Space: the final frontier. What secrets lay out there waiting for someone to discover them? The answer to that is beyond the scope of this post, so instead I will answer a different question: What is universe in Japanese?
In addition to going over that word, there are some related ones that I thought would be beneficial to include here. I’m going to talk about aliens, planets, and stars after we’ve covered space.
The vocabulary in this post will be useful for those who are into science fiction stories like the Star Ocean games, the Space Brothers manga, the Astra Lost in Space anime, and anything else that takes place outside our world.
What Is Universe In Japanese?
The Japanese word for the universe is 宇宙 (uchuu). This word can also be used for other English ones such as the cosmos or space when talking about outer space.
- 宇宙は小さく 原子より小さいです
- uchuu wa chiisaku, genshi yori chiisai desu.
- The universe is tiny; it’s smaller than an atom.
This word is a good one to know because it gets combined with a lot of other words to form space related ones. For example, when combined with the word for pilot 飛行士 (hikoushi) we get 宇宙飛行士 (uchuu hikoushi) which I am sure you have guessed means astronaut.
If you combine it with the word for travel 旅行 (ryoukou) you get 宇宙旅行 for space travel (uchuu ryoukou). A very close word to this one is also 宇宙飛行 (uchuu hikou) for space flight.
Speaking of that, what earthbound vehicle do you typically think of when you think of a space ship? For me, I would say that I normally think of a plane or a jet.
Perhaps it’s because of the way that rocket ships are shaped with their wings and all, but even the name itself denotes a different form of transport: ships!
In Japanese the word for space ship is 宇宙船 (uchuu sen) and the 船 part means “ship; boat.”
What Is Alien In Japanese?
In Japanese, the way that you talk about people’s nationalities is pretty interesting. The way that you do it is simply by adding the word for person 人 to their country.
So, an American is アメリカ人 (amerika jin) and a Japanese person is 日本人 (nihonjin). Keeping this in mind, it’s also possible to talk about types of people that are technically restricted to a nation.
For example, by adding in the word for white you get 白人 (haku jin) means a white person or a Caucasian. By using the words for outside and country you get 外国人 (gaikokujin) which means foreigner or alien. Of course, this type of alien is simply one that comes from another country.
What about when they come from another planet? There we have a couple of different options.
The first is one that you may have guessed already. It is 宇宙人 (uchuu jin) which means alien, but a better understanding of it would be either space alien or extraterrestrial being. In other words, all we know is that they come from space and are not earthlings, which by the way is 地球人 (chikyuu jin).
- ware ware wa uchuu jin da.
- We are aliens.
There are other words we can use for alien, such as the English loan word エイリアン (eirian).
Some of these alternatives give us more insight into what kind of alien they are and where they are from. The word 異星人 (isei jin) means an alien from another planet.
If you knew the planet’s name you could use that, such as 火星人 (kasei jin) which means Martian since it is an alien from the planet Mars.
Or in some situations it might be better to just say 異人種 (ijinshu) which means an alien that is a different race from you. This one might be used on planets like Coruscant from Star Wars since there will be lots of different aliens and where they are from isn’t all that important.
What Is Planet In Japanese?
Obviously each planet in our solar system has a name, but what I’m talking about in this section is really just the generic word that we use when we talk about these heavenly bodies.
The word 惑星 (wakusei) is typically used when talking about a planet in Japanese. There are some other ones that you might encounter such as 遊星 (yuusei) and 迷い星 (mayoi boshi), but in my experience the first word is the most common.
One kanji that you may have noticed is used a lot in the words that we’ve been covering is 星 (hoshi). This word has two common meanings in Japanese.
The first one is planet, although one caveat is that it does not typically refer to Earth. The second meaning is star, again with one thing to note, it does not typically refer to the sun in our solar system.
Now that we’ve talked about this word in the context of a planet, let’s switch over to it when it talks about a star.
What Is Star In Japanese?
As you now know, the Japanese word for star is 星 (hoshi). Although this word has those two meanings, I definitely see it used for star more than planet.
Perhaps less ambiguous word would be 恒星 (kousei) which means a fixed star, which automatically means it cannot be used when talking about planets.
What about a falling star then? Another word for them is meteor, but really only applies when they are burning up in our atmosphere. In Japanese, they are called 流れ星 (nagare boshi).
Ready For Liftoff?
We covered a lot of space related vocabulary today. Hopefully you found the information interesting and easy to understand.
There was a lot of overlap in the kanji that is used in these different words, and if you’ve got a good grasp on these ones then the words ought to be easy to remember or figure out when you encounter them.
If you have any questions about anything in today’s post or any comments that you would like to make, then please feel free to do so in the section below. Thanks!
Further Resources for Learning Japanese: