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25 Ways You Can Use Japanese Ki to Express Abstract Ideas

Wish you could express abstract ideas and emotions in Japanese?

Let’s talk ki!

The Japanese ki is going to rock your conversational world.

We won’t get drawn into the more complex concepts of energies and spirituality which are connected with this tiny Japanese word. Historically, ki has been very difficult to define, and I’m not an authority by any means.

What I will talk about is how you can understand and use ki to convey your hard-to-describe thoughts, feelings and experiences as they relate to each other.

All in typical Japanese minimalist fashion.

Contents

Ready to unleash your energy into your Japanese conversations? Here are 25 of the most common phrases using 気—try using the example sentences as frameworks and create your own using the Japanese ki!

Phrases Using 気 (ki) as Adjectives With の

1. 気のせい (きのせい)

Literal translation: The fault of ki
English translation: It’s just (my/your) imagination

今なんか聞いた?気のせいかも知れないけど。 (いま なんか きいた?きの せい かも しれないけど。)
Did you hear something just now? Might just be my imagination…

2. 気の毒 (きのどく)

Literal translation: Poison of ki
English translation: Something is unfortunate

こんな状況になって気の毒ですね。 (こんな じょうきょう になって きのどくですね。)
It’s unfortunate that it came to this.

3. 〜 気のない (きのない)

Literal translation: To have no ki
English translation: Someone who’s indifferent, half-hearted

あんなやる気のない人とは仕事できない。 (あんな やるきのない ひと とは しごとできない。)
I can’t work with someone as half-hearted as him.

Phrases For When Something Happens to Your 気 (ki)

4. 気に入る・気に入らない (きにいる・きにいらない)

Literal translation: To go into one’s ki, to not go into one’s ki
English translation: To take a liking to something, to dislike something on a visceral level

聞けば聞くほど、そのバンドのことを結構気に入った。 (きけば きくほど、そのばんどの ことをけっこう きにいった。)
The more I listen to this band the more I’ve taken a liking to them.

5. 気になる (きになる)

Literal translation: To become one’s ki
English translation: To be bothered by thinking about something, to be thinking about something

あんなことを聞いて、私ももちろん気になるよ。 (あんなことをきいて、わたしも もちろん きになるよ。)
Hearing about that I’d also definitely be concerned.

6. 気にする (きにする)

Literal translation: To have something done to one’s ki
English translation: To be deeply troubled over something

人の言ってることを気にしない方がいいよ。 (ひとの いってることをきに しない ほうが いいよ。)
You shouldn’t worry about the things people say.

7. 気にかける (きにかける)

Literal translation: To hang on one’s ki
English translation: To be worried/concerned about something

気にかけてくれて、本当にありがとうございます。もう大丈夫です。 (きに かけてくれて、ほんとうに ありがとうございます。もう だいじょうぶ です。)
Thank you so much for worrying about me. I’m fine now.

8. 気に触る (きにさわる)

Literal translation: One’s ki is touched
English translation: To get on one’s nerves

また何か気に触ることを言ったのか。 (また なにか きに さわることをいったのか。)
You said something that got on his nerves again, didn’t you?

Phrases For When You Do Something with Your 気 (ki)

9. 気を付ける (きをつける)

Literal translation: Apply your ki
English translation: Be careful/take care (while doing something)

おやすみなさい!気を付けて帰ってね! (おやすみなさい!きを つけて かえってね!)
Good night! Be careful getting home, okay!

10. 気を使う (きをつかう)

Literal translation: Use your ki
English translation: To take someone’s feelings into consideration

私、結構年下だから、気を使わないでいいよ! (わたし、けっこう としした だから、きをつかわないで いいよ!)
I’m quite a bit younger than you, you don’t need to put on airs around me!

11. 気を悪くする (きをわるくする)

Literal translation: To make ki bad
English translation: To feel hurt by something

部長はこれを見たら気を悪くするんじゃない? (ぶちょうは これをみたら きをわるく するんじゃない?)
If the chief saw this he wouldn’t feel great, would he?

12. 気を許す (きをゆるす)

Literal translation: To let go of one’s ki
English translation: To let one’s guard down

すごく悪い人だった。やっぱり、気を許さない方が良かった。 (すごく わるい ひと だった。やっぱり、きをゆるさない ほうが よかった。)
He was a really bad guy. I shouldn’t have let my guard down after all.

13. 気を散らす (きをちらす)

Literal translation: To have one’s ki scattered
English translation: To be distracted

クリスが話しかけてくれた時、気を散らすことができたのでほっとした。 (くりすが はなしかけてくれた とき、きをちらすことが できたので ほっとした。)
When Chris started talking to me, I was relieved to have something to distract me.

14. 気を取られる (きをとられる)

Literal translation: To have one’s ki taken up
English translation: To be preoccupied with something

本に気を取られている間に、時間がどこかに消えてしまったみたいだった。 (ほんに きをとられている あいだに、じかんが どこかに きえてしまった みたいだった。)
While I was immersed in my book time seemed to disappear somehow.

15. 気を静める (きをしずめる)

Literal translation: To sink one’s ki
English translation: To compose oneself

悩みがある時に、この店でお茶を飲んで気を静めます。 (なやみが あるときに、このみせでおちゃをのんで きをしずめます。)
When I’m worrying over something I come to this shop, drink tea and compose myself.

16. 気を配る (きをくばる)

Literal translation: To pass around one’s ki
English translation: To pay attention/take care about something

食事は楽しみであるが、その反面、体調管理にも気を配っている。 (しょくじは たのしみ であるが、その はんめん、たいちょう かんり にも きをくばっている。)
I enjoy my food, but on the other hand, I take care to manage my health.

Phrases For When Your 気 (ki) Does Something

17. 気が早い (きがはやい)

Literal translation: One’s ki is fast
English translation: To do something prematurely

彼は赤の他人なのに、もうプレセントあげるの?ちょっと気が早いんじゃない? (かれは あかのたにん なのに、もう ぷれぜんと あげるの?ちょっと きが はやいんじゃない?)
You bought him a present even though he’s just a stranger? A little fast, no?

18. 気が合う (きがあう)

Literal translation: One’s ki is met
English translation: To be interested in/hit it off with someone (romantically)

もともと話の合わなそうな人だと思っていたが、たちまち気が合ってしまった。 (もともと はなしの あわなそうな ひとだと おもっていたが、たちまち きが あってしまった。)
From the beginning I thought he would be someone I’d fight with, but we hit it off immediately.

19. 気が済む (きがすむ)

Literal translation: One’s ki ends
English translation: To be satisfied with something

お互いの気が済むまで、言いたいことを言うつもりでいる。 (おたがいの きが すむまで、いいたいことをいう つもりで いる。)
Until we’re both satisfied, we should both say all the things we want to say.

20. 気が向く (きがむく)

Literal translation: One’s ki tends towards something
English translation: To feel like doing something

バイバイ!気が向いたら連絡してね! (ばいばい!きが むいたら れんらくしてね!)
See you later! Call me if you feel like it!

21. 気が進まない (きがすすまない)

Literal translation: One’s ki does not progress
English translation: To be reluctant to, unwilling

その時から、私はもう昼間外へ出るのはあまり気が進まなくなった。 (そのときから、わたしは もう ひるま そとへ でるのは あまり きが すすまなくなった。)
Ever since then I’ve been reluctant to go outside during the daytime.

22. 気が変わる (きがかわる)

Literal translation: One’s ki changes
English translation: To change one’s mind

男の人は気が変わるもんだよね。 (おとこの ひとは きが かわるもん だよね。)
Men are ones to change their minds, aren’t they?

23. 気が散る (きがちる)

Literal translation: One’s ki scatters
English translation: To get distracted

悪いけど、ちょっとあっちに行って来る。ここだと気が散るから。 (わるいけど、ちょっと あっちに いってくる。ここだと きが ちるから。)
Sorry, but I’m going to go over there for a bit, I’m distracted here.

24. 気が引ける (きがひける)

Literal translation: One’s ki retreats/pulls back
English translation: To feel awkward, shy doing something

こんな格好で出かけるのは気が引けるね。 (こんな かっこうで でかけるのは きが ひけるね。)
I feel a little shy to go outside in this outfit.

25. 〜 気がする (〜きがする)

Literal translation: One’s ki does something
English translation: To have a feeling that something is a certain way

レストランはこっちの方にある気がする。 (れすとらんは こっちの ほうに ある きが する。)
I feel like the restaurant is this way.

Resources to Find More Japanese Ki Phrases

Love these phrases? Would you like to learn some more? We won’t leave you hanging. Here are some excellent resources where you can learn more Japanese ki phrases and start learning them once and for all.

  • imiwa? — This app (for iPhone) has a character search function, where you can search words, phrases and idioms just by inputting the kanji for 気. It’s a goldmine for example sentences.
  • FluentU — Available to access on browsers and mobile devices, this language learning program uses Japanese videos to immerse you in the language.

 

Now bring a little Japanese ki spirit to your conversations!

なんか役に立つ気がする! (なんか やくに たつ きが する!- I feel like it’ll come in handy!)

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