25 Japanese Emotions

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Being able to express your emotions is an important skill in any language. Emotions are a big part of human expression and can even be quite important in communicating effectively. If I’m happy, it comes through in my body language, my facial expressions, my tone of voice, etc. The same thing happens if I’m sad or upset. In many cases people can recognize your emotions instantly. For me, it’s quite easy to express how I’m feeling in English, because it’s my native language. If I’m happy, elated, sad, pensive, angry, worried, bored, you name it….I can say so. What I’ve realized lately, though, is that there are some very important basics missing from my Japanese repertoire. The emotional adjectives are one group of those basics. I honestly don’t have the vocabulary to tell a person just how I’m feeling, so I figured (once) again, that I’d use my blog as a way to teach myself something new and maybe help someone else in the process.

A very important note about emotional words in Japanese is that they are not all going to be used as adjectives. Some words that describe emotions will be verbs instead. For example with the word happy, ureshii (うれしい), is an adjective just as it is in English. The word “hungry,” though not exactly an emotion, is a word that represents an adjective in English but is treated like a verb in the Japanese language, onnaka ga tsuku (おなかがすく). There are two types of Japanese adjectives, “i” and “na”, and I will focus on those and how to use them in another blog post. For now, just keep that fact in mind.

I know I may not fully understand the proper usage of the emotional words, but knowing what they are is half the battle.

1. Happy- Ureshii: うれしい; 嬉しい
2. Elated- Kozen: こうぜん
3. Angry- Ikaru: おこる or いかる; 怒る
4. Worried- Nayamu: なやむ; 悩む
5. Scared- Ojiru: おじる;怖じる
6. Terrified- Kyouzen: きょうぜん;境然
7. Relieved- Sutto: すうっと;
8. Bored- Tsumaranasou: つまらなそう; 詰まらなそう
9. Silly- Tawainai: たわいない; 他愛ない
10. Shocked- Akireru: あきれる; 呆れる
11. Annoyed- Urusagaru: うるさがる; 煩がる
12. Rushed- Soso: そうそう; 匆々
13. Excited- Gekko: げっこう; 激昂
14. Sad- Kanashi: かなしい; 悲しい
15. Lonely- Sabishi: さびしい; 寂しい
16. Lazy- Tsutsushimanai: つつしまない
17. Shy- Hazukashi: はずかしい; 恥ずかしい
18. Bashful- Shuchi: しゅうち; 羞恥
19. Eager- Setsutunaru: せつなる; 切なる
20. Calm- Nagoyaku: なごやく; あラカジめ
21. Relaxed- Arakajime: あらかじめ
22. Anxious- Anjiru: あんじる; 案じる
23. Condescending- Onkisegamashi: おんきせがましい; 恩着せがましい
24. Cautious- Sononai: そつのない; 卒のない
25. Confused- Magomago: まごまご; 

See you next time,

Donald Ash

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  • Joshua Kramer

    I printed out the verbs, I am also going to study these as well. They have been very helpful.

    • Donald Ash

      Hey, Josh! It’s good to hear from you. I made some corrections to the verbs and I also plan on posting a video about them pretty soon. Thanks for reading!

  • Joshua Kramer

    Using the interview I conducted with you resulted in a high quality Essay. However… We also were required to obtain information from an alternate source at our school. I received my paper back and got a F. She said that My works cited was incorrect and that on the page that was from the alternate source was on accounting not teaching. Basically I could tell in her voice she was lying. She is one of those teachers. So i went to the library and copied the page proving that I did not cheat. She did not even look at it. She then accused me of making up the entire interview with you. I told her that It was online and everything. So in conclusion She accused me of making up everything up then somehow claimed that she never once said that I made any thing up. She said she failed me simply because she did not believe that I was going to teaching English in Japan. She agreed to raise my grade if I print out information from organizations such as AEON or JET validating everything I say. Some teachers absolutely hate their lives. And I think that she was TRYING to make an example out of me. She never went to the library to confirm if I was lying or not, She lied and said she Did though. Basically all I am trying to tell you is that she wanted so badly to believe that everything I was saying was a lie that she convinced herself that I made everything up.(Including your entire being alive.) She has no choice but to raise my grade. She said so her self. But I would not be surprised if somehow she gives me an F on this and an F on my Exam casing me to fail the class just because she is that messed up. I am sorry for this confusing message. Thanks for your help though.
    Josh

  • Joshua Kramer

    I know that It is very common for the student to say that the teacher is wrong, Knowing that It is the student that is wrong. But in all seriousness, My teacher is completely full of it. I am sorry Donald.

  • Joshua Kramer

    I did well

    • Donald Ash

      Hey Josh, just to follow up. Did everything work out okay for your school project? If not, let me know, because I think I have an idea.

  • Donald Ash

    NO WAY!! That’s terrible news!! I can’t believe it. She thought you made everything up? That’s really sad. I am so sorry to hear that, Josh… I’m sure there’s a way to prove it to her.

  • Naomi

    Hey Donald, I’ve pretty much read the contents on your site over the past couple days. Ty for writing this and everything else. I like the human feel I get from this blog compared to other living in japan blogs.

    • Donald Ash

      Thank you for reading, Naomi. I appreciate the feedback :)

  • SOEJINN

    Good list, but some words are a bit bookish. I find that you have to clearly understand the difference between commonly spoke terms versus what Japanese may write in e-mail or be written in a book.

    For example:

    Shiawase – Happy
    Shinpai suru – Worried
    Kowai – Scared, scary
    Bikkuri shita – “Surprised”

    • nihonsuki

      actually both shiawase and ureshii are happy, and both are used in the spoken language commonly… the difference is that shiawase means a long-term, fulfilled kind of happiness, whereas ureshii is a short term burst of happy

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