Mastering Japanese: How to Say Brain in Japanese – A Quick Guide

Whether you’re a language enthusiast or planning a trip to Japan, it’s always useful to expand your vocabulary. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the Japanese word for “brain” and provide a quick and easy guide on how to say it in Japanese. By the end of this section, you’ll be able to confidently express this important word in Japanese. Let’s get started!

Understanding the Japanese Word for Brain

Before we explore how to say “brain” in Japanese, it’s important to understand the actual word used in the language. The Japanese word for brain is “脳” (noh), which is written with the kanji characters for “brain” and “inside”.

While the word “脳” (noh) is the most common way to refer to the brain in Japanese, there are other words that are used in different contexts, such as “頭脳” (zuonoh), which means “intellect” or “mind”, and “脳みそ” (nomiso), which is a more casual term for “brain”.

Understanding the Kanji Characters

In the Japanese writing system, kanji characters are ideograms that convey meaning through their visual representation. The kanji characters for “brain” (“脳”) consist of two parts: the radical for “flesh” or “meat” and the character for “inside”. Together, they represent the idea of the brain being the organ inside the body that controls all functions.

By understanding the kanji characters, you can gain a deeper understanding of the meaning and significance of the word “脳” (noh) in Japanese culture. It is also helpful for memorization and recognition in written form.

Translating Brain into Japanese

Now that we understand the Japanese word for “brain,” it’s time to learn how to properly translate it. The most common translation for “brain” in Japanese is 脳 (nou). To pronounce it correctly, remember that the “n” sound is pronounced with the tongue against the roof of the mouth, creating a slight nasalization.

Another way to express “brain” in Japanese is 頭脳 (zunou), which refers to intelligence or intellect. This word combines 脳 with the word for “head” (頭).

When talking about the physical structure of the brain, you can use the word 脳髄 (nouzui), which includes the character for “marrow” or “core” (髄) to emphasize the internal nature of the brain.

Japanese Translation
頭脳 Intellect
脳髄 Brain structure

With these words, you can now confidently translate “brain” in Japanese and use the appropriate vocabulary for different contexts.

Expanding Your Brain Vocabulary in Japanese

Now that you are familiar with the basic Japanese word for “brain,” let’s expand your vocabulary related to this concept in the language.

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Japanese Word Pronunciation English Translation
脳みそ noh-mee-soh brain (more casual and informal)
頭脳 zoo-noh intellect, brainpower
脳細胞 noh-sai-hyoh brain cell

The first term, “脳みそ” (noh-mee-soh), is the more casual and informal way to refer to the brain in Japanese. This word is commonly used in everyday conversations and can also be used in a playful context.

The second term, “頭脳” (zoo-noh), refers to the intellect or brainpower of an individual. This term can be used to describe someone’s abilities or aptitudes in a specific field.

The third term, “脳細胞” (noh-sai-hyoh), is more technical and refers specifically to a brain cell. This term may come up in medical or scientific contexts where specific terminology is necessary.

Expanding your brain vocabulary in Japanese will not only increase your familiarity with the language but also improve your ability to communicate effectively on a variety of topics.

Expressing the Meaning of Brain in Japanese

When it comes to expressing the concept of “brain” in Japanese, there are a few different approaches you can take.

Using the Word “Nou”

The most common translation for “brain” in Japanese is “nou” (脳). This word can be used in a variety of contexts, such as in scientific discussions about the structure and function of the brain, or in more everyday conversations about thinking and decision-making.

For example, if you wanted to say “My brain is tired” in Japanese, you could say “Watashi no nou ga tsukarete iru” (私の脳が疲れている).

Associating the Brain with Mind or Head

Another way to express the concept of “brain” in Japanese is by associating it with other related words, such as “mind” or “head”.

For example, the word “atama” (頭) means “head” in Japanese, but can also be used to refer to the brain in certain contexts. Similarly, the word “kokoro” (心) means “heart” or “mind”, but can also be used to talk about the brain as the seat of our thoughts and emotions.

Using Metaphors and Idioms

Finally, Japanese also has a number of metaphors and idioms that can be used to express the meaning of “brain” in more colorful and imaginative ways.

For example, the phrase “atama ga ii” (頭が良い) literally means “good head” and is often used to describe someone who is intelligent or clever. Similarly, the phrase “nou ga karada wo oimotomeru” (脳が体を追い求める) means “the brain chases after the body” and is used to describe someone who is so focused on their work or studies that they forget to take care of themselves.

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Keyword Occurrences
expressing brain in Japanese 1
brain meaning in Japanese 1

Final Thoughts on Saying Brain in Japanese

Now that you have learned the various ways to say “brain” in Japanese, it’s important to make sure you are pronouncing it correctly.

The Japanese word for “brain” is pronounced “noh” (のう) with a slight emphasis on the “o” sound. Make sure to elongate the “o” sound and keep the “n” sound short and crisp.

If you are having trouble pronouncing the word, try listening to native Japanese speakers pronounce it, or practicing in front of a mirror to make sure your mouth is forming the correct shape.

Remember, in Japanese, the emphasis is typically placed on the second-to-last syllable of a word, so make sure to emphasize the “o” sound in “noh.”

With this guide, you are now equipped with the necessary vocabulary to talk about the brain in Japanese. Keep practicing and expanding your knowledge, and you’ll be on your way to mastering the language!


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

A: The most common translation for “brain” in Japanese is “nō” (脳).

Q: How do you pronounce “nō” in Japanese?

A: The pronunciation of “nō” in Japanese is similar to “noh” in English, but with a slightly shorter vowel sound.

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

A: Yes, there are other words related to the concept of “brain” in Japanese. Some examples include “zui” (頭, meaning “head”) and “chō” (脳みそ, meaning “brain matter”).

Q: Can you provide some additional vocabulary related to the brain in Japanese?

A: Certainly! Here are a few more words you may find useful: “shinpō” (神経, meaning “nerve”), “nōryoku” (脳力, meaning “brainpower”), and “nōka” (脳科, meaning “neurology”).

Q: How can I express the meaning of “brain” in Japanese?

A: Besides using the word “nō,” you can also express the concept of “brain” in Japanese by using phrases like “nō o tsukau” (脳を使う, meaning “to use your brain”) or “nō o sodateru” (脳を育てる, meaning “to nurture your brain”).

Q: Any tips on pronouncing “brain” in Japanese?

A: When pronouncing “brain” in Japanese, remember to keep the vowel sound in “nō” short and distinct. Practice saying it slowly and clearly to ensure proper pronunciation.

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