How do you say “I’m sad” in Japanese?

I don’t like very sad situations, but sometimes you want to tell someone that you are sad.
There are several ways to express “I’m sad” in Japanese.

In this article, I introduce some Japanese phrases that are easy to remember, even for learners of Japanese.

How do you say “I’m sad” in Japanese?

In Japanese, “to be sad” is “悲しい(かなしい)kanashii”.

It’s an i-adjective. The basic conjugation is below.

  • 悲しい(です)kanashii (desu): I’m sad.
  • 悲しくない(です)kanashikunai (desu): I’m not sad.
  • 悲しかった(です)kanashikatta (desu): I was sad.
  • 悲しくなかった(です)kanashikunakatta (desu): I was not sad.

If you want to say it politely, add “desu” at the ending.

Watashi wa totemo kanashii desu.
I am very sad.

Chotto kanashii desu.
(I’m) a bit sad.

Kanashii hanashi desu.
It’s a sad story.

Synonyms of 悲しい

I looked for some synonyms of 悲しい. If you want to extend your Japanese expressions, please try and remember these phrases too:


切ない(せつない)setsunai is the word that means “to be sad.” It may be my personal feeling, but it sounds a bit stronger in terms of sadness than “悲しい” to me. It’s a heart-wrenching feeling related to sadness or loneliness.

切ない(せつない)setsunai also includes a nuance of not being able to help yourself.

It’s an i-adjective as well. The conjugation is:

  • 切ない(です)setsunai (desu): I’m sad.
  • 切なくない(です)setsunakunai (desu): I’m not sad.
  • 切なかった(です)setsunakatta (desu): I was sad.
  • 切なくなかった(です)setsunakunakatta (desu): I was not sad.

Setsunai naa…
It’s sad…(I’m sad)

つらい tsurai

つらい tsurai is more like “painful”. It’s a term referring to feelings of unbearable mental and physical pain or difficulty. “つらい” is often used in a broader sense than “悲しい(かなしい)”.

You can say “つらい” when you mentally feel pain because of sadness.

It also is an i-adjective. The conjugation is:

  • つらい(です)tsurai (desu): I’m sad.
  • つらくない(です)tsurakunai (desu): I’m not sad.
  • つらかった(です)tsurakatta (desu): I was sad.
  • つらくなかった(です)tsurakunakatta (desu): I was not sad.

tsurai wakare
a painful separation

心が痛い(こころがいたい)kokoro ga itai

心が痛い(こころがいたい)kokoro ga itai is the phrase that refers to feeling sentimental or pity for the things that happen around you. 心 means “heart”, and 痛い means “hurting”. Therefore, 心が痛い means “my heart is hurting”. It could be “heart breaking” in English.

心が痛い sounds sadder than “悲しい(かなしい)” or “切ない(せつない)”.

心 is a noun while 痛い is an i-adjective, so 痛い need to be conjugated.

  • 痛い(いたい)itai: It’s hurting.
  • 痛くない(いたくない)itakunai: It’s not hurting.
  • 痛かった(いたかった)itakatta: I was hurting.
  • 痛くなかった(いたくなかった)itakunakatta: It was not hurting.

Wakareru no wa kokoro ga itai.
It is heart breaking to separate.