Friday, July 29, 2016

Body Parts in Japanese

Characters in anime are people just like everybody else, as such, they have human bodies with its human body parts. Obviously, the Japanese language has words for these human body parts, and here are they.

Karada 身体

The word "body" in Japanese is karada 体, also written karada 身体. This kanji 体 means "body" and shows up in many body-related words. Take a look:
  • jintai 人体
    Human body
    (hito 人 means "person")
  • nikutai 肉体
    Flesh (meat body)
    (niku 肉 means "meat")
  • nikutai kaizou-bu 肉体改造部
    Body improvement club
    (see anime Mob 100)
  • taikei 体型
    Body shape
    (kata 型 means "model")
  • taiiku 体育
    Physical exercise.
    (sodatsu 育つ means "to raise")
  • taichou体長
    Height. Body length.
    (nagai 長い means "long")
  • taion 体温
    Body temperature.
    (atatakai 温かい means "warm")


There's also another word for body, mi 身, but it's used a little differently.

First off, mi 身 is used more to talk about my body or your body and not just any body like karada. For example, if in anime a character is able to possess other people's bodies he would say kono karada この体 to say "this body," but never kono mi この身.

Another example is the phrase mi no hodo wo shirazu 身の程を知らず, literally "not knowing the limits of the body," which actually means "not knowing your social standing." That is, it's used when a character acts wrongly before a king or imperor.

Head and Face Parts

Well then, let's start talking about the names of body parts now. Starting with the "head", atama 頭 and going down..
  • Head
  • Hair
  • Face
    kao 顔 or men
  • Forehead
  • Brow
  • Eye
  • Nose
  • Mouth
  • Lips
  • Teeth
  • Animal fangs
  • Tongue
    (do not mistake with shita 下 which means "down")
  • Ear
  • Cheeks
  • Neck

Upper Body Parts

Next are the names of the parts of the "upper body," or joutai 上体 in Japanese. This is the same kanji as in the word ue 上 which means "up."

(do not mistake joutai 上体 with joutai 状態 which means "circumstances")
  • Shoulder
  • Arm
  • Elbow
  • Wrist
    tekubi 手首
  • Hand
  • Palm
    te no hira 掌, te no hira 手のひら or te no uchi 手の内
  • Finger
  • Fingernail
  • Chest
  • Boobs!
    oppai おっぱい
  • Stomach or abdomen
    hara 腹 or ohara お腹
  • Bellybutton
  • Back
    se 背, senaka 背中

The word oppai in Japanese, おっぱい, as written in a yellow hoodie worn by Saitama サイタマ, also known as Caped Baldy, a character from the webcomic, manga and anime One Punch Man ワンパンマン

Lower Body Parts

Going deeper lower, the parts of the "lower body" or katai 下体.

(do not mistake katai 下体 with katai 固い which means "hard", "solid")
  • Butt
    shiri 尻, oshiri お尻
  • Animal tail
    shippo 尻尾
  • Thighs
    momo 股, futomomo 太もも
  • Knee
  • Shank.
  • Shin.
    mukouzune 向うずね
  • Calf. Calves.
    fukurabagi 脹脛
  • Leg
    ashi 足 or ashi
  • Ankle (area around leg, right before the foot)
    ashikubi 足首
  • Ankle (referring to the joint.)
  • Feet
  • Toes
    yubi 指, ashiyubi 足指, ashi no yubi 足の指
  • Sole
    ashi no ura 足の裏

Sides of the Body

Interrupting the list for an important note! You have two hands, two eyes, two ears, two legs and two feet (I hope). How to talk about only the left part of the body of only the right part?

It's easy. Just use the words migi 右 and hidari 左 which mean "left" and "right". The "left hand" would be hidari te 左手, and the right foot would be migi ashi 右の足.

Sometimes you want to talk about both sides of your body. For this case, there are the words ryou te 両手, "both hands", and ryou ashi 両足, "both legs/feet".

What about only one side? That's kata te 片手 and kata ashi 片足, which would means "only one hand" and "only one leg. These words usually shows up in anime when a character is so strong he says he'll defeat someone else with just only hand, or when other characters try to stop one character from recklessly doing a thing because he only hand one hand.

This kata 片 os only used when you have both sides of a thing. It doesn't mean merely "only".

Insides of the Body

Continuing, the words for the insides of the body, or tainai 体内.
  • Internal organs
    naizou 内蔵
  • Brains
    nou 脳, nouzui 脳髄
  • Throat
  • Stomach
  • Heart (real)
    shinzou 心臓
  • Heart (of love, etc.)
  • Lung
  • Large intestine
    daichou 大腸
  • Small intestine
    shouchou 小腸

Yep, that's about it. Now you got enough knowledge about body parts' names that you could start selling body parts like in Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji 逆境無頼カイジ with all this vocabulary you've learned about anatomy, or kaibougaku 解剖学.

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