What does Genki mean?

Geisha holding a red parasolSome of you may have wondered why we named our new company Genki Clothing Company. In Japan, the word “Genki” is a very common word used in everyday society.

More often than not, when we meet people, we will ask them “how are you?” out of courtesy and politeness. In Japan, the phrase “O genki desu ka”, followed by the usual reply; “genki desu“ is probably the closest translation in Japanese to “how are you?”

But in Japan, “genki desu ka” literally means “are you fine/energetic/feeling healthy?” Energy, enthusiasm and health are a single concept in Japanese culture.

Other Japanese translations of the word “genki” include; vigour, vitality,robustness, stamina, courage to name a few.

Many people in the West believe they feel energetic because they are healthy. In Japan, people tend to believe that a strong life force (energy) will make you healthy. This is based on ancient Chinese philosophy and medicine.

In Japan, the written word for genki (元気) means “spirit source”.  This is linked with the Chinese concept of Qi (often translated as life force). Qi is the basis for Chinese medicine – many diseases are thought to be caused by disruptions in your life force.

In Japan, people tend to believe that by keeping a positive and high energy outlook you can stay healthy. In other words, genki people live longer !