The Japanese word for animal is doubutsu (動物). There are many different types of wild animals that can be found across Japan depending on which part of Japan. Animals that are not native to Japan can be viewed at a zoo (doubutsuen 動物園).




   Animals make noises in Japanese but they are different from English.

   Meow meow = nya nya (ニャニャ)

   Woof woof = wan wan (ワンワン)

   Oink oink = buu buu (ブーブー)



   Tanuki (狸 / タヌキ) are native to Japan. It is similar to a raccoon dog. These animals are very significant in Japanese folklore. Statues of tanuki can be found outside temples and restaurants. Often these statues will be shown with the animal having large sized testicles because real tanuki have disproportionately large testicles.




   There are two types of adjectives, I-keiyoushi and Na-keiyoushi. The adjectives get their name based on the sound that comes between them and a noun that they modify.

   Kawaii (可愛い) is a I-keiyoushi that means cute. If you look at the word in kanji it's easy to tell that it's a I-keiyoushi because the sound i (い) is written in hiragana after the kanji. We will learn how to conjugate adjectives in another lesson.

   The particle ne (ね) can be added to the end of many different sentences to express a similar meaning to the English words isn't it, eh or make a sentence sound friendly.

   Cute dog eh = kawaii inu desu ne (かわいい犬ですね)


   In a similar fashion, the word yo (よ) can be added to add emphasis to the situation.

   Its cute! = kawaii yo (かわいいよ)







   In the lesson I'm a person too we were briefly introduced to counters. Hiki (匹) is the counter that is used for small animals. It can be used for insects, cats, dogs, fish and other small animals. This counter is not used on birds. As you can see the pronunciation changes depending on the number that is used.

   1 animal = ippiki (一匹)
   2 animals = nihiki (二匹)
   3 animals = sanbiki (三匹)
   4 animals = yonhiki (四匹)
   5 animals = gohiki (五匹)
   6 animals = roppiki (六匹)
   7 animals = shichihiki (七匹)
   8 animals = happiki (八匹)
   9 animals = kyuuhiki (九匹)
   10 animals = juppiki (十匹)

   ● Tou (頭) is the counter for large animals and wa (羽) is the counter for birds.


   There are two spiders = kumo ga nihiki imasu (クモが二匹います)

   There are 3 foxes = kitsune ga sanbiki imasu (狐が三匹います)

   There are 6 kittens = koneko ga roppiki iru (子猫が六匹いる)

   How many animals are there = nanbiki imasu ka (何匹いますか)