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How to Name and Pronounce COLORS in Japanese | Learn At a Glance with these Charts!

こんにちは / Hello! 😀

Today, I would like to share how to say each colors in Japanese language.

When doing shopping, going to nail salon in Japan, having normal conversation with Japanese, colors are must to know!

People who visit Japan from overseas are always surprised that the majority of Japanese do not understand English in most places they go.

It’s true, especially old people! So good to know some Japanese word to communicate well and enjoy spending time in Japan.

Let’s study colors in Japanese and practice how to use it in conversation with following article and charts!

Here we go! 😀

Basic COLORS in Japanese – 色 / iro

The word of “colors” in Japanese is “いろ / iro“.
Let us study colors as nouns and adjectives first!

Colors as Nouns

Here is a chart to learn common colors in Japanese.

English Japanese
(nouns)
Pronunciation
CLEAR 透明とうめい toomei
RED あか aka
ORANGE オレンジ orenji
YELLOW 黄色きいろ ki-iro
LIGHT GREEN 黄緑きみどり ki-midori
GREEN みどり midori
AQUA 水色みずいろ mizu-iro
BLUE あお ao
PURPLE むらさき murasaki
PINK ピンク pinku
WHITE しろ siro
GREY グレー guree
BLACK くろ kuro
BLOWN 茶色ちゃいろ cha-iro
BEIGE ベージュ beejyu
What color do you like?
何色なにいろき(ですか)?
Nani-iro ga suki (desuka)?
I like BLUE.
あおき(です)。
ao ga suki (desu).

Colors as Adjectives

There’s 3 different ways to describe nouns with colors.

There are many colors other than the chart above, but basically, just add the particle “の (no)” after each color and put it before the noun(N) to make it an adjective.

COLOR + の(no)+ noun

For example, if you would like to say ” Green car “,

みどり (midori) の(no)+くるま (kuruma)

= みどりくるま (midori no kuruma)

!EXEPTIONS!

The only exceptions are ” Clear/透明な(na)“, and “Red/い(i), Blue/い (i),
White/い(i), Black/い(i) -, Yellow/黄色い(i) and Brown/茶色い(i) “.

na-adjectives  +  noun

i-adjectives  noun

For example, if you would like to say ” Red shirts “,

Red/あかい (aka-i)  +  Shirts/シャツ (shatsu)
= Red Shirts/あかシャツ (aka-i shatsu) =あかいシャツ

Colors Japanese
(i-adjectives)
Pronunciation
WHITE siro- i
RED aka- i 
BLUE ao- i
BLACK kuro- i 
BLOWN 茶色 cha iro- i
YELLOW 黄色 ki iro- i
Colors Japanese(na-adjectives) Pronunciation
clear 透明 toomei na

※Sometimes these exceptional colors are also be used with の (no) as above, especially when describing a noun with more than 2 different colors as the following conversations.

Give me two of those T-shirts.
そのTシャツを2つください。
sono T-shatsu wo futatsu kudasai.
Which color would you want?
どちらの色にしますか?
dochira no iro ni shimasuka?
I’ll take GREEN and BLUE T-shirts.
Tシャツをください。

midori to ao no T-shatsu wo kudasai.
              or
Give me 2 BLUE T-shirts.
Tシャツを2つください。
ao-i T-shatsu wo futatsu kudasai.

Other COLORS you may want to know

There are several different ways to say each color, so they are arranged in the order that Japanese people often use from the left.

Gold 金色きんいろ(kin-iro), ゴールド(goorudo), 黄金色こがねいろ(kogane-iro or oogon-iro)
Silver 銀色ぎんいろ(gin-iro), シルバー(sirubaa), 鋼色はがねいろ(hagane-iro)
●Pink ピンク(pinku), 桃色ももいろ(momo-iro)
●Lavender ラベンダーいろ(rabendaa-iro), うすむらさき(usu-murasaki), 藤色ふじいろ(fuji-iro)
Purplish red   ワインレッド(wain-reddo), あかむらさき(aka-murasaki), バーガンディー(baagandii), あずきいろ(azuki-iro)
Navy 紺色こんいろ(kon-iro), ネイビー(neibii)
●Indigo 藍色あいいろ(ai-iro), インディゴ・ブルー(indigo-buruu)
●Turquoise ターコイズ(taakoizu)
●Tea green  抹茶色まっちゃいろ(maccha-iro), グリーンティー(guriin-tii)
●Khaki カーキ(kaaki), アーミーグリーン(aamii-guriin)
●Dark green 深緑ふかみどり(fuka-midori), ダークグリーン(daaku-guriin)
●Dark brown ダークブラウン(daaku-buraun), こげ茶色ちゃいろ(koge-cya-iro)
●Caramel brown キャラメルブラウン(kyarameru-buraun)
Beige 肌色はだいろ(hada-iro), ベージュ(beejyu)

TYPE of COLORS

It may be useful to know the type of colors when requesting any custom made service like nail art.

Primary colors
原色げんしょく(gen-syoku)

Pastel colors
あわいろ(awai-iro), パステルカラー(pasuteru-karaa)

Neon colors 
ネオンカラー(neon-karaa), 蛍光色けいこうしょく(keikoo-syoku)

Warm colors 
暖色だんしょく(dan-syoku), ウォームカラー(uwo-mu-karaa)

Cold colors 
寒色かんしょく(kan-syoku), コールドカラー(koorudo-karaa)  

Earth colors 
アースカラー(aasu-karaa)

17 Patterns that is useful to know along with the Color

Let’s study various patterns in Japanese as well.

Various Patternes in Japanese がら(gara)
1. Stripes しましま(shima-shima), ストライプ(sutoraipu),
縞模様しまもよう(shima-moyoo)
2. Vertical stripes 縦縞たてじま(tate-jima), たてのしましま(tate no shimashima)
3. Horizontal stripes  横縞よこじま(yoko-jima),
よこのしましま(yoko no shimashima)
4. Plaids, Checks  チェック(chekku), チャック模様もよう(cyekku moyoo)
5. Dots 水玉みずたま模様もよう(mizu-tama moyoo), ドット(dotto)
6. Floral  花柄はながら(hana-gara)
7. Paisley ペイズリー(peizurii)
8. Plane  無地むじ(muji)
9. Colorful  カラフル(karafuru)
10.Camouflages 迷彩柄めいさいがら(meisai-gara), 迷彩めいさい(meisai) 
11. Tie dye  タイダイめ(tai-dai-zome), タイダイ(taidai)
12. Rainbow patternes 虹色にじいろ(niji-iro), レインボウがら(reinboo-gara)
13. Characters  キャラクターもの(kyarakutaa-mono), キャラクター(kyarakutaa)
14. Geometric patterns 幾何きかがくよう(kikagaku-moyoo)
15. Japanese pattern  がら(wa-gara)
16. Checkered pattern  市松いちまつよう(ichimatsu-moyoo)
17. Aizen  藍染あいぞめ(ai-zome)

[Pattern] (Thing)

ex. しましまシャツ (shimashima no shatsu)

Is this floral dress also available in pink?
この花柄はながらドレス(ワンピース)ピンクのものもありますか?kono hana-gara no doresu(wanpiisu) wa pinku no mono mo arimasu ka? 

Light and Shade of COLOR

Learn the shades and brightness of colors so that you can express fine nuances in Japanese!

light  うすい(usui) ex.) light blueうすあお(usui ao)

original オリジナル(orijinaru)

strong い(koi)   ex.) strong blueあお(koi ao)

If you find a nice T-shirts, but you don’t like the color because it’s too strong. You may want to ask….

Do you have more lighter color one?
もっとうすいろのものはありますか?
motto usui iro no mono wa arimasuka?

blight あかるい(akarui)   ex.) blight green あかるいみどり(akarui midori)

original オリジナル

dark くらい(kurai)   ex.) dark green くらみどり(kurai midori)

If you go to a hairdresser and want to change your hair color, you might have a conversation like this…

What kind of hair color do you want today?
今日はどんな髪色かみいろにしますか?
kyoo wa donna kami-iro ni simasu ka?
I want to make it brighter than usual, so can you dye it in blight brown?
いつもよりあかるくしたいので、あかるい茶色ちゃいろめてもらえますか?
itsumo yori akaruku shitai node, akarui cha-iro ni somete moraemasu ka?
Ok, How about a color like this?
わかりました。こんなかんじのいろはどうですか?
wakarimashita. konna kanji no iro wa doo desu ka?
Looks good. I’ll take that.
いですね。それでおねがいします。
ii desu ne. sore de onegai shimasu.

Other useful question examples

Do you have other colors?
他のはありますか?(hoka no iro wa arimasu ka?)

What color do you have?
どんな()がありますか?(donna iro(naniiro) ga arimasu ka?)

Which color is popular?
どの人気ですか?(dono iro ga ninki desu ka?)

What color do you recommend?
おすすめですか? (naniiro ga osusume desu ka?)

Today’s Summary

Colors in Japanese is 色(iro).

Some colors are the same as English like ピンク(pinku) and オレンジ(orenji).
Even though there are some original ways to say in Japanese, some colors in English is very common in Japan as well.
So if you gonna choose following colors, you can try to use English way as well.
ex.) black, yellow, green, blue, brown and gold…etc.

When you want to describe the color of a noun, basically, just add the particle “の (no)” after each color and put it before the noun(N) to make it an adjective.

COLOR + の(no)+ noun

There are some colors with exceptions that usually use “i-adjectives” and “na-adjectives”, but even if you use “(no)”, Japanese people can understand.
If you’re confused, you can use “(no)” for any color to describe the noun in color 🙂

There are many things to learn, so let’s take it easy and learn them little by little!

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