How to Compliment Japanese Women in Japanese

Just like women all over the world, Japanese women love and crave compliments. If you want to be a real gentleman, and really impress her, learn to say some compliments in Japanese. Japanese women go through great troubles to maintain their appearance. Your complimenting her on something specific other than her general appearance will really show your appreciation and your own respect for her efforts.

Some of these compliments might sound a bit strange when translated into English, but in the cultural context of Japan, they make sense. Japanese women will understand and appreciate these lines (as long as you are sincere and pronounce the words correctly). And do it in moderation. If you just lay them on one after another you can be lumped in with the playboys and nampa-shi (Japanese pickup geeks).

Compliment her style/fashion sense:

  • Oshare desu ne. (You’re so fashionable.)
  • Moderu mitai! (You look like a model.)
  • Sumaato da ne! (You look “smart” – you have great fashion.)
  • Fasshon sensu ii. (You have a good sense of style/fashion.)
  • [Kutsu, skaato, yo-fuku] o-niai desu ne. (Your shoes/skirt/clothes really suit you.)

Compliment her intelligence

  • Atama ii ne. (You’re really smart. Literally: “You have a good head.”)
  • Kashikoi ne. (You’re clever.)

Compliment her features (other than the obvious ones)

  • Hada shiroi. (Your skin is so white.) (Many Japanese women aspire to have a fair complexion – lighter skin is part of the ideal for beauty in Japan.)
  • Kuchi chiisai ne. (Your mouth is so small.)
  • Ashi chiisai ne. Kawaii. (Your feet are so small. It’s cute.)
  • Mimi chiisai ne. (Your ears are so small.)
  • Matsuge nagai. (Your eyelashes are so long.)
  • Kao ga chiisai ne. (Your face is so small. – that’s a really desirable trait in Japan)
  • Me ga okii. (Your eyes are so big.)

Compliment her overall body

  • Hosokute se ga takai. (You’re slender and tall.)
  • Ashi hosoi. (You have slender legs.)
  • Karada shimatteru ne. (Your body is very fit.)

Compliment her personality and skills

  • Konjyo aru ne. (You’ve got guts/moxie.)
  • Yasashii ne. (You’re so kind.)
  • Kiki jouzu. (You’re good at listening.)
  • Kokoro hiroi ne. (You’ve got a big heart.)
  • Ryori umai ne. (You’re so good at cooking! / Your cooking is really tasty.)
  • Say the woman’s name, and then say “omoshiroi ne” – for example: “Yuriko-chan omoshiroi ne.” This means: “You’re really cool.” or “You’re really interesting.”

Of course, you don’t want to overdo it. Don’t shower women with compliments or your words will sound suspicious – they’ll think that you’re just trying to pick them up. And don’t try the more advanced expressions if you’re just getting started at speaking Japanese – it’s better to sound simple but sincere rather than sounding “rehearsed.”

Another tip is not to come on too strong with compliments before you’ve gotten to know a woman. Make sure the compliment is sincere to your relationship with her and arises “organically” from your conversations and experiences – don’t make it sound like you have a whole list of compliments that you’ve just been waiting to pull out.

What are some other Japanese compliments that you would recommend? Have you ever tried to compliment a woman in Japanese, and have it turn out all wrong (mispronunciation, wrong word, misunderstanding)? What happened? (We’re trying to learn from each other’s previous mistakes.)