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I love cats and I adore the means cats room “implemented” in the Japanese language.

Today I want to present a couple of cat expressions and phrases in Japanese that you might want come remember!Don’t worry, they’re not really difficult and also even who with only basic Japanese knowledge should be able to understand them.


The native “cat” in Japanese

Cat is “neko” in Japanese. It’s normally written in kanji (猫), but you often additionally see the katakana (ネコ) or hiragana (ねこ) version.The sound a cat provides is not “meow”, however “nya(n)” – にゃ(ん).That’s why little kids often don’t say “neko”, but “nyanko” or “nyanko-chan” (にゃんこちゃん) once they view a cat.

Even famous mascots have “nyan” in their name. Finest example is Hikone’s “Hikonyan” (ひこにゃん).

In a the majority of anime or manga series with cat(-like) characters, you’ll notification they don’t speak “standard Japanese”.Words or sentence endings v “na” are readjusted into “nya(n)”.

For example, “nantoka naru” (it’ll job-related out somehow) becomes “nyantoka nyaru”.It also sounds a many cuter. Try to pay close attention next time you clock / check out something in Japanese v a cat character.


Cute cat items i bought in Yufuin whereby you have the right to observe the “nya”-phenomenon. ;)

Cat expressions and phrases in Japanese

There are numerous “cat-themed” words and even more proverbs (諺, kotowaza) in the Japanese language. Here’s a small choice of mine favorites:

Nekojita (猫舌) – Cat Tongue

If you’re like me, climate you have a “cat tongue” (nekojita, 猫舌).What does that mean?That expression is supplied for people that cannot drink burning warm stuff and need to wait until it has cooled down rather a bit.I constantly hated the fact that i cannot drink something immediately, yet once i heard the Japan has such a cute word because that it, ns was ok v it. ;PDo you have actually a nekojita?

Neko wo kaburu. (猫を被る。)

Literally it method wearing a cat (like put on a cat costume / mask), yet it’s prefer saying “butter wouldn’t melt in his / her mouth”.You’re trying to look chaste by wearing a cat costume? Hm. Interesting.


Neko ni koban. (猫に小判。)

Literally it way giving a cat a koban (an Edo duration coin – the one Maneki Neko space usually holding).Maybe friend can currently guess what it’s offered for: “Casting her pearls prior to swine.”Obviously something girlfriend shouldn’t do. You’re offering someone miscellaneous that’s way too an excellent / above their level. Castle don’t also know what to do with it – favor a cat wouldn’t understand what to perform with a coin, right? Swine don’t understand what to perform with pearl … maybe other than eat them.

Neko ni katsuobushi. (猫に鰹節。)

Katsuo is a yummy fish (*especially renowned in Kochi Prefecture) and also katsuobushi describes my lovely bonito flakes. If you placed these close to a cat, you recognize what will certainly happen. It is used to define a situation where friend cannot shed your emphasis or something negative will happen. ;)For example, when you let a small kid sit right beside cookies after informing them no to touch them. Guess: v what will happen?I think the closestly expression in English would certainly be: “Setting the wolf to guard the sheep.”

Neko no dare mo karitai. (猫の手も借りたい。)

“I desire to borrow even a cat’s paw.” It means you’re so busy, you’d require a thousand hand to end up it all.I think that’s a emotion we all recognize well, so it’s good to mental this expression. Though, I’m not sure how valuable a cat’s paw yes, really is (other 보다 being cute once floating in her coffee ..)

Kysuuso neko wo kamu. (窮鼠猫を噛む。)

A computer mouse that has actually been driven right into a edge will bite the cat.It method that also if one’s cornered, even on the verge of death the weak ones can win if they’re brave: “Despair turns cowards courageous.”

Neko mo shakushi mo. (猫も杓子も。)

The cat, too, the dipper, too!What? it just means “each and also every one”, “every Tom, Dick and Harry” (like we usage “Hinz und Kunz” in German).In Western nations we seem to use people’s names, however in Japan it’s cats and also dippers?

This is therefore random, probably that’s why I prefer it.

Neko no ko ippiki inai. (猫の子一匹いない。)

There’s not even one kitten an interpretation there’s for sure nobody there.Kittens are usually referred to as “koneko” (子猫), the one used right here is literally “a cat’s child” (猫の子).

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Cats are counted through “-hiki” like many smaller animals (one cat = ippiki, 2 cats = nihiki, 3 cats = sanbiki, …).Counting in Japan can be fairly complicated. You can read much more about it right here on Tofugu.In the worst case just do it prefer the little kids and also count whatever using: 1-ko (一個, ikko), 2-ko (二個, niko), 3-ko (三個, sanko) etc.

What room your favorite cat expressions and also phrases in Japanese?

Of course, there space a lot more! I simply picked a few I yes, really like.Do girlfriend know any cat expressions or paragraph in Japanese?What are your favorites and also why?Tell us in the comments below!