A typical example of a tsundere character

Tsundere (ツンデレ, pronounced [t͡sɯndeɾe]) is a Japanese term for a character development process that depicts a character with an initially harsh personality who gradually reveals a warmer, friendlier side over time.

The word is derived from the terms tsun tsun (ツンツン) (adverb, 'morosely, aloofly, offputtingly')[1][2][3] and dere dere (でれでれ) (adverb, 'in a lovey-dovey or infatuated manner').[4][2][5] Originally found in Japanese bishōjo games,[6] the word is now part of the otaku moe phenomenon,[7] reaching into other media. The term was made popular in the visual novel Kimi ga Nozomu Eien.[8]

Another accepted definition of tsundere is someone who has a combative attitude towards others but is also kind on the inside.


Manga author Ken Akamatsu lists tsundere as one of the special cases in his definition of moe: "The person feeling it must be stronger: the object of 'moe' is weak and dependent (like a child) on the person, or is in a situation where she cannot oppose (like a maid)... (*Tsundere only: There will be times where the stronger and weaker role is reversed)."[9] The concept has received increasing attention in Japan, with a maid cafe named Nagomi in Akihabara started having tsundere events in 2006[10][note 1] and tsundere-themed products released (like Tomy Co.'s portable television set),[note 2] and the concept increasingly reflected in recent anime, from an extended discussion of the meaning of the concept and its origin on the Internet in Lucky Star's Lucky Channel segment classifying the characters according to tsundere-ness. They usually play out as having an attitude toward the main character, either a male or a female, and often criticizing them in one way or another, until they eventually warm up to them or fall in love with them as the series progresses, though they usually find it very hard to admit it or outright deny it in some cases.

Comiket organizer Koichi Ichikawa has described Lum from Urusei Yatsura as being both the source of moe and the first tsundere;[11] figurine sculptor Bome has also cited Lum as an inspiration for his designs.[12] Manga critic Jason Thompson named Madoka Ayukawa of the 1980s series Kimagure Orange Road as the root of the tsundere archetype.[13] Other anime and manga featuring tsundere include Love Hina, Neon Genesis Evangelion,[14] and Bakemonogatari,[15] among many others. Some voice actors have garnered a reputation for voicing tsundere characters such as Rie Kugimiya who voices Louise in The Familiar of Zero and Nagi in Hayate the Combat Butler,[16][17] and Ayana Taketatsu as Kirino Kosaka in Oreimo.[18] In Excel Saga volume 15, author Rikdo Koshi defines tsundere as "hard on the outside, soft on the inside" and associates it with character Misaki Matsuya.[6]

Tsundere as a concept is not strictly limited to women, and is not strictly limited to manga or anime. The character Germany from the series Hetalia: Axis Powers is portrayed as being tsundere, and is paired with a "lovable loser", Italy Veneziano.[7] Tsundere role-play has become a common theme in maid cafés.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "In Tokyo's Akihabara district there is reportedly a tsundere café, and the word tsunderera, better rendered in English as Tsunderella due to being highly evocative of Cinderella, was nominated for a prize in the 2006 fashionable word awards, indicating that 'tsundere' culture may become more prominent in the future." February 2, 2007, "Toymaker introduces portable TV with harsh audio guidance that gradually gets kinder" in the Mainichi Times.
  2. ^ "Toy manufacturer Tomy Co. has come up with the world's first tsundere portable television set, which gives audio guidance with a harsh voice that gradually becomes kinder as the user gets used to the set... Tsundere is a word for a type of feminine personality that is initially uptight and cold, and then kind and loving. It is well known among Japan's otaku community, and ranks in popularity with the word moe, which signifies an enthusiasm or fetish for something, especially in connection with anime." February 2, 2007, Mainichi


  1. ^ Nihon Kokugo Daijiten, entry for tsuntsun available online here (in Japanese)
  2. ^ a b Daijirin, second edition, 1995
  3. ^ Digital Daijisen, entry for tsuntsun available online here (in Japanese)
  4. ^ Nihon Kokugo Daijiten, entry for deredere available online here (in Japanese)
  5. ^ Digital Daijisen, entry for deredere available online here (in Japanese)
  6. ^ a b Koshi, Rikdo (December 2006). Excel Saga, Volume 15. Viz Media. p. 2, translator's notes (Carl Gustav Horn). ISBN 978-1421508467. This is an attempt to translate the concept of tsundere (this illustration and the "tsundere?" slogan appeared on the back of the slipcover on the original Japanese Vol. 15...); a character description sometimes used in dating-sim games. Note that it has been demonstrated previously in Excel Saga that Matsuya has to be virtually be on the brink of death in order to display softness.
  7. ^ a b c Galbraith, Patrick W. (October 31, 2009). "Moe: Exploring Virtual Potential in Post-Millennial Japan". Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  8. ^ Galbraith, Patrick W. (2009). The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan. Kodansha International. pp. 226–227. ISBN 978-4-7700-3101-3.
  9. ^ "Wednesday Notes... Akamatsu-sensei Talks "Moe"". Matthew's Anime Blog. Anime blogger. July 20, 2005. Archived from the original on March 2, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
  10. ^ "【ファンキー通信】タメ口、暴言の接客もなんのその! ツンデレカフェ登場!?" (in Japanese). March 22, 2006. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  11. ^ Galbraith, Patrick W. (2009). The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide to the Subculture of Cool Japan. Kodansha International. p. 44. ISBN 978-4-7700-3101-3. Lum-chan is the source of moe, the queen. She's the first tsundere character.
  12. ^ Ruh, Brian (December 14, 2010). "Brain Diving: Otaku, Where Art Thou?". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  13. ^ Thompson, Jason (September 11, 2014). "House of 1000 Manga – Kimagure Orange Road". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on September 12, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2015. For historical value, yes: this is the root from which all modern shonen rom-coms grew. (Including the tsundere archetype, which Madoka basically embodies.)
  14. ^ Eisenbeis, Richard (August 20, 2013). "How to Identify Popular Japanese Character Types". Kotaku.com. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  15. ^ Isin, Nisio (November 1, 2006). "Hitagi Crab". Bakemonogatari (in Japanese). Vol. 1. Kodansha. ISBN 978-4-06-283602-9. They call my character 'tsundere', don't they?
  16. ^ 声優アワード:「ツンデレの女王」釘宮理恵さんが主演女優賞に 神谷浩史さん二冠達成 [Seiyu Award: "Tsundere Queen" Rei Kugimiya Gets Starring Actress Award, Hiroshi Kamiya Also Awarded]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). March 7, 2009. Archived from the original on February 3, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
  17. ^ ツンデレカルタ:「私の気持ちも知らないで...」"女王"釘宮理恵が読み手 緊急発売へ [Tsundere Card Game: 'Please Don't Understand My Feelings' "Queen" Rie Kugimiya as the Reader to be Sold Soon]. Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). December 10, 2007. Archived from the original on January 12, 2008. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
  18. ^ "Interview: Seiyuu Ayana Taketatsu at Anime Festival Asia 2015". Retrieved March 6, 2023.

Further reading