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Japan Subculture Research Center

A guide to the Japanese underworld, Japanese pop-culture, yakuza and everything dark under the sun.

Telepathy (以心伝心) and Other Coincidences (奇遇)

Byjakeadelstein

Jul 10, 2024

I was writing to a former intern at Japan Subculture Research Center, Fresca, and asked her to send me her thesis to read—just as she mailed me. I think I was two seconds ahead of her. It was a remarkable coincidence or maybe telepathy. Which got me interested in the many words for the complementary subjects in Japanese. So for your entertainment—here you are.

Telepathy

以心伝心 (いしんでんしん) – Ishin Denshin

Imagine you’re sitting in a crowded Tokyo café, and you suddenly get this eerie feeling that your friend, who’s halfway across the city, really needs to tell you something. No texts, no calls—just a weird vibe. That’s Ishin Denshin, where hearts speak directly to each other, bypassing those pesky cell towers. It’s like when you’re on a date and you just know your partner is thinking about leaving without paying the bill. 食い逃げはダメだ!

心霊交流 (しんれいこうりゅう) – Shinrei Kouryuu

Picture yourself at a séance, the kind with flickering candles and a medium who’s a bit too enthusiastic. Suddenly, you feel an icy breeze, and it’s not because the AC is cranked up. It’s your grandfather, reaching out to you from the great beyond. He’s got something to say, and of course, it’s, “Why’d you get that godawful tattoo!? What were you thinking? Would you want to wear the same t-shirt every day? But noooo, you get a tattoo! Oy vey!” Shinrei Kouryuu is like that ghostly chat you have without words, where spirits exchange pleasantries—or maybe just complain about the afterlife’s lack of Wi-Fi.

精神感応 (せいしんかんのう) – Seishin Kannou

This one’s for those moments when you feel a twinge of anxiety and then, bam! You find out your boss is going to assign you to write a condom review article.  Seishin Kannou is all about that psychic sensitivity, where your mind picks up on vibes faster than a caffeine addict at a coffee convention.

テレパシー – Terepashī

Ah, the good old loanword from English. Terepashī is like wearing a tinfoil hat but actually getting reception. It’s the mind-to-mind communication that you wish you had during those awkward silences at family dinners. Just think of it as the mental equivalent of sliding into someone’s DMs.

Words related to Amazing Coincidence

奇遇 (きぐう) – Kigu

Ever bumped into your high school nemesis at a sumo wrestling match in Osaka? That’s Kigu for you—a strange coincidence that makes you question if the universe is playing a cosmic joke. It’s like finding out your blind date is your dentist’s cousin’s yoga instructor.

偶然の一致 (ぐうぜんのいっち) – Gūzen no Icchi

This phrase is like finding your soulmate who also happens to be allergic to nori and is obsessed with collecting vintage Ghost In the Shell figurines. Gūzen no Icchi is when coincidences line up so perfectly, you start wondering if you’re actually living in a rom-com.

思いがけない偶然 (おもいがけないぐうぜん) – Omoigakenai Gūzen

Imagine you’re walking down the street and a winning lottery tickets lands on your head at the exact moment you decide to quit your job. Omoigakenai Gūzen is that unexpected coincidence that makes you look up and say, “Really, universe? Really?”

巡り合わせ (めぐりあわせ) – Meguriawase

Think of Meguriawase as the universe’s way of setting up a blind date with destiny. It’s those fortunate encounters that make you believe in fate, like running into an old friend at a ramen shop and discovering you both have a newfound love for Ska Paradise Orchestra

So, next time you experience a telepathic moment or a mind-blowing coincidence, remember these Japanese words and enjoy the delightful weirdness of it all—and if you’re a writer be glad you have such a wonderful editor. You should really buy him or her or them a cup of coffee. 

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