Master the Phrase: How to Say Heart in Japanese – A Detailed Guide

If you’re interested in learning Japanese, it’s important to know how to say heart in Japanese. The word “heart” can be translated in different ways depending on the context, so it’s essential to understand the nuances of the language. In this article, we’ll guide you through the Japanese word for heart, how to pronounce it, and its cultural significance in Japan.

Whether you’re planning a trip to Japan, studying the language, or simply curious about a new language, learning how to say heart in Japanese is an essential phrase to master. Let’s explore the various aspects of heart translation in Japanese, including the word for heart, how to pronounce it, and its use in different contexts.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of how to say heart in Japanese language and be able to use it in your conversations with Japanese speakers.

Understanding the Japanese Word for Heart

In the Japanese language, the word for heart is “kokoro” (こころ). This word not only refers to the organ that pumps blood around the body but is also used to describe the emotions, feelings, thoughts, and spirit of a person. It is a core concept in Japanese culture and is often represented in art, literature, and poetry.

The Japanese word “kokoro” is written using three kanji characters: 心, 意, and 霊. The first character, “心” (shin), refers to the physical heart as well as the emotions, feelings, and thoughts of a person. The second character, “意” (i), refers to the mind and the will. The third character, “霊” (rei), refers to the spirit, soul, or essence of a person. Together, these three kanji characters represent the complexity and depth of the concept of heart in Japanese culture.

It is important to note that the Japanese word “kokoro” is not a direct translation of the English word “heart.” While both words refer to the physical organ that pumps blood around the body, “kokoro” encompasses a much broader range of meanings and is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and tradition.

Pronouncing Heart in Japanese

Learning how to pronounce heart in Japanese can be a bit tricky for non-native speakers. Fortunately, with a bit of practice, you can master the correct pronunciation of the Japanese word for heart.

In Japanese, the word for heart is “kokoro” (心). The “ko” is pronounced with a short “o” sound, while the “ko” is pronounced with a long “o” sound. The “ro” is pronounced with a strong “r” sound, similar to the “r” sound in Spanish or Italian.

When writing the Japanese word for heart, it is important to remember that it is composed of two kanji characters. The first character (心) represents the heart, while the second character (臓) represents the internal organs.

To help you perfect your pronunciation of “kokoro,” try practicing with a native speaker or a language app that provides audio examples.

With practice, you’ll soon be able to confidently say “kokoro” and communicate effectively in Japanese.

Translating Heart in Different Contexts

As with many Japanese words, the translation of “heart” can vary depending on the context in which it is used. Let’s explore some of the different translations of “heart” in Japanese.

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Japanese Term for Heart Saying Heart in Japanese
心臓 (shinzō) This is the most common translation of “heart” and refers specifically to the physical organ. Use this term when discussing medical or biological topics.
心 (kokoro) This term refers to the emotional or spiritual heart, and is often used in poetry or literature to convey deep emotions.
心底 (shinsoko) This phrase means “from the bottom of my heart” and conveys a strong sense of sincerity.
愛 (ai) While not a direct translation of “heart”, this term means “love” and is often used to express affection or a strong emotional connection.

When choosing which term to use, consider the context in which it will be used and the tone you wish to convey. Mixing up the translations could lead to confusion or misunderstandings.

Cultural Significance of Heart in Japan

In Japanese culture, the heart is not just viewed as a vital organ that pumps blood. It has a deeper meaning that reflects a person’s emotions, spirit, and character. The Japanese word for heart is “kokoro,” and it is used to refer to a variety of things that go beyond the physical organ.

The meaning of kokoro encompasses emotions such as love, courage, and kindness, as well as the essence of a person’s being, including their personality, thoughts, and feelings. It is a broad term that can be used to describe a person’s state of mind or their intentions.

The Concept of “Ma”

In Japanese culture, there is a concept called “ma,” which is a feeling of spaciousness and openness that allows for the free flow of thoughts and emotions. The idea of ma is closely tied to the concept of kokoro, as it is believed that the heart must be open and receptive to experience the fullness of ma.

Ma can be experienced in a variety of contexts, such as in music, art, and even conversation. It is a concept that reflects the Japanese cultural value of harmony and interconnectedness, which is seen as essential in maintaining social order and balance.

The Role of the Heart in Japanese Literature

The concept of kokoro holds great significance in Japanese literature, particularly in the works of the famous author Natsume Soseki. Soseki’s novel, “Kokoro,” explores the complexities of the human heart and the challenges of navigating relationships in a changing world.

Through his character’s experiences, Soseki highlights the importance of understanding one’s own kokoro and the kokoro of others in order to form meaningful connections and live a fulfilling life.

Other Important Japanese Phrases Related to Heart

While the word for heart in Japanese is important to know, there are other related phrases that can also be useful to learn. Here are some of the most common:

Japanese Romaji English Translation
心臓 shinzou heart (anatomical)
心理 shinri psychology
心配 shinpai worry
ai love
koi romantic love
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The term “shinzou” is specifically used to refer to the anatomical heart, while “kokoro” is used more broadly to refer to the emotional and spiritual heart. “Shinri” relates to the study of the mind and behavior, while “shinpai” is used to express worry or concern.

“Ai” is a commonly used term for love in general, while “koi” specifically refers to romantic love. These terms are often used in Japanese literature, films, and music.

Using these Phrases

Just like “kokoro,” these phrases can often be used in different contexts and have nuanced meanings. It’s important to understand the context in which they are being used to fully grasp their meaning.

For example, “koi” is used in the context of romantic love, but it can also be used in the context of a passionate interest in something, like a hobby or career.

Similarly, “shinpai” can be used to express a genuine concern for someone’s well-being, or it can be used in a more casual sense to express something like “don’t worry about it.”

Overall, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of these related phrases in addition to knowing how to say “kokoro” when communicating in Japanese.


Congratulations! You have successfully learned how to say heart in Japanese with the help of our detailed guide. Now, you can confidently use the Japanese word for heart in different contexts.

Remember, the Japanese word for heart is “kokoro” and it is written as “心” in Japanese writing. You also learned how to pronounce it correctly, and the cultural significance of the word in Japan.

Additionally, we provided you with some other important Japanese phrases related to heart such as “ai” (love) and “shinjiru” (to believe). Keep exploring the Japanese language and culture to expand your knowledge-base and enhance your communication skills.

We hope this guide was useful for you. Keep practicing and have fun learning Japanese!


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

A: The word for “heart” in Japanese is “kokoro” (こころ).

Q: Can you provide the Japanese writing for “heart”?

A: The kanji characters for “heart” in Japanese are 心.

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

A: The pronunciation of “heart” in Japanese is “ko-ko-ro”.

Q: What are other Japanese terms or phrases related to “heart”?

A: Some other Japanese terms or phrases related to “heart” include “love” (ai 愛), “compassion” (jihi 慈悲), and “empathy” (kyōkan 共感).

Q: Is there any cultural significance associated with the concept of “heart” in Japan?

A: Yes, the heart is often considered the core of a person’s emotions and inner self in Japanese culture. It is associated with feelings of love, sincerity, and the essence of humanity.

Q: Are there any other important Japanese phrases related to the heart?

A: Some other important Japanese phrases related to the heart include “broken heart” (kokoro o kowasu 心を壊す), “pure heart” (junshin no kokoro 純真の心), and “open heart” (kokoro o hiraite 心を開いて).

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