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Using 感じ to express your feelings in Japanese

Using 感じ to express your feelings in Japanese

A lot of people seem to think that expressing your feelings in Japanese is difficult, and while it can be, there are a lot of different variations used in Japanese to express feelings. I promise it isn’t that bad!

First, let’s start with some vocabulary:


きどあいらく = human emotions (joy, anger, humor, etc)

Common Nouns: In Japanese, い-adjectives can often become nouns (高い = tall, 高さ = height). Be careful not to use adjectives on accident when you should use nouns!

  • 気持ち(きもち)feeling(s)
  • 気分(きぶん)feeling(s)/mood
  • 感情(かんじょう)emotions
  • 喜び(よろこび)delight
  • 幸せ(しあわせ)happiness
  • 怒り(いかり)anger
  • 悲しみ(かなしみ)sadness

Common Verbs: Similarly, a lot of adjectives/nouns and verbs share the same stems, but will have different endings. Be careful!

  • 喜ぶ(よろこぶ)to be delighted
  • 悲しむ(かなしむ)to be sad
  • 怒る(おこる)to be/get angry
  • 激怒する(げきどする)to be furious
  • 憤慨する(ふんがいする)to be furious

You’ll commonly see these verbs appear in て-form in order to describe a present state, such as 怒っている (to be in a state of anger) or 喜んでいる (to be in a state of delight).

Common Adjectives:

  • 嬉しい(うれしい)happy
  • 悲しい(かなしい)sad
  • 楽しい(たのしい)fun
  • 辛い(つらい)hard/tough/painful
  • きつい hard/tough
  • 凄い(すごい)wow, great
  • やばい expresses various things

When describing your own happiness, it’s more natural to use 嬉しい and not 喜んでいる. However, when describing someone else’s happiness, you should use 喜んでいる and not 嬉しい.

辛い(辛い)and 辛い(からい)look the exact same, but one means “tough” and the other means “spicy.” Pay attention to context!

Expressing your emotions

When describing your own emotions, it’s actually quite uncommon to use any first person pronouns (such as 私) unless the subject is not at all clear. Likely, though, the subject is you and the listener knows this.

Joy & Happiness

あ〜、嬉しいな!ー I’m happy!  な is often used in Japanese when expressing your feelings  あ, ああ, and あー are also often used やった〜!ー Yay! イェーイ!ー Yaaay! 楽しい!ー Fun! 楽しすぎる ー Using すぎる can express the nuance of “too much fun” ワクワクする ー I’m getting excited!  It’s common in Japanese to use onomatopoeia to express emotion! すごい!ー Wow! Great!  This is commonly used in variations (すご〜い!すげえ!and so on)

Relief & Surprise

あ〜、よかった!ー I’m relieved! 安心した(あんしん)ー I feel relieved. え〜!ー What? うそ!ー No way! まさか ー No way! It can’t be true. まじ ー Really? No way! Seriously? まじか ー Really? No way! Seriously?  This one is sometimes seen as more masculine 信じられない ー I can’t believe it

Nervousness & Sadness

緊張する(きんちょう)ー I’m nervous…  Really common, and can also be used in its て-form! ドキドキする ー I feel nervous. 悲しい(かなしい)ー I’m sad. 寂しい(さみしい・さびしい)ー I’m lonely / I miss someone 憂鬱(ゆううつ)ー Depression 気が滅入る(きがめいる)ー I feel depressed がっかり ー I’m disappointed 落ち込む(おちこむ)ー I’m getting upset!


ひどい!ー That’s terrible! You’re awful! イライラする ー I feel irritated 頭にきた ー I’m so pissed off ムカつく ー I’m angry

Embarrassment: 恥ずかしい(はずかしい)ー I’m embarrassed. Fear: 怖い(こわい)ー I’m scared. Envy: 羨ましい(うらやましい)ー I’m jealous.

Using 感じ and 感じる

If you talk to a Japanese person for any length of time, you’ll hear this come up quite often. The readings are “かんじ” and “かんじる”. Remember that the meaning of 感 is “feeling,” so if you see it in kanji compounds you’re likely dealing with someone to do with feeling (emotion or otherwise).

感じ is the noun form and 感じる is the verb form:

  • どんな感じがしましたか?How did you feel?
  • どんな感じましたか?How did you feel?

These feelings can be both physical and emotional.

  • 変な感じがした… へんなかんじがした… I felt strange…
  • 彼女はなんか冷たい感じがするね。 かのじょはなんかつめたいかんじがするね。 She seems to be kind of cold, huh?
  • 地震があったみたいだけど何も感じなかった。 じしんがあったみたいだけどなにもかんじなかった。 It seems there was an earthquake but I didn’t feel anything.

There are a lot of colloquial uses as well, particularly: って感じ, which is a really common way for Japanese to express the feeling of “it’s like…”

  • 学校はね…もういいかなって感じ。 I think I’ve had enough with school.
  • 私ばかり働いているって感じ。 I feel like I’m the only one that works.

You can use って感じ in a lot of ways, and it’s especially common when speaking.


Use this when expressing that you sense something/feel something but can’t quite understand why you feel that way.

If you’re breaking up with your significant other, you might say something like 私たち、もう終わりのような気がする which roughly translates to “I feel like we’re over now.”

  • 面白いことが起きるみたいな気がする… おもしろいことがおきるみたいなきがする… I feel like something interesting will happen…
  • 旅行したい気がする。 りょこうしたいきがする。 I feel like going on a trip.
  • 食べる気がしない。 たべるきがしない。 I don’t feel like eating.

Try to express your emotions as much as possible when talking to people, especially if you’re talking about your day or something that you did with that person. It adds a personal touch and will make sure your conversation remains warm for both of you.