Mastering ‘However’ in Japanese: A How-To Guide

Are you struggling to express the word ‘however’ in Japanese? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many learners find it challenging to use this word accurately in Japanese language. But with the right guidance and practice exercises, you can master it.

In this guide, we will walk you through the concept of ‘however’ in Japanese and provide you with various translations and tips to help you express it appropriately. By the end of this guide, you will be equipped with the knowledge and resources to confidently use ‘however’ in Japanese.

So, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, keep reading to discover ways to say ‘however’ in Japanese and expand your Japanese vocabulary.

Let’s get started!

Understanding the Concept of ‘However’ in Japanese

As you begin to learn Japanese, you may come across the word ‘however’ and wonder how to express it in this new language. Understanding the concept of ‘however’ in Japanese is important as it is a word that is frequently used in conversation and writing.

Firstly, it’s important to note that there isn’t an exact equivalent of ‘however’ in Japanese. Instead, there are several words and phrases that can convey a similar meaning, depending on the context and intention of the speaker or writer.

Word/Phrase Meaning
しかし (shikashi) However; but; still
それでも (sore demo) However; nevertheless
ところが (tokoro ga) However; on the other hand
反面 (hanmen) On the other hand; conversely

As you can see from this table, there are multiple options for expressing ‘however’ in Japanese, and it’s important to choose the appropriate word based on the context in which it’s being used.

Additionally, the placement of these words within a sentence can affect their meaning and emphasis. For example, using ‘shikashi’ at the beginning of a sentence can indicate contrast with the previous sentence, while placing it after a statement can soften the impact of the contrast.

Overall, mastering the concept of ‘however’ in Japanese requires not only an understanding of the words and phrases that can express it, but also an awareness of the context and intention behind their usage. In the following sections, we will explore these nuances in more detail and provide tips for using ‘however’ accurately and effectively.

Common Translations of ‘However’ in Japanese

Now that you understand the concept of ‘however’ in Japanese, let’s explore some common translations of the word.

Word/Phrase Pronunciation Meaning
しかしながら shi-ka-shi-na-ga-ra This is a more formal way of saying ‘however’ and is commonly used in written Japanese. It can also be used in speech, but may sound a bit too formal.
でも de-mo This is a more casual and commonly used way of saying ‘however’. It can be used in both written and spoken Japanese.
しかし shi-ka-shi This is a more formal and stronger way of saying ‘however’. It is commonly used in written Japanese and may sound too formal in speech.

Keep in mind that these are not the only ways to express ‘however’ in Japanese, but they are some of the most commonly used ones. Depending on the context, other words and phrases may be more appropriate.

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When expressing ‘however’ in Japanese, it’s important to consider the level of formality required in the situation. Using a more formal word in a casual setting may sound out of place, while using a more casual word in a formal setting may come across as rude or disrespectful.

Now that you know some common translations of ‘however’ in Japanese, let’s move on to discussing the nuances and usage tips for the word in the next section.

Nuances and Usage Tips for ‘However’ in Japanese

Now that you have a better understanding of the concept of ‘however’ in Japanese, it’s important to delve into the nuances and subtleties of using the word correctly. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Pay Attention to Context

As with any language, context is important when using ‘however’ in Japanese. The way the word is used can vary depending on the situation. For example, if you want to express a contrast between two ideas, you might use the word “shikashi” (しかし), which is similar to the English word ‘but’. On the other hand, if you want to indicate a condition or restriction, you might use “tatoeba” (例えば), which means ‘for example’.

It’s crucial to pay attention to the context in which the word is being used to choose the appropriate Japanese translation of ‘however’.

Use Appropriate Verb Forms

In Japanese, the form of the verb can change depending on the context and the tense. When using ‘however’ in combination with verbs, it’s important to choose the appropriate verb form.

For example, if you want to express that something ‘will’ happen regardless of a particular situation, you might use the verb “de mo” (でも) in combination with the future tense of the verb, such as “tsukuru” (作る) becomes “tsukurou” (作ろう)

On the other hand, if you want to express that something ‘did’ happen despite a particular situation, you might use the verb “ga” (が) in combination with the past tense of the verb, such as “taberu” (食べる) becomes “tabeta” (食べた).

Avoid Overusing ‘However’

While ‘however’ can be a useful word in English, overusing it in Japanese can come across as unnatural. Instead of using ‘however’ repeatedly, try to find other words and phrases that convey a similar meaning.

For example, you might use “demo” (でも) in combination with other words, such as “mata” (また) which means ‘also’, or “sore ni” (それに) which means ‘in addition’.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The best way to become comfortable and confident using ‘however’ in Japanese is to practice as much as possible. Try to incorporate the word into your conversations and writing, and pay attention to how native speakers use the word in different situations.

Additionally, reading and listening to Japanese media can help you become more familiar with the different contexts and nuances of the word.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to mastering ‘however’ in Japanese.

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Practice Exercises and Resources for ‘However’ in Japanese

Now that you have a better understanding of ‘however’ in Japanese, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. Here are some exercises to help you master the different ways to say ‘however’ in Japanese:

Exercise 1: Fill in the Blank

Complete the following sentences with the appropriate word or phrase:

  1. 私は雨の日、外に行きます。_______、買い物に行きます。
  2. 彼は勉強ができます。_______、テストで良い点を取れません。
  3. 彼女はとても美人です。_______、性格があまり良くありません。

Answers: 1. しかし (however)、2. しかし (however)、3. ただし (however)

Exercise 2: Conversation Practice

Practice having a conversation using ‘however’ in Japanese with a language partner or tutor. Here are some example sentences to help you get started:

You: 明日は早く起きなければなりません。(I have to wake up early tomorrow.)

Partner: しかし、夜更かししちゃったんでしょう?(But you stayed up late, right?)

You: はい、そうです。(Yes, I did.)


Here are some resources to help you expand your Japanese vocabulary and improve your language skills:

  • an online dictionary that provides translations for Japanese words and phrases
  • Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese: a comprehensive guide to learning Japanese grammar and vocabulary
  • JapanesePod101: an online learning platform with audio and video lessons for Japanese language learners of all levels

By practicing these exercises and using these resources, you can confidently use ‘however’ in various contexts in Japanese. Keep up the good work!


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

A: The most common translation for “however” in Japanese is “shikashi” (しかし). This word is often used to indicate a contrast or a shift in the direction of the conversation.

Q: Are there other ways to express “however” in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are several other words and phrases that convey a similar meaning to “however” in Japanese. Some examples include “tadashi ni” (ただしに), “demo” (でも), and “sore ni” (それに). The choice of which word to use depends on the specific context and desired emphasis.

Q: Can you provide some examples of using “however” in Japanese?

A: Sure! Here are a few examples:
– 今日は晴れです。しかし、風が強いです。(It’s sunny today. However, the wind is strong.)
– 彼は頭がいいです。しかし、勉強が嫌いです。(He is intelligent. However, he dislikes studying.)
– 私は映画が好きです。しかし、時間がありません。(I like movies. However, I don’t have time.)

Q: Are there any tips for using “however” in Japanese accurately?

A: Yes, here are a few tips:
– Pay attention to the context and the overall flow of the conversation when deciding where to use “however.”
– Be aware of the appropriate word order and sentence structure when using “however” in Japanese sentences.
– Practice using different words and phrases that convey a similar meaning to “however” to expand your vocabulary and linguistic versatility.

Q: Where can I find practice exercises and resources to improve my usage of “however” in Japanese?

A: There are various resources available online and in language learning textbooks that provide practice exercises and additional examples for using “however” in Japanese. Additionally, engaging in conversation with native Japanese speakers or joining language exchange groups can help you practice and refine your usage of “however” in natural conversations.

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