Anime Companion Supplement - U

Uc - Ue - Um - Ura

This series of pages is a supplement to two of my books The Anime Companion and The Anime Companion 2.

For easy browsing go to the: Topical / Subject Index

See the regular entry pages for cross references between variant terms, differing spellings, English to Japanese terms and names:
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Special Supplement: Rurouni Kenshin OVAs

Each Supplement page consists of:
1. A list of entries in the books with page numbers.
2. New entries for items not found in the books.
3. Japanese characters for entries
4. Secondary sources used to find information for each entry.
5. Additional information for some entries.
6. Links to select Internet resources related to the entries.

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For more information about this supplement see The Anime Companion Supplement main page. Additions are announced in the Anime Companion Supplement News page and in my Blog.

Hyphenated Japanese terms are listed as single words.

The inclusion of an anime or manga title in these entries is not a recommendation of that title, see my Recommended Anime and Manga page for a list of my recommendations

U SHAPED STAFF see: sasumata (spear fork)

UCC Coffee UCC コーヒー (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.142)
I had to research this one in local markets, tastes pretty good.
uchikake (woman's over garment) 打掛
A kosode robe with elaborate embroidery worn with a sash (see: obi, The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.98) over kimono (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.68) and worn only indoors. During the Edo Period (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.25) and earlier these were traditionally by high ranking samurai (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.110) women, wives of wealthy chōnin (townsmen) and high ranking courtesans. Today, since the Meiji Period (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.81), brides commonly wear uchikake as part of a traditional wedding celebration. Uchikake are long and the padded hem trails along behind as the wearer walks.
In Ōoku (v.1 p.81) Tokugawa Yoshimune (The Anime Companion 2 p.103) is presented with a special uchikake that has the pattern woven into the nerinuki fabric rather than conventionally embroidered.
Dalby, Liza. Kimono: Fashioning Culture p.37, 92, 101, 204, 345.
Leiter, Samuel. New Kabuki Encyclopedia p.674.
uchiwa (non-folding fan) 団扇 OLD FORM 團扇 (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.142)
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.358
uchiwa-daiko (prayer drum) 団扇太鼓
A flat drum in the form of a skin on a wooden ring with a handle attached. The shape is similar to a non-folding fan (see: uchiwa, The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.142). This type of prayer drum is used in Buddhism (see: Bukkyō The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.15), particularly by the Nichiren sect (Nichirenshū), and also in kabuki (The Anime Companion 2 p.35).
We see such a drum beat by Oroku early in Pom Poko.
In the Urusei Yatsura OVA "Goat and Cheese" we see a uchiwa-daiko carried by a strange figure.
Mustachio in Astro Boy (v.9 p.204) uses one while chanting "nanm-youhou-renge-kyou" (see: Namu Myōhōrengekyō).
Brinkley, Frank. Brinkley's Japanese-English Dictionary p.1550
Leiter, Samuel. New Kabuki Encyclopedia p.460, 674
Yamaguchi Momoo, Kojima Setsuko. Cultural Dictionary of Japan p.199
udo うど or 独活
Aralia cordata. The leaves and stalks of this plant are eaten either raw or cooked. The flavor is similar to asparagus. The cultivated type is grown in the dark to blanch it. Wild udo is used in sansai ryōri (mountain vegetable cooking), as the flavor is stronger it must be blanched before it is used in dishes.
Udo salad is one of the foods cherry mentions in the Urusei Yatsura TV series (Episode 36 story 59)
Maho buys udo from Tachikawa in MahoRomatic (ep.3) and pickles it.
Hosking, Richard. A Dictionary of Japanese Food p.63
udon うどん or 饂飩 (The Anime Companion 2 p.110)
Hosking, Richard, A Dictionary of Japanese Food p.164
Eating in Japan p.90
Ueno 上野 (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.142)
A Look Into Tokyo p.40
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.1643
Ueno Dōbutsuen (Ueno Zoo) 上野動物園 (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.142)
A Look Into Tokyo p.40
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.1643
Web site:
Tōkyō Bureau of Construction page on Ueno Dōbutsuen
Tokyo Zoological Park Society page on Ueno Zoo.
Ueno Eki (Ueno Train Station) 上野駅 OLD FORM 上野驛 (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.143)
A Look Into Tokyo p.40
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.1643
Ueno Kōen (Ueno Park) 上野公園 (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.143)
A Look Into Tokyo p.40
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.1643 Web site:
Ueno Park [PDF of brochure]

UENO PARK see: Ueno Kōen (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.143)

UENO ZOO see: Ueno Dōbutsuen (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.142)

UFO Catcher (crane game) UFOキャッチャー
The crane game found in many game arcades in the form of a large glass case with a crane like mechanism and prizes inside. You pay to be able to use controls to move the mechanism and pick up items in the case. Then you drop the items into a slot so you can retrieve them. Most attempts end in failure generating money for the business with the machine. This arcade game goes back to the late 19th century with the Erie Digger in the US. The Japanese crane games date from 1965 with Sega's Skill Diga which was followed by a series of such games. The UFO Catcher, named originally after the round UFO like crane it has, is a brand name for a Sega machine released in 1985. The name UFO Catcher stuck and became the generic name for such games in Japan. Sega went on to make several variants of the UFO Catcher with names like Mini UFO and UFO Colon. Today while most crane machines have plush dolls in them there is also a large variety of other types of prizes including appliances, model kits, Banpresto giant monster (see: kaijū, The Anime Companion 2 p.37) figures and food. In anime and manga these popular games pop up again and again.
A UFO Catcher, labeled as such, in an arcade is seen in the Ah! My Goddess TV series (ep.11).
In the Silent Möbius TV series (ep.5) Katsumi spots a machine in a game arcade and calls it a 'crane game'. She wins a plush figure with "Now-Printing" for a face, a reference to Asamiya Kia, the mangaka (manga artist) of the original story, who for years held up such a sign in front of his face to keep his actual identity secret.
In chapter 129 of the GTO manga (v.16) Onizuka and Miyabe try out a UFO catcher for lobster, the name of the machine is Seafood Catcher.
Macias, Patrick and Machiyama Tomohiro. Cruising the Anime City p.96
Ashcraft, Brian and Jean Snow. Arcade Mania p.14-19
Web Site:
SEGA UFO CATCHER Redemption Game from Sega Amusements USA
(Includes manuals and other documents in PDF format.)
Uguisudani (Valley Of The Bush Warblers) 鶯谷 (The Anime Companion 2 p.110)
Waley, Paul Tokyo Now & Then p.156
Tokyo Metropolitan Atlas p.14
Uguisudani Eki (Uguisudani Station) 鶯谷駅 OLD FORM 鶯谷驛 (The Anime Companion 2 p.110)
Waley, Paul Tokyo Now & Then p.199
Tokyo Metropolitan Atlas p.14

UGUISUDANI STATION see: Uguisudani eki (The Anime Companion 2 p.110)

uke (receiver, blocking, bottom) 受け
In martial arts the uke is the receiver or blocker of a technique, often of a blow. This is reflected in terminology, for example uke waza refers to "blocking techniques", uke translated here as "blocking". When referring to specific weapons the pronunciation of uke sometimes shifts to uchi, for example an uke using a sword is referred to as a uchitachi, other weapons uchite, when unarmed ukete. The word uke is also found in the names of specific blocking techniques such as jōdan-age-uke in karate. In training it is often the instructor who is the uke.
In Boys Love and yaoi (The Anime Companion 2 p.116) fan terminology the uke, usually translated as "bottom", is the character pursued by another character type called a seme. The seme-uke relationship convention in such stories is one of a relatively passive character, the uke, chased by the active seme. This reflects traditional gender stereotypes and in sex acts determines who is the insertee and who is the inserter. In fan terminology the term is also subdivided into specific types such as sasoi uke (seductive uke), etc. This term is not used in actual gay relationships, the equivalent term there is neko.
The term translated as "bottom" on pages 91 and 93 of volume 6 of Genshiken is uke.
In Dance in the Vampire Bund (v.3 p.30) the princess says she did not understand some margin notes in Yuki's manuscript with terms such as sasoi-uke, kyō-seme. CP and satou.
Bolton, Christopher, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr, and Takayuki Tatsumi editors. Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams p.248
Cunningham, Don. Secret Weapons of Jujutsu p.69, 86
Cunningham, Don. Taiho-Jutsu p.164
Galbraith, Patrick. The Otaku Encyclopedia p.229
Skoss, Diane, ed. Keiko Shokon p.87, 163
Thompson, Jason. Manga The Complete Guide p.416
ukiyo-e (Pictures of the Floating World) 浮世絵
A type of painting and printmaking focussing on depiction of entertainment and pleasure. The word comes from the Buddhist term ukiyo which means "world of sorrow". In the 17th century some writers began writing the term with a different kanji (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.61) that has the same pronunciation with a meaning of "floating world". The earliest works of ukiyo-e were painting, however as printmaking techniques improved that medium came to dominate the genre. Common types of ukiyo-e prints include scenes from brothels, kabuki (The Anime Companion 2 p.35), sumō (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.127), shunga (The Anime Companion 2 p.89), city scenes and in the 19th century landscape prints. Today ukiyo-e is considered one of the major artistic contribution of the the chōnin (townsmen) culture of the Edo Period (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.25)
In episode 5 of Samurai Champloo amateur models for ukiyo-e prints are disappearing.
Buckingham, Dorothea N. Essential Guide to Sumo p.205
Cybriwsky, Roman. Historical Dictionary of Tokyo p.158
Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints p. 500
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.1647-1649

UKIYO-E see also: bijinga (beauty picture)

umami (flavor) 旨味
In the West the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus decided there were four flavors, sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. Until recent time this was the accepted wisdom, complex flavors being held to be combinations of the four. In the late 19th century Parisian chef Auguste Escoffier postulated there was another flavor. In 1908 Ikeda Kikunae did the same in Japan as a result of his research that led to the discovery of MSG (monosodium glutamate). It would not be until 1996 that scientists did a study on tastebuds that upheld this hypothesis and they decided to call this fifth flavor umami, using the same term as Ikeda. The Japanese word umami is not a new one and is often translated as 'flavorful'.
In Oishinbo A la Carte: Japanese Cuisine (p.103) Tōyama sensei (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.114) remarks on the umami flavor of the seabream (see: tai, The Anime Companion 2 p.94), kelp (see: konbu, The Anime Companion 2 p.48) and unohana (see: okara (The Anime Companion 2 p.67).
Hosking, Richard. A Dictionary of Japanese Food p.226-231
Nature Neuroscience. "Press releases February 2000"
Saccoccio, Sabrina. "Who's umami? Human taste now comes in five flavours" CBC News June 1, 2007
Krulwich, Robert. "Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter ... and Umami" NPR November 5, 2007

UMA-NO-ASHI see: uma-yaku (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.143)

uma-yaku 馬役 (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.143)
Joya, Mock. Mock Joya's Things Japanese p.546
Outlook on Japan p.24

UMBRELLA, OILED PAPER see: kasa (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.62)

UMBRELLA YŌKAI see: Kara-kasa (umbrella yōkai)

ume うめ or 梅 (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.143)
Condon, Jack and Camy Condon. The Simple Pleasures of Japan p.111
Hosking, Richard. A Dictionary of Japanese Food p.164
umeboshi (salted Japanese apricot) うめぼし or 梅干し or 梅干 (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.143)
Eating in Japan p.86
Joya, Mock. Mock Joya's Things Japanese p.301
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.1652
umibōzu 海坊主
A type of yōkai the name of which is a compound of the Japanese words for sea and Buddhist priest (bōzu). These are a kind of ghost found in the sea with a very large round hairless head. If you speak to an umibōzu they will sink your boat. Tradition has it that the spirits of those with no one to look after their grave or whose death was untimely go to the sea.
The most famous umibōzu in anime has got to be Ijūin Hayato, aka Falcon, in City Hunter who was given the nickname umibōzu by Ryo Saeba.
In Pom Poko during the tanuki (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.133) created mass illusion sequence we see umibōzu rise beyond the apartment buildings along with large waves.
Umibōzu is also the name of a special forces unit in Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex (ep.24).
A very cute umibōzu shows up in Kon Kon Kokon (v.1 p.122-)
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.1653
Koge-Donbo. Kon Kon Kokon v.1 p., 209
Piggott, Juliet. Japanese Mythology 1983 p.83
umeshu (plum "wine") うめしゅ or 梅酒 (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.143)
Condon, Jack and Camy Condon. The Simple Pleasures of Japan p.113
Experiencing Japanese Culture p.247
Hosking, Richard. A Dictionary of Japanese Food p.165
Eating in Japan p.143

UNADON see: unagi donburi (The Anime Companion 2 p.110)

unagi (eel) うなぎ or 鰻 (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.144)
A Look Into Japan p.150
Vardaman, James M. and Michiko Sakaki Vardaman Japan From A to Z p.40
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.326
unagi donburi 鰻丼 or うなぎどんぶり (The Anime Companion 2 p.110)
Hosking, Richard. A Dictionary of Japanese Food p.165
Nagasawa Kimiko & Camy Condon. Eating Cheap in Japan p.19 (image) 20-21

UNAGI-BOCHO see: unagisaki (eel knife)

UNAGIKABAYAKI see: kabayaki (charcoal broiled fish)

unagisaki (eel knife) 鰻サキ
Any of several region specific designs of special knives used to fillet eels (see: unagi, The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.144) and loaches. The ones used in the Kantō region (see: Kantō Chihō, The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.61), usually referred to as Edo (The Anime Companion 2 p.18) or Tōkyō (The Anime Companion 2 p.104) style, are longer bladed and the cut with them is made from the back rather than the front.
In episode 11 of Samurai Champloo Jin gets assistance in preparing kabayaki, we see an eel, it's head secured by a meuchi, butterfly filleted from the back with an Edo style unagisaki.
In Oishinbo A la Carte: Izakaya: Pub Food (p.217) we see a close-up of the front section of an eel secured with a meuchi and the front of a Tōkyō style unagisaki.
Nozaki Hiromitsu. Japanese Kitchen Knives p.124, 128-129

UNAJŪ see: unagi (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.144)

UNDERGARMENT see: koshimaki (hip wrapping)

UNDERWEAR THIEF see: pantī dorobō (panty thief)

UNIFORM, SCHOOL GIRL'S see: sailor fuku (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.108)

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE YOKOTA BASE see: Yokota Air Base (The Anime Companion 2 p.118)

UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES IN JAPAN see: zainichi beigun (The Anime Companion 2 p.120)


Nichibei Shūkō Tsūshō Jōyaku (1858) (The Anime Companion 2 p.62)

Nichibei Washin Jōyaku (1854) (The Anime Companion 2 p.62)

UNOHANA see: okara (The Anime Companion 2 p.67)

UNSHŪ see: Izumo (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.52)

URABON see: bon (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.12)

ura fūzoku (illegal sex industry) 裏風俗
Illegal sex trade. While oral and anal intercourse for money are not prohibited by anti-prostitution laws in Japan male-female genital intercourse for money is. This distinction makes it easy for some businesses in the fūzoku (sex industry) to offer illegal services under the cover of being legitimate businesses. Some clubs want to stay within the law and make a point of strictly prohibiting even requesting such illegal activities to the point of not only ejecting the requesters but photographing them and posting the images.
Moko in My Fair Masseuse is a fūzokujo (sex industry worker) who works in a sōpurando (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.125) in Kawasaki and happily crosses the line into ura fuzoku to satisfy her customers.
Constantine, Peter. Japan's Sex Trade p.62-63
Sinclair, Joan. Pink Box: Inside Japan’s Sex Clubs p.160-162, 189
Urashima Tarō 浦島太郎 (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.144)
Must-See in Nikko p.117
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.1666
Urayasu 浦安 [市] (The Anime Companion 2 p.111)
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.1666
Tokyo City Atlas [2nd ed.] p. 61, 69

URBAN COMMONERS see: chōnin (townsmen)

URINATING IN THE STREET see: tachishōben (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.129)

urisen bā (auction bar) 売り専バー
A bar where customers, usually men, bid at an auction on individual women, or men, for their company for an hour or evening.
In episode 4 of the City Hunter 1 TV series Ryo is looking for Makimura's missing sister when he runs into someone else who is looking for a missing girl, a someone who crashes an auction gun in hand.
Sinclair, Joan, Pink Box: Inside Japan’s Sex Clubs p.42, 189

USED PANTY SHOP see: buruseara shopu (bloomer-sailor shop)

USHI-GURUMA see: gissha (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.36)

ushi no koku mairi (nailing a doll to a tree) 丑の刻参り OLD FORM 丑の刻參り (The Anime Companion 2 p.111)
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.1668
Nelson, John K. Enduring Identities. (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.47
Thanks to: Thomas Neumann for a suggestion on this entry.

USHI NO TOKI MAIRI see: ushi no koku mairi (The Anime Companion 2 p.111)

USHIWAKAMARU see: Minamoto no Yoshitsune (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.84)

USUTĀ SŌSU see: sōsu (vegetable sauce)

uta karuta (poem card) 歌ガルタ (The Anime Companion [vol.1] p.144)
NOTE: According to several Japanese dictionaries the proper transliteration seems to be uta garuta, however uta karuta 歌カルタ is used by some. It can also be written in kanji as 歌加留多 or 歌骨牌
Joya, Mock. Mock Joya's Things Japanese p.547
Discover Japan v.2 p.172
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.577, 1208
Japanese Family and Culture p.76
Utsunomiya 宇都宮 [市] OLD FORM 宇都宮 (The Anime Companion 2 p.111)
De Mente, Boye Lafayette. Japan Encyclopedia p. 511
Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia p.1671
Papinot, E. Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Japan p.728
Web Sites:
Utsunomiya (official site)

UZUMASA MOVIE VILLAGE see: Tōei Uzumasa Eigamura (Toei Uzumasa cinema village)

For easy browsing go to the: Topical / Subject Index

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Special Supplement: Rurouni Kenshin OVAs

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Created: October 31, 1998

Updated: May 23, 2011