How to describe pain in Japanese (with examples)

Itami is the Japanese word for pain.

In this article, we will discuss how to tell someone you’re in pain in Japanese. This post will give you all the info you need with definitions, translations, usage, example sentences, and more!

How to say “it hurts” in Japanese

The Japanese word itai ( 痛い 、いたい)means “it hurts” or “ouch!” in Japanese. Itai is based on the noun itami (痛み), which means pain. You can use this word in many situations, whether during a doctor’s visit or when complaining to a friend!

Watashi wa kata ga itai.
My shoulder hurts.

Doko ga itai no?
Where does it hurt?

Te ga sugoku itai.
My hand really hurts.

Headache in Japanese

To tell someone that you have a headache, you literally say “(my) head hurts” – atama ga itai (頭が痛い), or just atama itai. Atama is the Japanese word for head, and the “my” part is understood.

Atama ga itai kara kusuri wo nonda houga ii kana.
I have a headache so maybe I should take some medicine.

Another way to say headache is zutsuu (頭痛、ずつう). The –uu stands for a long “U” sound. This word is a bit more formal so you might use it when talking to your boss, etc.

Sukoshi zutsuu ga shimasu.
I have a bit of a headache.

How to express emotional pain in Japanese

So far, we have only talked about physical pain but what about the more emotional type?

The Japanese word tsurai (辛い、つらい) means hard or painful in an emotional or psychological sense. You could also translate it as tough – for example, tsurai toki (辛い時) stands for tough times.

Boku wa tsurai desu.
I’m in (emotional) pain.

Kanojo to wakarete totemo tsurai.
Breaking up with her has been really painful.

Tsurai toki dakara koso kazoku wo daiji ni shiyou.
These are tough times so let’s take care of family.