Master the Phrase: How to Say ‘Ima’ in Japanese – Quick Guide

Are you looking to enhance your Japanese language proficiency or just starting to learn the basics? Either way, it’s essential to master fundamental phrases like ‘ima.’ In this quick guide, you’ll learn how to say ‘ima’ in Japanese, its meaning, pronunciation, and usage in Japanese sentences.

The phrase ‘ima’ is used to express the concept of ‘now’ or ‘the present moment.’ This versatile word is a common feature in everyday conversations and is crucial for expressing time-related concepts in Japanese. To properly communicate in Japanese, it’s essential to master the pronunciation and usage of ‘ima.’

In this section, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to say ‘ima’ correctly, including the translation of ‘ima’ in Japanese, how to pronounce ‘ima’ in Japanese, and the Japanese word for ‘ima.’ So, let’s get started with mastering the phrase ‘ima’ in Japanese!

Understanding the Meaning of ‘Ima’ in Japanese

Before diving into the pronunciation and usage of ‘ima’ in Japanese, it’s essential to understand its meaning. In Japanese, ‘ima’ (今) translates to ‘now’ or ‘the present moment’ in English.

‘Ima’ is a frequently used word in day-to-day conversations in Japan, and it’s a critical concept for expressing time-related ideas. Knowing the meaning of ‘ima’ is particularly important for those who wish to enhance their proficiency in the Japanese language.

Romaji: ima
English Translation: now/the present moment

Be sure to keep in mind the meaning of ‘ima’ throughout the rest of this guide as we explore its pronunciation and usage in Japanese.

Pronunciation of ‘Ima’ in Japanese

Knowing how to pronounce ‘ima’ correctly in Japanese is essential for effective communication. The word has two syllables: ‘i’ and ‘ma.’

The ‘i’ is pronounced like the ‘ee’ in ‘tree,’ and the ‘ma’ is pronounced with a flat ‘a,’ similar to the ‘a’ in ‘father.’

When pronounced together, the emphasis is on the ‘i’ syllable, with a slight pause before the ‘ma’ syllable. Try saying ‘ee-ma’ with equal emphasis on each syllable at first, then gradually shift the emphasis to the ‘ee’ syllable.

Remember to keep your pronunciation clean and distinct, and avoid blending the two syllables together. With practice, you’ll be able to pronounce ‘ima’ naturally and effortlessly.

Basic Usage of ‘Ima’ in Japanese Sentences

Now that you understand the meaning and pronunciation of ‘ima,’ let’s explore its usage in Japanese sentences.

The most basic usage of ‘ima’ is to express the concept of ‘now’ or ‘the present moment.’ For example:

Japanese English Translation
いま何をしていますか? What are you doing now?
いまごはんをたべています。 I’m eating now.

‘Ima’ can also be used to express ‘currently’ or ‘at the moment.’ For example:

Japanese English Translation
わたしはいま、日本語を勉強しています。 I’m currently studying Japanese.
いまは雨が降っている。 It’s currently raining.

Using ‘Ima’ with Verbs

‘Ima’ can also be used with verbs to indicate that an action is happening ‘now’ or ‘at the moment.’ To use ‘ima’ with a verb, simply add it after the verb stem. For example:

Japanese English Translation
いま、読んでいます。 I’m reading now.
いま、書いています。 I’m writing now.

Using ‘ima’ with verbs can also be used to express ongoing actions. For example:

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Japanese English Translation
わたしはいま、日本語を勉強しています。 I’m currently studying Japanese.
いま、映画を見ています。 I’m watching a movie now.

Now that you have an understanding of the basic usage of ‘ima’ in Japanese sentences, let’s move on to more advanced usage and expressions in the next section.

Advanced Usage and Expressions with ‘Ima’ in Japanese

Now that you have a solid understanding of the basics of ‘ima’ in Japanese, let’s explore some advanced usage and expressions that can add depth and nuance to your conversations.

Idiomatic Expressions with ‘Ima’

In Japanese, ‘ima’ is often used in idiomatic expressions to convey different meanings. Here are a few examples:

Expression Meaning
Ima wo ikinuku To survive the present moment
Ima demo mada Still now, even now
Ima ni mo Even now, still

As you can see, these expressions demonstrate how ‘ima’ can be used to convey different nuances in Japanese. Incorporating them in your conversations can help you express yourself more fluently and naturally.

‘Ima’ in the Context of Japanese Culture

As with any language, understanding the cultural context in which it is used is crucial for effective communication. In Japanese culture, the concept of ‘ima’ is deeply rooted in the idea of mindfulness and being present in the moment.

Japanese Zen Buddhism, for example, emphasizes the importance of being fully present in the moment and aware of one’s surroundings. The concept of ‘ima’ reflects this idea, as it emphasizes the importance of recognizing and appreciating the present moment.

Additionally, the Japanese tea ceremony, or ‘sado,’ is an important cultural practice that emphasizes the idea of being fully present and focused in the moment. The preparation and serving of tea is done with great attention to detail and mindfulness, reflecting the importance of ‘ima’ in Japanese culture.

‘Ima’ in Literature and Poetry

Finally, ‘ima’ is widely used in Japanese literature and poetry to convey different meanings and emotions. In Japanese poetry, for example, the importance of recognizing and appreciating the present moment, as reflected in the concept of ‘ima,’ is a common theme.

Here is an example of a poem that demonstrates the use of ‘ima’ in Japanese literature:

ima ya
ima ya
kono toki ni
mono wo omou
Now, oh now
In this moment
I remember those
Who are dying

As you can see, the use of ‘ima’ in this poem emphasizes the importance of recognizing and appreciating the present moment, even in the face of difficult emotions or experiences.

By understanding the various ways ‘ima’ is used in Japanese language and culture, you can deepen your understanding and appreciation of the language, and communicate more effectively with native speakers.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Using ‘Ima’ in Japanese

As you learn how to say ‘ima’ in Japanese and incorporate it into your conversations, it’s important to be aware of common mistakes that learners often make. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that your usage of ‘ima’ is accurate and natural. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:

Mistake Correction
Using ‘ima’ to refer to time in the past or future ‘Ima’ specifically refers to the present moment, so using it to refer to the past or future can create confusion. Instead, use ‘mukashi’ for the past or ‘korekara’ for the future.
Overusing ‘ima’ While ‘ima’ is an important word in Japanese, overusing it in every sentence can come across as unnatural. Use it when it’s necessary for expressing the present moment, but don’t force it into every sentence.
Pronouncing ‘ima’ incorrectly Proper pronunciation is crucial for effective communication in Japanese. Make sure to practice the correct pronunciation of ‘ima’ to avoid confusion or miscommunication.
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By being aware of these common mistakes and making a conscious effort to avoid them, you can improve your proficiency in using ‘ima’ in Japanese conversations. Remember to continue practicing and expanding your vocabulary to enhance your communication skills.

Additional Vocabulary Related to ‘Ima’ in Japanese

Expanding your vocabulary related to ‘ima’ in Japanese can help you express time-related concepts more fluently in your conversations. Here are some additional words and phrases that are closely related to ‘ima’:

Japanese English Translation
今回 (konkai) This time
今後 (kongo) From now on
今後とも (kongo tomo) From now on
今にも (ima ni mo) Any moment now
今さっき (ima sakki) Just now

By incorporating these words and phrases into your conversations, you can provide additional context and clarity when discussing the present moment.

Practice Makes Perfect: Using ‘Ima’ in Japanese Dialogue

Now that you have a solid understanding of ‘ima’ in Japanese, it’s time to put it into practice. Here are some dialogue examples and exercises to help you incorporate ‘ima’ into your conversations.

Dialogue Examples

Example 1:

You: 今何していますか?(Ima nani shiteimasu ka?)

Friend: 私は今ゲームをしています。(Watashi wa ima geemu wo shiteimasu.)

Translation: What are you doing now? I’m playing a game now.

Example 2:

You: 今日の天気はどうですか?(Kyou no tenki wa dou desu ka?)

Friend: 今は晴れています。(Ima wa hareteimasu.)

Translation: How’s the weather today? It’s sunny now.


Exercise 1: Fill in the blank with ‘ima’.

あなたは何をしていますか?(Anata wa _____ shiteimasu ka?)

Translation: What are you doing now?

Answer: 今 (Ima)

Exercise 2: Use ‘ima’ in a sentence to express what you’re doing now.

Example: 今、日本語を勉強しています。(Ima, nihongo wo benkyou shiteimasu.)

Translation: I’m studying Japanese now.

With consistent practice, using ‘ima’ in Japanese will become more natural and effortless. Don’t be afraid to incorporate it in your daily conversations and interactions with native speakers to enhance your language proficiency.


Q: Can ‘ima’ be used to refer to future moments?

A: No, ‘ima’ specifically refers to the present moment and cannot be used to express future moments.

Q: Is ‘ima’ used in formal or informal settings?

A: ‘Ima’ is a versatile word that can be used in both formal and informal settings, depending on the context.

Q: Are there any alternative translations for ‘ima’?

A: While ‘now’ is the most common translation for ‘ima,’ it can also be translated as ‘currently’ or ‘at this moment.’

Q: Can ‘ima’ be used to express past moments?

A: No, ‘ima’ specifically refers to the present moment and cannot be used to express past moments.

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