Mastering Nihongo: How to Say Empty in Japanese

Are you looking to enhance your knowledge of the Japanese language? Do you want to learn how to express the concept of emptiness in Japanese accurately? You’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we will explore various ways to say “empty” in Japanese and provide you with insights into the nuances of emptiness in the Japanese language.

Learning how to say “empty” in Japanese is essential for effective communication. The Japanese language offers several words to express emptiness, each with its unique context and connotation. It will help if you understand these nuances to convey your message accurately.

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, we have got you covered. In this section, we will delve into the translation of the word “empty” in Japanese and teach you how to pronounce it correctly. We will also explore the cultural and philosophical significance of emptiness in the Japanese language, giving you a deeper understanding of how the language reflects and shapes the perception of emptiness.

So, how do you say empty in Japanese? Let’s find out.

Translating Empty in Japanese

When it comes to expressing “empty” in the Japanese language, there are various words that can be used, each with its nuances and meanings.

The most common Japanese word for “empty” is 「から」 (kara) which can be translated as “vacant” or “empty”. This word is frequently used in everyday conversations and has a relatively straightforward meaning.

Another popular Japanese word for “empty” is 「空っぽ」(karappo), which can be translated directly as “empty” or “hollow.” This term is often used to describe physical emptiness, like an empty container.

Japanese Word Translation
から vacant, empty
空っぽ empty, hollow

In addition to these common words, the Japanese language also has other terms that can be used to describe various nuances of emptiness. For example, 「虚しさ」(munashisa) refers to a sense of emptiness or futility, while 「寂しさ」(sabishisa) describes a feeling of loneliness or emptiness.

Learning these different words and their meanings can help you better convey the concept of emptiness in Japanese, whether you are having a casual conversation or working on a more formal writing project.

Conveying Emptiness in Japanese

Empty spaces, voids, and absences are integral aspects of human experiences. The Japanese language captures these feelings and ideas through its unique vocabulary and expressions, reflecting the country’s culture and history. In this section, we’ll explore how to convey emptiness in Japanese and gain insights into its nuances.

How to Express Emptiness in Japanese

In Japanese, several words are used to convey the concept of emptiness. One of the most common words is “kara” (空), which can mean “empty,” “vacant,” or “hollow.” It is used in various situations, such as describing empty containers, spaces, or rooms. For example, you can say “kaban ga kara desu” (鞄が空です) to express “the bag is empty.”

Another word for emptiness is “mu” (無), which can mean “nothing,” “non-existence,” or “lack of.” It is often used in the context of Zen Buddhism, where it refers to the state of emptiness or non-being. For instance, you can say “mu” to describe the lack of ego, desire, or attachment.

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Moreover, Japanese has several words that describe the type of emptiness that implies a sense of loneliness, sadness, or melancholy. For instance, “sabishii” (寂しい) means “lonely,” and “kanashii” (悲しい) means “sad.” These words are often used to describe the feeling of emptiness that comes with the absence of someone or something significant.

Japanese Term for Empty

Emptiness is a crucial concept in Japanese philosophy and art, and there are several words in the language that describe the different aspects of emptiness. One such term is “ma” (間), which refers to the spaces between objects or sounds. It is often used in traditional Japanese arts, such as calligraphy, architecture, or tea ceremony, to create a sense of balance, harmony, and emptiness.

Another term is “yohaku” (余白), which means “blank space” or “margin.” It is used in designing traditional Japanese paintings, where the blank space is as crucial as the painted areas. The idea is that the empty space allows the viewer to appreciate and contemplate the depicted scene more deeply.

Empty Words in Japanese

Empty words or phrases are common in many languages, including Japanese. In Japanese, “kuudou” (空言) is used to describe empty promises, lies, or pointless talks. It is a combination of the words “kara” (empty) and “kotoba” (words) and implies that the speaker’s words lack substance or sincerity.

Similarly, “mukoumizu” (向こう見ず) means “reckless” or “thoughtless.” It implies that the person is empty-headed and does things without considering the consequences.

Conveying Emptiness in Japanese

Conveying emptiness in Japanese involves more than just using the right words; it also requires an understanding of the cultural and historical context. Emptiness is an essential aspect of traditional Japanese aesthetics, and it is present in various art forms, such as haiku, Noh plays, and Zen gardens.

To convey emptiness effectively, it is essential to use the right tone, intonation, and rhythm. Pause and silence are crucial elements in Japanese communication, and they can convey a sense of emptiness and depth. Additionally, Japanese people often use indirect language, implying that what is left unsaid is as crucial as what is said.

Overall, understanding the different words, terms, and expressions used to convey emptiness in Japanese can help you communicate more effectively and appreciate the country’s culture and language better.

Pronouncing Empty in Japanese

Proper pronunciation is crucial for effective communication in any language, and Japanese is no exception. If you want to say empty in Japanese, it’s essential to understand the correct pronunciation.

How to Pronounce Empty in Japanese

The Japanese word for empty is 空っぽ (karappo). In Japanese, each syllable has a uniform length and stress is not emphasized as it is in English.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to pronounce empty in Japanese correctly:

Japanese Characters Transliteration English Translation Pronunciation
空っぽ karappo Empty KAH-rah-poh

Remember, in Japanese, the emphasis is on each syllable equally, and double consonants are pronounced slightly longer than single consonants. So, when pronouncing 空っぽ, make sure to elongate the “p” sound- “poh.”

Practice the pronunciation until it feels natural, and you’ll be successfully communicating the concept of emptiness in Japanese in no time.

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Emptiness in Japanese Language

Emptiness, or “kū” in Japanese, is a fundamental concept in Japanese culture and philosophy. It is a term that encapsulates the idea of absence or lack, and it plays a central role in various aspects of Japanese society, from art and literature to religion and spirituality.

The Aesthetic of Emptiness in Japanese Art

In Japanese art, emptiness is often used to create a sense of balance, harmony, and tranquility. The concept is particularly prominent in traditional Japanese gardens, which are designed to create a feeling of spaciousness and serenity. Emptiness also features prominently in Japanese paintings, such as the ink-wash paintings of the Zen school, which use empty spaces to convey a sense of meditative calmness.

The Philosophical Significance of Emptiness in Japanese Buddhism

In Japanese Buddhism, emptiness is a central concept, and it is often used to describe the ultimate reality of the universe. According to Buddhist philosophy, all phenomena are empty of inherent existence, and it is only through the recognition of this emptiness that one can attain enlightenment. This idea is encapsulated in the concept of “mu,” which translates to “nothingness” or “emptiness” in Japanese.

The philosophical significance of emptiness also extends beyond Buddhism, as it is a concept that has influenced various aspects of Japanese society, from literature and poetry to architecture and design.

The Role of Emptiness in Japanese Language

Emptiness is a concept that is deeply ingrained in the Japanese language, and it is reflected in the language’s unique vocabulary and expressions. For example, the term “mujo” is used to describe the impermanence of all things, while “yugen” is used to describe the mysterious and profound beauty of the natural world.

Emptiness is also expressed in the use of negative space in Japanese calligraphy and typography, where the blank spaces between characters or words are considered an integral part of the design.

Overall, emptiness is a concept that is deeply intertwined with Japanese society and culture, and understanding its significance can provide valuable insights into Japanese language, art, and philosophy.


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

A: The Japanese word for “empty” is “karui” (軽い) or “kara” (空).

Q: How can I express emptiness in Japanese?

A: There are various ways to express emptiness in Japanese. Some examples include using phrases like “kara kara” (からから) or “mushiro” (虚ろ) to convey a sense of emptiness or hollowness.

Q: What is the pronunciation of “empty” in Japanese?

A: “Empty” is pronounced as “karaui” (かるい) or “kara” (から) in Japanese.

Q: Are there specific Japanese words for different types of emptiness?

A: Yes, Japanese has specific terms for different types of emptiness. For example, “mu” (無) is used to describe a deep philosophical emptiness, while “kara” (空) is more commonly used for physical emptiness.

Q: How does the Japanese language reflect the concept of emptiness?

A: The Japanese language has a unique vocabulary and cultural context that allows for a nuanced understanding of emptiness. Concepts such as “ma” (間) and “yugen” (幽玄) are used to convey a sense of profound emptiness and beauty in Japanese art and literature.

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