The meaning of ima (今) in Japanese and how to use it

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word ima, including its Japanese definition and translation, example sentences, related expressions and more!

What does ima mean?

The Japanese word ima (今、いま) means now or right now. It can also translate as just now when referring to something that has just happened.

Below, we take a look at some examples of how to use ima in Japanese.

Ima = Now

The Japanese word ima means now or just now.

To make it easier for you, I have written each sentence in full Japanese kanji on the first line, followed by roman letters (romaji), and hiragana, with the English meaning coming last.

Ima wa daigakusei desu.
Now I am a university student.

Ima, haru nano de hana wa kirei desu.
The flowers are beautiful because it’s spring now.

Ima, nanji desu ka?
What time is it now?

Eto, ima nani shiteru no?
Erm, what are you doing right now?

Ima, denki ga nai jyoutai desu.
There is no power right now.

Ima: Can also mean just now

Ima can also be used to mean just now (i.e., something that just happened). This resembles how the word sakki (さっき) is used – practically speaking, there’s little difference between the two.

Ima no hito wa dare?
Who was that just now?

Ima no kaze wa tsuyokatta desu ne!
It was really windy just now, wasn’t it!

Ima kara: From now (on)

Ima kara is a useful phrase that means from now or from now on. Sometimes this may simply translate as now in English, but ima kara refers to something happening from now and into the near future. You will hear this phrase often in Japanese conversations so it’s worth remembering!

Ima kara chanto benkyou suru!
I will study properly from now on!

Ima kara hanabi taikai ni ikimasu.
We are going to the fireworks display now.