How to Say drUnK in Japanese: Fun Alcohol Words

How do you say drunk in Japanese?

There are a few ways… which involve some variation of the word, “yopparau.” And this guide will teach you how to say drunk in Japanese… and how to get drunk in Japanese.

So, grab a drink and read on.

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How to Say Drunk in Japanese

1) 酔っ払う

  • Yopparau
  • To be drunk

If you want to express drunkness, you’ll want to learn the word 酔っ払う or “yopparau”. This is the main verb for “to be drunk”. This is the verb in the dictionary/present and future tense.

There are various variations of this word that you can use depending on your situation and drunkenness!

You can say

  • yopparatteiru – present continous
  • yopparatta – past tense
  • yopparatte shimatta – past te-shimau form, which means this happened either 1) accidentally, or 2) just like that.

2) 酔う

  • Yo u
  • To be tipsy

This is a bit milder than “yopparau” and means that you are just tipsy. It is also used on occasions other than drinking. If you are feeling seasick or carsick you would also say “yo u” to mean you feel nauseous. In most cases, you’ll probably use this word if you’re not fully drunk.

3) 酔っ払い

  • Yopparai
  • Drunkard

This is the word for someone who is a drunkard. It would indicate a drunk person on the street or someone with an alcohol problem. If you wanted to describe a street with many drunk people at night you would use this word to describe them.

4) へべれけ

  • Hebereke
  • Completely drunk

“Hebereke” is when someone is so drunk that they are not able to walk or stand up straight. This is the strongest word for drunk in Japanese and it could happen after a long night of drinking.

5) 少し酔う

  • Sukoshi yo u
  • To be tipsy

If you want to quantify the amount that you feel drunk you can use “sukoshi” to mean a little bit. If you just had a small glass of wine this could be the word you can use to describe your state.

Alcohol-Related Words

1) 乾杯

  • Kanpai 
  • Cheers

Kanpai is the main way to say cheers in Japanese. The kanji characters for “kanpai” represent an empty cup. The word is used to represent the idea that you would empty your cup after saying it.

2) 酒

  • Sake
  • Rice Wine or Alcohol

Japanese people use the word sake to mean rice wine or simply alcohol. Since rice wine is the most popular traditional alcoholic beverage, the word for alcohol is also sake. Whether you’re ordering rice wine, or want to know how much alcohol something contains you’ll use the same word.

3) 焼酎 

  • Shochu
  • Distilled Japanese Spirit

This is a traditional Japanese alcohol that is made by distilling. It is much stronger than sake and uses barley, sweet potatoes, and other grains as the main ingredients. You will find it mixed into cocktails or you can have it straight as well.

4) 梅酒

  • Umeshu
  • Plum Rice Wine

This is a popular fruity rice wine, that uses plums and sugar inside rice wine. The plums and sugar are placed inside sake and aged to create it. The result is a refreshing and sweet drink that pairs well with ice.


  • Izakaya
  • Japanese Bar

These are casual Japanese bars that serve a large menu of small dishes that are meant to be enjoyed with drinks. You’ll find grilled skewers, fried foods, sashimi, and more at these bars. They also often have all-you-can-drink deals with time limits where you can order as many alcoholic drinks as you’d like.

6) カラオケ

  • Kara oke
  • Karaoke (Sing-along)

Karaoke is a big part of the drinking culture in Japan. After going around to izakayas a group of friends drinking might go to a karaoke. Karaoke also has drinks and it can be a great place to relax and bond by singing along to your favorite songs.

7) 飲み放題

  • Nomihoudai
  • All-you-can-drink

All-you-can-drink deals are common around Japan, especially at Japanese bars. They will have time limits for a couple of hours so that you can drink as much as you want. This is popular for drinking parties when you are celebrating with a large group of people.

Drinking Culture in Japan

1) Nomikai – Drinking Parties

These are events that are an important part of Japanese corporate culture. They are drinking parties that are organized by companies to bond and connect with their team. It is a part of socialization within a company so that you can get to know your co-workers.

2) How to Pour

Pouring is complicated in Japanese culture because you should pour for those who are considered your superior. If someone is of higher standing in a company, or university, or older than you, you may be expected to pour the drinks for them. It is also a good idea to watch everyone’s drinks so that you are available to pour if their glass is getting empty. 

3) Social Group Dynamics

Group dynamics become apparent during drinking in Japan. If you watch how others pour drinks for each other, you’ll start to see the social hierarchy within the group. This is a unique part of Japanese culture where everyone tries to figure out their social standing in every group situation.

4) Ceremonies and rituals

Japanese people also drink for spiritual and traditional occasions. Shinto weddings and traditional New Year’s celebrations involve sake as a part of the ceremony and celebration. It symbolizes cleansing and starting fresh!

5) After-Work Socializing

Another element of Japanese drinking culture is that it is used to socialize after work. Co-workers gather at izakayas or Japanese bars to unwind and build stronger connections. This can make work colleagues feel closer to each other and make the workspace more enjoyable. In Japanese company culture, if a boss wants to go drinking, everyone under the boss may be obligated to drink with them even after work hours.

Last Part That No-one Reads

Oh, you scrolled down.

Well, now you know that drunk in Japanese is yopparau.

And if you want to say I’m drunk, you can say yopparatteiru.

And that’s it. You’re ready to go drinking.

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Drink in moderation,

The Main Lingua Junkie

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