The meaning of jin (人) in Japanese and how to use it

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

What does jin mean?

Jin (人, じん) is a non-standalone word that means person or people in Japanese. More specifically, jin is used to denote a person’s nationality or race.

To state someone’s nationality, you simply add the country name to jin.

As you probably know, the word for Japan is nihon (日本、にほん). Accordingly, nihonjin (日本人) stands for a Japanese person. This rule works for all nationalities.

Country name + Jin = Nationality

Jin is the Japanese word for person. It is used to talk about someone's nationality or race.

Below, let’s take a look at some example sentences.

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.

John wa nanijin nano?
Where is John from? (lit: what person is John?)

Kare wa amerika jin desu.
He’s American.

Boku no chichi wa kankoku jin desu.
My father is Korean.

Spein jin wa hanashiyasui inshou ga aru.
I get the impression that Spanish people are easy to talk to.

Jin: Can also refer to race

Jin is the Japanese word for person. It is used to talk about someone's nationality or race.

Japanese also use jin to describe a person’s race. It’s worth nothing that, unlike English, there is little sensitivity over such terms. Perhaps the reason is that Japan remains a largely homogenous country.

Nihon ni wa amari kokujin ga inai.
There are not many black people in Japan.

Hakujin dakara to itte kanarazushimo eigo ga dekiru wake de wa nai yo!
Just because someone is white, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can speak English!

Ajia jin wa megane wo kaketeiru hito ga ooi.
Many Asian people wear glasses.

Note: The “人” kanji above is read as “hito”, which refers to people in the more general sense.