Mastering the Phrase: How to Say Sick in Japanese

When you find yourself feeling unwell while in Japan, it’s important to know how to express your symptoms and seek appropriate medical assistance. In this section, we will provide you with useful information on how to say “sick” in Japanese and various expressions related to sickness in the Japanese language.

Firstly, the Japanese word for sick is “病気” (byouki), which can be used to describe a wide range of illnesses or discomforts. However, there are also various other words and phrases that can be used to express sickness in Japanese, depending on the specific symptoms or context.

By mastering these expressions and understanding the nuances of the Japanese language, you will be able to effectively communicate your health needs and navigate medical situations in Japan. So, let’s dive into the different ways of expressing sickness in the Japanese language.

Understanding the Japanese Word for Sick

Now that you understand the different ways to say “sick” in Japanese, let’s dive deeper into the actual Japanese word for sick and its nuances.

The Japanese word for sick is “病気” (byouki). This word is commonly used to describe a variety of sicknesses or ailments.

If you want to describe feeling sick in Japanese, you can use the phrase “具合が悪い” (guai ga warui). This phrase can be translated to “feeling unwell” or “not feeling well.” It’s a more general expression and can be applied to a wide range of discomfort or illness.

If you want to specifically say “I am sick” in Japanese, you can use the phrase “私は病気です” (watashi wa byouki desu). This phrase directly translates to “I am sick” and can be used to communicate your illness to others.

There are also other Japanese words that can be used to describe being ill, such as “具合が悪くなる” (guai ga waruku naru) which means “to become ill” or “体調が悪い” (taichou ga warui) which means “poor physical condition”.

By understanding these different ways to describe sickness in Japanese, you can better communicate your health needs and concerns to others.

Common Expressions for Sickness in Japanese

Now that you know the Japanese word for sick, it’s time to learn some common expressions used to talk about sickness in Japanese. These phrases will come in handy if you’re feeling ill or need to communicate with a doctor or pharmacist. Let’s take a look at some useful sick phrases in Japanese.

Japanese English Translation
病気です I’m sick
具合が悪いです I don’t feel well
頭痛がする I have a headache
吐き気がする I feel nauseous
腹痛がする I have stomachache
風邪を引いた I caught a cold
インフルエンザにかかった I have the flu

These expressions will allow you to communicate common symptoms to others. It’s important to note that Japanese has a wide range of vocabulary when it comes to talking about sickness, so it’s always good to ask a native speaker of the language if you’re not sure which word to use.

In the next section, we will focus on seeking medical help in Japanese, including phrases to use when speaking with a doctor or nurse.

Seeking Medical Help in Japanese

When traveling in Japan, it’s important to know how to seek medical help if needed. Here are some Japanese phrases you can use when seeing a doctor:

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Japanese Romaji English Translation
けがをしました Kega wo shimashita I am injured
病気です Byouki desu I am sick
熱があります Netsu ga arimasu I have a fever
頭痛がします Zutsuu ga shimasu I have a headache
薬が必要です Kusuri ga hitsuyou desu I need medicine
医者に診てもらいたいです isha ni mite moraitai desu I want to see a doctor

It’s important to note that in Japan, it’s common to visit a clinic or hospital for minor illnesses as well as more serious conditions. If you are unsure of where to go, ask locals or hotel staff for recommendations.

Additionally, it’s helpful to bring any necessary medication or a list of allergies and medical conditions with you when seeking medical help in Japan. This will ensure that doctors and medical professionals have all the information they need to provide appropriate treatment.

Cultural Considerations When Discussing Sickness

When discussing sickness in Japan, it is important to consider the cultural nuances and etiquette that come with it. Japanese society places emphasis on harmony and avoiding confrontation, which may impact how individuals communicate their illness or discomfort.

It is common for Japanese individuals to downplay their illnesses and prioritize the group’s well-being over their personal needs. Therefore, it is important to be respectful and understanding of this cultural norm when discussing sickness in Japan.

When communicating your illness or discomfort, it is recommended to do so in a calm and non-confrontational manner. It is also important to use modest language and avoid exaggerating your symptoms to not come across as seeking attention or sympathy.

In a formal setting, such as the workplace, it may be appropriate to inform your supervisor or colleagues of your sickness as a courtesy. However, it is important to respect their boundaries and avoid spreading contagious illnesses.

On the other hand, seeking medical assistance in Japan may require more direct communication. It is recommended to prepare a list of symptoms and use clear, concise language when explaining your condition to a doctor or healthcare provider.

Overall, understanding and respecting Japanese cultural norms when discussing sickness can enhance communication and avoid misunderstandings. By being mindful of etiquette and using appropriate language, you can effectively communicate your health needs in Japan.

Other Useful Vocabulary Related to Sickness

Expanding your knowledge of vocabulary related to sickness in Japanese will not only help you communicate effectively, but also demonstrate your understanding of the language.

Japanese Romaji English Translation
痛み Itami Pain
発熱 Hatsunetsu Fever
嘔吐 Outo Vomiting
下痢 Geru Diarrhea
せき Seki Cough

These are just a few examples of useful vocabulary for sickness in Japanese. Incorporating them into your conversations can make a big difference in your ability to communicate your symptoms and needs in a medical or everyday setting.

Practicing Sickness Expressions in Japanese

One effective way to solidify your understanding of sickness expressions in Japanese is to practice using them in real-life scenarios. Role-playing different situations can help you feel more confident and prepared when communicating with locals in Japan.

Here are a few examples of scenarios you can practice:

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Scenario Sickness Expression to Practice
You wake up feeling ill “Kibun ga warui desu” (気分が悪いです), which means “I feel sick.”
You need to describe your symptoms to a doctor “Itai” (痛い), which means “It hurts,” or “netsu ga aru” (熱がある), which means “I have a fever.”
You want to ask for medication at a pharmacy “Kusuri o onegaishimasu” (薬をお願いします), which means “I would like medicine.”

By role-playing these scenarios and using the appropriate sickness expressions in Japanese, you can build your confidence and fluency in the language.

Conclusion: Summarizing Sickness Expressions in Japanese

In this article, you have learned various ways to say “sick” in Japanese and how to describe feeling sick using different terms. From common expressions for sickness to seeking medical help in Japanese, you have gained valuable insights into navigating a medical situation in a foreign language. Additionally, we have discussed cultural considerations when discussing sickness in Japan and provided useful vocabulary related to sickness in Japanese.

By practicing sickness expressions and using role-playing scenarios, you have expanded your knowledge and gained confidence in interacting with locals in Japan. It is important to remember that mastering the phrase “how to say sick in Japanese” requires continuous effort and practice, but with the resources provided in this article, you are well-equipped to communicate effectively in Japan.

In summary, expressing sickness in Japanese may seem challenging at first, but with the right vocabulary and cultural awareness, you can navigate a medical situation with ease. Remember to be patient, confident, and respectful when communicating with Japanese locals regarding your health.


Q: Can you provide examples of common sickness expressions in Japanese?

A: Yes, here are a few examples:

– “Byouki desu” (I am sick/ill)

– “Karada ga itai” (My body hurts)

– “Yakedo ga arimasu” (I have a burn)

– “Kaze o hiku” (To catch a cold)

Q: How do you say “sick” in Japanese?

A: The word for “sick” in Japanese is “byouki.”

Q: What are some useful Japanese words for symptoms?

A: Here are a few commonly used words for symptoms in Japanese:

– “Itai” (Painful)

– “Kurushii” (Uncomfortable)

– “Hareru” (To have a fever)

– “Hanasu koto ga dekinai” (Unable to speak)

Q: How do you ask for assistance when feeling sick in Japanese?

A: To ask for assistance when feeling sick in Japanese, you can say:

– “Otasuke o onegaishimasu” (Please help me)

– “Kusuri o kudasai” (Please give me medicine)

– “Byouin ni tsurete itte kudasai” (Please take me to the hospital)

Q: What are some cultural considerations when discussing sickness in Japan?

A: When discussing sickness in Japan, it is important to:

– Use appropriate language and tone

– Avoid discussing personal medical details in public

– Consider the hierarchical nature of Japanese society

Q: How can I practice using sickness expressions in Japanese?

A: You can practice using sickness expressions in Japanese by:

– Role-playing scenarios with a language partner

– Listening to and repeating dialogue in language learning resources

– Using the expressions in real-life situations while in Japan

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