Languages › Japanese Meaning of Kanashii in Japanese Share Flipboard Email Print kanashii; sorrowful. Annie Otzen / Getty Images Japanese Essential Japanese Vocabulary History & Culture Japanese Grammar By Namiko Abe Japanese Language Expert B.A., Kwansei Gakuin University Namiko Abe is a Japanese language teacher and translator, as well as a Japanese calligraphy expert. She has been a freelance writer for nearly 20 years. our editorial process Namiko Abe Updated April 18, 2018 Kanashii is a Japanese word meaning sad or sorrowful. Learn more about its pronunciation and usage in the Japanese language below. Pronunciation Click here to listen to the audio file. Meaning sad; sorrowful Japanese Characters 悲しい （かなしい） Example & Translation Watashi wa sono shirase o kiite totemo kanashikatta.私はその知らせを聞いてとても悲しかった。 or in English: I was very sad to hear the news.