Hello, my colour loving friend!
Colours are an essential part of the Japanese cultural identity. Whether you look at the traditional paintings reflecting colorful sceneries like flourishing sakura and Japanese maples, participate in a matsuri, look at the beautiful kimonos or even read some of the famous seasonal haiku – the use of colour is deliberate and meaningful.
Japanese perception of colors, as is often the case between different cultures, is often different from that of a foreigner. For example, green is considered a variation of blue and when there is a word designating a pure shade of green (midori), it is often (ex. traffic lights) used interchangeably with aoi, meaning blue.
“Ten men, ten colours.”
There is also little to no differentiation between violet and purple—two colors that are very close one to each other, yet clearly distinguished in English language—both generally called murasaki. If you have a hard time learning Japanese colour terms, please check out our Japanese colours cheat sheet. Print, share, use and enjoy!