Let's talk about colors in Japanese


Let's talk about colors in Japanese


Color in Japanese is いろ ().


In Japan, the standard colors are Black, Red, Blue, White, and Yellow. These colors have the 'i-adjectives'.


Like most non-English speaking countries, Japanese also have English loan words for color. These loan words are written in Katakana.


Listed below are the noun words of each color:


Primary colors (原色):


Red - あか / レッド

Yellow - きいろ / イエロー

Blue - あお / ブルー


Secondary Colors (二次色):

Green - みどり / グリーン

Purple - むらさき / パープル

Orange - だいだいいろ / オレンジ


Blue and Green were the same Kanji (あお) before (みどり) word entered Japan during Heian Period and that time みどり was considered as the shade of blue. あお was used to describe certain 'green' things like vegetables and apples.  The traffic light 'green' that signals one 'to go' is referred to as あお even though the Japanese know that it is green. So, don't get confused when a Japanese says 青信号 (あおしんごう) meaning green light.


Neutral Colors:


White - しろ / ホワイト

Black - くろ / ブラック

Brown - ちゃいろ / ブラウン

Grey - はいいろ / グレー


Other Colors:

Pink - ももいろ / ピンク

Sakura (Light Pink) - さくらいろ

Sky Blueそらいろ / スカイブルー

Light Blueみずいろ / ライトブルー

Beige - ベージュ

Gold - きんいろ / ゴールド

Silver - ぎんいろ / シルバー

Turquoise - ターコイズ

Bronze - せいどういろ / ブロンズ

Copper - あかがねいろ



Rainbow colors in Japanese is (虹色).

The Japanese for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue are listed above.

Indigo - あいいろ / インジゴ 

Violet - むらさき / バイオレット


Violet and Purple have the same Japanese Kanji. Purple is the combination of red and blue, or violet lights. I am not an expert in colors but for some both Violet and Purple are perceived as the same.

Though the Violet color can also be translated to すみれいろ.


The ‘i-adjectives’ for standard colors:


くろ is the noun word for Black. くろい is the adjective of Black.

あか is for the noun of Red while its adjective is あかい.

あお as the noun word for blue. It becomes あおい if it's used as adjectives.

しろ becomes しろい if it is used as the adjective of white.

きいろ is the noun while きいろい is the adjective of Yellow.

If you want to learn my previous post, you can check it through the link below:

>> Reviewing Kanji

>> 【Spanish Lesson #3】Vocabularies

>> Different Jobs in Japanese