The meaning of kanojo (彼女、かのじょ) and how to use it

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

What does kanojo mean?

Kanojo (彼女、かのじょ) means she in Japanese. In some cases, it can also take on the meaning of girlfriend.

Let’s look at some examples below.

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

Example sentences using kanojo

Kanojo means she or girlfriend in Japanese.

Kanojo wa eigo ga tokui desu.
She is good at English.

Kanojo wa youshoku yori wa washoku ga suki desu.
She likes Japanese food more than western food.

Kanojo wa shourai, okaasan ni naritai to itteimasu.
She says she wants to become a mother in the future.

Kanojo + no = Her

When you add in the possessive no (の) particle, as in kanojo no (彼女の), the meaning is her.

Kanojo no otousan wa mada wakaku miemasu.
Her father still looks young

Kanojo no yume wa isha ni naru koto desu.
Her dream is to become a doctor.

Kanojo no ie wa hirokute totemo suteki desu.
Her house is big and very nice.

Kanojo can also mean girlfriend

Kanojo means she or girlfriend in Japanese.

Interestingly enough, the Japanese word for she can also mean girlfriend. You could therefore conceivably use kanojo twice in a sentence as follows:

Sono hito wa dare desu ka?
Who is that?

Kanojo wa boku no kanojo desu!
She is my girlfriend!

In reality though, you should drop the kanojo wa without changing the meaning of your response (see further below for more details).

Here are a couple more of examples featuring kanojo to mean girlfriend.

Boku no kanojo wa yoku ryouri wo tsukutte kureru.
My girlfriend often cooks for me.

Ore no kanojo wa chou kawaii zo!
My girlfriend is really cute! (casual)

When to use kanojo

Although we have seen that kanojo means she in Japanese, it’s not used anywhere near as often as its English equivalent.

This is because Japanese speakers often omit pronouns when they are understood by the context. For example, the “she” is obvious in the example below and hence omitted:

Ano hito wa nanijin desu ka?
What nationality is she (lit: that person)?

Furansu jin desu.
She is French.

Kanojo and politeness

It’s also better to use a person’s name or title when you can. This sounds more natural and it’s also more polite.

I should add that this goes for double when referring to someone of a higher status than yourself (e.g., your boss).

Let’s imagine that your boss is called Sato San, who you are currently talking about to a colleague. In this case, the second sentence is better than the first, where kanojo might sound slightly rude.

  1. この業界では彼女のレポートが有名です。
    Kono gyoukai de wa kanojo no repooto ga yuumei desu.
    Her reports are well-known in this industry.
  2. この業界では佐藤さんのレポートが有名です。
    Kono gyoukai de wa Sato San no repooto ga yuumei desu.
    Sato San’s reports are well-known in this industry.

What’s the male equivalent of kanojo?

Kare (彼、かれ) means he in Japanese. Note that kare can also mean boyfriend in casual language, but the proper word is kareshi (彼氏、かれし). There is no alternative casual form for kanojo.