Components

Point of interest: Uniquely Japanese words and concepts

Uniquely Japanese words and concepts
Tweet
Japanese contains a number of unique concepts which don't have direct parallels in English. We recently read '7 brilliant Japanese words we need in English' by Matthew Davis, published in Big Think, which is a fun read. It introduces a number of these concepts, several of which are common in daily usage in Japan. All of them are fascinating, and would make great conversation starters!
To help you study the terms in Japanese, we've gathered references to the words on Kanshudo, along with example sentences. Try to use one of them in your next Japanese conversation!
 

Ikigai - reason for living

noun
something one lives for; purpose in life; raison d'être
(click the word to view an additional 3 forms)
TEST
わたし
たち
なに
きがい
たなければならない

We must have something to live for.
 

Karōshi - death from overwork

karoshi; death from overwork
TEST
てんぽう
転封
かちゅう
家中
ないふん
内紛
すり
らした
すえ
かろうし
過労死
であろう
He supposedly died from overwork, ground down by relocation and family troubles.
 

Shinrinyoku - forest therapy

noun
peaceful walk through the woods; being immersed in a forest; forest therapy
TEST
そうどうせなら
さんぽ
散歩
がてら
りんどう
林道
って
プチ
しんりんよく
森林浴
でも・・・
I know, as we're going for a walk, we could take the forest path and do a little forest therapy ...
 

Shikata ga nai - it can't be helped

expression, 'i' adjective
it can't be helped; it's inevitable; it's no use; can't stand it; being impatient; being annoyed  (see also: 仕方のない)
(click the word to view an additional 2 forms)
9
TEST
じぶん
自分
やったことから
しかた
仕方
がない

You brought it on yourself.
 

Tsundoku - book stockpiling

1. buying books and not reading them; stockpiling books
noun
2. books bought but not read
(click the word to view an additional 2 forms)
6
TEST
あれ
よく
ほん
どく

He often buys books but just leaves them unread.
 

Irusu - pretending to be out

noun
pretending to be out
TEST
もし
でんわ
電話
かかってきたら
いるす
居留守
つか
使
っておいて

I'm not here if anybody calls.
 

Ageotori - the disappointment of a bad haircut!

noun
the disappointment that comes from a haircut that makes your hair look worse
TEST
おと
いう
かみ
しっぱい
失敗
して
きぶん
気分
こと
'Ageotori' refers to the disappointment you feel when a haircut fails.
 

 
You can also view all the words together in the Analyzer.

Kanji used in this point of interest

シ   わたくし    わたし I, myself   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
2
カ   なに    なん what?   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
1
セイ   ショウ    life   なま raw   いかす to enliven   いきる to live   いける to arrange flowers   うまれる to be born   う to give birth to   き pure, undiluted   お to grow, to sprout   はえる to grow, to sprout   はやす to grow, cultivate   
1
ジ   も to hold, to have   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
2
テン   ころがる to roll (intr.)   ころがす to roll (tr.)   ころげる to roll about   ころ to fall over   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
2
フウ   ホウ    seal   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
4
カ   ケ   house   いえ    や    
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
2
チュウ   ジュウ   なか middle   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
1
ナイ   ダイ   うち inside   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
フン   confused   まぎれる to be confused   まぎらわす to make confusing   まぎらわしい ambiguous, confusing   まぎらす to divert, distract   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
5
シン   み body, person   
2
ゲン   へ become less   へらす reduce   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
4
マツ   バツ   すえ end   
3
カ   あやま mistake   あやま to slip up   すぎる to overdo, be more than   すごす to pass, spend   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
ロウ    labor   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
シ   death   し die   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
2
サン   ちらす to scatter, to distribute   ちらかす to scatter around   ちらかる to be in disorder   ち to fall (leaves etc)   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
ホ   フ   ブ   ある    あゆ to walk   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
2
リン   wood; trees   はやし wood   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
4
ドウ   トウ   みち road   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
2
コウ   ギョウ   アン   ゆ    い to go   おこな to take place   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
1
シン   もり forest   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
4
ヨク   あびる to shower, to bask in   あびせる to pour on   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
4
ジ   シ   みずか self   
2
ブン   ブ   フン   わける to divide, to distinguish   わかる to understand   わかれる to be divided   わかつ to share, distribute   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
1
シ   ジ   つかえる to attend to   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
2
ホウ   かた way, direction   
2
ヒ   かれ he   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
ホン   book   もと origin   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
1
バイ   か to buy   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
2
セキ   つ to load, to heap up   つもる to be piled up   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
ドク   トク   トウ   よ to read   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
1
デン    electricity   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
1
ワ   はな to talk   はなし talking   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
1
キョ   い to exist, to be present   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
ル   リュウ   とめる to detain   とまる to stop   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
シュ   ス   まも to protect, guard   もり babysitting   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
使
シ   つか to use   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
2
ジョウ   ショウ   うえ above   うわ- above   あげる to raise   あがる to rise   かみ first half, upper part   のぼ to climb   のぼせる to bring up, to raise   のぼ to bring up   
1
レツ   inferior   おと to be inferior to   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
5
ハツ   かみ hair (of the head)   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
セツ   サイ   き to cut   きれる to break, to snap   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
2
シツ   うしな to lose   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
ハイ   defeated   やぶれる to be defeated, frustrated   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
キ   ケ    spirit   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
1
ラク   おちる to fall   おとす to drop (something)   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
crowded   こ to be crowded   こめる to load; to include   
Please LOG IN to view this kanji's mnemonic
3
Problem with this point of interest? Question or comment? Please CONTACT US.
×
Change component list
By default the component builder shows the most common components (themselves joyo kanji, or used in at least 3 other joyo kanji). Select an alternative set of components below.



Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Help with the component builder
For detailed instructions, see the Component builder how to guide.
To find any kanji, first try to identify the components it is made up of.
For any components you recognize, if you know the English meaning or name, start typing it in the text area. Full details of all components and their English names can be found here.
Alternatively, count the strokes of the component, and scan the list to find it visually.
Example
To find the kanji :
  • Notice that it is made of several components: 氵 艹 口 夫.
  • 氵 艹 口 all have three strokes, so you could look in the list in the 3 stroke section. 夫 has four strokes.
  • Alternatively, you could start typing 'water' (氵), 'grass' (艹), 'mouth' (口) or 'husband' (夫) in the search area, and the components will be highlighted in yellow.
  • Keep adding components until you can see your kanji in the list of matches that appears near the top.