This article outlines how to say “awesome” in Japanese, as well as the nuances of such an expression, and some sentence examples to see it all in action.
To be awesome in Japanese is one thing – to be awesome enough to know how to use “awesome” in Japanese is an even more awesome thing!
Besides, it’s an extremely common expression seen everywhere in Japanese culture, be it on television, in books, or in the streets amidst chatty pedestrians. As a Master-in-training of the language, it’s essential to know the ins and outs of this super common Japanese term!
Do you know how to read or speak Japanese? If not, this article has romaji versions of the vocabulary to help you out. However, we encourage you to learn the Japanese alphabet so you can read the words in hiragana and katakana, too.
So buckle up, and let’s learn some Japanese together!
How to Say “Awesome” in Japanese?
To choose one word as “awesome” in Japanese, we have to go with すごい (sugoi | 凄い).
You’re sure to have come across this word when consuming really any form of Japanese meaning, as it’s just that popular of a term.
Oftentimes in anime or when spoken by the younger native speakers of the Japanese community in a casual forum, すげい (sugei) will be heard instead. This is the exact same word with the exact same meaning, but said in a cooler, more slangy way (as is the way of language).
Oddly enough, すごい (sugoi | 凄い) translates directly more closely to “immense.” Still, it is such a widespread term amongst its relatives that it deserves the title of the awesome word of Japanese!
すげいこれよ! (sugei kore yo! | 凄いこれよ)
This is amazing!
ひゃくてんだって？。。。すごい (hyaku ten datte?… sugoi | 百点だって？。。。凄い)
Did you say 100 points?… Awesome
When to Use “sugoi” as a Response
You can use すごい (sugoi | 凄い) as a response to something too. When used in this way, yes, it still means what we’ve discussed above, but it might be easier to remember it simply as “wow.”
わたしのかれしはこんしゅう７０じかんはたらいちゃってぜんぜんにっしょにじかんをすごさない。 (watashi no kareshi wa konshuu 70 jikan hataraichatte zenzen issho ni jikan wo sugosanai. | 私の彼氏は今週70時間働いちゃって全然一緒に時間を過ごさない。)
My boyfriend worked 70 hours this week and we never get to spend time together.
すごい (sugoi | 凄い)
Other Ways to Say “Awesome” in Japanese
In truth, there are quite a few ways to say “awesome” in Japanese, each retaining its own subtlety. We’ll discuss all the other most popular ways to say “awesome” in Japanese!
“Amazing” in Japanese
すばらしい (subarashii | 素晴らしい) is another awesome word that reads more closely to amazing or fantastic in Japanese. It’s definitely softer and more well-rounded than its counterpart.
このとりはこのもりいがいのばしょではうまれませんよ。ほんとうにすばらしい (kono tori wa kono mori igai no basho de ha umaremasen yo. Hontou ni subarashii | この鳥はこの森以外の場所では生まれません。本当に素晴らしい)
This bird isn’t born anywhere else besides this forest. That’s really amazing.
“Cool” in Japanese
かっこいい (kakkoii) is one you’ve probably come across as meaning “cool,” and that’s totally correct – since cool is just a synonym for awesome, it’s only right that this expression, which is one of the most popular expressions, makes the list. It’s a more masculine expression, although not so much so, and can even be used to refer to “handsome” men!
To make a clear distinction between “cool” and “awesome,” think of the subjective aesthetic quality of something being cool versus the objective observation of something being awesome. In the Japanese language, therein lies the huge difference!
やつはマジでファッションがかっこいいよな～ (yatsu wa majide fasshon ga kakkoii yo na~ | 奴はマジでファッションがかっこいいよな～)
His style/sense of fashion is really cool!
“Unbelievable” in Japanese
The next expression to make the cut here is ヤバい (yabai). This fine word has a whole host of meanings, among which “awesome” should definitely be included.
This is a very casual word used in informal settings between peers in the とうほく (touhoku | 東北) region of Japan – the part of Japan which speaks a dialect considered to be standard form within the nation.
ヤバい (yabai) is used when something is totally breathtaking, unbelievable, or just outright wild! It can have both a positive and negative context attached to it.
そしてこどもはおかあさんに「あんたのことこそだいきらいよ！」っていた。ヤバくない！？ (soshite kodomo wa okaasan ni “anta no koto koso daikirai yo!” tteita. Yabakunai!? | そして子供はお母さんに「あんたのことこそ大嫌いよ！」って言った。ヤバくない！？)
And then the child said, “I hate you especially!” to his mother. Isn’t that unbelievable!?
This term is flexible, so feel free to use it loosely with your friends until you get the hang of it!
“Best” in Japanese
さいこう (saikou | 最高) literally means the best, greatest, or highest. When used alone as an expressive utterance to point toward the quality of something, it’s saying that it is “awesome” or “the best thing.” It’s nearly always used with the verb です (desu), which is the Japanese verb to mean “to be.”
きょうははるかのやすみなの？しごとないの？さいこう！ (kyou wa haruka no yasumi nano? Shigoto nai no? saikou! | 今日はの春香の休みなの？仕事ないの？最高！)
Haruka, you have a day off!? You don’t have work today!? That’s awesome!
Don’t forget that each and every one of these awesome expressions can be used all on their own as interjections!
In conclusion, there are quite a few ways to say “awesome” in Japanese – so much so that it’s tough to pick just one! Take the extra time to study and integrate them into some of the Japanese words you’re already familiar with.
As you consume Japanese-based media, try to listen out for when they’re used and what context or feeling is evoked at that time. Incorporate these words into your communication equation until it becomes natural. Most of all, never give up on your awesome language journey!
If you’re familiar with other Japanese expressions similar to this, don’t hesitate to mention them. Feel free to share how to use these phrases in your conversations with the native speakers in the comments!
がんばってください (ganbatte kudasai)! ^^