Which one are you? Explaining different personalities in Japanese


How would you describe your personality? What do your family and friends often say about your personality? Knowing your personality is very important when looking for a job or finding a partner. Why not take a moment to self analyze?
In this article, I will be introducing you to several pairs of words that describe someone’s personality. Which word do you think fits you the best?

おしゃべり (oshaberi) 無口( むくち ) (mukuchi)・物静( ものしず ) か (mono-shizuka)

When you are with you friends or surrounded by a group of people, are you a person who tends to talk a lot? Or do you tend to listen more? A person who talks a lot is called "おしゃべり (oshaberi; talkative)." If you don't talk much, you are a "無口( むくち ) (mukuchi; quiet)" person. You could also say that you are a "物静( ものしず ) か (mono-shizuka; reserved)" person. Let's analyze your personality further. If you consider yourself to be talkative, with whom do you feel comfortable chatting with? Do you like to have fun with people who talk a lot as well? Or do you prefer to be with someone who listens to you attentively? You might feel that someone who has a similar personality to you would be a great conversation partner. However, you can also be attracted to someone with the opposite type of personality, because you feel that they have something that you don't. Which type of person do you find more attracted to, someone who is similar to you or someone who is different from you?

几帳面( きちょうめん ) (kichō-men) ↔︎ 大雑把( おおざっぱ ) (ōzappa)

Being detail-oriented and methodical is called "几帳面( きちょうめん ) (kichōmen)." As small things can bother them, they might be very detailed in their instructions to others around them. On the contrary, a person who pays less attention to detail and is a bit messy is called "大雑把( おおざっぱ ) (ōzappa)." This is someone who is not concerned about the details as long as the job is done in a general sense. Which word would you use to describe yourself? Incidentally, when talking about someone's personality, Japanese people often think that a person's blood type determines their personality (as in how horoscopes are often thought to determine someone's personality). It is often said that people with type A blood type are the "几帳面( きちょうめん ) " type, and people with type O are the "大雑把( おおざっぱ ) " type. Do you find this to be true? Of course, it is impossible to tell someone's personality from their blood type, so please enjoy it as a kind of fortune-telling.

即断即決( そくだんそっけつ ) (sokudan-sokketsu) ↔︎ 優柔不断( ゆうじゅうふだん ) (yūjyū-fudan)

When you go shopping or place an order at a restaurant, do you make your decision quickly? Or do you take plenty of time to think about a decision? The kanji "( だん ) " has two meanings: one is "( ことわ ) る (kotowa-ru; to decline/refuse)" and the other is "( ) める (kime-ru; to decide)." "即決( そっけつ ) (sokketsu)" means to make a decision immediately. " 不断( ふだん ) (fudan)" means indecisive. It is good to make decisions quickly, but this may lead to poor decisions and a lot of regret. On the other hand, indecisive people take their time to think carefully and seem to make few mistakes, but they might make others wait too long and irritate them without realizing it.

論理的( ろんりてき ) (ronri-teki) ↔︎ 直感的( ちょっかんてき ) (chokkan-teki)

"論理的( ろんりてき ) (ronri-teki)" indicates a person who thinks in a logical manner, and draws conclusions with evidence and reason. "直感的( ちょっかんてき ) (chokkan-teki)" indicates a person who perceives things intuitively, and relies more on their instincts. They have the ability to have a flash of inspiration and are good at communicating emotionally. In a company, a "logical" thinker may be more persuasive and trusted, but someone who can act more "intuitively" may be able to work smoothly because they spend less time thinking in their head.

協調性( きょうちょうせい ) がある (kyōchōsei-ga aru) ↔︎ 主体性( しゅたいせい ) がある (shutaisei-ga aru)

"協調性( きょうちょうせい ) (kyōchōsei)" refers to someone who can cooperate with people from different environments and positions to carry out their duties toward their shared goal, while helping and giving mutual support to each other. On the other hand, "主体性( しゅたいせい ) (shutaisei)" is someone who is independent, and is determined to act accordingly to their own will and judgment. Are you the type of person who respects the opinions of those around you, such as in a company or an organization, and tries to act accordingly? Or are you the type of person who acts proactively based on your own initiative? Being excessively "cooperative" may be perceived as overly passive and negative, while excessively "taking initiative" may make one self-centered and blind to their surroundings. However, whether you are cooperative or independent, they are both your strengths, so if you are asked about your strengths in a job interview, show them off!


I have introduced Japanese words related to personality, but there is no such thing as one being “better” than the other. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and those disadvantages can also be considered advantages when viewed from a different perspective. What is important is to analyze your personality, get to know yourself, and find a job and/or partner that suits you the best. If you find that it is difficult to analyze yourself, you can also ask people around you what they think of you!