôjo" and "shöjo" are also common and acceptable renderings, although "shōjo" is preferred.)
- The word girl in English has complex meanings, and care is needed in its use. See Francoeur, R.T., Martha Cornog, Timothy Perper, and Norman A. Scherzer 1995 The Complete Dictionary of Sexology, New Expanded Edition. New York: Continuum.
- Yuen Ren Chao and Lien Sheng Yong. 1962. Concise Dictionary of Spoken Chinese. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (No ISBN). 少 is radical #42, page 64. 女 is radical #38, page 54, meaning woman or female. 女 can be used as either a noun or an adjective.
- Shogakukan Daijisen Editorial Staff (1998), Daijisen (大辞泉) (Dictionary of the Japanese language), Revised Edition. Tokyo: Shogakukan. ISBN 978-4-09-501212-4.
- Chinese Dictionary, Department of Education of Republic of China
- 後漢書 南蠻西南夷傳 Department of Asian History, Nagoya University Accessed 2008-09-14
- 1 Yi (鎰) equals 315 gram Chinese dictionary online
- 清水民子『女の子はどう育つか : 少女期その世界と発達』新日本出版社、1989年4月、ISBN 4-406-01723-2
- Public Prosecutors Office, Japan.
- Shogakukan Dictionary Editorial Staff (2003), Tsukaikata no wakaru ruigo reikai jiten (使い方の分かる類語例解辞典) ("A Dictionary of Synonyms in Japanese"), New Edition. Tokyo: Shogakukan. ISBN 978-4-09-505522-0.
- 山崎まどか『オードリーとフランソワーズ-乙女カルチャー入門』(晶文社、ISBN 4-7949-6518-4、2002年
- Wakeling, Emily Jane. "“Girls are dancin'”: shōjo culture and feminism in contemporary Japanese art". New Voices in Japanese Studies. doi:10.21159/nv.05.06.
- Treat, John Whittier. "Yoshimoto Banana Writes Home: Shojo Culture and the Nostalgic Subject". Journal of Japanese Studies. 19 (2): 353. doi:10.2307/132644.