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1000+ Japanese Words List

Posted by on March 12, 2009 in Japanese words | 73 comments


A few days a go I made a post with some common Japanese words that you could use in situations for traveling and basic communication. Writing that post reminded me of a list of vocab/ kanji words I had put together a few years ago. After a little bit of searching I was able to find the list and have included it at the bottom of the post for anyone to download. It is a collection of words from the Japanese textbooks I had used when I was a study abroad student in Japan. The list contains nearly 1300 Japanese words with kanji, hiragana, and English readings.

The Japanese words on this list are in the order that they appeared in the text. The text books were generally in order of easier common words to more difficult words. However, the fact still remains they came from a text book and there will be words you should probably skip or at least put off to a later study date.  Since some of them will not be that important (for instance, if you are just learning Japanese then you probable don’t need to learn “Shinai” (bamboo sword) right away) I recommend that you go through the list and mark off uncommon and rarely used words.

Removing the rare and unused words will save you a lot of wasted time on learning Japanese words that you will never use. I have left the list complete, but most people will benefit by eliminating some of the words from their study. You can find a better explanation on learning Japanese words in this article on How to Learn Japanese Words.

To download the file, right click the below link and choose “save link as”or “save file as”.

Japanese words list


First 20 entries in the Japanese words list:

漢字 Pronunciation Meaning
歴史 れきし History
文学 ぶんがく Literature
国際関係 こくさいかんけい International relations
奨学金 しょうがくきん Scholarship
図書室 としょしつ Library room
作文 さくぶん composition/essay
事務所 じむしょ Office
お昼 おひる Noon
あさ Morning
今朝 けさ This morning
夕べ ゆうべ Last night
横浜 よこはま Place name
箱根 はこね Place name
漢字 かんじ Chinese character
雑誌 ざっし Magazine
ばん Evening
よる Night
遊ぶ あそぶ Play
勉強 べんきょう Study
剣道 けんどう Kendo

This was something I made a few years ago, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you find any errors.


  1. avatar

    hi can you tell me what is the japanese symbol for the word EXCLUSIVE?
    email me back please!

  2. avatar

    Chazz, I believe the word/kanji you are looking for is 限定 (げんてい)I hope that helps and thanks for stopping by my site.

  3. avatar

    hello! can you tell me what is the meaning of this words???i mean sentence…(betsuni nani mo nai yo.. anata wa?)…(cho genki da! kimi wa? )..thank you…^__^

  4. avatar

    Hi Lerrie,

    It is a little hard to translate without a little more context, but your sentence most likely translates as (I haven’t been doing anything…how about you?)…(I’m great! How are you?).

  5. avatar

    Ohyo…I was wondering…you wouldn’t happen to know the pronounciation of the words on your list for the Japanese side would you? Domou Arigatou Nick-san.

  6. avatar

    Hi Shuichi. Thanks for reading my blog. Are you asking if I have the pronunciation for the Japanese words in Romaji (English characters)? Or the Japanese pronunciation for the English words? Please let me know.

  7. avatar

    What is the Japanese Term (please show in english)for:

    a person who sets small and attainable goal

  8. avatar

    Hi Belinda. I am not sure if there is a single word for this or not, but “mokuhyou ga aru hito” would translate as a person who has a goal or motive. I hope that helps. If you are able to find a specific word, please let me know.

  9. avatar

    Fantastic! any chance you have the 1,000 words in excel format.


  10. avatar

    Helyo! I Was Wondering If You Could Tell Me What The Japanese Symbol(s) Are For..
    JessyJay Loves Charlie

  11. avatar

    Hi Larry, I hope you found the list helpful. I have just created a members page for all who sign up for the Japanese Words Newsletter. The Excel version is there for download as are a number of other materials. You can find a sign up for the free newsletter at the following link: Japanese Words Newsletter.

  12. avatar

    Hi JessyJay, The Japanese symbols are basically symbols for objects or words. Japanese uses three different alphabets. The complex one borrowed from the Chinese writing system and two simplified versions, one for Japanese words and one for foreign words.

  13. avatar

    Ohay0 minna-san! Karasu desu! Please help me h0w 2 translate thiz in japanese., THIS MOMENT LAST… Please… Arigat0u guzaimasu… By the way i’m fr0m philippines… Odaiji ni!

  14. avatar

    Karasu, thanks for your comment. Can you please use the phrase you would like translated in a sentence? That will help me translate what you would like to say. Also, Arigatou gozaimasu is with an “o” not a “u”. When said fast it can be hard to tell the difference. 🙂

  15. avatar

    Should have romaji with it.

  16. avatar

    I whole heartedly agree with you Dan. I guess I’ll just have to look at the characters and their pronunciation to figure out how to say the words. Oh well!

  17. avatar

    Nayeli, Thanks for your comment. I apologize that their is no romaji with this list. It was a list I made during college after I had already learned hiragana and katakana. However, if you are learning Japanese then I highly recommend that you learn the Japanese alphabets as soon as possible. Learning to read hiragana and katakana helps you to focus on the correct Japanese sounds and will also help you read basic signs when you are in Japan.

  18. avatar


    you see..
    i’m a half japanese,filipina,german and british..
    cuz’ my mom is a half filipina and a half british..
    my dad is a half japanese and a half german..
    s0 that my name is speaken by japanese..
    you all know that..
    japanese is a great word..
    i said that cuz’ i’m a japanese..
    it’s almost my time in the comp…


  19. avatar

    Aya, Konnichiwa. Thanks for reading. It sounds like you have a very interesting background. Since your parents are each half, that would make you a quarter of each Japanese, Filipino, German, and British.

  20. avatar

    hi nick..
    can u plx tel me what is the japanese word for this..!
    * i like you..
    thank you

  21. avatar

    Jay, The most simple way to say I like you is “Anata ga suki desu” “あなたが好きです”. Hope that helps。

  22. avatar

    Please can someone give the polite and correct japanese word for one’s home or residence?
    Thanks, Jeff

  23. avatar

    Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for leaving a comment. Here is how to say one’s house.
    My house: 自宅(じたく、jitaku) or 私の家(わたしのうち、watashi no uchi)
    Someone else’s house: ○○さんのお宅(○○さんのおたく、○○san no otaku) 

  24. avatar

    Good work Nick, this was very useful in broadening my vocabulary as I learn. Thanks!

  25. avatar

    Hi Rysa,

    Thanks for reading and for commenting. I am glad the list is helpful for you. Good luck with your study!

  26. avatar


    your blog is quite interesting to me…

    Now i’m studying japanese language in school…

    Can I ask you a question:

    What is the difference between phrase that has the word “kunai” and “janai”..

    And can you give an example so that I can understand more..

    Arigatou gozaimasu


  27. avatar

    Khadijiah, はじめまして!

    じゃない (jyanai) is a negative form used with nouns and な adjectives and basically means (is not).
    それは車じゃない (sore ha kuruma jya nai)
    That’s not a car.

    くない (kunai) is a the way to turn i-adjectives (adjectives ending in i) into a negative form. To do this you replace the last “i” with kunai. I have given some examples below:

    さむいー>さむくない  cold->not cold
    あついー>あつくない  hot-> not hot
    おもしろいー>おもしろくない funny-> not funny

    This wiki page also has some pretty helpful information on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_adjectives

    I hope this helps you figure out the difference. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  28. avatar

    thankyou for leting me have a look at some japanese words and can you please put some more on this site. But please can you write the japanese word in letters so I can read it because I’m french and I’m learning japanese.

  29. avatar

    Hi Bullswool,

    Thank you for your comment. I am glad you found the list helpful. I have just posted another list of nearly 100 words here: Japanese words for describing. The list contains the words in Romaji (English letters), but I highly suggest you learn hiragana and katakana as soon as possible. It will help you learn Japanese quicker and also help with your pronunciation once you understand the basic sounds. I highly recommend “Remember the Kana” as a great book to quickly learn and remember the Japanese kana. You can find my review here: Remembering the Kana. I will also be listing words on twitter so feel free to follow at Japanese_Words.

  30. avatar

    hello? can you tell what is the japanese for “pure friend” or true friend??

  31. avatar

    Hi, Jessie
    Thanks for leaving a comment.
    We say 親友(しんゆう、shinyuu)for true friends!! 🙂

  32. avatar

    how do u say, ‘to shop’ in japanese?

  33. avatar

    Carole, to shop is 買い物をする(かいものをする)kaimono wo suru.

  34. avatar

    Hi nick, I have been in Japan for a little bit now, and have been wallowing through your site for reassurance that I am not completely off track in my learning. Everything you are saying are things that I am starting to realize for myself ^.^
    So thanks for your time and effort!

    I was specifically reading through your conversation posts… I think I am over the ‘its ok to feel like an idiot in order to learn” bit, I still get very anxious when talking to Japanese people.
    You attended Wasada- I live near there myself, can you recommend any hangouts, or cafes for conversation? I think if I found an environment where it was everyone was there to Learn/ meet people that I would not be so anxious to talk to people.

    Sorry, one more question…
    Can you recommend a book/or a site (or maybe I missed one of your posts)
    that might have a grammatical conversion chart or something for friendly speak?
    ie: 行かなければなりません ー> 行かなくちゃ
    I am hearing all these ‘Chas, Jyas, Bekis etc-‘ I am can’t figure out what is what.

    Thank you so much!

  35. avatar

    Seri, Thanks for reading and I am very glad you are finding my the site helpful. My advice for getting over the anxiousness is to put your self in the position where you are forced to speak. The more you do it the easier it gets. Once you start putting yourself in situations where you are forced to speak, you will find it isn’t as scary as you thought. There will definitely be times when you don’t understand or aren’t sure how to reply, but it’s completely normal. Those experiences will help you improve.

    As far as locations around Waseda, there is no place I can really think of that is particularly good for conversation or to meet new people. There are a lot of students around the area so most restaurants will have students. The one place I used to hang out a lot with friends was the Big Box, so you might check there as well.

    For a good site n grammar I recommend you check out http://www.guidetojapanese.org/. It has a lot of basic grammar and is easy to use. Don’t worry to much about all the different forms though. You will start getting them the more you hear/use them.

  36. avatar

    Hi, great blog. I was wondering if you know the Kanji for the word Shijin, thanks

  37. avatar

    Hi Dave, I am glad that you like the blog. I hope it is helpful for you. Please let me know the meaning of the word you would like to know as there are several words that are written shijin (しじん)You can also check here to find the right kanji: http://jisho.org/words?jap=shijin&eng=&dict=edict.

  38. avatar

    Thanks Nick. The word I was looking for was Poet.

  39. avatar

    No Problem. I am glad I could at least help by pointing you in the right direction.

  40. avatar

    Hey Nick,

    I was watching the movie The Last Samurai the other day and i notice that Tom Cruise’s character is given a scroll in the movie with two Japanese characters on it. I was wondering if you could tell me what they meant.

  41. avatar

    Hi Nick,
    I am writing an essay and need to get a full definiton on the Japanese word “on”.
    It has to do with respect and obligations. I have had little success on the web finding sources.

  42. avatar

    Hi Paul, thanks for your comment. Please give me an example of how you want to use the word. An example in a sentence would be very helpful.

  43. avatar

    Hi Matt,

    It has been too long since I have seen the movie, and I don’t have any of my dvds here with me. If you can write the characters then I can tell you what they mean. If I recall, it was something like 武士道 “way of the warrior”, but I honestly don’t remember.

  44. avatar

    On and giri seem tied to each other.
    If “giri” translates “right reason” or moral obligation to fufill ones duty. Then “on” is that burden of repayment of anothers kindness or teaching, etc.
    Or stated another way: When someone does something for you, you assume an obligation to repay. You carry this as a burden until you repay him in like manner. That is “on” as described to me.
    What I am looking for are words and meanings that describe obligations, justice,honor and debts to other people in the Japanese language.
    Are there any websites that might help?
    thanks for all help,

  45. avatar

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your reply. The only website I might be able to recommend is Jisho.org. It is a pretty good online dictionary and has a large number of example sentences available. I hope that helps.

  46. avatar


    To all the japanese i like yaH!

  47. avatar

    Ohayo gozymas!
    its nice event when i know some words in japanees

  48. avatar

    ogenki desu ka?
    its nice event when i know some words in japanees

  49. avatar

    thankz for the help on learning japanese im now tri-languagle english spanish chinese and learning japanese!Go to my website to c more about me!Its animationstuff.moogo.com

  50. avatar


    No problem. I am glad you found it helpful. If you were able to the others I am sure you will have no problem with Japanese!