Japanese Slang Phrases for All Occasions

The Japanese language often appears formal and structured, heavily influenced by cultural traditions and societal norms. This strict adherence to etiquette and recognition of social hierarchy can be unfamiliar to native English speakers who may not be accustomed to such rigid linguistic protocols. However, it might come as a surprise that the Japanese language also has a vibrant array of casual, everyday Japanese slang expressions that showcase its dynamic and modern side.

In the following sections, you’ll find a compilation of some of the most prevalent Japanese slang phrases and colloquialisms from A to Z.

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Aokusai – あおくさい

This term is used to describe someone as being inexperienced or naive, similar to the English phrase “green.”

Are? – あれ

Equivalent to “huh?” in English, this phrase expresses confusion or surprise.

Baba – ばば

A derogatory Japanese slang term for “old lady,” often found in Japanese anime and TV shows, typically used ironically for comedic effect.

Baka – ばか

Calling someone “baka” means calling them “stupid” or an “idiot.” In Kansai, it’s taken seriously, while in Tokyo, it’s more of a playful insult.

Chikusho – ちくしょ

This is the Japanese equivalent of saying “Damn it!”

Chotto matte – ちょっと待って

A casual way to ask someone to wait for a moment, similar to “Wait a sec.” Just saying “matte” can sound more impatient.

Dame – だめ

This term means “no good” in casual conversation.

Dasai – ダサい

A popular term among teenagers to describe something as uncool.

Eeee…. – エエ。。

An excited exclamation used to express disbelief at what someone has said or a situation.

Eroi – エロい

Used to describe something or someone as perverted, and it is not a compliment.

Faito! – ファイト

A term used in sports, meaning “Fight!” and often heard in competitive contexts.

Gomen ne – ごめんね

An informal Japanese slang term for “I’m sorry.” It’s not appropriate to use this with superiors.

Ha, Ha – は、は

A conversational filler similar to “um-huh,” indicating that the listener is paying attention.

Hora – ほら

Means “Look!” or “See?” When extended to “Horrraaaa…,” it implies “I told you so.”

Iyada – イヤだ


Expresses a strong aversion, meaning “I don’t want to do it” or “I don’t want to see it.”

Jaa ne – じゃあね

An informal way to say “see you later,” which should not be used with superiors.

Jiji – ジジ

A derogatory term for “old man,” commonly used in Japanese anime and TV shows rather than everyday conversation.

Kimoi – キモイ

This term is used to express a “bad feeling.” It can describe feeling nauseous, something disgusting, or even someone who looks suspicious.

Kyapi Kyapi Gyaru – キャピキャピギャル

Originally meaning “happy, happy girl,” this term has evolved into a derogatory word similar to “bimbo” in English.

Mazui – まずい

This word means that something, particularly food, tastes bad. It can also describe situations or things that are just plain awful.

Mecha – めちゃ

Equivalent to English terms like “a lot,” “extreme,” or “absurd,” this word emphasizes a high degree of something.

Nani utten no? – 何売ってんの

In Japanese culture, this phrase means “What the hell are you saying?” and is not something you want directed at you in a conversation.

Nanpa – ナンパ

Depending on the context, this term can be either flattering or insulting. It refers to someone who is a flirt, scammer, or skirt chaser.

Oi – オイ

A very informal way to get someone’s attention, similar to saying “Hey!” in English, but even less polite.

Osu – オス

An informal greeting used between close friends in Japanese.

Rakki – ラッキ

This Japanese slang word means “lucky” and can also express happiness or prosperity.

Ryoukai – 了解

A militaristic way of saying “I understand,” similar to “Roger!” or “Got it!” in English.

Shimatta – しまった

This is the Japanese slang term for “Damn it.”

Sugoi – すごい

A popular colloquialism meaning “really good,” similar to the English word “cool.”

Temee – 手前

A very rude way to say “you” in Japanese, carrying a confrontational and disrespectful tone.

Urusai – うるさい

This Japanese slang term means “loud noise,” but can also be used to tell someone to “be quiet” or “shut up” depending on how it’s said.

Uze – うぜ

Refers to someone or something that is “annoying” or “bothersome,” similar to calling someone a “pest” in English.

Wagamama – わがまま

A casual term for describing someone who is spoiled or selfish.

Yabei – ヤベイ

An exclamatory phrase used for something really great, often exclaimed after experiencing something incredibly delicious.

Yaro – やろ

A highly confrontational and insulting term, equivalent to calling someone a “bastard” or worse.

Zettai – 絶対

A prevalent word for saying “definitely” or “absolutely.”

Zurui – ずるい

An adjective used negatively to describe someone as “sneaky” or “playing dirty.”

Additional Japanese Slang Expressions

How do you say “Don’t worry” in Japanese?

You can say “Don’t worry” in Japanese as “心配しないで” (shinpai shinaide).

What’s the Japanese slang term for “Nevermind”?

To say “Nevermind” in Japanese, use the phrase “気にしないで” (ki ni shinaide).

How do you say “What’s up?” in Japanese?

“What’s up?” can be casually expressed as “どうしたの?” (dou shita no?) or simply “元気?” (genki?).

What’s the Japanese slang phrase for “Good luck”?

“Good luck” in Japanese is “頑張って” (ganbatte).

How do you say “Take care” in Japanese?

You can say “Take care” in Japanese as “気をつけて” (ki wo tsukete).

What’s the Japanese expression for “I’m hungry”?

“I’m hungry” can be said as “お腹が空いた” (onaka ga suita).

How do you say “Congratulations” in Japanese?

“Congratulations” in Japanese is “おめでとう” (omedetou).

How do you say “See you tomorrow” in Japanese?

To say “See you tomorrow” in Japanese, use “また明日” (mata ashita).

How do you say “I love you” in Japanese?

“I love you” in Japanese is “愛してる” (aishiteru) or “好きです” (suki desu).

Beyond Japanese Slang: Learn Japanese Now

Learning Japanese slang terms can significantly enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the language. These expressions add color and authenticity to your interactions, helping you sound more like a native speaker and less like a textbook. By incorporating slang into your vocabulary, you’ll be better equipped to understand casual conversations, TV shows, movies, and even social media.

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The relevance of learning slang goes beyond just sounding cool; it offers a deeper insight into the culture and everyday life of Japanese speakers. Slang words and phrases are a reflection of the society’s values, humor, and contemporary trends. Mastering these Japanese slang terms can bridge cultural gaps and make your communication more effective and relatable.

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Start your journey with Language Trainers today and immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Japanese language and culture. Whether you’re preparing for a trip, enhancing your career, or simply exploring a new hobby, our expert trainers are here to guide you every step of the way. Contact Language Trainers now and discover the difference that learning with a native speaker can make!