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10 Japanese Phrases to Express Pain and Sickness

How to Express Sickness and Pain in Japanese

Expressing how sick you feel or where you feel pain is never fun or easy, especially in a foreign language. In this animated video, we introduce ten basic phrases that you can use to express pain and sickness in Japanese.

Japanese onomatopoeias (擬音語(ぎおんご) giongo & 擬態語(ぎたいご)gitaigo) are useful for explaining a symptom or sensation that may be difficult to describe. 

The sample phrases are in the casual form for casual situations, for example, when you’re talking to your friends, family or host family.

When you go to a pharmacy or visit a health professional, you would want to use the polite form so below is a list of the phrases in the polite form 丁寧語(ていねいご) (teineigo).

*Notice the difference with the「〜んです」at the end.

10 Phrases in the Polite Form

1. ズキズキ (throbbing pain)

I have a toothache.

2. ガンガン (pounding pain)

I have a pounding headache.

3. ジンジン (a prickly, tingling sensation)

I have a tingling sensation in my hands.

4. ムカムカ (when you feel queasy or nauseous)

I feel queasy.

5. イガイガ (when you have a scratchy throat)

I have a scratchy throat.

6. ゴロゴロ (when you have something in your eye, or an upset stomach)

I have something in my eye.

7. しょぼしょぼ (when your eyes are tired and sore)

My eyes are tired and sore.

8. パンパン (when your muscles are stiff)

My shoulders are stiff.

9. むずむず (when your nose tickles or when you have an itch)

I have a tickle in my nose.

10. くらくら (when you feel dizzy)

I feel dizzy.

For more, learn body parts in Japanese, and flip through the  Medical Symptoms Flashcards.

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