Top 5 Japanese Slang Words To Learn To Sound Like A Local

Top 5 Japanese Slang Words To Learn To Sound Like A Local

Like any other language, Japanese has numerous slang words that the locals or native Japanese speakers use in their day-to-day conversations. If you are taking Japanese language courses, you might possibly come across various Japanese proverbs, slang words or phrases. It is important to pay attention to them because they can help you progress in your study of the Japanese language.

Indeed, native Japanese speakers use slang a lot in different kinds of settings. Furthermore, it usually takes high proficiency in Japanese to communicate just as well in casual situations as in the more formal ones. Hence, if you wish to sound like a native speaker, you should definitely learn some Japanese slang. Here are some of the easiest and most common Japanese slang words you can start with.

 1. Ossu (おっす!) 

Ossu is the Japanese slang for “What’s up?” It started out as a greeting in the military, so it used to be more formal than in today’s use. If you want to amaze your Japanese friends with your proficiency in the language, try greeting them with this modern version of the slang. A more traditional way of saying it would be konchiwa (こんちはー), which is a contraction of konnichiwa (こんにちは), which means good day/night.

2. Maji (マジ) 

Maji is a very common slang used by youngsters. This word basically translates to “Really?” or “Seriously?” in English. It is commonly used when you are surprised at something. The formal word for this Japanese slang is hontou. As such, you can say maji or majilde when conversing with your friends, but you should avoid using it in a business situation, and say “Hontou desuka?” instead.

3. Yabai (やばい)

This slang phrase is used all over Japan and is quite common in day-to-day language. It basically means either awesome and amazing or crappy and ridiculous. Depending on the context of the situation, you can use yabai to tell your friend that a situation is either really good or terribly bad. Among Japanese men, this slang phrase is sometimes shortened to yaba (ヤバ).

4. Matane (またねー!)

Matane simply means “See you later!” However, this slang actually comes with a couple of options. Its most common variation is jya-ne (じゃーね), but a more masculine personality would use あばよ to say “later.” The よ essentially means “I am certain,” so you need to be sure and confident when you use this version. Even when you are using Japanese slang, you would want to be taken seriously.

5. Zurui (ずるい)

This Japanese slang is a combination of admiration and disgust for someone’s behaviour that seems a little sneaky. Zurui is often used when you cannot believe that a person actually went through with something while being impressed with their audacity at the same time. The English translation for this slang is “No fair!” and it can also be used when you want to let someone know that what they did cross the line.


Every language has its own set of slang words and phrases. The same thing is true for the Japanese language. If you want to improve your Japanese proficiency and sound more like a local or a native speaker, you should take the time to learn some Japanese slang words. Knowing a few slang words will definitely help you progress in your pursuit to learn Japanese in Singapore.

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