How to say foreign in Japanese

Whether you’re planning to visit Japan or simply interested in expanding your language skills, understanding how to say “foreign” in Japanese can be useful. In this section, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to express the concept of “foreign” in Japanese, including the translations and commonly used terms for it.

Knowing how to say “foreign” in Japanese can greatly enhance your cultural understanding and ability to communicate effectively in the language. So, let’s explore the various ways to express “foreign” in Japanese, including the foreign translation, Japanese word, and term for it.

Translating “Foreign” in Japanese

When it comes to translating the word “foreign” in Japanese, there are a few different options to consider. The most common way to say “foreign” in Japanese is “gaikoku no” (外国の), which translates to “of a foreign country.” However, this phrase is quite formal and is more commonly used in written language or official contexts.

When saying “foreign” in Japanese in everyday conversation, the word “gaikokujin” (外国人) is more commonly used. This term translates to “foreigner” or “person from a foreign country” and is used to refer to people who are not originally from Japan.

Saying “Foreign” in Japanese

Another common way to say “foreign” in Japanese is the word “gairai” (外来), which translates to “coming from outside.” This word is often used to describe foreign concepts or things, such as foreign languages or cultures.

Additionally, the word “kaigai” (海外) can also be used to describe things from foreign countries. This word translates to “overseas” or “abroad” and is commonly used in travel-related contexts.

Japanese Word for Foreign

If you’re looking for a single word that translates to “foreign,” the word “fōrin” (フォーリン) is commonly used in Japanese. This word is borrowed from English and is often used in the context of pop culture or fashion.

Overall, there are several ways to translate “foreign” in Japanese, and the appropriate word to use will depend on the context and level of formality. By learning these different translations, you can effectively communicate and express yourself in Japanese.

The term for “foreign” in everyday Japanese

Understanding the appropriate language to use when referring to “foreign” in Japanese is crucial to navigate social interactions smoothly. In everyday Japanese conversations, there are specific terms used to refer to the concept of “foreign”. Here are some commonly used Japanese terms for “foreign” that can help you communicate effectively:

Japanese term Meaning
Gaijin Foreigner
Gaikokujin Foreigner (more formal than gaijin)
Kokujin Black person (used to refer to non-Japanese blacks)
Kokusai-tekina International

It’s essential to use these terms appropriately and avoid any language that may come off as disrespectful or insensitive. For instance, avoid using “gaijin” to describe a foreigner in formal situations, as it can be viewed as impolite.

While “gaijin” and “gaikokujin” are the most commonly used terms for foreigners in Japan, it is worth noting that they can come with negative connotations and may be perceived as derogatory in certain contexts. It is essential to be mindful of the words you use and the context in which you use them.

Using foreign languages in Japanese

Another essential aspect of understanding the Japanese language is knowing how to express foreign languages. The Japanese term for “foreign language” is “gaikokugo.” It is essential to use this term when discussing foreign languages appropriately. Suppose you intend to speak English, for example. In that case, you can say “eigo” (the Japanese word for English), followed by “wo hanashimasu” (I speak).

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It’s worth noting that Japanese people appreciate foreigners who make an effort to learn their language. Even if you only know a few simple phrases or words, using them can go a long way in building connections and relationships.

Cultural nuances when discussing “foreign” in Japanese

When it comes to discussing the concept of “foreign” in Japanese, it’s important to be aware of the cultural nuances and sensitivities surrounding the topic. The Japanese culture places significant importance on respect and politeness, and this should be reflected in your language usage.

In Japanese, there are different ways to express “foreign”, and some words may carry a negative connotation in certain contexts. It’s essential to choose your words carefully and consider the cultural implications of the language you use.

Appropriate language usage

One commonly used Japanese word for “foreign” is 外国人 (gaikokujin), which is generally considered a neutral term. However, it’s important to note that the use of this term can depend on the context and the person being referred to. In some cases, it may be more appropriate to use alternative phrases such as 外国の方 (gaikoku no kata) or 外国から来た人 (gaikoku kara kita hito) to show respect and avoid any unintended offense.

It’s also essential to be mindful of the tone and manner in which you express “foreign”. In Japanese culture, indirect language and subtle communication are often preferred, and overly direct language or expressions can be perceived as impolite or confrontational. When discussing the concept of “foreign”, it’s better to use polite and diplomatic language and avoid any offensive or negative connotations.

Cultural sensitivity

The Japanese culture places significant value on preserving their unique cultural identity, and the concept of “foreign” can sometimes challenge this idea. It’s important to be respectful and understanding of this perspective when discussing “foreign” in Japanese.

When interacting with Japanese people, it’s crucial to be aware that some may have limited exposure to foreign cultures and may feel uncomfortable or intimidated by them. It’s important to approach these situations with sensitivity and respect and avoid any language or behavior that may cause offense or discomfort.


When discussing the concept of “foreign” in Japanese, it’s crucial to be aware of the cultural nuances and sensitivities surrounding the topic. By choosing your words carefully, using appropriate language, and being culturally sensitive, you can communicate effectively while showing respect for the Japanese culture and people.

Practical tips for learning Japanese terms for “foreign”

Learning a new language is always exciting, and mastering a new vocabulary can be thrilling. If you’re looking to learn how to say “foreign” in Japanese, here are some practical tips to help you quickly and confidently add these new words to your lexicon.

1. Use mnemonics and memory aids

The Japanese language has a unique writing system and a different set of pronunciation rules compared to English. To make it easier to remember new words, use mnemonics or memory aids. For instance, mnemonics can help you associate a Japanese word with an image or a sound to make it easy to remember.

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2. Break down the words

Some Japanese words can be quite long and challenging to remember. Breaking down the words into smaller parts and identifying the meanings of each part can help you quickly understand and remember new vocabulary. For example, “kaigai” means “foreign” in Japanese and is made up of the characters for “outside” and “country”.

3. Practice with flashcards

Flashcards are an excellent tool for learning new words and concepts quickly. You can make your flashcards or use apps that generate them automatically. Practice your flashcards regularly to improve your vocabulary retention.

4. Watch Japanese movies and TV shows

Watching Japanese movies and TV shows is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the language and culture. This method can help you learn new vocabulary in context and improve your listening skills.

5. Use language learning apps

Language learning apps such as Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and Memrise can provide you with engaging and interactive lessons to learn new words and grammar in Japanese. Install these apps on your mobile device and use them to supplement your language learning experience.

In conclusion, learning Japanese words for “foreign” can be a fun and rewarding experience with the right approach. Use these tips to make the vocabulary acquisition process easier and to improve your skills. Practice regularly and stay motivated, and you’ll be speaking Japanese fluently in no time!


Q: How do I say “foreign” in Japanese?

A: The word for “foreign” in Japanese is “gaikoku no” (外国の). However, there are also other phrases like “kaigai no” (海外の) and “kokusai no” (国際の) that can be used in specific contexts to convey the meaning of “foreign”.

Q: What are the commonly used Japanese words for “foreign”?

A: Apart from “gaikoku no”, other commonly used Japanese words for “foreign” include “gaijin” (外人), which is a colloquial term for “foreigner”, and “kaigaijin” (海外人), which specifically refers to someone from overseas. These terms are often used in casual conversations or when talking about people from different countries or cultures.

Q: Are there any cultural nuances to consider when discussing “foreign” in Japanese?

A: Yes, it’s important to understand the cultural context when discussing the concept of “foreign” in Japanese. The Japanese society values harmony and politeness, so it’s essential to use appropriate language and show respect when talking about foreigners or foreign cultures. Being aware of cultural sensitivities will help you communicate effectively and avoid unintentionally offending others.

Q: Any tips for learning Japanese terms for “foreign”?

A: Learning a new language takes time and practice. To effectively learn Japanese terms for “foreign”, immerse yourself in Japanese culture, watch Japanese movies or TV shows, and practice speaking with native speakers. Flashcards and language learning apps can also be helpful tools for expanding your vocabulary. Consistency and perseverance are key to mastering any language.

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