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Culture

Cute Japanese Words That Will Make You Smile

M.CMarch 31, 20212-min read

Are you interested in learning Japanese? Would you like to learn some cute Japanese words and phrases? Cuteness or 可愛い (かわいい) known phonetically as “kawaii” has become a prominent aspect of Japanese culture from Japanese entertainment, clothing, food, toys, personal appearance, and behaviors. You don’t have to have been learning the Japanese language to know that Japan’s brand of cuteness is recognizable all over the world. After all, Japan is the country that gave us 絵文字 (emoji), taken from the Japanese word for “picture characters.”

The origins of cute culture are hard to pinpoint, however, it was said to have emerged in the 1970s as part of a new style of writing. Then after many years, this so-called underground trend was adopted by magazines and comics and was put onto packaging and advertising.

The following cute Japanese words are used pretty often in everyday language and conversations making them very useful to learn for getting around Japan. Plus, if you are a big fan of Japanese anime, or an aspiring 漫画家 (まんがか) “mangaka,” you will find many of these words very helpful. We will be looking at these cute Japanese words in hiragana which is a simplified writing system of Kanji.

かわいい (kawaii) — Cute

We had to mention this one. Though it actually means “cute,” it is also a pretty cute word to say as well.

ときどき (tokidoki) — Sometimes

Repetition is a trait or feature of Japanese words. ときどき is often used to say that something happens or is only done sometimes, usually in a playful sense.

くらくら (kurakura) — Dizzy

Though being dizzy is not cute. くらくら is definitely a cute word to say.

あたらしい (atarashii) — New

This Japanese word can be used for anything and everything that is cool, appealing, or new.

にこにこ (nikoniko) — Smile

You can’t help but smile when you’re around this much cuteness.

おいしい (oishii) — Delicious

The kanji that make up “oishii” are 美 meaning “beautiful”, and 味 meaning “taste/flavor.”

もも (momo) — Peach

Another repetitive cute word meaning “peach” which combined with 子 (ko) meaning "child" is also often used as a term of endearment.

ほし (hoshi) — Star

I think we have already realised that any word needing you to smile to pronounce it, is very cute indeed.

まごまご (magomago) — Confused

Sometimes learning Japanese can have us magomago!

みず (mizu) — Water

You might be saying this one quite often. Good thing it’s a cute one!

Learning cute Japanese words can not only help you with Japanese vocabulary, but it can also help you understand the Japanese culture a bit better and thus improving your fluency in the language.

At Tandem, we are all about gaining fluency in a language. With the Tandem mobile and web app, you can connect with native Japanese speakers all over the world and practice via text, audio message, and video call. With millions of members in the online community, you’re bound to find someone with similar interests to you, ensuring your language learning remains motivating. Sign up for Tandem here for a fun and free way to learn Japanese!

There are many more cute words in Japanese that didn’t make it onto our list this time but try memorizing a few and use them in your next conversation with a native Japanese person!

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