What are these clothes?どの服ですか

Lesson Target


  • To learn colours in Japanese; and
  • To be able to describe the colours of clothing worn using the correct Japanese verbs.

In this episode you will learn the colours in Japanese and the different verbs used when wearing clothes.

Colours are used to modify noun phrases.  This is just fancy wording that gramerians use that means: adjectives are used to give you more information about nouns.  For example, a red car or a yellow t-shirt. The use of colours in Japanese speech is straight forward, however, it takes a little bit of practice and memorisation.  You don't need to worry about that because after our online practise you will be able to remember the colours.

We will also cover regularly occurring nouns in the tutorial to help you memorise and use them. We will stick mainly with nouns relating to articles of clothing.

Below is a table that contains some of the main colours that are used in daily speech.

Table:  Colours in Japanese

COLOUR
KANJI
HIRAGANA
ROMAJI
Yellow
黄色い
きいろ
kiroi
Red
赤い
あかい
akai
Blue
青い
あおい
Aoi
Brown
茶色い
ちゃいろい
Cyairoi
Pink
ピンク
ぴんく
Pink
Black
黒い
くろい
Kuroi
White
白い
しろい
Shiroi
Orange
オレンジ
おれんじ
Orenji
Purple
紫色
むらさき
Murasaki
Green

みどり
Midori

Below is a handy reference of clothing items in Japanese.  The list includes Kanji, Hiragana and Romaji.  We will practice these in our tutorial to help you memorise them.

Table:  Clothing Items in Japanese

NOUN
HIRAGANA
ROMAJI
ENGLISH

くつ
KUTSU
Shoes
ジーンズ
ジーンズ
Jiinzu
Jeans
セーター
セーター
Seeta
Sweater
ドレース
ドレース
Doreesu
Dress
手袋
てぶくろ
Tebukuro
Gloves
帽子
ぼうし
Boushi
Hat/Cap
パジャマ
パジャマ
Pajyama
Pajamas
スカーフ
すかーふ
Suukafu
Scarf
Tーシャツ
Tーしゃつ
T-shatsu
T-shirt
半ズボン
はんずぼん
Hanzubon
Shorts
靴下
くつした
Kutsushita
Socks
下着
したぎ
Shitagi
Underwear
ストッキング
すとっきんぐ
Sutookingu
Stockings
イアリング
いありんぐ
Iaringu
Ear Rings
指輪
うびわ
Yubiwa
Ring
ブレスレット
ぶれすれっと
Buresureeto
Bracelet
腕輪
うでわ
Udewa
Bangle
ズボン
すぼん
Zubon
Trousers
ジャンパー
じゃんぱー
Jyanpaa
Jumper


5 Verbs to Remember


In English you can pretty much use the verb 'to wear ' generally for any type of clothes worn on any part of the body such as shirts, trousers shoes, hats or sunglasses.  However, in Japanese there are a variety of verbs that are used that mean 'to wear' depending on the type of clothing or the accessory you are referring to.  These verbs are:

  • ’着る’ kiru - a basic expression meaning 'to wear' is used for three different types of clothing:  worn on the upper body such as t-shirts or jumpers, clothing that touches your shoulders, like dresses and pyjamas.
  • '履く' haku - used for clothing worn on the lower body and denotes the action of putting your feet through piece of clothing.  This verb is used for jeans, trousers, pants, skirts, shoes and socks.
  • 'かぶる' kaburu - this literally means 'to cover something'.  This is used in relation to clothing or accessories that cover your head such as hats, caps or wigs.
  • 'つける' tsukeru - For perfumes and colognes, you can use the verb “つける” which can be translated to “to apply”, “to attach” or “to stick (something to something)”.
  • 'する' suru - to make things simple, you can use the verb “する” for small accessories like watches, necklaces, ties, gloves, and rings. Technically, each type of item has its own verb that goes with it, but using “する” is no problem in conversation.

The sentence structure for this is:  Object + を(wo) + Verb.

To indicate the object you are wearing 'を' (wo) is used as this particle denotes the direct object in a sentence.  The direct object upon which the action of the verb is directed must be the noun and this appears right before 'を'.  Don't worry to much as you'll get this in our tutorial practice.

Key Sentence - The Verb Kiru


Topic
Object Particle
Verb

Tシャツ
T-shatsu
wo
着ます。
Kimasu.

To wear a T-shirt

To indicate the colour of an item of clothing (the adjective) is simply put in front of the topic.  Examples:

Adjective
Topic
Object Particle
Verb
あかい
akai
Tシャツ
T-shatsu
wo
着ます。
Kimasu.
To wear a T-shirt
Adjective
Topic
Object Particle
Verb
ピンク
pink
ドレス
dress
wo
着ます。
Kimasu.
To wear a T-shirt

Key Sentence - The Verb Haku


Let’s look at examples.

靴下くつしたを履はく。
To wear socks.

Key Sentence - The Verb Kaburu


[かぶる]

The next verb on our list today is “かぶる”. “かぶる” literally means “to cover (something)”. So when not used in connection with clothing or accessories, “かぶる” can also be used like this:

雪ゆきをかぶった庭にわ。

A yard covered in snow.

Hence, the verb “かぶる” is used for items that you use to cover your head with, for example hats, caps, or wigs.

帽子ぼうしをかぶる。
To wear a hat.

For wigs, there are two different words in Japanese: “カツラ” and “ウィッグ”. “カツラ” is the type of wig that is used by actors or for dolls, and wigs that aren’t for the purpose of being fashionable. “ウィッグ” on the other hand refers to fashionable and trendy wigs.

カツラをかぶる。
To wear a wig.

ウィッグをかぶる。
To wear a wig.

Key Sentence - The Verb Kakeru


[かける]

For glasses, sunglasses, and shades you use the verb “かける”. The literal meaning of “かける” is “to hang”, so this refers to items like glasses that you hang onto your ears and nose bridge.

メガネをかける。
To wear glasses.

サングラスをかける。
To wear sunglasses/shades.

Key Sentence - The Verb Suru (Shimasu)


[する]

To make things simple, you can use the verb “する” for small accessories like watches, necklaces, ties, gloves, and rings. Technically, each type of item has its own verb that goes with it, but using “する” is no problem in conversation.

時計とけいをする。
To wear a watch.

ネックレスをする。
To wear a necklace.

ネクタイをする。
To wear a tie.

手袋てぶくろをする。
To wear gloves.

指輪ゆびわをする。
To wear a ring.

Key Sentence - The Verb Tsukeru


[つける]

For perfumes and colognes, you can use the verb “つける”, which can be translated to “to apply”, or “to attach”, or “to stick (something to something)”.
The Kanji for “つける” looks like this:

付つける

The left radical of the Kanji “付” shows a person (人), and the right side a simplified hand (手). This symbolizes the act of sticking one thing onto something else.

香水こうすいを付つける。
To wear perfume/cologne.

香水こうすいを付つけてる人好ひとずき?
Do you like people who wear cologne?

今日きょう香水こうすい付つけすぎた!
I put on too much perfume today!


[To take off]

Now that we’ve learned various ways to express “to wear” in Japanese, let’s briefly go over how to say “to take off”, or “to undress”. There are only two verbs, so it’s easier to remember than the other way around!

For all clothing worn on the upper and lower body, including shoes, socks, hats, and wigs, you can use the verb “脱ぬぐ”.

ジャケットを脱ぬぐ。
To take off a jacket.

靴くつを脱ぬぐ。
To take off your shoes.

For accessories such as glasses, watches, gloves, and so on you can use the verb “はずす”. 

メガネをはずす。
To take off your glasses.

ネクタイをはずす。
To take off your tie.

スカーフをはずす。
To take off your scarf.

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