Japanese Colors

influence of colors

The color meanings in Japan may not be the same as in China, but many of the colors have their origin in various Chinese beliefs, from Confucianism and Buddhism to Taoism.

kimono colors

The kimono colors are similar to the traditional Japanese colors. The one part of the outfit that is seen as the most important is the sash or belt, which is known as the obi.

traditional japanese colors and their meanings

red (aka)

Red is one of the major colors in Japan and the color means many things, such as passion, strength, self-sacrifice, authority, prosperity, and happiness.

white (shiro)

White is a color that stands for purity and is also considered a blessed and sacred color. White forms the background for the national flag, which symbolizes the people’s reverence for their gods.

black (kuro)

Black is a popular color and is mainly associated with mystery, formality, night, mourning, elegance, and anger. The color can also represent evil, unhappiness, and misfortune.

blue (ao)

Blue is associated with fidelity, coolness, cleanliness, and purity, and is one of the most important lucky colors in Japan. Today, the word “ao” is used to describe blue, however, in the past, it described both blue and green.

green (midori)

Green is another one of the lucky colors in Japan and is also associated with growth, youthfulness, fertility, and vitality. The color is popular in clothing as it represents freshness and restfulness.

purple (murasaki)

Purple is a color that, as with many cultures, is associated with royalty and nobility, and common folk were not allowed to wear the color for many years. The purple color also signifies spirituality, wisdom, and luxury.

pink (pinku)

Pink is another popular color in Japan and can be seen in clothing and other items. The pink color represents youth, good health, happiness, femininity, and spring.

gold (kin'iro)

Gold is the color that represents prestige, royalty, and wealth. It is the color of the heavens and can often be found in temples and shrines. Gold threads were also often used in traditional wear like the kimono.

silver (gin'iro)

Silver is often used in things like weapons and tools, and represents strength, precision, and masculinity.