Omoshiroi – 面白い – How to say “fun”, “funny” or interesting in Japanese

Posted by on November 17, 2020 – Japanese Study
omoshiroi in Japanese

Omoshiroi is a Japanese word that means many things. Omoshiroi can be used to say that something is “Interesting, Amusing, Fascinating, Funny, Enjoyable, Entertaining, Fun” and more!

The Kanji for Omoshiroi is 面白い and Omoshiroi written in Hiragana is おもしろい.

Omoshiroi is an I adjective and it’s a JLPT N5 Level Vocabulary word – so chances are, you will encounter it very early in your Japanese learning.

Example Sentences using Omoshiroi (面白い)

Omoshiroi is primarily used to either mean Interesting, or funny.

It’s hard to describe exactly how you draw the line of when and wear to use it.  In English it would similar to someone telling you “You’re interesting”.  This phrase could mean several things depending on the tone of voice that you are using.

Omoshiroi in Japanese is very similar – depending on the tone of voice that you are using, it can change the meaning of the sentence entirely.

その本は面白いと思います
sono hon wa omoshiroi to omoimasu
I think that book is interesting.

トランプはとても面白い
Toranpu ha tottemo omoshiroi
Playing cards is very fun!

あなたは面白い人です
Anata wa omoshiroi hito desu
You are a funny person.

ピアノを弾くことは面白い
Piano wo hiku koto wa omoshiroi
Playing the piano is fun

そのアニメはとても面白いです。
Sono anime wa tottemo omoshiroidesu.
That anime is very interesting

When NOT to use Omoshiroi

One important thing to note is that you should not use it to describe things that are tragic.  Just like when speaking English – there is a time and a place to use certain words.  Describing an unfortunate situation or a tragic event with this wordcould be seen as very rude or strange.

Friend 1: “Did you see that there was a large fire in an apartment building?”
Friend 2: “That’s funny!” <—- See how this is inappropriate?

So for example – you would not say that a very sad movie is omoshiroi. You could – and some people do, but you really have to know how to use the word appropriately to avoid creating uncomfortable situations for the people that you are speaking Japanese with.

For a general rule of thumb – think of it as being a word meant to describe things that are interesting but also amusing, entertaining and fun.

So for things that are interesting that have a sad or bad component to them – skip it!

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