Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for Japanese attributes and qualities, more simply put, words that we can use to describe someone’s personality. Thanks to the book Intermediate Kanji Book Vol 2 written by Kano Chieko, we’ve managed to create a list of attributes with our own English translations added. There are evidently thousands of words to describe someone’s character which makes it difficult to know where to begin, however these are some great words to start off with.
Words has been input into either 気 spirit, 心 heart, 姓 nature, or if it’s a noun-based adjective made with 的. This makes it easier to remember each word by placing each word into whatever kanji “category” that makes the most sense.
- 気 Spirit
For example, this word: 陽気な literary means warm spirit just by looking at the kanji. Since kanji meaning for 陽 is sunshine and 気 means spirit. This makes sense since the meaning is cheerful.
- 心 Heart
The heart represents a lot of things, moreover mental related subjects such as feelings, will and knowledge. For example 向上心 is putting together 向上, meaning improvement or progress, with heart which creates the word ambition. You are feeling strong desire for more improvement.
- 姓 Nature
The nature of anything. This kanji can be used for a lot of various types of things concerning the essence of said word. Below in the list it is used saying “Having the nature of being cooperative” which is 協調性. Someone being worried a lot could be a 心配性の人 , person worried by nature.
- 的 Makes adjective from noun
This isn’t as interesting as above listed kanji but a very useful one. Except being in typical nouns such as 目的 (goal) or 的 (target) it has another function. Whatever noun before the character will transform the word into a na-adjective. Sometimes it’s even used to make non-existent words because of it’s usefulness. It simply works as you would add “-like” in English. For legitimate words you can see this kanji being used for are words such as 機能 (function) that will become 機能的 adjective “functional”, or 歴史 history that becomes adjective “historical” 歴史的.
|Determined||勝ち気な||かちきな||Reserved, shy, timid||内気な||うちきな|
|Quick tempered||短気な||たんきな||Easy going||のん気な||のんきな|
|Have a lot of patience||気が長い||きがながい||Be easily offended||気が短い||きがみじかい|
|Activeness, enterprise, positiveness||積極性||せっきょくせい|
|Prone to worrying||心配性||しんぱいしょう|
|Worry habit, pessemistic nature||苦労性||くろうしょう|
|Destined to poverty||貧乏性||びんぼうしょう|
的 (Makes noun adjective)
的 (Makes noun adjective)