Japanese Onomatopoeias Help

So… Uhm… I’m making a manga and I’m having trouble with Japanese onomatopoeias :eyes:

I’ve searched for them, however, I haven’t found any sites that gave an extensive list. Amongst other problems, I’m always unsure if I should write one in hiragana or katakana…
In general, I always feel like I’m using them wrongly :sweat_smile:

I was wondering if anyone knew of a site that has a big list of them (especially those used in manga) with English translations of what they are for (so that I can understand them :sweat_smile:)

Otherwise… Am I doomed to ask help from a Japanese person for every single sound effect I use?? :scream::joy:


Tofugu has a good article about this: https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/japanese-onomatopoeia/
Edit: Here’s what they say about hiragana vs katakana too:

Onomatopoeia are written using either hiragana or katakana. While there are no definitive rules saying when you should use one or the other, in Jazz Up Your Japanese with Onomatopoeia , the author states that hiragana is used for “soft sounds” and katakana is used for “hard sounds” and emphasis. You’ll see lots of back and forth in which one is used the more you read, which is just another reason why learning both hiragana and katakana is really important.


Oh, thank you!

Can’t believe I’ve spent hours reading on Tofugu and I never found this before :woman_facepalming:t2::joy:


Of course! Here is another article I found:

This one is a dictionary for Japanese sound effects that you can search in English or Japanese: http://thejadednetwork.com/sfx/

And yet another list:


That second one looks especially useful, thank you so much for your time! :smile:

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You’re welcome!! I wish you the best on your manga :penguin: :high_touch:


A ton of sounds follow either a repeating pattern (like ふわふわ、ゴロゴロ、バラバラ) or a 〇っ〇り format (like しっかり、ピッタリ、バッチリ、こっそり). That might help you find some with dictionary searches. A while ago I started on a spreadsheet collecting these kinds of words and I had well over a hundred… unfortunately that computer died on me so idk if I still have the file or not.


Interesting =O
Thank you!!

here go


Thank you as well!!

I have so many resources now :smiley:

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I totally get you. I’m not making a manga but I illustrate one of the Japanese stories I’m reading for immersion and happened to be in a similar situation you are (were) :slight_smile:

I’d like to add the following one. It is in Japanese but all the entries usually go with a picture, brief explanation and a couple of example sentences. So it may help people who’d like to include onomatopoeia into their language studies:

The first part is a list ordered by hiragana ( 日本語のオノマトペ一覧). The second part is the list ordered by category ( カテゴリー別). Each item links to it’s own sub page with detailed info’s.

…and in case someone comes in the situation particularly looking for onomatopoeia expressions related to water the following article (pdf) might help:

It also covers expressions like 「どぼん」or 「ざぶーん」.


ありがとうございます! :bowing_woman:t2:

I can never have too many resources, so this is great help :triumph:

One problem I encountered is that I would ask a Japanese person for help, and they would suggest an onomatopoeia. Then, some time later (after thinking the page was perfect and finished [silly me :woman_facepalming:t2::joy:]) another Japanese person would notice that onomatopoeia and suggest something else!

I think the main issue (if you can call it that) is the sheer amount of sound effects in Japanese and not knowing precisely which one to use in a particular situation. Also, I guess a lot of usage is subjective and every individual would use whatever SFX they prefer/like/know.

Even though it won’t make the process of creating a manga any easier, I think I’ll have great fun discovering all the different onomatopoeia and their nuances :hugs:

Edit: oh! Forgot to ask: is it possible you could share some of your illustrations? I am curious :smiley:

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I recommend checking out Onomappu on youtube. He has a good number of videos on various onomatopoeia. He gives a good explanation from a Japanese perspective on onomatopoeia. I definitely have a much clearer understanding of a lot more onomatopoeia after watching his explanations.

His videos are in Japanese except for the intro and ending which he’ll speak in english and chinese, so it doubles as listening practice. He subtitles his videos in english and chinese so it’s fine even if you can’t understand his speech yet.


Thanks, I’ll check that out too!!

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