Eriko Kasai
Professional Teacher
Learning Article : Colors In Japanese

Discuss the Article : Colors In Japanese

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Which colors does your country use for traffic lights? In Japan, this is the kind of traffic light we use. It probably looks a lot like yours. But, when I speak in Japanese, I say “Red (aka), yellow (ki) and blue (ao) .” Blue? Isn’t it supposed to be green...?

May 22, 2014 12:00 AM
Comments · 8

Very interesting article .In India we consider red and yellow colours auspicious.Black and blue colours are not used for any auspicious ritual.Indian colours name has taken from nature.

May 23, 2014

In my high school in Canada, they believed in the power of colours, each wing had a different shade and that shade was decided according to the subject taught in that wing. I remember mathematics was yellow, to stimulate the brain, the cafeteria was red to help digest and the last one I remember is the gym, it was brown with stripes. We supposed it was because they had ran out of good colours!!

Here are some French provebs with colours: (I've picked them online and translated them for you)

-Être vert de rage = to be green from anger
-Donner le feu vert = to give the green fire (to authorise someting, we say fire because traffic lights can be called like that)
-Avoir le pouce vert = to have a green thumb (to be a good gardener)
-Être dans le rouge = to be in the red (to have large debts)
-Voir rouge = to see red (to be very angry)
-Rire jaune = to laugh yellow (to force oneself to laugh when the situation is actually uncomfortable)
-Un cordon bleu = a blue ribbon (a good cook)
-Avoir une peur bleue = to have a blue fright (to be really scared)
-Voir la vie en rose = to see life in pink (to be more optimistic than the average)
-L'or noir = black gold (it was coal, then petrol)
-Travailler au noir = to work in black (to work illegally, without paying taxes)
-Broyer du noir = to grind some black (to be depressed)
-Être blanc comme un linge = to be white as a cloth (to be pale, usually from fright or sickness)
-Être blanc comme neige = to be white as snow (to have nothing to hide)

-Des goûts et des couleurs, on ne discute pas = Of taste and colours, we don't discuss (some subject are better left alone, or it could also mean everyone is free to like what they like!)

May 23, 2014
When someone told me that seaweed is black (I see it as green) I was confused. Now I understand that the way people perceive or describe colors is related to the culture. I also think it's interesting that you think of 紅茶 as red. Is it just because of the kanji or is it because different types of 紅茶 are actually reddish in Japan?  Even though it doesn't look completely black, I think of it as black tea. Does 紅茶 also apply to something like rooibos tea too?
February 24, 2017

For you, this is a red cloth.  (  used to say to make someone angry , the color used for the stimulation of the bull.)
Yellowed with envy.
Poor man's death yellow the richly used to be red.
Blue eyes, eyes of manor.
Yellow eyes, eyes of cat.
Who looks through yellow glass, everything looks yellow.
Red boots are for dancing, yellow boots in the mud.
Blue trousers with a red spot.
Green branch comes.
There is no forest without a green branch.
To lure the birds, spleen green left.
Green horse seen: a rarity.
Magpie so many white feathers as black.
Black hay, white bread. (Meaning: a good year.)
States the truth in black and white.
Fits him like the whiteness to good fortune.

October 5, 2014




May 28, 2014
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