10 Japanese Adjectives You Probably Didn’t Know :Today, we’ve got a list of 10 adjectives that you probably didn’t know to aid in your Japanese study. The theme of this list is “personality traits.” Let’s get crackin’!
- 1 10 Japanese Adjectives
- 2 1. しつこい (shitsukoi)
- 3 2. 不思議な (fushigi-na)
- 4 3. あやしい (ayashii)
- 5 4. 大人しい (otonashii)
- 6 5. 欲張りな (yokubari-na)
- 7 6. だらしない (darashinai)
- 8 7. くどい (kudoi)
- 9 8. チャラい (charai)
- 10 9. 朗らかな (hogaraka-na)
- 11 10. のんきな (nonki-na)
- 12 Learn Japanese Adjectives with BondLingo
- 13 Study in Japan?
- 14 Recommend
10 Japanese Adjectives
1. しつこい (shitsukoi)
This is definitely not something that you want to be known as!
Let’s say that you’re at a party, and you want to call up your friend to invite them.
“Sorry,” they say, “I don’t think I can go. I have a big test coming up, and I should probably study for it.”
In the west, we would see this as a soft no (as opposed to a hard no). The key phrases are, “I don’t think I can…” and “I should probably…” What your friend is really saying is, “I got stuff to do, but if your sales pitch is convincing enough, I may go.”
“Dude,” you cajole them, “you canNOT miss this party! Everyone is here, and it’s the last big one of the year!”
However, in Japan, if you were to continue to try and convince your friend to come out, they might consider you “shitsukoi”—or someone who just can’t take no for an answer.
Boku wa saikin isogashii kedo, itsumo Kenta ni “nomi ni ikou” to sasowarete iru. Chotto shitsukoi ne.
I’ve been busy recently, but Kenta is always inviting me to go out drinking with him. His persistence is getting on my nerves.
2. 不思議な (fushigi-na)
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You can use this word in Japanese the same way you would use it in English. You can even call a person “fushigi,” and they will probably think it’s funny!
Mari-chan wa fushigi-na hito da ne!
Mari sure is mysterious, isn’t she!
3. あやしい (ayashii)
Place: Kabuki-cho (located in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo)
Time: Late at night
A tout makes eye-contact with you and follows you down the street. He asks in hushed tones if you’re looking for a good time that night and if you want to come check out his bar. The two of you pass seedy-looking places with neon lights and suggestive signs. Kabuki-cho in is a great example of an “ayashii” area filled with “ayashii” bars and their “ayashii” business practices. If you’ve been to Kabuki-cho, you know what ayashii means.
You can also call friends “ayashii” as a joke, and they’ll probably think it’s funny! Especially if they’re of the lascivious nature!
Kabuki-chou wa chotto ayashii kara ikanai.
Kabuki-cho is a bit shady, so I don’t go.
4. 大人しい (otonashii)
English: gentle/mature/good-tempered/obedient; (for animals) tame
You may be familiar with the word 静か (shizuka), which means “quiet.” Otonashii also conveys a sense of quietness when describing people and animals. If a person is otonashii they can sometimes come off as shy compared to the people around them because of their general mild nature. A younger person may be called otonashii because of how well-behaved they are compared to their rambunctious peers. One thing that people love about labrador retrievers is how otonashii they are. You’d hardly know one was in the room if you weren’t looking!
Watashi wa wakai toki ni “Otonashii” to yoku iwaremashita.
When I was younger, people often said that I was mature for my age.
5. 欲張りな (yokubari-na)
Ah, number 2 of the Seven Deadly Sins! Do you know anyone who is yokubari?
Ojiisan wa yokubari-na hito deshita. Itsumo okane ni tsuite kangaete imashita.
My grandfather was a greedy man. He was always thinking about money.
6. だらしない (darashinai)
You may be familiar with the word 怠け者 (namakemono), which means “lazy person.” Darashinai is the adjective version of that word, and it can refer to more than just people. It can refer to someone’s careless work, untidy appearance, loose morals. It is even used to mean promiscuous men or women (darashinai otoko / onna)!
Nante darashinai nari wo shite iru n da!
What a mess you are!
7. くどい (kudoi)
Have you ever met someone who just can’t get to the point when telling a story? Have you ever had a professor who would talk on and on about a topic and sometimes lose track of what he or she was saying? These kinds of people can be long-winded and downright tedious to listen to. Your parents can be kudoi as well when they nag at you to do your homework. Or how about your wife pestering you to get rid of those darn rabbits in the garden? Pretty kudoi, wouldn’t you say?
Mawari kudoi koto wo iu na!
Stop beating around the bush!
8. チャラい (charai)
English: (of clothing) flashy/showy; (of people) players
Here’s a fun one! Have you ever been to a Japanese dance club? A lot of times you’ll see guys with bleach-blonde spiky hair and wearing sunglasses and flashy clothing. These are the types that would be considered “charai.” Charai comes from the word “chara-chara” which means flashy/showy and superficial. In recent years charai is more often used to describe guys who go out and try to pick up girls a lot (probably because of the way they dress when they do it!)
Kare wa charai kara deeto nara ni awanai yo!
He’s a player, so I’m not gonna meet him for a date!
9. 朗らかな (hogaraka-na)
Let’s brighten things up a bit for the holiday season with hogaraka! These are people who are just brimming with positivity and glee. They’re great types to have around when it comes time to trim that Christmas tree!
Maeda-san wa itsumo hogaraka-na kao wo shite te daisuki!
I love Ms. Maeda because she’s always wearing a jolly smile!
10. のんきな (nonki-na)
In English, easygoing and carefree are positive personality traits. It means that you don’t sweat the small stuff and generally lead a low-stress life. Nonki has the same meaning in Japanese, but be careful. It can also mean that the person is careless or thoughtless. If you describe someone as “nonki,” make sure you explain the reason why just to make sure they don’t misunderstand you.
Takahashi-san wa seikatsu no naka de kurou ga amari nasasou dakara nonki-na hito ni mieru.
Mr. Takahashi doesn’t seem like he has much trouble in his daily life, so he seems like an easygoing person.
Now that you’ve learned 10 new Japanese adjectives that you probably didn’t know, it’s time to get out there and practice them! Remember, the only way to master the things you learn is to infuse them into your daily life!