Nouns In Japanese: Explained Clearly For New Beginners

Written byIchika Yamamoto

Definition: The noun is used to identify a person, place, thing, or idea. In Japanese all nouns not have gender and usually the singular and plural form are the same.


  • English

pencil, the pencil, a pencil,pencils,the pencils

  • Japanese

鉛筆 = Enpitsu

The Japanese have the following rules for the use of nouns:

For Nouns Referring to People

If you use a noun referring to people, you must use the suffix たち (tachi) that indicate the plural form.


The Suffix "ya" (や) and The Suffix "ka" (か)

  • The suffix ya (や) is used for the store where the objects are sold or the person who sells them.

  • The suffix ka (か) is used for the person who is an expert or specialist in the designated subject.

Basic nounNoun with や (ya) or か (ka)
flowerhanaflower shop , florist花 屋 hanaya
meatnikubutcher shop, butcher肉 屋 nikuya
novel小 説 shōsetsunovelist小 説 家 shōsetsuka
bookhonbookstore clerk, bookseller本 屋 さ ん honya-san

If you talk about a shopkeeper or clerk, you have to use the honorific san (さん).

For Compound NounsWhen you use two nouns together, you form a compound noun are joined by the particle no.

Basic nounNoun with や (ya) or か (ka)
japanese / class日本語 / クラス nihongo / kurasuJapanese class日本語のクラス nihongo no kurasu
apartment / buildingアパート / ビル apāto / biruApartment buildingアパートのビル apāto no biru
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