– Vol.13 –
ARC teacher Mimi Sensei will answer your questions regarding Japanese language.
The expression “a bright red lie” (makkana uso) means a total lie, when something is completely different from the truth. We also use the word red in the expression “a red stranger” (akano tanin) to say that someone is a complete stranger.
If you only look at these two examples, you might think that the color red is seen negatively by Japanese people, but it’s not like that. In both the previous examples the word red is used to express “clear at first sight”, that something is evident and easily understandable.
In Japan if you say red, I think the majority of the people will think about “passion”. Also, Japanese babies have the color blue associated with boys, and red associated with girls.
There are many other Japanese idioms using color words. For example, the expression “yellow voice” to describe an unusually high pitched voice, or “black belly”, to say something is mean, black-hearted… It can be interesting to search for a color and find out what idioms it is associated with. Some of these might lead you to understand better some aspects of Japanese culture and how Japanese people think.