Mastering Basics: How to Say Black in Japanese – A Guide

Have you ever wondered how to say “black” in Japanese? Whether you’re a beginner in the language or looking to enhance your skills, this guide will provide you with the essential knowledge you need to master this color term. In this section, we’ll explore the different ways to say “black” in Japanese and provide you with the correct pronunciation guidelines.

The Japanese language has several words and expressions used to describe the color black, from basic vocabulary to more nuanced variations. Learning how to say black in Japanese is an important step to communicate effectively in various contexts. So, let’s get started and discover the Japanese word for black, how to pronounce black in Japanese, and useful tips to enhance your language skills.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to confidently say “black” in Japanese and deepen your understanding of this essential color term. Let’s dive in and learn how to say black in Japanese!

How to Say Black in Japanese: Vocabulary and Pronunciation

Now that we’ve explored the different ways to say “black” in Japanese, let’s dive into the vocabulary and pronunciation.

In Japanese, the most common way to say “black” is 黒 (kuro). This is the kanji character for black and is used in many contexts.

Japanese Romaji English
kuro Black

Another word for “black” in Japanese is ブラック (burakku). This word is often used in loanwords and has a slightly different nuance than kuro.

Japanese Romaji English
ブラック burakku Black

When describing a black object, you can use the word 黒い (kuroi) which means “black” or “dark”.

Japanese Romaji English
黒い kuroi Black/dark

For example:

あのクルマは黒いです (Ano kuruma wa kuroi desu) means “That car is black.”

To correctly pronounce “black” in Japanese, make sure to emphasize the first syllable “ku” and pronounce the “r” sound with your tongue slightly curled back.

Practice saying “kuro” with the correct pronunciation until you feel confident in your ability to say “black” in Japanese.

Kanji for Black: Understanding Japanese Characters

In Japanese writing, the kanji characters are used to represent words and concepts. The kanji for “black” is 黒.

The kanji character for “black” consists of two parts: the left side which means “secret” or “hidden,” and the right side which means “color.” The combination of these two parts creates the meaning of “black,” which can be interpreted as a hidden or mysterious color.

When writing the kanji for “black,” it is important to pay attention to stroke order. Stroke order refers to the correct sequence of strokes used to write each part of the kanji character. Writing the strokes in the wrong order can change the meaning of the character or make it difficult to read.

Kanji Component Stroke Order
Left Side 3 strokes: 一, 丶, 丶
Right Side 11 strokes: 广, 冂, 冖, 彑, 巾, 九, 勹, 勹, 丶, 一, 广

The kanji character for “black” is commonly used in Japanese writing to describe the color black in various contexts, including clothing, objects, and nature. It is also used in idiomatic expressions such as “black market” (黒市場, kuro ichiba) and “black sheep” (黒羊, kurohitsuji), which carry different meanings in Japanese culture.

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Learn to Write Kanji for Black

To practice writing the kanji for “black,” follow the stroke order guide above and try writing the character several times until you feel comfortable with it. It may take some time to get the strokes and balance right, but with practice, you’ll soon learn to write it effortlessly.

Learning to write kanji characters is an essential part of learning Japanese, and it can be a fun and rewarding experience. With the right guidance and practice, you can master the basics of kanji and express yourself effectively in Japanese writing.

Cultural Significance: Black in Japanese Society

In Japanese culture, color plays a significant role in expressing emotions and ideas. Black is no exception and holds a particular significance in various contexts.

The Color of Mourning

Traditionally, black is the color of mourning in Japan. It is common to see mourners dressed in black during funeral processions and rituals. The color symbolizes the solemnity and grief associated with death.

However, in recent years, Japanese society has shifted towards more Western customs, and mourning colors have expanded to include other hues such as gray and white. Nevertheless, black remains a powerful visual reminder of loss and mourning in Japanese culture.

The Color of Formality

Black also represents formality in Japanese society. Many traditional formal attires, such as the kimono, are black or feature black as a prominent color. Similarly, black suits and dresses are commonly worn to formal events such as weddings and business meetings.

The color black conveys a sense of seriousness, refinement, and elegance, making it a popular choice for formal occasions.

The Color of Rebellion

Black can also represent rebellion and counterculture in Japanese society. The fashion movement of “Gothic Lolita,” which features black clothing and accessories, is an example of this. The style is popular among young women who reject mainstream fashion trends and embrace a darker aesthetic.

Similarly, black is sometimes associated with underground hip-hop and punk music scenes, where it is used to express anti-establishment views and a sense of rebellion.

Overall, understanding the cultural significance of black in Japanese society is vital for communicating effectively. Whether you’re expressing condolences, attending a formal event, or embracing a countercultural movement, recognizing the various meanings of black is crucial for successful communication.

Black in Context: Useful Phrases and Examples

Now that you’ve learned how to say “black” in Japanese and understand its cultural significance, it’s time to put it into practice with some useful phrases and examples. Here are some common and practical ways to utilize the word “black” in Japanese:

Phrase Pronunciation Translation
黒い靴 Kuroi kutsu Black shoes
黒いジーンズ Kuroi jiinzu Black jeans
好きな色は黒です。 Suki na iro wa kuro desu. My favorite color is black.

As you can see, you can use “kuro” as an adjective to describe objects. Another way to use it is as a noun, in which case you use the word “kuroi mono”. For example:

Phrase Pronunciation Translation
黒いものが欲しい。 Kuroi mono ga hoshii. I want something black.

There are also idiomatic expressions that use “kuro”, such as:

Phrase Pronunciation Translation
黒縁眼鏡 Kurobine megane Black-framed glasses
黒いコーヒー Kuroi kōhī Black coffee
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With these examples, you can see how “kuro” can be used to describe colors, objects, preferences, and idiomatic expressions. Keep practicing and expanding your vocabulary to become more proficient in using “kuro” and other words related to black in Japanese.

Expand Your Vocabulary: Other Shades of Black in Japanese

While “kuro” is the most common and general term for black in Japanese, there are other shades and variations of the color. By expanding your vocabulary, you can express more nuances and details when describing black objects or expressing your preferences.

Other Words for Black in Japanese

One such word is “kokkai,” which refers to a deep and opaque type of black, similar to jet black. Another term is “gofun,” which is a traditional Japanese pigment made from finely powdered seashells, giving a powdery, muted black color.

For a lighter and more transparent shade of black, you can use “sumi,” which is a type of Japanese ink. It can range in hue from pale grey to a deep, rich black.

Combining Colors with Black

To express shades of black mixed with other colors, you can use the term “kuroiro.” This word combines “kuro” (black) with “iro” (color), indicating a color that is blackish or dark, but not entirely black.

For example, to describe a dark green color, you can say “kuroiro no midori,” which means “dark green with a blackish tone.”

Using Other Words to Describe Black

While “kuro” is the most versatile and commonly used word for black, you may encounter other expressions that describe the color in different contexts.

For example, “ansoku” is a term used in traditional Japanese arts to describe a calm and serene type of black, often associated with Zen Buddhism. On the other hand, “fuka” refers to a dull or faded black, used to describe old or worn-out objects.

By learning these nuanced shades and expressions for black, you can convey a deeper understanding and appreciation for the color in Japanese culture.


Q: How do you say “black” in Japanese?

A: The word for “black” in Japanese is “kuro” (黒).

Q: How is “black” pronounced in Japanese?

A: “Kuro” is pronounced as “koo-roh” with a long “oo” sound.

Q: Are there any other words for “black” in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are other words and expressions used to describe the color black in Japanese, such as “kokkoku” (黒黒) or “sumi” (墨).

Q: How can I use “black” in different contexts?

A: You can use the word “black” to describe objects (kuro no mono), clothing (kuroi fuku), or even express preferences (kuro ga suki desu).

Q: What is the kanji character for “black” in Japanese?

A: The kanji character for “black” is “黒”.

Q: What is the cultural significance of black in Japanese society?

A: In Japanese culture, black is associated with formality, elegance, and mystery. It is often used in traditional ceremonies and represents respect and seriousness.

Q: Are there other shades of black in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are other shades and variations of black in Japanese. For example, “shikkoku” (漆黒) means jet black, while “enpitsu-iro” (鉛筆色) refers to the color of a pencil lead.

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