While most people watch anime for fun (or for any of the reasons here), you would undoubtedly pick up words here and there whether you realize it or not. After watching a series or two you would very likely to have at least learned more than a dozen Japanese words, you just might not realize it, yet :)

I’ve compiled a nice long list of words that are often used in anime that are most likely to be picked up by you and me unconsciously. Go through the list and see how many words you can recognize and understand. You might also find that you are unable to explain the actual meaning, but during that split second when you read it, you knew what it meant.

Since the list is actually quite long, I’ll be breaking it down into 2-3 posts. That way I don’t have to type out that long a list (since I actually wrote them on a piece of paper earlier today) and I’m sure many people wouldn’t want to go through such a long list in one sitting either. I know I don’t.

For seasoned anime watchers, you would probably find that you can recognize pretty much all of these words, so try and see whether you are able to recognize all of them, or if there are any mistakes in spelling. I might make mistakes after all. Some words actually have more than one meaning and a few of the words could have the same meaning but used differently, but I would try and group them together.

  1. Baka (I can swear that 80% of the people will learn this as their first Japanese word, whether or not they watch anime)
  2. Aho
  3. Aishiteru
  4. Suki / Daisuki
  5. Kirai / Daikirai
  6. Nani
  7. Doushite
  8. Naze
  9. Watashi
  10. Watakushi
  11. Dare
  12. Itsu
  13. Hontou
  14. Sou
  15. Ore
  16. Boku
  17. Anata
  18. Kimi
  19. Omae
  20. Teme
  21. Shimatta
  22. Kuso
  23. Ohaiyou
  24. Konichiwa
  25. Konbanwa
  26. Oyasumi
  27. Konya
  28. Kyou
  29. Ashita
  30. Kinou
  31. Masaka
  32. Gomen nasai
  33. Sumimasen

The list will be continued in the next post, but how well have you done so far? :)

**Update: Click the spoiler tag “show” below to see the answers


The answers here are drawn from my own knowledge of the language and might not be 100% accurate, but the general idea is correct.

  1. Baka = Stupid
  2. Aho = Fool
  3. Aishiteru = I love you
  4. Suki / Daisuki = Like / Really like
  5. Kirai / Daikirai = Hate / Really hate
  6. Nani = What
  7. Doushite = Why
  8. Naze =Why/How
  9. Watashi = I
  10. Watakushi = I (formal)
  11. Dare = Who
  12. Itsu = When
  13. Hontou = Really/Truth
  14. Sou = So/Really/Seeming
  15. Ore = I (often used by boys)
  16. Boku = I (polite, also usually used by boys)
  17. Anata = You (sometimes also can be used as “Dear” or “Darling”)
  18. Kimi = You
  19. Omae = You
  20. Teme = You (Rude)
  21. Shimatta = Damn it
  22. Kuso = Shit
  23. Ohaiyou = Good morning
  24. Konichiwa = Hello/Good afternoon
  25. Konbanwa = Good evening
  26. Oyasumi = Goodnight
  27. Konya = Tonight
  28. Kyou = Today
  29. Ashita = Tomorrow
  30. Kinou = Yesterday
  31. Masaka = Don’t tell me…/It can’t be
  32. Gomen nasai = Sorry/Apologise
  33. Sumimasen = Sorry/Excuse me


No related posts.

9 Comments to “Part I: Picking Up Japanese with Anime?”

  1. Goddess Carlie | July 15th, 2007 at 9:10 am

    I think there were about four or five I didn’t recognise. But then again, it may be because I’m not thinking straight and sometimes I get confused with romaji. I don’t know why… but arigatou looks strange to me in a way where as I can read ????? instantly.

  2. Goddess Carlie | July 15th, 2007 at 9:10 am

    Eeep, the japanese didn’t work. You know what I mean though 😉

  3. Neko Kyou | July 15th, 2007 at 9:32 am

    lol yeah. I’m still learning to recognize the different Japanese characters. I can recognize most of the hiragana characters but it would take me a while to read an entire word :( And that’s where your blog comes in 😀

  4. Goddess Carlie | July 18th, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    The more you practise the easier it gets. There are words now like arigatou where I don’t have to sound out each syllable but can actually “read” the word as a whole. It gets so exciting with each little step like this that keeps me motivated when learning Japanese.

    Now… are you going to provide your definitions for these words so that people can use it as a reference (or find out if they were “right”) ?? I’d love to see that.

    Also, I love your favicon! It looks good and is clear. Mine isn’t clear, but I’ve never been good with small icons.

  5. Neko Kyou | July 18th, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    Hmm… Yes I think I’ll do that. Wonder why I never bothered to think about it before. Thanks for the suggestion :)

    Your favicon looks clear to me though.

  6. Vincent | July 21st, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    My first contact with Japanese actually came when I played console games. You know, Nintendo and PlayStation. I didn’t understand what I was supposed to be doing in an RPG game (Chrono Trigger), so I bought a Japanese-English translator dictionary.

    Soon, I was translating katakana with ease (and astounding my friends…) Katakana is phonetic-based, so I used my English vocab to fill in the blanks.

    Your Japanese proficiency came from hearing the words over and over in anime. Mine came from seeing the words over and over in games. After seeing and selecting the option “tatakau” in an RPG menu (go Final Fantasy!), and the character goes ahead and hits the enemy, you get the feeling it means attack.

  7. Neko Kyou | July 21st, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    Oh yes, haha! I know what you mean about those options! Although I played most of my Final Fantasy in English, I’ve tried out the Japanese version of some of the games. It was much easier for me since I knew which menu does what 😀

    You must have been really dedicated, especially in the beginning. I imagine you would have spent countless hours figuring out the words when you first started.

  8. Vincent | July 22nd, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Oh yeah… I was full of vim then… I slowly built up a vocab of words or phrases referring to specific items or actions. Like herb, potion, fire spell, stick, sword, spear, knight, sorcerer and so on.

    I envy you a little. At least you’re exposed to conversational Japanese. I doubt I’d be able to weave “Oh knight, would you like me to heal you with a potion?” into normal talk…


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