What is Bishoujo?

This term is pretty common among Otaku, but what is Bishoujo exactly?

Bishoujo (Hiragana: びしょうじょ; Kanji: 美少女), sometimes written as Bishōjo, is a Japanese term that translates into “Pretty Girl.” This word is often used in anime, manga, and visual novel style video games where there are many beautiful girls under the age of 20. These types of media usually focus on the girls as potential love interests, and are commonly found in harem anime and manga or dating sim games. Needless to say, Bishoujo series are often targeted to young, heterosexual male audiences.


Not to be confused with Shoujo, which is the intended audience of a type of anime and manga, Bishoujo focuses on character design. Although Bishoujo technically isn’t a genre, some may still call select anime and manga a Bishoujo series if it spotlights fan service and the female characters’ design instead of the plot.


Bishoujo games are commonly known as Gal Games (ギャルゲーム), which is shortened to Galge. These games often focus on interactions between the main character and a number of girls, all which are potential love interests. The main character is rarely ever shown in the game, and sometimes doesn’t even have a voice actor.


And that’s all you need to know about Bishoujo. You can find more information on subcultures and terms just like this in my growing Otaku Encyclopedia!