Kinki University Opts for a Name That Sounds Less…Well, Kinky

Kinki-Univerisity

For some people, the idea of a kinky university might be right up their alley. Apparently, Kinki University is not looking for those people.

OK, in Japan, Kinki is one of the names used for the midwestern part of Japan that includes Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe. You might also know it as Kansai, but neither name draws much attention from native Japanese speakers. (There is a Japanese pop duo called the KinKi Kids, who are quite knowingly playing on the English meaning of the word.) But it’s hard to say the word “Kinki” to an English speaker, even with your best Japanese pronunciation, and not draw a chuckle.

That was exactly what the dean of Kinki University, Hitoshi Shiozaki gave as one of the reasons for changing the name of university. “The word ‘kinky’ also means perverted,” he said. “We have no other choice than changing the English name because we are serious about pursuing a more international school culture.”

The new name for Kinki University will be Kindai University—a combination of the words Kinki and daigaku (university). The name change is scheduled for 2016, when the university will open a new international studies faculty. The hope is that potential exchange students, who might have been embarrassed to say that they were heading off to Kinki U., will be able to proudly proclaim that they studied abroad at fair Kindai.

Of course, these phrases that get lost in translation go the other way—try recovering an English lesson in which you’re trying to explain what Cinco de Mayo means to a group of Japanese high-schoolers…

Kinki University, Kindai University, universities in Kansai

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