NA/NO for adjectives with 1 single kanji

Hi everyone,

I was reading this great article from Tofugu on NA/NO adjectives :

They basically introduce the notion of “spectrum” : some adjectives are more on the NA side, others more on the NO side, and others in-between. So I’m trying to categorize my adjectives into this spectrum : NA <=> in-between <=> NO

My questions :

  1. how can I get a sense where in this spectrum would land an “adjective” ?
  2. I have compiled the following list of “adjectives” : would anyone be wiling to help categorizing them as “NO”, “NA” or “in-between” ?
  • 1 あきらか 明らか
  • 2 あさはか 浅はか
  • 3 あざやか 鮮やか
  • 4 あたたか 暖か
  • 5 あらた 新た
  • 6 あわれ 哀れ
  • 7 いき 粋
  • 8 いや 嫌
  • 9 いろいろ 色々
  • 10 うぶ 初
  • 11 おおげさ 大げさ
  • 12 おろそか 疎か
  • 13 きゅう 急
  • 14 きらい 嫌い
  • 15 さいわい 幸い
  • 16 さかん 盛ん
  • 17 さまざま 様々
  • 18 たしか 確か
  • 19 たのしみ 楽しみ
  • 20 ちいさな 小さな
  • 21 なごやか 和やか
  • 22 なだらか 傾らか
  • 23 なめらか 滑らか
  • 24 にぎやか 賑やか
  • 25 ひさしぶり 久しぶり
  • 26 ひま 暇
  • 27 へん 変
  • 28 まれ 稀
  • 29 やすらか 安らか
  • 30 やわらか 柔らか
  • 31 らく 楽
  • 32 ななめ 斜め
  • 33 じき 直
  • 34 ちょく 直
  • 35 おもな 主
  • 36 からめ 辛め
  • 37 きまぐれ 気
  • 38 きさく 気
  • 39 ぎゃく 逆
  • 40 さかさ 逆
  • 41 さかさま 逆
  • 42 さかしま 逆
  • 43 いささか 些
  • 44 はやめ 早
  • 45 どなし 度
  • 46 あじな 味

I have a bigger list but I thought I would start first by the adjectives with only 1 kanji, that’s already 50 of them !

If some of you are certain of the “NO/NA/in-between” character of any of the adjective above, would be fantastic to share :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance for any help !



Use something like the Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written Japanese and search for [adjective]+の and [adjective]+な and analyze the results, would be my best recommendation.

And since that seems like a lot of work for dozens of words, probably people are not going to offer to do it for you, but maybe some people will be able to answer for some of them without researching it.

EDIT: Also maybe instead of doing it by number of kanji… do it by how interested you are in knowing about that word or how much you want to use it? Because, some of them are pretty darn rare. Like, I’ve never heard or seen うぶ, and I have passed Kanken level 2 / am studying for level pre-1, so I can’t recommend prioritizing it.


The most important thing you can learn is that “No-Adjectives” are not actually a grammatical class of words, merely something English resources invented. No-Adjectives are what we call “nouns.”

You’ve got bigger questions inside your list there, such as what is the difference between 楽しみな and 楽しい


Wanikani already assigns a “part of speech” to words. This identifies whether an adjective ia na adjective, no adjective or both. You can get the adjectives by part of speech with the Item Inspector script.

One approach is to enable the part of speech optional filer. Then you can

  1. Create a table for part of speech
  2. Set part of speech as a table element
  3. Set the part of speech filter to na adjective and no adjective

This will display all the na and no adjectives. If you move the mouse over the item you will see the part of speech for this item.


Hi Leebo,

Thanks for your answer !

Basically when I learn a kanji I go to Jisho, see the associated words and put them in Excel. I got this one from the kanji 初. This is what Jisho gives ( Japanese Dictionary) :

  • Na-adjective, No-adjective, Noun
  • innocent; naive; unsophisticated; inexperienced; green; wet behind the ears​Usually written using kana alone, esp. 初, 初心
  • Noun - used as a prefix
  • birth-​産, 生
  • Other forms 初心 【うぶ】、産 【うぶ】、生 【うぶ】

True that usually I just keep the words with the “common word” label - which was not the case for this one indeed :slight_smile:

Thanks, I was not even aware of that resource. I tried to Google it but frankly I just got lost. I mean, I saw various links kind of explaining what it is… but where & how do I access it ?? Is there a link to a website or similar ? Something easy to use like Jisho :slight_smile:

Sure, you are completely right. This 1-kanji is just easier for me because of the way my Excel file is structured, but clearly there are more important adjectives with compounds. It was just a way to ask the question in the forum, I definitely could have pasted another list of more useful adjectives.

Exactly, I am more counting on the second option = someone sees an adjective he knows for sure being NA/NO/in-between, and kindly writes it the comments below. I wouldn’t ask anyone to do the work on my behalf for all adjectives… But I believe in the power of the crowd :wink:

Waou, that’s the next level of commitment, really impressive :scream:
Who knows, maybe you’ll get うぶ at level 1 and you’ll thank me eventually for that :joy:

Hi Syphus,

Thanks for your answer.

As mentioned in my reply to Leebo, what I do for any new kanji learnt via WaniKani is to go in Jisho and look for a few associated words. This is where I found 楽しみな :楽しみ

  • Na-adjective, Noun
    1. enjoyment; pleasure; diversion; amusement; hobby​
  • Na-adjective, Noun
    1. anticipation; looking forward to​

So you are completely right, 楽しい is indeed listed and actually seems much more frequent in its usage than 楽しみな. Would you be able to explain what is the difference between the 2 or point me to a resource for that (grammar or else) ? Or maybe give 2 sentences examples to highlight the differences ?

It seems to be endless… specifically for this kanji there is also a 3rd possibility 楽 らく : Japanese Dictionary

  • Noun, Na-adjective
    1. comfort; ease; relief; (at) peace; relaxation​
  • Na-adjective, Noun
    1. easy; simple; without trouble; without hardships​
  • Na-adjective, Noun
    1. (economically) comfortable

So for this single kanji 楽 (if I got it right) potentially I could find it in 3 different ways :

  • 楽しみな
  • 楽しい
  • 楽な

Thanks for any input !

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I actually made a video explaining how to access it and gave a couple very basic examples of how you might try to use it.

For some reason I also did a dumb voice at the beginning.

At some point I should probably make a second video with more advanced search options.


This is why Jisho is insufficient here. It’s Not really going to explain things like this, and single English word definitions don’t necessarily help.

I will start by saying I have never ever seen 楽しみ used as an adjective. Assuming it is correct, my guess is that it doesn’t really exist in modern Japanese. み simply makes a noun out of 楽しい.

らく is more like easy or comfortable.

I’m sure one could concoct a lot of sentences. But

パーティは楽しいです is that This part is fun / enjoyable.
パーティが楽しみです is more like “I am looking forward to this party / It will be Enjoyable.”

You can look at a bunch of examples here.

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Great, I’ll look at it later today and comment. Just quickly looked at your other videos, great stuff !!! Is it a game on Nintendo DS for practicing the Kanken exam ???

I think I have one where I did a Kanken level 10 test on 3DS, yeah. The series is called 漢検トレーニング. I always wanted to do more “professional-looking” version with a capture card or something, but figuring out how to do that on 3DS is beyond me at this point.

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Thanks for the link.

Agree that dictionaries like Jisho have limitations - or better said, the way we (or at least I !) read & understand them. There is definitely more “finesse” in the language than just a bare categorization. That would be too easy !

Thanks for the reply, I didn’t know about that script.
Just installed it, seems super powerful, need to spend time to learn how to use it now :wink:
I will try the 3 steps you mentioned.
PS : and congrats for actually writing this script :slight_smile:

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