It’s no question that Japanese is one of the most beautiful and interesting languages in the world. The language itself carries on with it its culture and history.
In this article we will be tackling ten of the most beautiful Japanese words. Most of these words don’t even have a direct translation in the English language. After reading this article, you will be able to appreciate the hidden values and culture that is hidden within their language.
This one has no direct translation in the English language. In Japanese companies, this word is used very often. A rough translation for it would be “thank you for your hard work”.
When directly translated to the English language, it would mean something like, “you’re really tired/you look really tired”. Which means that someone has been working really hard that their “tiredness” is being acknowledged as a good thing.
This may not be a “one-word” Japanese word, but it does have one meaning that has no direct English translation. However, this one means “there’s nothing we can do about it”. When all the other possible options have been thought and considered, and that there is no other possible way.
SHINRINYOKU(森林浴 – しんりんよく)
Before going into the meaning, it’s best if we acknowledge the kanji first. The word comprises three kanjis.
森 - this is the kanji for forest. As you can see there are trees (木) on top of each other. A place that has a lot of trees is called, a forest. Isn’t it?
林 – this Kanji is also about a forest, but it probably doesn’t have a lot of trees, kind of like a grove.
浴 – this kanji is for bathing or for showering.
When reading the meaning of the Kanjis this word means “forest bathing” or immersing yourself into the forest that you’re bathing into the beauty of nature. A little exploration and adoration for the forest by bathing in it.
This may be a common experience for English speakers, but there isn’t a word used to describe it. This is a noun that means “the buying of books over and over again but not able to read any of them”. Sounds like a mouthful right?
Although this is a common case for everyone, only the Japanese have this situation contained in one word. Probably because most of the Japanese people love to read and because of reading too much, they were probably unable to finish all the books they bought.
This next word is particularly funny because even though nobody wants to admit it, people secretly want to do it.
Irusu (いるす) is the word that means “pretending to not be at home”. This is especially useful if you just want to avoid people altogether and try to act like nobody’s at home so they would go away.
KYOUIKU MAMA (きょういくまま)
This one is easy to understand. When directly translated, it would mean “a mother of education”.
This doesn’t mean that she’s a teacher, but rather it would be a mother who enforces academics onto her children. Kind of like a stage mother, who are tight-locked into training their children.
This may be cheating since it is a borrowed word from English albeit not being used very often. This is derived from the word “Petrichor” which is the aroma that you smell when it’s raining.
It’s that lovely smell when the rain touches the ground and creates a scent that calms the nerves.
The direct translation for this word is quite weird. To put it simply, it means “the floating world”. It conveys a feeling of floating, being in the present, feeling no stress and no problems. You’re in some sort of zen, away from woes and horrible thoughts.
It feels like you’re in a world that’s just floating. The Japanese have perfectly created a word to describe this feeling.
This word completely summarizes the Japanese standard way of thinking. This word means “continuous improvement”. Although this is mainly used in a business setting, you get to see a glimpse of the Japanese way of living.
They are aiming for constant and continuous improvement within themselves. That as you get older, you only become stronger and wiser.
This word does not have any clear meaning to it. It could mean a variety of things. From very bad to very good. Just like how the English word “bad” could casually mean “good” depending on the context.
This word can mean superlatives and extremes. Ranging from “great!”, “awesome!”, “worst!”, “bad!”, “amazing!”. The whole fluidity of the word makes it beautiful, and that every time you hear it, it may bear a whole different meaning depending on the context.
When a language has a singular word to contain a phrase or a situation, it greatly shows the depth of their language. The Japanese language is a language that focuses on hard work, improvement and the beauty of nature. It contains stories of its culture and history within its words.
Do you also have words that are exclusive in your language? Let us know your inputs!
Mata ne! (またね)(See you!)