What Does kimochi Mean in Japanese? The Good and The Bad

One of those words that you hear a lot in anime, but rarely come across in books or courses that teach Japanese is kimochi. In addition to that, you often hear it combined with either ii or warui. But what does kimochi mean in Japanese?

It’s actually pretty simple. Let’s take a look at the kanji that compose the word in order to get a better understanding of it.

Kimochi – The Kanji

The kanji for kimochi is 気持ち. The first kanji  is ki which means spirit. You could also understand it as the Chinese word “Chi” which means life force or energy. Have you seen it used before in the word 元気 genki?

But it could also be interpreted as feeling or mood when it’s used in other contexts.

As in the phrase 気分はどうですか (kibun wa dou desu ka) which means how are you feeling?

The second part of kimochi is 持ち mochi which means to have, or to be in possession of (something). So if you break down the word kanji by kanji, you can understand is as “to have a feeling” but as a whole the word 気持ち kimochi means feeling, or sensation.

  • 音楽は気持ちを動かします。
    Ongaku wa kimochi o ugokashimasu.
    Music moves the feelings.


  • 僕はまだ水の下にいるような気持ちだった。
    Boku wa mada mizu no shita ni iru yōna kimochidatta.
    I felt like I was still under the water.

Kimochi – Good & Bad

Now we want to add on to 気持ち kimochi either いい ii or 悪い warui. It’s pretty easy then to understand that 気持ちいい means that something feels good and 気持ち悪い means that something feels bad.

Note that this is usually a physical sensation that feels good or bad. Things like a nice back rub or a painful ache in your leg are examples.

  • マッサジが気持ちいい!
    Massaji ga kimochi ii!
    Massages feels good!


  • 走っているのは気持ちいいです。
    Hashitte iru no wa kimochi ii desu.
    It feels good to be running.

Since 気持ち ends with the same sound that いい starts with, it often sounds like people are saying a single word with a long ending vowel. Kind of like, kimochiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

But it should also be noted that sometimes in conversation people will drop the いい and instead just say 気持ち, but they still mean the same thing – that it feels good.

And sometimes people will flip the two words to say いい気持ち ii kimochi which means something more like (what a) good feeling!

Now let’s look at the bad side of kimochi:

  • 超気持ち悪い。戻しそう。
    Chō kimochi warui. Modoshi sō.
    I feel very sick. I want to throw up.

気持ち悪い can also mean other things besides just feeling physically bad. It can also be used to say that something is unpleasant or disgusting.

  • ドナルドが気持ち悪いだと思いませんか?
    Donarudo ga kimochi warui da to omoimasen ka?
    Don’t you think that Ronald McDonald is a bit creepy?

And remember that both いい and 悪い are i-adjectives. So you will have to inflect them according to those rules when you want to change the tense from present to past, or if you want to change it from being positive to negative.

In other words, you don’t change the copula desu in those situations. But you can drop it entirely when the situation is informal.

Does that all make sense? Leave a like if it does! And let me know with a comment where you first heard about kimochi!

2 thoughts on “What Does kimochi Mean in Japanese? The Good and The Bad”

  1. I’ve been watching Gurran Lagan on Netflix in Japanese with English subtitles to help train my ears to the Japanese language and I’ve actually heard some of the characters say KIMOCHI before. Although it was actually 気持ち悪い that they said (I think Yoko said it) and it was translated like “I feel sick” in the subtitles. I don’t know that I’ve heard 気持ちいい a lot though… Perhaps I just need to watch more.

    • Ahh yes グレンラガン! What a great anime from the past! I actually just read the other day that since this year (2017) is the 10-year anniversary of the show, they are rebroadcasting it on Japanese TV!

      So cool, and it’s too bad that anime in general is not as big in America as it is in Japan… yet! Perhaps one day it will be. I remember not so long ago when Video Games were a fringe thing. And now VGs are bigger than Hollywood in terms of industry revenue!

      The times can change pretty fast.


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