What is the Japanese symbol for Hate?

What symbols are there for “hate” in Japanese?

There are a couple of kanji symbols commonly used to express “hate” or “hatred” in Japanese. 

The most common ones are 嫌 and 憎.

Neither of these is commonly used in isolation in Japan, they are usually used either in combination with other characters, or as part of a verb meaning “to dislike” or “to hate”.

The difference between “hate” and “hatred”

When people are looking for a Japanese equivalent of the English word “hate” they are usually looking for “hate” in the sense of “hatred”. Which is to say they are usually looking for a noun as opposed to a verb like “to hate”.

 In this case the best equivalent would be a word like 憎悪 (zouo). This is a fairly uncommon word in Japan, in the same way that it is fairly uncommon to hear the word “hatred” in everyday English.

The hatred symbol is a kanji character that is used to express contempt or disdain for someone or something. The symbol is made up of the characters “onna” and “ka” or “kaneru”. “Onna” means girl or woman and “ka” or “kaneru” means concurrently or at the same time

How is the word for “Hate” in Japanese pronounced?

“Hate” in the sense of “hatred” is pronounced 憎悪 (zouo) in Japanese.

“Hate” when used in Japanese as part of a verb is pronounced as 憎 (niku). The full verb itself is 憎む (nikumu) or, as an adjective, 憎い (nikui).

The more common but less strong verb of Kirau (嫌う). You hear this word a lot, and it is closer to saying “don’t like” in English than “hate”. As an adjective, it is pronounced as kirai (嫌い). 

The 嫌’s onyomi (Chinese way of reading) is Ken or Gen.

Different ways “Hate” can be expressed in Japanese?

It is no secret that the Japanese often have a difficult time expressing their emotions. In fact, the language has several words that don’t have direct translations into English. This can make it difficult for foreigners to understand the nuances of Japanese communication. One such emotion is hate. While there are several words that can be translated to mean “hate” in English, the way this emotion is expressed in Japanese can vary greatly depending on the context and situation. Here are some examples:


Kirai means to hate, to dislike, or to loathe. 嫌い is one of the most used terms in Japanese language to express hate verbally. It doesn’t have the same force of strength that the English word “hate” has. It is closer to “dislike”

Adding dai (大), which literally means big or great, before kirai makes the word daikirai(大嫌い) makes the word much stronger, and closer to the English word “hate”.

Example sentences:


Watashi wa ooki na denki sutando wa kirai da.

I hate big desk lamps.


Autodoa no katsudou ga suki dakedo mushi wa kirai.

I love the outdoors but I can’t stand bugs.


Kirau is a verb form for kirai which is an adjective. Means dislike, detest, or hate.

Example sentences:


Shizen wa shinkuu wo kirau.

Nature abhors a vacuum.


Unagi wa hebi mitai dakara to itte kirau hito ga iru.

Some people dislike eels because they look like snakes.


Iyagaru is another verb form for hate or to hate / dislike. It can translate as “to find troublesome” or “annoying”. 

It also has the alternate kanji or symbol of 厭がる which is read the same.

Example sentences:


Kare wa kotaeru no wo iyagatta.

He was reluctant to answer.


Kare wa isoge to iwareru no wo iyagaru.

He hates being told to hurry up.


Neko wa nureru no wo iyagaru.

Cats dislike being wet.


Nikumu is a word for hate that is used less commonly than kirau, but which is stronger and, thus, closer to the English word “hate”. 

Nikumu is also a verb form, which means it is usually seen in the middle or end part of a standard basic japanese sentence.

Example sentences:


Mizukara no ayamachi no sei de jibun wo nikumu.

Hating myself for my own errors.


Jibun wo nikumu mono ni mo shinsetsu ni shinasai.

Do good to those who hate you.

憎悪 (zouo)

Zouo is close in equivalence to the English word of “Hate”, in its sense of “hatred”.


Kare wa haha o zouo shiteiru

He has a hatred for his mother.

What words are in the Japanese symbol for “Hate” Used In?

  1. 嫌悪(ken-o)

Means disgust, hate, repugnance, loathing. Disgust is an emotional response of rejection or revulsion to something potentially contagious or something considered offensive, distasteful, or unpleasant. 

Examples sentence:


Hidoi shiuchi ni kare no ken-okan wa nikushimi ni kawatta.

Bad treatment fanned dislike to hate.

  1. 憎しみ(nikushimi)

Means hatred.

Example sentences:


Kare wa karera ni taishite fukai nikushimi wo idaita.

He conceived a deep hatred for them.


Kanojo ni nikushimi wo kanjiru.

Feel hatred towards her.


Koi wa moumoku. Nikushimi mo matashikari.

Love is blind. Hatred is also blind.

  1. 憎らしい

Means odious, hateful, destable, horrible.

Example sentence:


Kare wa nikurashiku kanojo wo niranda.

He stared at her with hatred.

How is “Hate” expressed in Chinese?

There are many ways that hate is expressed in Chinese, some of which are unique to the language and culture. One way that hate is expressed is through the use of slurs. In Chinese, there are a number of slurs used to target different minority groups. For example, the slur “zhongguoren” is used to refer to Chinese people who are not from the mainland, and is considered derogatory.

恨(Hèn) is how hate is expressed in chinese. The symbol is greatly similar to japanese symbol for uramu(恨む) which means regret, bear a grudge, resentment or hatred but leans greatly to the definition of regret. Another word in chinese which also means hate is 讨厌(tǎoyàn).

Stroke order for writing the characters in Japanese “Hate” and associated symbols.

  1. 嫌い


  1. 憎む


  1. 嫌悪



  1. 機嫌



  1. 交際嫌い




Historical forms of the chinese character for “hate”

The Chinese character for “hate” has been around for centuries. In its earliest form, the character was a pictograph of two people standing facing each other with their arms outstretched. This represented the idea of hating someone so much that you wanted to fight them. The character has evolved over time, but the meaning has remained the same. Today, hate is still used to describe strong feelings of anger and animosity towards someone or something.

So should you get “hate” done as a tattoo in Japanese lettering?

Getting “hate” as a tattoo is obviously a pretty extreme statement. Which may or may not be what you are after.

Linguistically, there is a challenge in finding an exact equivalent of “hate” between English and Japanese. The word “hate” can be used either as a verb meaning “to hate” as in “I hate you” or as a noun as in “there is so much hate in the world”. This is not the case with any of the Japanese equivalents. You are pretty much forced into saying “to hate” or “hatred”.

You can perhaps get around this by just using either of the kanji symbols associated with these words, namely 嫌 and 憎. Of these two 憎 is more forceful and, thus, closer to “hate”. 嫌 is closer to something like “dislike”. It is also used to describe things or people that people don’t like (pronounced as “iya”). 

So 嫌な人 (iya na hito) is something like “an annoying person”. So by labelling yourself with the character 嫌, which can express the idea of “dislike” or “hatred”, you can run the risk of unwittingly labelling yourself as “annoying”. Which probably isn’t what you are going for.

So it may be a safer bet to go for a word that expressly means “hatred”, of which 憎悪 (zouo) is probably the closer equivalent. This is clearer in meaning. That being said, this word is actually quite uncommon in Japan, you don’t hear it used in everyday speech in the same way that you hear “hate” in English. In this way, it is probably closer in equivalent to the English word “hatred”, which you don’t hear used that often either.

So, there is quite a bit to think about if you are wanting to get the “hate” done as a Japanese symbol as a tattoo. If you want to do the classic “love” “hate” pair as a tattoo, then 憎悪 (zouo) is probably the best option along with 恋愛 as the Japanese symbol for love.

You may be also interested in the Japanese symbol for destroy.