Cool Japanese words

Japanese words may seem difficult to understand, especially if those fluent in it are saying them at speeds that could break the sound barrier, but with a little basic understanding are not so hard to read. Japanese words are based on the same vowels as English; A, E, I, O and U. The pronunciations are different however:

  • A is like the sound in father; or ah
  • E is a soft sound as in set; or eh
  • I is like the long E in English; as in he or we
  • O is pretty much like it looks; OH as in polo
  • U is pronounced with no forward lip movement as in put

Other tips about the Japanese language: N is the only consonant sound that stands alone, most others end in a vowel; after a strong accented vowel the pitch falls sharply; there is basically no R or L sound; G is always a hard sound and the combinations of vowels to remember are ai = long I, ei = eh and ou = oh.

Some “cool” Japanese words:

  • Tsuki – Moon
  • Taiyou – Sun
  • Hoshi – Star
  • Sora -Sky
  • Jumon – Magic Spell
  • Neko – Cat
  • Tora -Tiger
  • Ōkami – Wolf
  • Kiki – Crisis
  • Ai – Love
  • Aijin – Lover
  • Junai  Pure Love
  • Hakai suru- Destroy
  • Niji – Rainbow
  • Chikara – Power
  • Bushi – Warrior
  • Ichiban – Number one
  • Bara – Rose
  • Chiizu – Smile (when taking someones picture)
  • Kokoro no tomo  – Soul mate
  • Koibit – Sweetheart
  • Otto – Husband
  • Tsuma – Wife
  • Baka- Idiot
  • Manuke- Stupidity
  • Ksou- Damn
  • Amai- Sweet
  • Yume- Dream
  • Himitsu- Secret
  • Tanoshī- Fun
  • Iro- Colors
  • Miru- See
  • Ongaku- Music
  • Asobimasu- Play
  • Tasukete- Help
  • Kōzan- Mine
  • Terebi- Television
  • Musen- Radio
  • Kireina- Beautiful
  • Yuki- Snow
  • Gakkō- School
  • Tatakai- Fight
  • Satsujin- Murder
  • Kawaii – Cute
  • Sugoi – Awesome
  • Kokoro – Heart
  • Kakoii – Cool
  • Sensei – Teacher

Interesting and definitely cool Japanese phrases include:

Suki? After another word, it means do you like? Example: Karaoke, Suki?

Genki means “how are you?” in greeting, but can be taken literally, slangly or just spoken with a lively or energetic feel. The formal phrase is “O genki desu ka?” and the answer can be “genki desu.”

If someone is competing in a sport or competition, the word “ganbatte!” means keep going; go for it and shouts encouragement.

Honto literally means really; but with different inflection could be really? Or really!

Bonus Japanese phrase, to be used with caution: “Bakku-Shan.” The Japanese, having a good sense of humor and also a good appreciation for beauty have this phrase to mean “a beautiful girl as seen from behind.”

If you know some cool Japanese words that should be on the list please add them in the comments section.

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