Japanese Colors Words and Vocabulary

This section covers the words and vocabulary used to describe Japanese colors.

Japanese Colors Vocabulary

Most of the colors in Japanese are ended with the word 色 (iro) with a few exceptions. There are no kanji equivalents for colors using katakana as they are direct translation from English.

It's always interesting to learn the perception of different colors among different cultures.

You probably notice that on the Japanese flag, it's a sun painted in red 赤い日 (akai hi - red sun). But in most other countries, the sun is always yellow or orange.

In funeral the Japanese wear black from head to toe, including men's ties. I just wonder if every man always has a black suit ready in their wardrobe anticipating that he will be wearing it to attend funerals. On the other hand, white color, which is an auspicious color, is always used in weddings.

Let's check out what is the word list for colors in Japanese.

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Kanji Hiragana or
Romaji Meaning
1. いろ iro Color
2. しろ shiro White
3. くろ kuro Black
4. あか aka Red
5. あお ao Blue
6. みどり midori Green
7. むらさき murasaki Purple / Violet
8. 黄色 きいろ ki iro Yellow
9. 茶色 ちゃいろ cha iro Brown
10. 金色 きんいろ kin iro Gold
11. 銀色 ぎんいろ gin iro Silver
12. 桃色 ももいろ momo iro Pink
13. ピンク pinku Pink
14. 灰色 はいいろ hai iro Gray
15. グレー gure- Gray
16. 橙色 だいだいいろ daidai iro Orange
17. オレンジ orenji Orange
18. 水色 みずいろ mizu iro Light Blue
19. 紺色 こんいろ kon iro Dark Blue
20. 藍色 あいいろ ai iro Indigo Blue
21. 藤色 ふじいろ fuji iro Light Purple
22. 焦げ茶色 こげちゃいろ kogecha iro Dark Brown
23. 山吹色 やまぶきいろ yamabuki iro Bright Golden Yellow
24. 黄土色 おうどいろ oudo iro Yellow Ocher
25. 黄緑 きみどり ki midori Yellow Green
26. 深緑 ふかみどり fuka midori Dark Green
27. ダークグリーン da-ku guri-n Dark Green
28. ベージュ be-ju Beige
29. 朱色 しゅいろ shu iro Vermilion / Scarlet
30. 茜色 あかねいろ akane iro Madder Red
31. 銅色 あかがねいろ akagane iro Copper
32. 青銅色 せいどういろ seidou iro Bronze
33. ライラック rairakku Lilac
34. ターコイズ ta-koizu Turquoise

One thing to take note is that the above colors are all nouns. Therefore, when you describe an object with a color, you should add the particle の (no) in between. This is description of noun (NounA no NounB) as taught in basic lesson 3.

For example, 青の車 (ao no kuruma - a blue car), 赤の箱 (aka no hako - a red box), ベージュのかばん (be-ju no kaban - a beige bag), 紺色のシャツ (kon iro no shatsu - a dark blue shirt).

However, a few of the colors have their i-adjective equivalents, they are 白い (shiroi), 黒い (kuroi), 赤い (akai), 青い (aoi), 黄色い (kiiroi). For these few colors, you can describe the object directly without using the の (no) particle.

For example, 白い車 (shiroi kuruma - a white car), 黒い靴 (kuroi kutsu - a black shoe), 赤いぺん (akai pen - a red pen), 青い椅子 (aoi isu - a blue chair), 黄色い紙 (kiiroi kami - a yellow paper).

The above is the word list commonly used to describe Japanese colors. I will continue to collect more color words and add them to the above list.

Want more Japanese words on colors? Get a Japanese electronic dictionary!

Want to increase your vocabulary? Check out the Japanese English dictionary.

› Japanese Colors

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