Languages › Japanese The Meaning and Characters for the Japanese Word "Kao" Share Flipboard Email Print Kao, the Japanese word for face or expression. Hero Images/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 10, 2018 Kao is a Japanese word that means "a face," "features," "a look," and "expression. The Japanese characters for the Kao are: 顔 (かお) . Example Kare wa hito no yosasouna kao o shiteiru.彼は人のよさそうな顔をしている。 Translation: He has a good-natured face.