Adjectives and Attributes that describe personality in Japanese — Divided into Spirit, Heart and Nature

Adjectives and Attributes that describe personality in Japanese Image (Introvert)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.   

Type Meaning Kanji Kana
Meaning Kanji Kana
気 (Spirit)
Cheerful 陽気な ようきな Gloomy 陰気な いんきな
Determined 勝ち気な かちきな Reserved, shy, timid 内気な うちきな
Patient 気長な きながな Quick tempered 気短な きみじかな
Quick tempered 短気な たんきな Easy going のん気な のんきな
String willed 気が強い きがつよい Timid 気が弱い きがよわい
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
Stout-hearted 気丈な きじょうな Faint hearted 気弱な きよわな


Type Meaning Kanji Kana
気 (Spirit)
Attentive, tactful 気が利く きがきく
Cheeky, impertinent 生意気な なまいきな
Innocence 無邪気な むじゃきな
Fickleness, inconsistant 移り気な うつりきな
心 (Heart)
Curiousity 好奇心 こうきしん
Depedence 依頼心 いらいしん
Wariness 警戒心 けいかいしん
Clinging 依存心 いそんしん
Suspicion 猜疑心 さいぎしん
Independent 独立心 どくりつしん
Competetive 競争心 きょうそうしん
Self-respect 自尊心 じそんしん
Ambition 向上心 こうじょうしん
姓 (Nature)
Activeness, enterprise, positiveness 積極性 せっきょくせい
Passivity, negativity 消極性 しょうきょくせい
Cooperativeness 協調性 きょうちょうせい
Originality 独創性 どくそうせい
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
Enthusiast 凝り性 こりしょう


Type Meaning Kanji Kana
的 (Makes noun adjective)
Optimistic 楽天的 らくてんてき
Personal 個性的 こせいてき
Sentimental 感傷的 かんしょうてき
Egoistic, egocentric 利己的 りこてき
Egoistic, self-centered 自己中心的 じこちゅうしんてき


 Type Meaning Kanji Kana   Meaning Kanji Kana
的 (Makes noun adjective)
Active, positive 積極的 せっきょくてき
Passive, negative 消極的 しょうきょくてき
Optimistic 楽観的 らっかんてき Pessimistic 悲観的 ひかんてき
Social 社交的 こうしゃてき Anti-social, 非社交的 ひしゃこうてき
Rational 理性的 りせいてき Sentimental 感情的 かんじょうてき
Open-minded 開放的 かいほうてき Closed, self-enclosed 閉鎖的 へいさてき
Extroverted 外向的 がいこうてき Introvert 内向的 ないこうてき