How to say “sad” in Japanese and the surrounding knowledge

“sad” is a basic word. You say it in some situations in daily conversation. I will introduce how you can translate it in Japanese, what sieciatuation you can use it in and the surrounding knowledge.

1. kanashii/悲しい

You can translate “sad” into “kanashii”/「悲しい」to express your feelings in many cases. If you stay in Japan and  know that there is no problem.


My dog has passed away, so I’m sad now./犬が亡くなって、今とても悲しいです。

“kanashii”/「悲しい」in Japanese has some nuances. So on the contrary there are some expressions in English with the meanis of “kanashii”/「悲しい」. It’s better if you learn them.

(1) disappointed

You can translate “kanashii”/「悲しい」into “disappointed” or “heartbroken” in some situations. I will introduce the example.


Is practice for baseball canceled today ? I’m really disappointed./今日の野球の練習は中止になるの?とても悲しいよ。

(2) unhappy

You can translate “kanashii”/「悲しい」into “unhappy” or “miserable” in some situations. I will introduce the example.


She always writes stories with unhappy endings./彼女はいつも悲しい結末の小説を書きます。

2. hidoi/ひどい

You can also translate “sad” into “hidoi”/「ひどい」in the limited case. In this case you don’t express your feelings, but it means almost the same as “bad”. I will introduce the example.


I made a sad mistake at work./仕事でひどいミスをしてしまった。

3. jimina/地味な

If you use “sad” as to color, you can translate it into “jimina”/「地味な」. I will introduce the example.


She likes a sweater with a sad color./彼女は地味なセーターが好きです。

4. Summary

You can translate “sad” into “kanashii”/「悲しい」, “hidoi”/「ひどい」 or “jimina”/「地味な」. You would say “kanashii”/「悲しい」among them in many cases. On the contrary you can translate “kanashii”/「悲しい」 into “disappointed” or “unhappy” in some situations.


  1. Thea Chia says:

    Yutaro’s blog is amazing! And he writes about interesting topics. I really like his “Learn Japanese” section, as he explain everything in a way that’s easy to understand. I would highly recommend this blog and it’s definitely worth a look.

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