Has ISEKAI Been Included Into The Oxford English Dictionary? Everything You Need To Know

The Oxford English Dictionary has been updated, with 23 new Japanese words, including 'isekai' and 'mangaka.’ Find out more here.

Published on Apr 02, 2024  |  08:11 PM IST |  38.1K
Natsume Akatsuki, Studio Deen, Studio Drive, Crunchyroll
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! [Natsume Akatsuki, Studio Deen, Studio Drive, Crunchyroll]

The Oxford English Dictionary has once again expanded its collection to demonstrate the constant evolution and borrowing of the English language. In its most recent update, numerous new words have been included in its extensive repertoire. Among the 23 Japanese words that were added, 'isekai' and 'mangaka' have also found their place in the dictionary. Continue reading to discover more about this thrilling update.

Overlord [Kugane Maruyama, Madhouse, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Crunchyroll]

But what is isekai?


Anime enthusiasts have been inundated with a plethora of shows falling under the genre of isekai, which involves characters exploring or being transported to a different world. Known as '異世界' in Japanese, which translates to 'another world,' 'different world,' or 'other world,' this genre often centers around a protagonist who finds themselves reincarnated or transported to a new realm. These characters usually discover this world along with the audience, adding to the appeal of the genre.

Faraway Paladin [Kanata Yanagino, Children's Playground Entertainment, OLM, Sunrise Beyond, Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime Video]

Isekai, as a concept, has been around for a while in both Japanese folklore and Western Literature. In Japan, we have Urashima Tarou, while in the West, we have Alice In Wonderland. The Chronicles of Narnia and The Wizard of Oz are classic examples that show how people are drawn to the idea of venturing into fantastical worlds. However, it was the anime film Spirited Away that really sparked the recent popularity of isekai in anime and manga.




Today, the term 'isekai' - pronounced EE-seh-kai - has been officially recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary. It is defined as "A Japanese genre of science or fantasy fiction where the main character is transported to or reborn in a different, strange, or unfamiliar world. It can also refer to an anime, manga, video game, etc., in this genre. Often used as a modifier." This definition perfectly encapsulates the essence of isekai, a genre that has gained popularity and connected with audiences globally.


That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime [Fuse, Mitz Vah, Kodansha, Eight Bit, Crunchyroll, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu]

Significance of isekai’s addition to the OED

The addition of 'isekai' in a prestigious dictionary such as the Oxford English Dictionary marks a significant moment for anime and its growing impact on worldwide culture. Moreover, the fact that popular series like That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime and KonoSuba: God's Blessing On This Wonderful World! are already entering their third seasons demonstrates the enduring popularity of this genre.



Furthermore, it is evident that anime has gained widespread recognition in mainstream society. A recent survey has shown that a larger number of Gen Z individuals watch anime compared to those who follow the NFL. Additionally, the presence of anime stores in popular areas such as Times Square highlights the fact that anime has transcended its niche fan base. The upcoming Suicide Squad Isekai anime serves as another example of how anime has seamlessly integrated into various forms of entertainment.


I'm in Love with the Villainess [Inori, Platinum Vision, Crunchyroll]


The inclusion of terms like isekai and mangaka in the OED not only recognizes their linguistic influence but also highlights the increasing global popularity of anime and manga. As these forms of entertainment continue to entertain viewers with their creative realms and engaging stories, it's clear that isekai is more than just a word – it's a doorway to limitless storytelling potential.

Keep up with Pinkvilla for more updates from the animeverse daily. 

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About The Author

Education: Diploma in IELTS Training and PTE. About: Sneha is a talented individual who can freely express herself 


Credits: Oxford English Dictionary, The Guardian, IGN, Game Rant, The Mary Sue, GamesRadar+, Sportskeeda

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