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From Japanese 外人 ‎(gaijin, foreigner), from Middle Chinese 外人 ‎(ngwàj-nyin). Compare Mandarin 外人 ‎(wàirén), from Old Chinese 外人 ‎(*ŋʷˁat-s ning, foreigner, outsider” < “non-relative), from ‎(outside, outer) + ‎(person).


gaijin ‎(plural gaijin or gaijins)

  1. (Japan) A non-Japanese person.
    • 1976, Bill Henderson, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, Pushcart Press, page 207,
      For a while he began to speak Japanese, rather slangy, never having seemed to learn it — karoshi for death from overwork, yakitaori-ya for eatery, and gaijin for clumsy foreigner.
    • 1992, David Pollack, Reading Against Culture, Cornell Press, page 230
      And I did not intend to live my life as a gaijin—not merely, like the expatriate, someone by definition permanently out of place but someone unwanted as well.
    • 2004, Troy Anderson, The Way of Go, Simon and Schuster, page 149
      [...] I was placed in the gaijins' dormitory area up on the third floor.
    • 2006, Alan M. Klein, Growing the Game: The Globalization of Major League Baseball, page 127
      Oh's pitchers later acknowledged that they were instructed—under penalty of a fine—to throw no strikes to the gaijin.





  1. rōmaji reading of がいじん