Did you know that the moon’s gravity is (barely) slowing down the earth’s rotation? Oh, what’s that? You actually don’t care about super obscure facts like that? Well to be honest, neither do I. But what I do care about is learning Japanese and helping others do the same. So today you are going to learn how to say “I don’t care” in Japanese.
Now, there are a couple of different ways to say this phrase in Japanese, whereas in English we would only use the one, and the reason is that this versatile phrase can actually be used in quite a number of different situations.
I’ll try to break it down in as much detail as possible so that it’s easy to learn and understand. Let’s begin!
I Don’t Care = I’m Not Interested
The first form of “I don’t care” that we’ll go over in Japanese is the one that you would have used at the beginning of this post to let me know that you don’t care about random facts concerning our moon.
Even within this section there are a couple of different ways to say this and they all have slightly different connotations from one another.
The first one that we’ll cover is 関係ない (kankei nai). The word 関係 (kankei) means “relation; concern” and when you add on the ない (nai) to the phrase, it negates it.
This is equivalent to saying “That (thing) has no relation to me” or “I’m not concerned with that” and so on and so forth.
The basic thing with this phrase is that you are distancing yourself from whatever it is that you’re talking about, letting the other person know that this thing has nothing to do with you.
Let’s see it used in a couple of phrases to help better understand it.
- watashi ni wa kankei nai.
- That has nothing to do with me.
Of if you want to be a little more forceful in how you express yourself you can say:
- sonna no kankei ne!
- I don’t give crap (about that)!
If you want to let a person know that something holds no meaning for you, but you don’t want to come off as too intense like the last phrase, then you might consider using 無縁 (muen).
This word means the same thing as 関係ない. In other words, 無縁 means “unrelated; unconncered; etc.”
- boku wa kurisumasu to wa muen desu.
- I don’t care about Christmas.
- Christmas is irrelevant to me.
Hopefully this last example isn’t true for you, but I think you get the idea. Let’s move on to the next word.
You’ve probably heard the word 趣味 (shumi) before which means “hobby” in Japanese. However, it can also be used to mean “preference; type; or taste” when referring to things like fashion, or your “type” of person that you find attractive.
- tanaka san wa?
- What about Mr. Tanaka?
- watashi no shumi ja nai.
- He’s not my type.
- I’m not interested in him.
A word that is similar to 趣味 (shumi) is 興味 (kyoumi).
The word 興味 (kyoumi) means “interest (in something)” and can be used to tell someone that you are not interested as in the following:
- seiji ni wa kyoumi ga nai.
- (I’m) not interested in politics.
Or have you ever asked a kid a question and they gave you the lovely repy of “don’t know, don’t care”? Well if so, now you will know how to say that in Japanese:
- shiranai shi, kyoumi mo nai.
- I don’t know, and I don’t care.
The last phrase I’ll go over in this section is 知るか (shiru ka). You may be familiar with the word 知る (shiru) which means “to know” in Japanese. Since this phrase also contains the か (ka) particle which turns a sentence into a question, you may be tempted to think that this phrase translates as “Do you know?”
However, the か in this phrase is actually a contraction of ものですか (mono desu ka) which is used in Japanese similar to how we use “like hell; as if” in English.
- shiru ka yo!
- How the hell would I know!
- What do I care!
In other words, this phrase is a rhetorical question that’s used to show you don’t know or don’t care about something a person asked you about.
I Don’t Care = I Have No Preference
All of the phrases we’ve gone over so far have been to let someone know that you aren’t interested in whatever the topic is.
However, in English we sometimes say “I don’t care” when what we really mean is “I don’t have a preference.” This is a common expression when people are talking about choices, such as where to go out for dinner or what to listen to on the radio.
If someone presents two options to you and asks which one you want, you can let them know that either of them is fine (you don’t care which one) with the following phrase:
- docchi demo ii yo.
- Either is fine.
The word どっち (docchi) means “which (of two)” so you’ll need to use a different word if there are more options given to you.
If your girlfriend or boyfriend asks you what you would like to eat for dinner, but you really don’t care which restaurant you go to, then you can let them know by using this next phrase.
- nani ga tabetai?
- What do you want to eat?
- nandemo ii yo.
- I don’t really care.
- Anything is fine.
There is another word that gets used a lot in spoken Japanese for situations like these. That word is 別に (betsu ni).
By itself this word means “(not) particularly; (not) especially; (not) specially” and often gets paired with a negative verb.
- watashi wa betsu ni ki ni shite nai yo.
- It doesn’t bother me.
- I don’t really care.
But there are actually a lot of different way that you can use 別に. I won’t go over all of them here, but if you’re interested in learning more about them, then you can check out a great article that covers it over at Japanese With Anime.
Probably for the purposes of this blog post, the most useful phrase with this word for you to learn is the following:
- betsu ni ii kedo.
- It’s okay / I don’t care.
- kore yatte minai?
- Why don’t we try this?
- betsu ni ii kedo.
- Fine with me.
Now I Want To Hear From You
Now you know how to say “I don’t care” in Japanese in many different situations, and with a lot of different phrases.
If you have any questions or comments on this lesson, then let me know by leaving a comment down below.
Otherwise I’ll see you later! Thanks for reading!
Further Resources for Learning Japanese: