- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Colors In Japanese
- Japanese Colors Vocabulary List
- Japanese Practice 1. Vocabulary
- colors as nouns
- colors as i adjectives
- Nouns vs i Adjectives | Japanese Colors
- Japanese colors as nouns
- Japanese colors as i adjectives
- Japanese Practice 2. Stating The Color
- Stating Multiple Colors | Using The To (と ) Particle
- Japanese Practice 3. Stating Multiple Colors
- What Color In Japanese? | Question Phrases
- Japanese Practice 4. Questions About Colors
- Final Review Colors In Japanese
- Japanese Colors Guide | Checklist
- Japanese Listening Practice
- Colors In Japanese Vocabulary
- Ready For More Japanese Practice Guides?
The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Colors In Japanese
Learn the colors in Japanese fast with this easy to practice at home Japanese guide. If you’re short on time, you can skip directly to the practice sections. Otherwise, work your way from top to bottom for more detailed insights along the way.
Learning the colors in Japanese is a critical skill that is essential in everyday life. It’s also simple to learn and practice, which you will soon discover below within the provided practice sections.
Japanese Colors Vocabulary List
Some Japanese colors come in two variations. (1) As nouns and (2) as i adjectives. You will learn the difference between the two as you continue reading this guide.
Japanese Practice 1. Vocabulary
Memorize the vocabulary below. To practice, I recommend replacing English with Japanese colors as you speak throughout the day.
- 1 – Memorize 5 colors in Japanese (noun variation).
- 2 – Repeat until you learn all the Japanese colors.
- 3 – Memorize the Japanese colors as i adjectives.
colors as nouns
by default colors in Japanese are nouns.
- white: shiro, しろ, 白
- black: kuro, くろ, 黒
- brown: chairo, ちゃいろ, 茶色
- red: aka, あか, 赤
- blue: ao, あお, 青
- yellow: kiiro, きいろ, 黄色
- orange: orengi, おれんじ, オレンジ
- *orange original noun: daidai iro, だいだいいろ, 橙色
- purple: murasaki, むらさき, 紫
- pink: pinku, ぴんく, ピンク
- green: midori, みどり, 緑
- gray: haiiro, はいいろ, 灰色
- silver: giniiro, ぎんいろ, 銀色
- gold: kiniro, きんいろ, 金色
- color: iro, いろ, 色
*You may hear Japanese speakers add “iro” after a color such as, “shiro-iro”. It still means the same as (white) as if to say “shiro” only.
Example: white: shiro, しろ, 白 OR *shiro iro:しろいろ, 白色
colors as i adjectives
only used to describe the color of an object. Never on its own.
- white: shiroi, しろい, 白い
- black: kuroi, くろい, 黒い
- brown: chairoi, ちゃいろい, 茶色い
- red: akai, あかい, 赤い
- blue: aoi, あおい, 青い
- yellow: kiiroi, きいろい, 黄色い
Nouns vs i Adjectives | Japanese Colors
Japanese colors as nouns
Colors in Japanese are nouns by default. If you wish to state the color of an object in Japanese you first need to convert the color into an adjective. To do this, place the no particle after the color in noun form before the object you are describing the color of. See the examples below, as a visual will make this much easier to understand:
(color in noun form) + (no particle) + (noun that the color describes)
- The red apple | aka (no) ringo, あか (の) りんご
- The white pillow | shiro (no) makura, しろ (の) まくら
- The brown bowl | chairo (no) ochawan, ちゃいろ (の) おちゃわん
Keep in mind that you MUST place the no particle after the color in its noun form. Or else the above examples would be incorrect! By doing so you are combining the two nouns to form one new descriptive noun. See below:
(noun 1, color) + (no particle) + (noun 2, object) = (noun of an object in a specific color)
Japanese colors as i adjectives
Some Japanese colors have an i adjective variation as listed above. When using this variation you can skip the no particle as they are already adjectives. See the same examples as above using the i adjective variation instead of the noun.
- The red apple | akai ringo, あかい りんご
- The white pillow | shiroi makura, しろい まくら
- The brown bowl | chairoi ochawan, ちゃいろい おちゃわん
Japanese Practice 2. Stating The Color
Practice using the following Japanese phrases at home. Modify them to match the color in your situation as needed. Aren’t you glad you practiced the vocabulary already!?
Don’t worry about understanding all the vocabulary and grammar within these phrases. The point here is to get used to recognizing the colors and practice choosing the appropriate one relevant to you. *See notes below on grammar if you wish.
- My car is red | watashi no kuruma wa aka desu
- This cup is brown | kono kappu wa chairo desu
- My shirt is white | watashi no shatsu wa shiro desu
New Japanese Grammar Notes
- sentence structure: (noun) *wa particle (color) *desu.
- *wa particle. Used to mark a main subject in a sentence. (watashi no kuruma) wa = “My Car.”
- *desu. A Japanese sentence ender used to complete a statement.
- another use of the no particle, when it follows a noun it turns it into a possesive. (watashi no kuruma) = “My Car.”
New Japanese Vocabulary
- car | kuruma, くるま
- kappu | cup, かっぷ
- shirt | shatsu, しゃつ
Stating Multiple Colors | Using The To (と) Particle
To describe multiple colors of an item such as to say, “this shirt is black and blue.” Use the Japanese particle to (と). Which in this case acts as the English equivalent of “and.” See below for examples:
- This shirt is black and blue | kono shatsu wa kuro (to) ao desu, このしゃつはくろ (と) あおです
- My shoes are white, red, and black | watashi no kutsu wa shiro (to) aka (to) kuro desu, わたしのくつはしろ (と) あか (と) くろです
- My son’s book is yellow and green | watashi no musuko no hon wa kiiro (to) midori desu, わたしのむすこのほんはきいろ (と) みどりです
Sentence structure using to: (color 1) and (color 2) and (color 3)… Repeat as necessary.
Japanese Practice 3. Stating Multiple Colors
Practice stating multiple colors of an object in Japanese using the following phrases at home. Modify them to match the real color of your items at home.
- My car is red and black | watashi no kuruma wa aka to kuro desu
- This towel is orange and brown | kono taoru wa orenji to chairo desu
- That blanket is white and blue | sono moufu wa shiro to ao desu
New Japanese Vocabulary
- car | kuruma, くるま
- towel | taoru, たおる
- blanket | moufu, もうふ
- this (object) | kono, この
- that (object) | sono, その, if far away then use ano, あの
- son | musuko, むすこ
- shoes | kutsu, くつ
- shirt | shatsu, しゃつ
What Color In Japanese? | Question Phrases
In Japanese the difference between a statement and a question is rather simple, see if you can identify the difference.
STATEMENT – This plate is white.
- kono osara wa shiro desu.
QUESTION – Is this plate white?
- kono osara wa shiro desuka.
Did you notice? When a statement in Japanese ends with ka. It is generally a question. Take a look at a few more examples below:
- is your car silver? | anata no kuruma wa giniro desuka, あなたのくるまはぎんいろですか
- what color shirt is it? | nani iro no shatsu desuka, なにいろのしゃつですか
- who’s toothbrush is the green one? | midori no haburashi wa dare no desuka, みどりのはぶらしはだれのですか
Japanese Practice 4. Questions About Colors
Practice using the following Japanese phrases at home to ask the color of common items throughout the day. Modify the colors to match your items at home.
- what color is this? | kore wa nani iro desuka?
- what color is the blanket? | moufu wa nani iro desuka?
- who’s book is the yellow one? | kiiro no hon wa dare no desuka?
New Grammar Notes
- desu, です | indicates a statement in Japanese
- desuka, ですか | desu in question form, turning a statement into a question
- who | dare, だれ
- what | nani, なに
- blanket | moufu, もうふ
- book | hon, ほん
- toothbrush | haburashi, はぶらし
- plate | osara, おさら
- this (noun) | kono (noun), この
Final Review Colors In Japanese
Thanks for completing the beginner’s guide to Japanese colors! Congratulations, you now know many ways of speaking and practicing the colors in Japanese.
As some examples in this guide included additional Japanese you may currently be unfamiliar with. To avoid any confusion, confirm you understand the key insights and phrases listed below.
If you are in good understanding with all that follows you have made great progress. The rest will come through additional guides in the future.
More Japanese phrases you can easily practice at home.
- My cup is brown | watashi no kappu wa chairo desu
- This shirt is white and black | kono shatsu wa shiro to kuro desu
- It is a red apple | akai ringo desu
- what color apple is it? nani iro no ringo desuka?
- Is this shirt purple? kono shatsu wa murasaki desuka?
- who’s book is the yellow one? kiiro no hon wa dare no desuka?
Japanese Colors Guide | Checklist
Can you understand the key points listed below from this guide?
- the vocabulary for colors in Japanese listed above in noun and adjective form.
- how to use the no particle to turn a color into an adjective.
- how to use the to particle to combine colors.
- how to ask questions regarding color in Japanese using ka.
- able to practice the example phrases while swapping colors as needed.
If you are unsure about any of the above. Please review this guide and enjoy practicing the colors in Japanese until you can confidently say yes to all the points above.
Japanese Listening Practice
Listen to a native Japanese speaker pronounce each of the colors from the vocabulary list in this guide. Helping you with your Japanese pronunciation and the memorization of Japanese colors.
Colors In Japanese Vocabulary
listen to a Japanese speaker pronounce each color in Japanese in order as listed above.
Ready For More Japanese Practice Guides?
To learn more easy Japanese you can practice at home click here to explore more guides as they become available. If you wish to learn how to read or write in Japanese check out the Jappon Hiragana chart.