Weird Japanese Body Parts

Published April 22nd, 2016

Don't worry! Japanese body parts are the same as everyone else's ;) But one of the first things you're taught when you learn a language as a child is all the parts of the body. In America, we even have a song for it: "Head, shoulders knees and toes, knees and toes..." You know how it goes! Of course those are important body parts to learn (along with eyes and ears and mouth and nose) but what about all the other body parts? Those weird things with very specific names like your belly button or your pinky finger? Or what about the space of skin in between your eyebrows?? Today we thought we'd talk about the human body and all those weird parts it has-- in Japanese!

Japanese Body Parts

japanese word for finger 指 (ゆび) Finger (yubi) 爪 (つめ) Fingernail / Toenail (tsume) Interesting that Japanese has only one word for fingernails and toenails! In both English and Japanese there are different words for each of your fingers and the thumb, but adults will use one version while children are taught another! For children, each digit is a part of your family. Maybe it's like playing "This Little Piggy" in English? ---

japanese body parts 親指(おやゆび Thumb (oya yubi) お父さん指(おとうさんゆび) Otosan yubi = "dad finger" 人差し指(ひとさしゆび) Index finger (hitosashi yubi) お母さん指(おかあさんゆび) Okasan yubi = "mom finger" 中指(なかゆび) Middle finger (naka yubi) お兄さん指(おにいさんゆび) Onisan yubi = "big brother finger" 薬指(くすりゆび Ring finger (kusuri yubi) お姉さん指(おねえさんゆび) Onesan yubi = "big sister finger" 小指(こゆび Pinkie Finger (koyubi) 赤ちゃん指(あかちゃんゆび) Akachan yubi = "baby finger" ---

What about that little part of your eye where the top eyelid meets the bottom one? Do you know the name for that in English? Me neither, but I recently learned it's called the canthus. This applies to either the outer or the inner meeting of eyelids. In Japanese, however, they have a different word for each side. japanese word for eyes 目頭(めがしら) Inner Eye Corner (megashira) - "Head of Eyes" Of course, if the one side is known as the head of eyes, the other side will be known as the butt! 目尻(めじり) Outer Eye Corner (mejiri) - "Butt of Eyes" ---

japanese word for nape


Nape of the Neck (unaji) - In Japanese culture, this body part is one of the "sexy" parts of women. When Japanese women wear kimono, they usually tie up their hair and show their unaji, and it's very attractive to men. Do you think this is the same in Western culture? ---


Did you know that the space of skin between your eyebrows is called your glabella? In Japanese it's known as miken and there is even a common saying that uses the word!

眉間にしわを寄せる - This means to "furrow one's brow." What do you think that saying means in Japanese? japanese eyebrows