Speak Like Goku! 9 Japanese Phrases from Anime to Get By In Japan
It’s often said that Japanese is one of the most difficult languages in the world. But is it true?
Well, we are not gonna lie. Mastering the Japanese language may take years of dedication and practice. But there is one thing that will definitely help your learning process: Motivation.
How can you stay motivated, then, while learning one of the most challenging languages on Earth? Easy. By finding things you love to do in and with the language.
Think about Japanese animation, for example, which combines inventive storytelling with striking visuals. Wouldn’t it be much more motivating to learn Japanese phrases with anime than with boring textbooks?
We thought so. That is why we have compiled a list of words and expressions from Japanese animated movies and shows that you’ll want to remember.
Nope, you don’t have to worry about sounding ‘too anime’. We’ve got you covered on that front. We have chosen everyday phrases that you can actually use at the workplace or when talking to new friends.
Let’s get started!
Does this one sound familiar? We wouldn’t be surprised if it did. Japanese phrases from anime are usually a bit dramatic and over the top. But, hey! Who doesn’t need a little help once in a while?
You don’t need to be Luffy from One Piece to use this one. You don’t even need to scream it at the top of your lungs as he does.
Imagine, instead, that you are on holiday in Tokyo and you need to find your way to your hostel. Or that it’s your first day at a Japanese company and you need help with difficult paperwork. No matter what context you find yourself in, we can assure you Tasukete kure will come in handy.
This is another one of Luffy’s most iconic lines, and it’s one you can use for making promises (especially after screwing things up!)
Whether you’re talking to a boss or to a (former?) partner, you can use this phrase to show them that you’re willing to do better.
This is one of the most classic Japanese phrases from anime. In Naruto, where there are ninjas running everywhere threatening to kill each other, it’s common to hear a character asking his opponent to take things down a notch.
This is an extremely versatile expression that you can use in your daily life in Japan. Whether you need to slow things down when an argument gets out of control or you simply need someone to stop talking and repeat what they’ve just said, Chotto matte is a real lifesaver.
Light Yagami says this phrase to Ryuk while they’re both in a rush to fight the bad guys and save the day. But again, this is such a versatile expression that you don’t need to feel particularly heroic to say it.
It is true that, in certain contexts, it might have an urgent or even aggressive connotation. But saying Ikuzo! might simply mean that you’re excited to go somewhere. Imagine, for example, that you and your sister have tickets to see an AKB48 concert but you’re about to be late because she’s been in the bathroom for the last hour making sure her make-up looks okay.
Say Ikuzo! in an authoritative tone to let her know you mean business. If it doesn’t work, just grab her by the arm and get going! (You see, Japanese phrases from anime shows are helpful but not infallible!)
Few things in life are sadder than a good Ghibli drama. In this 2014 film, 12-year-old Anna is sent to stay with relatives in the Japanese countryside due to her asthma. There, she meets a mysterious blonde girl named Marnie, but their friendship is disturbed by a secret.
We’re not going to spoil the film, but the reason why Anna says this phrase is truly heartbreaking.
Of course, you don’t need to have your heart broken to say this one in real life. Like most Japanese phrases in anime films, it will actually need to be toned down if you don’t want to sound overly dramatic.
Having said this, this is a great expression to use when somebody apologizes to you after having made a mistake at the workplace or in any other context.
6. “This place feels like home” – この場所は家のように感じます – Kono basho wa ie no yō ni kanjimasu (from Akage No Anne)
Before Anne with an E came Akage No Anne. Adapted from the 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery. Anne is an orphan red-head who is accidentally sent to Miss Marilla Cuthbert and Mr. Matt Cuthbert. Although they had requested a boy, the two siblings decide to keep the child and she soon becomes an irreplaceable member of their family.
Looking for Japanese phrases from anime to express how comfortable you feel at your new job? Say Kono basho wa ie no yō ni kanjimasu so people know how happy you truly feel.
“Goku, Shikkari Shiro! (get a grip!) You’re gonna need more than strength to defeat this guy”.
Really, who doesn’t love Dragon Ball? (Okay, apart from your mom!) When one thinks about famous Japanese phrases from anime, no show is more iconic than Dragon Ball.
As you can tell from the scene above, Shikkari Shiro is an expression that people use to encourage (or force!) others to regain their self-control. Whether your friend is drinking a lot, hitting on every guy, or ugly-crying in front of her crush, you can use this phrase to urge her to come back to her senses.
You can also use Shikkari Shiro as a mantra to calm yourself down after you’ve had an ugly argument at work or things didn’t go as expected.
You can’t be an anime hero (or heroine) if you haven’t mastered this expression. In anime, perseverance and bravery in the face of adversity are the most essential characteristics in our most beloved characters.
If you’re looking for motivational Japanese phrases from anime, Zettai Akiramenai should do the trick. You can use it for an upcoming exam, for job opportunities, or even at a food challenge (okay, maybe that’s more American than Japanese, but you get the idea!).
If you’re over 40, here’s one you’ll know (finally!). This beautiful anime follows the childhood “adventures” of a girl named Heidi, who lives somewhere in the Alps with her beloved grandfather. Given Heidi’s idyllic existence, it’s no wonder that she repeats this phrase over and over.
Whether you are in Japan for pleasure or business, there will surely be plenty of times when you’ll feel your heart about to explode from happiness. When that happens, turn to whoever is close to you and say Dekiru kagiri shiawase desu. They might look at you like you’re crazy, but who cares about that when one feels that happy?
Are you planning to travel to Japan? With these Japanese phrases from anime, you are ready to go.
If you feel you need further practice, however, don’t hesitate to explore our online courses. Taught by native speakers who also happen to be fully qualified teachers, our tailor-made lessons will help you improve your fluency much faster than you might have thought possible.
Send us a quick inquiry now and we’ll get back to you within a business day with more info. You can also check your current level by taking a free Japanese language test! If you like Japanese films and TV as much as we do, you probably know more Japanese phrases from anime than you thought!