Word of the Week: 平気

It’s time for Word of the Week again! Last time we looked at a Japanese word or phrase beginning with ‘fu’ (ふ), and I broke the rules a little bit to look at the word ふるさと (furusato), meaning ‘home town’. This week I’m looking for a word or phrase beginning with ‘he’ (へ). A big thank you for the suggestions this week:

Japan Australia suggested ‘heki’ (へき), ‘No problem!’, ‘It’s OK!’, ‘Forget about it!’; and ‘hen’ (変), ‘strange’ or ‘odd’.

‘へ’ is a tough one, and it’s been hard to think of something to write about this week. I was intrigued by Japan Australia’s suggestions though so, this week let’s talk about…

へいき / 平気


Although the word Japan Australia suggested was ‘heki’, having done a little research it looks like this might be a slang word used instead of ‘heiki’. ‘Heki’ itself does not appear in the dictionary as far as I can see. ‘Heiki’ (平気) means ‘coolness’, ‘calmness’, composure’, ‘unconcern’, and can be a na-adjective as well as a noun. According to this website, you can use ‘heiki’ in a sentence such as this:

Hito ga nan to iou to watashi wa heiki da.
I couldn’t care less what people say.

Jisho.org also suggests the following expression:

Heiki no heiza

which means ‘quite unconcerned’ or ‘nonchalant’.

In addition, you can use ‘heiki’ very casually to mean ‘I’m fine’ when asked if you’re ok:

Daijyoubu desu ka?
Are you ok?

Zenzen heiki
I’m fine. (Why, is something up?)

The kanji for ‘heiki’ (平気) are simple but interesting. The ‘hei’ (平) is the same ‘hei’ as ‘heiwa’ (平和) which means ‘peace’, and you might recognise the ‘ki’ (気) from ‘genki’ (元気), which means ‘spirit’. It would seem ‘heiki’ could be read as ‘peaceful spirit’.

In my search for a perfect image to sum up ‘heiki’ I found this fantastic photo on Flickr: 平気 photo by SHIN’s photo 0114. The photo is copyrighted, so I won’t post it here, but do click through and have a look. For me, this image illustrates ‘heiki’ perfectly.


Next week’s post will be about a word or phrase beginning with ‘ho’ (ほ), so please leave your suggestions below. The word can be a verb, adjective or expression, but no nouns please! For example, ‘hosoi’ (ほそい) meaning ‘thin’ , would be acceptable, but ‘Hokkaido’ (北海道), the place, would not. I look forward to reading your ideas! (*^_^)v

Word of the Week 2014

4 thoughts on “Word of the Week: 平気

  1. Thanks for using my suggestion. Yes, the correct writing is Heiki (平気) but when we say it, it usually sounds like Heki. A few suggestions for next week are:

    Hora (ほら) Informal term which means “hey!” or “see?!”
    Honki desu (本気です) I’m serious
    Honno sukoshi (ほんの少し) Only a little
    Hontou ni (本当に) Really?


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