How do you say cool in Japanese? Well today’s your lucky day because that’s what I’m going to be covering in this article.
The first thing we’ll have to distinguish is between the different English meanings. Here’s a couple of them now that I’ll be going over in the below post:
- at a low temperature
- showing no friendliness
- remaining calm
- fashionably attractive
Read on to learn each one and see the different ways they can be used.
1. Cool = at a low temperature
The first word that we’ll go over is the one that you would use when talking about the weather or when you’re describing the temperature in a room.
The Japanese word is 涼しい (suzushii) and not only does it mean “cool” but it also brings with it the meaning of “refreshing.”
So, you step outside to see how it feels and it’s that perfect temperature where you could put on a light jacket if you wanted to, but you could also go out in just your T-shirt.
- suzushii kaze ga fuite iru.
- The cool wind is blowing.
Another thing to keep in mind about the word cool when it comes to temperature is that it can also be used to describe an action, like when you are cooling something down.
So for example, let’s say that you got home from the store and you bought some sake (Japanese rice wine) which was being stored at room temperature.
You like to drink it chilled, so you put it in the fridge to cool it down. The word to use in this situation is 冷やす (hiyasu).
- sake o hiyasu
- cool the sake
2. Cool = showing no friendliness
Another way that cool can be used is when describing someone’s attitude, behavior, or their personality.
Having said that, it’s probably more common to hear them described as being cold in English, rather than cool. Nevertheless, there is a Japanese word that has this same meaning which would be a good one to learn.
The word is 冷淡 (reitan) and as you can see from the way that it’s spelled, it shares a kanji with 冷やす which we covered a moment ago in the first section.
The Japanese definition of 冷淡 is:
- kanshin ya kyoumi o shimesanai koto.
- Showing no interest or concern.
In other words, it’s apathy.
So let’s say that there’s a person you’re interested in at a party so you go over to talk to them and introduce yourself, but after a while it becomes apparent that they’re not into you at all.
They say something like, “could you just go away?” and you’re standing there thinking that there’s no need to be so rude!
- sonna reitanna koto o iwanaide.
- Please don’t say such cold (unkind) things.
3. Cool = remaining calm
Fortunately, you are a cool person. You stay calm and collected even when things don’t go your way.
The Japanese word for remaining cool under pressure is 冷静 (reisei). Hey, it’s that same kanji again!
This word is pretty cool and is a part of a couple of expressions that I would like to share with you. The first one is:
- reisei ni naru
- to cool off, to collect oneself
If you’re ever in a situation where you feel your emotions getting out of control, you can tell yourself to chill out and get yourself under control with this phrase.
Just be sure to change the なる (naru) to なれ (nare) to change it from the dicitonary form to the command form.
The other expression is a 四字熟語 (yojijukugo) which means that it’s a compound word comprised of four characters.
It is 冷静沈着 (reisei chinchaku) and it means to be cool, calm, and collected.
4. Cool = fashionably attractive
The last way that we’ll talk about cool is related to a person’s attire or the way they behave.
You’ve seen expressions in English such as “that’s a cool jacket” or “that guy is really cool” and these are the Japanese words that we’re going to cover next.
The first one 格好いい (kakkou ii) which is common expression that can be used to say that someone looks cool when they’re doing something. It can also be used to describe a person as attractive.
For example, in the first episode of the anime Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto right at the beginning there are three guys tossing a ball to one another and one of them complements the other’s hair saying that it’s cool.
- kinpatsu kakko ii jan.
- Your blonde hair is pretty cool.
It’s pretty common for the かっこう (kakou) part to be shorted to just かっこ (kakko) when people are chatting informally.
The second word that can be used to say that someone is cool is the loan word クール (kūru) which comes directly from English.
In fact, in that same anime during the opening credits part of the show there is a narrator that is describing Sakamoto, the main character, and how cool he is. One of the phrases that the narrator uses is:
- attou teki ni kūru
- overwhelmingly cool
It’s actually a pretty funny show if you ever get the change to watch it.
The last word that I wanted to go over is イケメン (ikemen) which is a Japanese word that is used to describe a man as a cool-guy, or a hunk.
Usually it’s someone who is popular with the ladies, and has a lot of charisma.
Are you an イケメン? That would be pretty cool, right!
That’s all I’ve got on how to say cool in Japanese. We’ve covered four different ways that you can use this word and some example sentences to show how they work.
If you’ve got any questions about anything, please feel free to let me know by typing them into the box below.
Or if there’s just a comment that you would like to make, you are more than welcome to do so.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!
Further Resources for Learning Japanese: