Master How to Say Mean in Japanese – A Friendly Guide

Learning a new language can be challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Whether you’re planning a trip to Japan or simply have an interest in the language, knowing how to say “mean” in Japanese is a useful skill. In this section, we’ve got you covered with a comprehensive guide on how to express the concept of being mean or find the translation for the word “mean” in Japanese.

Our guide will take you from the basics to more advanced expressions. It’s essential to understand the nuances of the Japanese language to communicate effectively. We’ve included tips on how to express the concept of being mean in a culturally appropriate manner. You’ll learn how to pronounce the word “mean” in Japanese and gain a deeper understanding of its cultural significance.

So, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, our guide will provide you with a range of options to effectively communicate the concept of “mean” in Japanese. Let’s get started!

Understanding the Concept of “Mean” in Japanese

Before learning how to say “mean” in Japanese, it’s important to understand the different nuances and cultural significance of the word.

The Japanese language has a variety of words and expressions that can mean “mean” in English. However, these words can have different connotations and shades of meaning.

Depending on the context, you may use different words to convey the same concept. For example, the word “ikimono” (いきもの) literally means “living thing” but can also be used to describe someone who is mean or selfish.

Additionally, the Japanese language places a lot of importance on social harmony and avoiding confrontation. Therefore, expressing the idea of being mean may be approached differently in Japanese compared to English.

When it comes to pronunciation, the word “mean” is often transliterated into Japanese as “min” (ミン). This pronunciation is commonly used in loanwords and borrowed expressions in Japanese.

Translating “Mean” in Japanese

When it comes to the Japanese language, there are several translations for the word “mean.” The most basic and common Japanese word for mean is “tsuyoi,” which can be used in both positive and negative contexts. However, this word is more often used to describe a strong or intense personality rather than someone who is being intentionally unkind.

For a more specific term that captures the essence of being mean, the Japanese word “mazui” can be used. This word is often used to describe something unpleasant or unsavory, such as bad-tasting food or a terrible situation. It can also be used to describe someone’s personality or behavior when they are being intentionally mean or rude.

If you’re looking for a more colloquial term, the Japanese word “gyakusou” could be appropriate. This word can be used to describe someone who is acting in a mean or sneaky way, often with a hidden agenda or ulterior motive.

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Japanese Word Translation
tsuyoi strong, intense
mazui unpleasant, unsavory
gyakusou sneaky

Using the Appropriate Japanese Term for Mean

It’s important to understand the nuances of each Japanese term for “mean” to use the appropriate word in the right context. You wouldn’t want to describe a strong and capable person as “mazui,” for example, as it would be an inaccurate portrayal.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that Japanese culture values politeness and avoiding confrontation, so it may not be as common to use straightforward language to express someone’s mean behavior. Instead, more indirect phrases or expressions may be used to convey the same idea.

With these different translations in mind, you can accurately express the concept of “mean” in Japanese and effectively communicate in a culturally appropriate manner.

Expressing Being Mean in Japanese

Now that you understand the concept of “mean” in Japanese, it’s time to learn how to express the action of being mean in the language. Below, we’ve compiled a list of useful phrases, idioms, and expressions that accurately convey the idea of being mean in different contexts.

Basic Phrases

If you’re looking for simple and straightforward ways to express being mean in Japanese, these basic phrases will come in handy:

Japanese English Translation
意地悪する to be mean
ひどい cruel
冷酷な heartless

Idioms and Expressions

Idioms and expressions are a great way to add flavor to your language and convey a more nuanced meaning. Here are some popular Japanese idioms and expressions that express being mean:

Japanese English Translation
毒を吐く to spew poison
悪口を言う to speak ill of someone
人の噂も七十五日 gossip lasts only 75 days

Remember that in Japanese culture, it’s important to be respectful and polite, even when expressing negative emotions. These idioms and expressions are best used in informal situations with close friends or family members.

Cultural Considerations

It’s important to keep in mind that expressions of meanness in Japanese may differ from those in Western cultures. In Japan, there is a strong emphasis on group harmony, and being mean or confrontational is generally discouraged. Therefore, it’s important to choose your words carefully and consider the social context when expressing being mean in Japanese.

Now that you have a better understanding of how to express being mean in Japanese, continue practicing and incorporating these phrases and expressions into your language skills. With time and dedication, you’ll be able to master the language and communicate effectively in a variety of contexts.

Progressing Towards Japanese Fluency

Congratulations! You now know how to say “mean” in Japanese. But learning a new language is more than just mastering a single word. To truly become fluent in Japanese, it’s important to continue practicing and immersing yourself in the language. Here are some tips and resources to help you progress:

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1. Practice, practice, practice

The key to language learning is practice. Try to incorporate Japanese into your daily life as much as possible. Watch Japanese shows or movies, read Japanese books or news articles, or listen to Japanese music or podcasts. Practice speaking and writing in Japanese with a tutor or language partner. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with the language.

2. Take classes

Consider taking formal classes in Japanese to deepen your understanding of the language. This can be done in-person or online. Look for classes that are taught by native speakers and focus on conversational skills.

3. Use language learning apps

There are many language learning apps available that can help supplement your learning. Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and Memrise are popular options for learning Japanese. These apps offer interactive lessons and games designed to make learning fun and engaging.

4. Join a language exchange program

A language exchange program can be a great way to practice speaking and writing in Japanese with native speakers. These programs typically pair you with a language partner who is also learning your native language. You can practice speaking and writing with each other in a low-pressure and supportive environment.

By following these tips and utilizing these resources, you’ll be well on your way to becoming fluent in Japanese. Keep practicing and immersing yourself in the language, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learning a new language is a journey, so enjoy the process!


Q: How do you say “mean” in Japanese?

A: The word for “mean” in Japanese is “意地悪” (ijiwaru).

Q: How do you pronounce “ijiwaru”?

A: “Ijiwaru” is pronounced as “ee-jee-wah-roo” in English.

Q: Are there any other words for “mean” in Japanese?

A: Yes, besides “ijiwaru,” you can also use “わるい” (warui) or “ひどい” (hidoi) to express the concept of being mean in Japanese.

Q: Can you provide some phrases or expressions for being mean in Japanese?

A: Sure! Here are a few examples:
“人をいじめる” (hito o ijimeru) which means “to bully someone”
“冷たい態度を取る” (tsumetai taido o toru) which means “to adopt a cold attitude”
“意地を張る” (iji o haru) which means “to be stubborn”

Q: How can I further improve my Japanese language skills?

A: To progress towards Japanese fluency, we recommend practicing regularly, immersing yourself in Japanese culture, and using resources such as language exchange programs, online courses, and Japanese media like books, TV shows, and movies. Consistent effort and dedication will help you become fluent in Japanese.

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