Learn How to Say Handsome in Japanese – A Simple Guide

If you’re interested in learning Japanese, one important aspect of communication is expanding your vocabulary. This includes knowing how to express concepts like “handsome” in the language. In this section, we’ll guide you through how to say “handsome” in Japanese and provide you with an easy-to-follow guide.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of the Japanese word for “handsome” and be able to use it in conversation. So, let’s dive into the intricacies of the Japanese language and expand your language skills. Let’s get started!

Understanding the Japanese Language

Before we explore the specific word for “handsome” in Japanese, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the language. Unlike English, which primarily uses subject-verb-object sentence structure, Japanese follows a subject-object-verb structure. Nouns in Japanese do not have grammatical gender, and verbs do not change according to the gender of the subject.

Another important aspect to understand is that Japanese has three writing systems: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Hiragana and katakana are syllabic scripts used to represent Japanese words, whereas kanji are ideographic characters imported from China. Kanji serve to convey meanings rather than sounds, and their use is often based on context and the intended nuance of a word or phrase.

Translation of Handsome in Japanese

The Japanese word for “handsome” is “ikemen” (イケメン), which is a combination of the word “ike” (from “iketeru,” meaning “cool”) and “men” (from the English word “men”).

How to Express Handsome in Japanese

Aside from “ikemen,” there are a few alternative ways to express “handsome” in Japanese. One is “kakkoi” (かっこいい), which is used to describe someone who is cool and stylish, in addition to being physically attractive. Another is “atsui” (あつい), which roughly translates to “hot,” used to describe someone who is conventionally handsome or attractive.

The Japanese Word for Handsome

When it comes to expressing “handsome” in Japanese, there are several ways to convey this concept. The most common term used to describe someone as “handsome” in Japanese is:

Japanese Romaji English Translation
ハンサム hansamu handsome

However, there are other variations and phrases that can be used to express “handsome” in different contexts. Some of these include:

  • イケメン (ikemen) – refers to a good-looking and stylish man
  • 美男子 (binanshi) – refers to a handsome young man with refined features
  • 美形 (bikkei) – refers to a person with a beautiful and attractive appearance

It’s worth noting that the usage of these terms can vary depending on the context and personal taste.

Usage Notes

The term ハンサム (hansamu) is commonly used in everyday conversation to describe someone as “handsome.” It can be used to refer to both men and women, although it is predominantly used to describe men.

When complimenting someone’s appearance in Japanese, it’s common to use the phrase かっこいい (kakkoii) which translates to “cool” or “good-looking.” This phrase is more versatile than ハンサム and can be used to describe both men and women.

It’s important to note that physical appearance is not emphasized as much in Japanese culture as it is in Western cultures. Therefore, the usage of terms related to physical attractiveness can be more subtle and nuanced in Japanese.

Describing Handsome in Japanese

While there are specific words in Japanese to express “handsome,” the language also offers various descriptive phrases to convey this concept. Here are some ways to describe someone as “handsome” in Japanese:

Japanese Phrase Translation
かっこいい (kakkoii) Cool/handsome
イケメン (ikemen) Good-looking/handsome (used specifically for men)
美しい (utsukushii) Beautiful/handsome (used for both men and women)
格好いい (kakkoii) Cool/good-looking/handsome (used for both men and women)
ハンサム (hansamu) Handsome (borrowed from English)
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As you can see, some of these phrases also have broader meanings beyond just “handsome,” such as “cool” or “beautiful.” This allows for a more nuanced and varied expression of attractiveness in Japanese.

It’s worth noting that the usage of these phrases can depend on the context and personal preference. For example, some people may prefer to use “kakkoii” to describe a person they find attractive, while others may prefer “ikemen.” It’s always a good idea to pay attention to how native speakers use these phrases and adjust your own usage accordingly.

Practice Makes Perfect

To further improve your language skills, try practicing using some of these phrases in sentences or conversation. For example:

  • 彼は本当にかっこいいですね。(Kare wa hontōni kakkoii desu ne.) – He is really cool/handsome, isn’t he?
  • 彼女は美しい女性です。(Kanojo wa utsukushii josei desu.) – She is a beautiful woman.
  • 彼はイケメンだと思います。(Kare wa ikemen da to omoimasu.) – I think he is good-looking/handsome.

By practicing and incorporating these phrases into your Japanese language skills, you can enhance your ability to express and appreciate attractiveness in a more nuanced and culturally appropriate way.

Contextual Usage of Handsome in Japanese

Now that you know the Japanese word for “handsome,” it’s important to understand how to use it in context. Depending on the situation and relationship between speaker and listener, the appropriate expression can vary.

For example, the most common way to say “you are handsome” in Japanese is “kimi wa kakkoi.” This phrase can be used between friends, or when speaking to someone of the same age or younger. However, if the speaker is older or in a position of authority, it may be more appropriate to use “anata wa ikemen desu,” which means “you are a cool guy.”

When complimenting someone on their appearance, it’s important to be aware of cultural norms. In Japan, being too direct or explicit about physical attraction is generally avoided. Instead, expressions such as “kawaii,” which means “cute” or “adorable,” are often used to compliment someone’s appearance.


Situation Japanese Expression English Translation
Talking to a friend Kimi wa kakkoi You are handsome
Talking to a superior Anata wa ikemen desu You are a cool guy
Complimenting appearance Kawaii Cute/adorable

By understanding the appropriate usage of “handsome” in Japanese, you can communicate effectively and respectfully in a variety of situations.

Common Expressions Related to Handsome in Japanese

Now that you know how to say “handsome” in Japanese, let’s explore some common expressions related to this concept. Japanese language offers a variety of expressions to compliment someone’s appearance or convey admiration for their attractiveness.

Some common expressions include:

Expression Translation
イケメン (ikemen) handsome man
美男子 (binanshi) beautiful man
美形 (bikkei) beautiful form
ハンサム (hansamu) handsome

These expressions can be used in various situations, ranging from casual conversations to formal settings.

Using the Right Expression

Choosing the appropriate expression for a given situation is important. For instance, the word “ikemen” is often used to describe a young and stylish man, while “binanshi” conveys a more mature and refined appearance.

Similarly, the word “bikkei” is often used to describe a person’s overall appearance, whereas “hansamu” is more commonly used to describe a specific feature, such as a person’s facial features or physique.

Understanding the nuances of these expressions can help you communicate more effectively and accurately in Japanese.

The Cultural Significance of Handsomeness in Japan

Handsome is not just a physical attribute in Japan but also holds cultural significance. In Japanese society, being handsome is associated with particular characteristics, such as being well-groomed, confident, and having an appealing personality.

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For instance, a type of handsome known as “ikemen,” refers to a man with a charming and stylish appearance. Ikemen has become a cultural phenomenon in Japan, and many celebrities and models are seen as role models for it. In contrast, “bishounen,” refers to a young man who has a more delicate, feminine appearance but is still appealing to women.

Throughout Japan’s history, there has been an emphasis on beauty and attractiveness, which is evident in the art and literature of the country. From the delicate features of the Geishas to the Samurai’s aesthetic, Japanese society has long valued facial features and physical beauty.

Furthermore, Japanese language itself has specific vocabulary for handsome, and its usage reflects societal values. For instance, the word “kakkoii” is used to describe someone who is cool and attractive, while “utsukushii” is used to convey beauty or attractiveness.

Overall, understanding the cultural significance of handsome in Japan can provide insight into its broader understanding of beauty and attractiveness.


By following this simple guide, you have learned how to say “handsome” in Japanese and expand your vocabulary in this beautiful language. Understanding the intricacies of Japanese expressions and the cultural significance of “handsome” in Japan can help you communicate more effectively and accurately.

The Japanese word for “handsome” can be expressed in various ways, and it’s essential to grasp the appropriate usage of these terms in different situations. Additionally, Japanese offers a range of descriptive phrases to convey nuances of someone’s attractiveness.

Finally, it’s important to recognize the cultural context and societal values associated with “handsome” in Japan. The broad understanding of beauty and attractiveness in Japanese culture can deepen your appreciation for this concept, enhancing your communication skills and cultural understanding of the language.

So go ahead, practice your Japanese skills, and impress your friends and colleagues with your newfound knowledge of how to say “handsome” in Japanese.


Q: What is the Japanese word for “handsome”?

A: The Japanese word for “handsome” is “kakkoi” (かっこいい).

Q: Can you provide some examples of how to use “kakkoi” in a sentence?

A: Sure! Here are some examples:
– 彼はとてもかっこいいです。 (He is very handsome.)
– その車はかっこいいですね。 (That car is cool.)
– あの歌手はかっこよく歌っています。 (That singer sings in a cool way.)

Q: Are there any other ways to say “handsome” in Japanese?

A: Yes, besides “kakkoi,” you can also use “suteki na” (素敵な), which means “lovely” or “charming,” to describe someone as handsome. Additionally, you can use phrases like “ikemen” (イケメン), which refers to a good-looking man, or “bijin” (美人), which refers to a beautiful person, usually used for women.

Q: Are there any cultural considerations when using the word “handsome” in Japanese?

A: In Japanese culture, appearances and aesthetics are highly valued. Complimenting someone’s appearance, including being handsome, is generally well-received. However, it’s always important to consider the context and use appropriate language when expressing admiration for someone’s attractiveness.

Q: Can you recommend any other resources to learn more about the Japanese language?

A: Absolutely! There are various resources available to further your understanding of the Japanese language. Some popular options include language learning apps like Duolingo and Memrise, online courses on platforms like Coursera or Udemy, and textbooks specifically designed for Japanese language learners.

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