The Meaning of Doki Doki: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of doki doki? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word doki doki, including its definition, etymology, usage, and more!

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What does doki doki mean?

According to Polygon and Ink Bottle Press, doki doki, sometimes spelled doki-doki or ドキドキ in Japanese Katakana/Hiragana, and dokidoki in Hepburn, is the Japanese word for the sound of a beating heart in Japanese sound symbolism. This is often used to refer to the online game Doki Doki Literature Club, or DDLC. This is a free horror video game released by Team Salvato htat is a horror game disguised as a dating simulator. You beginn in a group of school girls who are trying to prove that  their literature club is worth becoming an official school organization. 

Throughout the course of the game, the protagonist tries to bond with the girls and you have to choose which girl you write a poem for. Depending on who you pick, you get closer to each of the club members. However, the game eventually leads you down a dark path to the shocking and emotional death of one character. This also leads to a major twist in the game. When the main menu then resters, it is as if the game client itself was affected by her death. The dead character’s image is pixelated and warped and it forces you into a new game because your save files become inaccessible. If you begin a new file, the game loudly glitches and morphs at any hint of the former character. On the next playthrough, the client takes control, and speeds through text with grotesque jump scares. It creates a nightmare in the sentient game client. 

Then, in the moment of the character’s death, the game will direct the player outside of the game client itself by naming a specific game file and alluding to some outside force that is changing the universe of the game. This terrifying mystery weaves in and out of the game plot and the outside world, utilizing the powerlessness you feel and lack of control to create fear in the corruption of the files. This biological computer virus mystery turns out to have been created by the Belief Club President Kai. This is known as the doki doki virus or doki-doki-suru. 

According to Fandom, there are five different main female characters in Doki Doki Literature Club – Natsuki, Sayori, Yuri, Monika, and the protagonist – you. In Japanese, the name Sayori means best girl, Monika Koide-Nicolaides Kokoro is the Japanese version of Monica and kokoro means heart or mind. Monika’s last name night refer to the fact that she starts as a small character but grows. Natsuki means summer, rare, life, and chronicle. Monika is the Literature Club president. Monika, the isolationist and manipulative yandere, is very driven and goal-oriented, and has a passion for poetry and music. Natsuki is the only girl who does not have a death scene and we only see Natsuki’s self-destruction.

The game is controversial and went viral in the UK because it has been linked to the death of two teenagers with the dark themes of self-harming and suicide as well as depression, loneliness and sadness. The character of Yuri dies in the game via suicide – she will either kill herself out of despair if you reject her or, because she tends to cut when she gets excited, will stab herself if you accept her confession. If you cause Monika’s ending by deleting Monika’s character file, Sayori is the one who realizes that they are trapped in a video game. She forces the game to close and deletes the other character files, including herself. This quick ending only happens if Monika is deleted. This game deals with delicate matters, has a lot of emotional excitement, and breaks the fourth wall. This game got excellent feedback but some got a type of feeling or stimulation from the game that did not precure a good feeling. This free game definitely gives a pitter-patter of the heart in more ways that one – hopefully, not a heart attack!

Sometimes, people will refer to other games or anime as going “doki doki” – according to Urban Dictionary, this is when used when a typically innocent show, game, anime or cartoon takes an unexpectedly dark and disturbing turn. For example, people think Madoka Magic did this, as well as the anime Narutaru in which a guy’s head was  cleaved in half by a monster in front of his sister, which then decided to impale her with a spike. These will usually have warnings when an innocent show is going to turn dark. “Doki Doki Morning” (2011) is also a song by Babymetal.

What are other horror videogames?

There are many different horror videogames that a person could choose to play if they are in the mood for a good scare. These are listed below, from Games Radar

  •  Returnal
  •  Slender: The Eight Pages
  •  Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly
  •  Mundaun
  •  Resident Evil Village
  •  Alan Wake
  •  Until Dawn
  •  Little Nightmares 2
  •  Prey
  •  Carrion 
  •  Darkwood
  •  Bloodborne 
  •  Devotion
  •  Resident Evil 4
  •  Resident Evil 2 Remake
  •  P.T.
  •  Alien: Isolation
  •  Layers of Fear
  •  Resident Evil 7

Overall, doki doki means heartbeat or the racing of the heart, is of Japanese origin and refers to the psychological horror Anime game Doki Doki Literature club, a horror game under the guise of an anime-style dating simulation, which builds anticipation from the kawaii cartoon images that quickly turn into a monster. Doki doki is similar to thump-thump in the United States. 


  1. Question: Doki doki literature club in japanese? | Ink Bottle Press 
  2. Doki Doki Literature Club is an uncontrollably horrific visual novel | Polygon 
  3. doki doki | Urban Dictionary  
  4. Category:Characters | Doki Doki Literature Club Wiki | Fandom 
  5. Best horror games to scare yourself silly with | Games Radar