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Japanese

The Feigning Innocence Grand Prix

I set my Twitter to Japanese some time ago, and since then I’ve developed the habit of saving each new Japanese ad I see in the sidebar. Some of them are really cute. I enjoy it when I can read some or all of the text without looking it up, too.

Today I spotted one ad that included the phrase グランプリ (Grand Prix). This phrase is often used in marketing to mean “campaign”, at least if Twitter ads are to be believed. For those of you unfamiliar with katakana, the romanization is guranpuri.

I posted on Twitter, “I wonder if any Japanese marketing campaign has ever used the phrase 知らん振りグランプリ…”

知らん振り is a phrase I learned from Detective Conan. It means “feigning innocence” and was used to great effect to determine who the native Japanese speaker was in a group of three Western-looking people. They were all told to stand in front of chairs, and then the police inspector said “知らん振り”…and two of them sat down. This is because 知らん振り is roughly pronounced “shiranpuri”, which to a Westerner might sound like a Japanese person trying to say “sit down, please” in English. The native speaker of Japanese didn’t sit down because he knew what 知らん振り meant.

Since “shiranpuri” totally rhymes with “guranpuri”, it’s a natural fit!

After wondering whether any marketing companies used the phrase I’d come up with, I googled it. While I didn’t find any ad campaigns in the first few results, I did find videos and articles using 知らん振りグランプリ as a tag, and blog posts with 知らん振りグランプリ as the title. Score.