Mastering Japanese: Learn How to Say Short in Japanese

If you’re looking to improve your Japanese language skills, expanding your vocabulary is a great place to start. In this section, we will explore different ways to say “short” in Japanese. Understanding these phrases will not only add to your language proficiency but also aid in your daily conversations with Japanese speakers. We will cover basic phrases, the Japanese word for short, alternate vocabulary, Japanese phrases related to shortness, and recap with practical exercises for you to master these phrases.

By the end of this article, you will know how to say short in Japanese, the Japanese word for short, and express short in Japanese in various ways. So, let’s get started!

How to Say Short in Japanese: Basic Phrases

When learning a new language, it’s essential to start with the basics. In this section, we’ll explore some basic phrases that will help you express “short” in Japanese.

1. Height and Length

When describing the height or length of an object or person, you can use the word “mijikai” (短い) to mean “short”. For example:

English Japanese Romaji
She is short. 彼女は背が低いです。 Kanojo wa se ga hikui desu.
This book is short. この本は短いです。 Kono hon wa mijikai desu.

It’s important to note that when describing the height of a person, you can also use the word “hikui” (低い) to mean “short”.

2. Size

When describing the size of an object, you can use the word “chiisai” (小さい) to mean “small”. However, if the object is short in length or height, you can also use the word “mijikai” (短い) to mean “short”. For example:

English Japanese Romaji
This shirt is small. このシャツは小さいです。 Kono shatsu wa chiisai desu.
This pencil is short. この鉛筆は短いです。 Kono enpitsu wa mijikai desu.

3. Pronunciation

The word “mijikai” (短い) is pronounced as “mee-jee-ka-ee”. When pronouncing this word, make sure to accentuate the second syllable.

Now that you know the basic phrases for expressing “short” in Japanese, you can start incorporating them into your conversations. Practice these phrases with a Japanese friend or tutor and watch your language skills improve!

Japanese Word for Short: 短い (mijikai)

In Japanese, the word for “short” is 短い (mijikai), which can also be translated as “brief” or “short-lived.” It is a commonly used adjective that can be combined with other words to describe various objects or situations.

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For example, you could use 短い (mijikai) to describe a short distance or a short amount of time. To say “short distance” in Japanese, you would say 短い距離 (mijikai kyori), while “short time” is expressed as 短い時間 (mijikai jikan).

You could also use 短い (mijikai) to describe someone’s height. To say “short person” in Japanese, you would say 短い人 (mijikai hito).

In addition to these examples, 短い (mijikai) can be used in a variety of other contexts as well. It is a versatile word that can help you express yourself in Japanese more accurately and precisely.

Expressing Short in Japanese: Alternate Vocabulary

In addition to 短い (mijikai), there are other words and phrases you can use to express “short” in Japanese.

Japanese Word/Phrase Translation
小さい (chiisai) Small
低い (hikui) Low
短め (mijikame) Short-ish
小柄 (kogara) Petite

Remember to use the appropriate word or phrase depending on the context. For example, if you’re describing a small object, you would use 小さい (chiisai). If you’re talking about a person’s height, you might use 低い (hikui) to describe someone as being short.

Here are some sample sentences to help you practice:

  • 彼女は小柄だけど、とてもかわいいです。(Kanojo wa kogara dakedo, totemo kawaii desu.) – She’s petite but very cute.
  • このテーブルは短めですね。(Kono teeburu wa mijikame desu ne.) – This table is kind of short.
  • あの男性は低いです。(Ano dansei wa hikui desu.) – That man is short.

By incorporating these alternate vocabulary words, you’ll be able to express “short” in Japanese in a more nuanced and varied way.

Japanese Phrases Related to Shortness

Expanding your Japanese vocabulary beyond just the basic phrases to express “short” can help you better describe physical characteristics, clothing sizes, and more. Here are some additional Japanese phrases related to shortness:

Japanese Term/Phrase Japanese Translation English Translation
背が低い せがひくい Short statured
小さい ちいさい Small
短め みじかめ Somewhat short
短めの言葉 みじかめのことば Brief/concise words

By incorporating these phrases into your conversations, you can add nuances to your language skills and better convey your ideas. For example, instead of just describing someone as “short,” you can use the phrase “背が低い” to specifically refer to their short stature.

Recap and Practice

Congratulations! You’ve just learned how to say “short” in Japanese. Let’s recap what we’ve covered so far and provide some practice exercises to help you sharpen your Japanese language skills.

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In this article, we’ve explored various ways to express “short” in Japanese. We started with basic phrases to describe the height, length, or size of objects or people. We then introduced the Japanese word for “short,” 短い (mijikai), and showed its usage in different contexts. Next, we provided alternative vocabulary for expressing “short” and explored Japanese phrases related to shortness.


Here are some practice exercises to help you apply what you’ve learned:

  1. Use the basic phrases you’ve learned to describe the height and size of objects or people around you.
  2. Try to incorporate 短い (mijikai) into your conversations. For example, you can use it to describe a short book or a short trip.
  3. Use the alternative vocabulary you’ve learned to add variety to your language skills. For example, try to describe someone as “petit” or “compact.”
  4. Practice using Japanese phrases related to shortness in different contexts. For example, use them to describe a short haircut or summarize a conversation concisely.

By practicing these exercises, you’ll become more confident in using Japanese to describe height, length, or size. Keep in mind that repetition is key to mastering a language, so don’t be afraid to practice these phrases until they become second nature.


Q: Can I use the word “mijikai” to describe a short person?

A: Yes, the word “mijikai” can be used to describe a short person in Japanese.

Q: Are there any other words or phrases I can use to express “short” in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are alternative vocabulary options to express “short” in Japanese. Some examples include “hikui,” “takai mono ni chikai,” or “chisai.”

Q: How do I pronounce the word “mijikai”?

A: The word “mijikai” is pronounced as “mee-jee-kai” in Japanese.

Q: Can you provide examples of Japanese phrases related to shortness?

A: Sure, here are some examples: “Ano hito wa takai mono ni chikai,” which means “That person is short in comparison to tall people,” or “Kanari chisai neko desu ne,” which translates to “It’s a quite small cat, isn’t it?”

Q: How can I practice and reinforce my understanding of these Japanese phrases?

A: In the final section, “Recap and Practice,” we provide exercises and conversation examples to help you practice and reinforce your understanding of how to say “short” in Japanese.

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