How To Say “Cli-Fi” in Japanese

“Cli-Fi” means “climate change fiction”. I have discussed this term earlier here.

Now Danny Bloom (who proposed this term) asks how to say that in Japanese. And he has got a reader answer by e-mail, which he just published on his blog.

Since everyone in Japan refers to science fiction as “SF”, the logical way to proceed would be to just go for “CF”.

The alternative of transposing “Cli-Fi” into katakana would result in “Kurai-fi” (クライフィ). I would want to stay away from that one. If the average Japanese hears ”クライ”, he will think of the Kanji”暗い”, which literally means “dark”, but means “depressing” when used in this context.

While it is true that climate change problems can be depressing, this is the last thing you want to stress when marketing a new genre of fiction.

Also, since no one in Japan uses either the alphabet or the katakana version of “Sci-Fi” ( サイフィ) in the first place, no one will recognize this pattern.

So I would recommend to just stick with “CF” for Japanese.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

5 thoughts on “How To Say “Cli-Fi” in Japanese

  1. Professor!

    Well said, Sensei, and I agree with you. Thanks for teaching this chimpoon kampoon Amerika-jin who knows only chotto chotto of hiragaga katakana or kanji, But my Japanese name is ”Dahn Bu Ru Mu” in katakan on my old Yomiuri ID card…smile

    thanks for this update. I will now tell the Japanese speaking world about all this. I hope some Japanese newspapers will report the rise of cli fi genre. Would YOU be willing to give an interview to Japan Times or even better to YOMIURi in Japanese edition?:

    let me know



    1. I would be happy to talk to journalists about this. May even be an opportunity to mention my own efforts. 🙂


  2. yes professor, what i will try to set up is a reporter in Tokyo would interview YOU about your novels on cli fi themes, in English or Japanese interview, maybe Japan Times or Yomiuri or Asahi or Mainchi or even the business newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun or the KYODO news agency….so the story would be about YOU and maybe they will also interview a Japanese literary critic to get his or her POV too. Let me try to find a reporter. Does your university have a PR office that can help us locate a reporter for this kind of story that will also shed good light on your university too? So it’s win win for everyone.


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