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Cute Japanese Words That Will Make You Smile

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) is known phonetically as “kawaii” and has become a prominent aspect of Japanese culture from Japanese entertainment, clothing, food, toys, personal appearance, and behaviors. You don’t have to be 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), which is 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 of kawaii words was adopted by magazines and comics and was put onto packaging and advertising. Since then, it’s developed into an entire lifestyle, with several followers around the world.

The cute Japanese words on our list are used pretty often in everyday language and conversation, making them very useful 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. Here, we will be looking at some cute Japanese words in hiragana, which is a simplified writing system of Kanji.

10 Cute Japanese Words with Meaning

かわいい (kawaii) — Cute

Of course, the first one of our Japanese cute words is… cute! We just had to mention it. Though it really does mean “cute,” it is also a pretty cute word to say as well.

ときどき (tokidoki) — Sometimes

Repetition is a common 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. It even looks like it’d be one of the most kawaii Japanese words.

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. That’s why smile, にこにこ is included in our list of Japanese sweet words.

おいしい (oishii) — Delicious

The kanji that make up “oishii” are 美 meaning “beautiful”, and 味 meaning “taste/flavor.” With all the great Japanese food and snacks available, this is one of those Japanese phrases that’s used often.

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. It’s often used as one of the kawaii synonyms in Japanese.

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 leave us magomago! At least that’s one of the more fun sweet Japanese words to pronounce!

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, thus improving your fluency in the language. As spring gets closer, consider further enhancing your vocabulary with some beautiful Japanese words for cherry blossom season!

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

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