Detailed explanation


'Nihongo de Care-Navi' is a multilingual (Japanese/English/Indonesian) vocabulary database, produced and presented as a website by The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai. Our goal is to support both Japanese language learners aiming to work as nurses/care staff in Japan and teachers involved with the language education of these learners.


Nihongo de Care-Navi consists of daily Japanese expressions and basic vocabulary to be used by foreign workers in their professional fields such as nursing or caretaking, to help them communicate more easily with their colleagues, superiors, patients or clients.


With the production of both a Japanese-English and a Japanese-Indonesian version, we designed the site to appeal to a broad and diverse range of users, referring to the needs of language learners and their instructors or supporters.

Japanese mode (Japanese expressed using kanji and kana): This mode is designed to be used by native Japanese speakers working in roles supporting language learners, native/non-native Japanese language instructors and intermediate-level to advanced-level Japanese learners.

English mode (Japanese expressed using romaji): This mode is designed for Japanese learners of around JLPT level 4 ability. Also, it is assumed that there might be learners who are at a slightly higher level but find it easier to study using romaji.

In both modes, all pages may be switched between different languages, as you please.


In this database, there are 5 areas where those who work in Japan as a nurse or a caregiver might use Japanese.

  1. In the workplace
  2. Care giving
  3. In the hospital
  4. Conveying feelings
  5. Life in Japan
Vocabulary Items
In each area, vocabulary entries are presented as words or (idiomatic) phrases.
There are more than 8,000 vocabulary entries compiled in the Nihongo de Care-Navi, as well as more than 4,400 example sentences.
Verbs are shown in dictionary form, [ -te iru/ -te aru] form, or even in passive form if necessary.
Vocabulary entries with several meanings are compiled as follows:
  1. choose one typical example
  2. limit the usage extent by showing the vocabulary in a phrase
  3. present an example sentence to give a more exact meaning
  4. show some usage variety
Example sentences
Examples are written as follows:
  1. using beginner level sentence patterns
  2. using less complicated polite expressions such as [ -desu/-masu].
Priority for learning
There is a scale of priority for learning vocabulary for different situations, according to its relative difficulty and frequency of use. The scale [ Priority★ー★★ー★★★] is used as follows.
  • : very high priority
  • : high priority
  • : less priority
Speaker/Listener Information
Who's speaking to who is determined according to the illustrations below.
A monologue by the specified speaker.
A conversation between specified speakers.
A talk to the specified listener by the specified speaker.
No Icon An utterance in unspecified situations.

Search Methods

With 'Nihongo de Care-Navi' there are 5 methods you can use to look up words or example phrases.

  1. Search: Search by inputting characters
  2. Tags: Search using specific scenes or topics as a clue
  3. Search via Category: Search for vocabulary from various care or medical situations/subjects
  4. Search for Example: Search for model sentences for a particular scene
  5. Search for Examples by Words: Search for a model sentence that makes use of a specific word

(1) If you know the word you're looking for, please use "Search". Enter the word you want to look up, then search. Even if you're not sure exactly what you're looking for, if you know how it begins or ends you can enter the part you do know in either 'words/phrases beginning with -', or 'words/phrases ending in -'.

(2) If you want to look up words related to a particular scene or topic, choose "Tags". Here, to aid communication with patients/users, you can find important expressions used for 'Calling Someone', or 'Basic Vocabulary' related to various care-work scenes.

(3) If you want to look up vocabulary by care subject, or by medical department etc, please use “Search via Category”.

(4) If you want to look up what kind of example sentences are used in a particular scene/situation, please try “Search for Example”.

(5) If you want to look for a model sentence that makes use of a specific word or expression, please try “Search for Examples by Words”.


Depending on the situation, an illustration may be provided to give a clear image of the actions used in a particular care giving scene.

Kanji 200

"Kanji 200" is a selection of 200 kanji often seen in the workplace. You can search for kanji by their ON and KUN readings.

Cross-cultural Column

['Hotto' care] is a cross-cultural column provides cultural information to support Japanese learner's life in Japan.

Ask Ms. Saito

There are certain technical terms / abbreviations that are used in the workplace. Senior staff member Ms. Saito introduces some of those used in hers.

Today's Example

To help users learn new vocabulary and expressions, a different example sentence is displayed in "Today's Example" every time you access the site.

Care-kun Navi

In this section, Care-Kun' (our site's mascot) introduces 5 items closely related to the word or expression that you have searched. Why not take advantage of these to increase your vocabulary power!


In cases where supplementary explanations are needed for entries (e.g. technical terms), a 'Note' is included on the search results screen.

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