Japanese

How to Say EASY in Japanese. It’s… not hard, Lol!

It’s only fitting that I now do an article on how to say easy in Japanese, since I just did one on how to say hard the other day.

This time we really only have to go over two different sections in order to learn how to use “easy” in Japanese.

The first section will be when you want to say that something is easy or simple. An example would be like, “The exam was easy.”

Then we will look into how to say something is easy to do. In Japanese, verbs get modified when they are easy to perform, like when you say “For me, speaking English is easy.”

Let’s hop to it!

How to Describe Something as Easy in Japanese

There are a few different words you can use, and each one has a little bit of a different nuance/usage. Take a look at each example sentence first, and then read the notes below them to learn each word for easy.

Example #1

  • The problem was unexpectedly easy.
    問題は意外にやさしかったよ。
    mondai wa igai ni yasashikatta yo.

In this example we see the word for easy is 易しい (yasashii), which is written entirely in hiragana, since that is the usual way to write it.

You will also notice that it is inflected into the past tense of its i-adjective form in the example.

In addition to easy, the word 易しい can be used to describe something as plain in Japanese. Like if you were talking to someone by using “plain words” 易しい言葉 (yasashii kotoba) so that they could understand what you were saying.

It is also a homophone for the word 優しい (yasashii) that means gentle or kind in Japanese.

You can listen to both words by clicking on 易しい and 優しい respectively. This should take you to the Forvo.com page for each, where you can hear how they both sound identical to one another.

Luckily, there shouldn’t be any confusion when reading them since the kanji will provide the meaning that’s intended. You might just have to pay attention when people speak it.

In those situations, the context usually gives it away.

Example #2

  • Today’s exam is easy.
    今日の試験は簡単ですよ。
    kyou no shiken wa kantan desu yo.

The word 簡単 (kantan) is a na-adjective and is by far the most common word for easy or simple that I see used whenever I’m reading Japanese.

This is probably due to the fact that, in English, we tend to use the words easy and simple interchangeably.

Usually things that are simple are also easy, right? The math equation 2+2=4 is both simple and easy for pretty much everybody. So there’s really no need to use both words when describing it, and people often just use one or the other.

However, just because something is a simple matter, does not necessarily mean that it is easy to do. Cutting sugar out of your diet is simple, right? Just don’t eat it.

Not all that easy though…

So if you want describe something as easy in Japanese with the word 簡単, just make sure you could also describe it as simple in the same sentence.

And where would we be without an English loan word thrown in there? You may come across the word イージー (iijii) when you want your eggs オーバー・イージー (oobaa iijii) “over-easy.”

How to Say Something is Easy to Do – i.e. Verbs

In English, we typically just add the word easy to the front of a verb.

  • This food is easy to eat.
  • Is powdered medicine easy to take?

But in Japanese, you actually modify the end of the verb when you want to express that it is easy to perform said action.

What you do is take the verb in its stem-form (it’s the masu-form, without the “masu” part), and then add やすい (yasui) to it.

  1. 食べます = The masu-form of To Eat
  2. 食べ = The stem-form of the word
  3. 食べやすい = The word for Easy to Eat

You’ll want to be careful when you are listening to Japanese and you hear this word because the やすい part sounds identical to the common Japanese word 安い (yasui) which means cheap or inexpensive.

Yes, there are a ton of Japanese words that sound exactly the same (-_-)…

Moving on!

  • This food is easy to eat.
    この食べ物は食べやすい。
    kono tabemono wa tabeyasui.

You can also add the copula です (desu) to the end of it in order to make it polite.

  • Is powdered medicine easy to take?
    粉薬は飲みやすいですか。
    konagusuri wa nomiyasui desu ka?

You also use a similar process when you want to say that something is hard to do in Japanese.

So if you know one side of the coin, it’s pretty easy to learn the other side as well.

簡単ですか? That was Easy Enough, Right?

Hopefully you’ve got a firm grasp on how to use the word easy in Japanese now.

If you know of any other ways to say that something is easy, or another related word, please share it with me and everyone else reading by leaving a comment below!

Thanks for reading!

4 Comments

  • RichPersonality

    Haha saying easy is hard! I always like the japanese language because it sounds awesome. I watch a lot of anime so I hear it basically everyday. But I barely picked up any words because it’s a really hard language. I would love to understand japanese so I wouldn’t have to read the subtitles…

    • Nick Hoyt

      Yeah, it can definitely be hard to get started with learning Japanese as the size of the language is huge, and the fact that it is completely different from English. Both things can lead to confusion and overwhelm.

      One of the things you can do is to simply set small goals for learning the language, and try not to do more than that. This way you always feel like making progress is within your reach.

      I’ve written a few pages aimed at beginners on this site, you can see them up on the primary menu bar if you’d like.

      There’s also a lot of great resources out there, and I’ve written about quite a few of them in the Reviews section of this blog. If you’d like to see what books and courses are pretty good, then you can check out the list by clicking the link below

      Click Here To See Japanese Book and Course reviews!

      Thanks!

  • Genna

    I had a lot of fun learning how to say easy in Japanese, and I like that you directed me to a translation site so that I could hear how it’s pronounced properly. I am saving your website to show my son, he enjoys learning other languages too. Thank you!

    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey Genna, glad you liked it! Yeah, the site Forvo is pretty amazing and is absolutely a tool that everyone who is studying a language should take advantage of.

      It is the single best resource that I’ve been able to find for learning how to correctly pronounce new words in an other language. 

      The only downside is that you have to already be able to type in said language, which might be a little hard for beginners. Oh well, that’s why we have Copy-Paste!

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