The Most Commonly Used Japanese Words for Beginners

Written by Crosse

16 January 2024

old japanese school hallway

old japanese school hallway

Maybe you just started watching that crazy show that somehow had these flashy action scenes that just makes you feel motivated. Or maybe you have an acquaintance that just pesters you to watch the latest episode of Jujutsu Kaisen so they can talk your ears out on their theories on why Sukuna just loves Megumi. Or maybe you wanted to dive deeper into a series that you’ve been watching and discover more episodes that haven’t been translated yet.

Getting into anime means getting into the culture. Which also means in getting into the culture, you also have to understand its language.

To aid you in setting off into this wondrous journey which is the study of the Japanese Language, here are some of the top 50 most commonly-used words (at least, from our perspective!) for you to get used to. Normally I would advise against memorizing these words; BUT, with enough practice and memorization, reading, writing, or listening to these phrases will help you launch into the knowledge of the Language.

Here are the top 50 most commonly used Japanese words/expressions for everyday use!

 

Essential Japanese Greetings and Basics

 

Hello Everynyan / OH MY GAH | Know Your Meme

  • こんにちは (Konnichiwa) – Hello/Good afternoon.
  • ありがとう (Arigatou) – Thank you.
  • はい (Hai) – Yes.
  • いいえ (Iie) – No.
  • おはよう (Ohayou) – Good morning.
  • こんばんは (Konbanwa) – Good evening.
  • さようなら (Sayounara) – Goodbye.

Common Nouns

 

anime girl pointing at you Blank Template - Common Japanese Words for Beginners

  • 人 (Hito) – Person.
  • 友達 (Tomodachi) – Friend.
  • 水 (Mizu) – Water.
  • 食べ物 (Tabemono) – Food.
  • 学校 (Gakkou) – School.
  • 仕事 (Shigoto) – Work/job.
  • 家 (Ie/Uchi) – House/home.

Useful Verbs

 

ianime0 — Sousou no Frieren | Ep15 | I'm eating cake.

  • 食べる (Taberu) – To eat.
  • 行く (Iku) – To go.
  • 見る (Miru) – To see/watch.
  • 来る (Kuru) – To come.
  • 飲む (Nomu) – To drink.
  • する (Suru) – To do.

Descriptive Adjectives

 

Common Japanese Words for Beginners - Frieren Beyond the Journey's End

  • 大きい (Ookii) – Big.
  • 小さい (Chiisai) – Small.
  • 新しい (Atarashii) – New.
  • 古い (Furui) – Old.
  • 良い (Yoi/Ii) – Good.

Key Adverbs and Connectors

 

Explore and save stunning GIFs on We Heart It

  • とても (Totemo) – Very.
  • あまり (Amari) – Not much.
  • でも (Demo) – But.
  • そして (Soshite) – And then.
  • また (Mata) – Again.

Essential Everyday Japanese Expressions

 

Steins;Gate 0 Ep. 2: Signs and representation | Moe Sucks - Common Japanese Words for Beginners

  • すみません (Sumimasen) – Excuse me/I’m sorry.
  • お願いします (Onegaishimasu) – Please.
  • それ (Sore) – That.
  • これ (Kore) – This.
  • どうして (Doushite) – Why?

Numbers

 

Steins;Gate Episode 12: Moeka, the Leather Rebel | Shinde Iie Anime Blog - Common Japanese Words for Beginners

  • 一 (Ichi) – One.
  • 二 (Ni) – Two.
  • 三 (San) – Three.
  • 四 (Shi/Yon) – Four.
  • 五 (Go) – Five.

Essential Japanese Words and Phrases

 

Special Confused Mem-cho GIF from the official anime Twitter account! : r/OshiNoKo - Common Japanese Words for Beginners

  • 私は…です (Watashi wa…desu) – I am…
  • 何 (Nani/Nan) – What?
  • どこ (Doko) – Where?
  • いつ (Itsu) – When?
  • どう (Dou) – How?

Essential Question Words

 

OSHI NO KO Child Aqua - Anime Trending | Your Voice in Anime! - Common Japanese Words for Beginners

 

  • 誰 (Dare) – Who?
  • どれ (Dore) – Which?
  • いくつ (Ikutsu) – How many?
  • どのように (Dono you ni) – In what way?
  • どんな (Donna) – What kind of?

 

Learning these words is the first step to understanding the rich Japanese culture and language. Remember, language learning is a journey – take it one word at a time. For additional reading, you can check out our series, the Japanese word of the day.

がんばって (Ganbatte) – do your best!

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