Traditional Japanese Colors - Blues


The resurgent popularity of kimono has given traditional Japanese colors new life. They are absolutely magnificent. Here is a list

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A list of traditional Japanese blues, and related colors.

As I mentioned in my previous article with the list of Japanese blues, I almost always disagree with Japanese whether a color is blue or green. I am curious what your thoughts and experiences are.

  1. Mizuasagi (水浅葱) #80aba9
  2. Sabiasagi (錆浅葱) #5c9291
  3. Seiheki (青碧) #478384
  4. Omeshicha (御召茶) #43676b
  5. Minatonezumi (湊鼠) #80989b
  6. Kourainando (高麗納戸) #2c4f54
  7. Momoshiocha (百入茶) #1f3134
  8. Sabinezu (錆鼠) #47585c
  9. Sabitetsuonando (錆鉄御納戸) #485859
  10. Ainezu (藍鼠) #6c848d
  11. Sabionando (錆御納戸) #53727d
  12. Masuhanairo (舛花色) #5b7e91
  13. Noshimehanairo (熨斗目花色) #426579
  14. Omeshionando (御召御納戸) #4c6473
  15. Tetsuonando (鉄御納戸) #455765
  16. Konnezu (紺鼠) #44617b
  17. Aitetsu (藍鉄) #393f4c
  18. Aokachi (青褐) #393e4f
  19. Kachikaeshi (褐返) #203744
  20. Kachiiro (褐色) #4d4c61
  21. Geppaku (月白) #eaf4fc
  22. Shirosumireiro (白菫色) #eaedf7
  23. Shirahanairo (白花色) #e8ecef
  24. Aijiro (藍白) #ebf6f7
  25. Shiraai (白藍) #c1e4e9
  26. Mizuiro (水色) #bce2e8
  27. Kamenozoki (瓶覗) #a2d7dd
  28. Hisokuiro (秘色色) #abced8
  29. Sorairo (空色) #a0d8ef
  30. Wasurenagusairo (勿忘草色) #89c3eb
  31. Aofujiiro (青藤色) #84a2d4
  32. Byakugun (白群) #83ccd2
  33. Asahanada (浅縹) #84b9cb
  34. Usuhanairo (薄花色) #698aab
  35. Nandoiro (納戸色) #008899
  36. Asagiiro (浅葱色) #00a3af
  37. Hanaasagi (花浅葱) #2a83a2
  38. Shinbashiiro (新橋色) #59b9c6
  39. Amairo (天色) #2ca9e1
  40. Tsuyukusairo (露草色) #38a1db
  41. Ao (青) #0095d9
  42. Usuai (薄藍) #0094c8
  43. Hanadairo (縹色) #2792c3
  44. Konpeki (紺碧) #007bbb
  45. Usugunzyou (薄群青) #5383c3
  46. Usuhanazakura (薄花桜) #5a79ba
  47. Gunzyouiro (群青色) #4c6cb3
  48. Kakitsubatairo (杜若色) #3e62ad
  49. Ruriiro (瑠璃色) #1e50a2
  50. Usuhanada (薄縹) #507ea4
  51. Rurikon (瑠璃紺) #19448e
  52. Konruri (紺瑠璃) #164a84
  53. Aiiro (藍色) #165e83
  54. Seiran (青藍) #274a78
  55. Kokihanada (深縹) #2a4073
  56. Koniro (紺色) #223a70
  57. Konzyou (紺青) #192f60
  58. Tomekon (留紺) #1c305c
  59. Koiai (濃藍) #0f2350
  60. Tetsukon (鉄紺) #17184b
  61. Shikkoku (漆黒) #0d0015
  62. Awafujiiro (淡藤色) #bbc8e6
  63. Fujiiro (藤色) #bbbcde
  64. Benikakesorairo (紅掛空色) #8491c3
  65. Benimidori (紅碧) #8491c3
  66. Konkikyou (紺桔梗) #4d5aaf
  67. Nanairo (花色) #4d5aaf
  68. Konai (紺藍) #4a488e
  69. Benikikyou (紅桔梗) #4d4398
  70. Kikyouiro (桔梗色) #5654a2
  71. Fujinanndo (藤納戸) #706caa
  72. Benikakehanairo (紅掛花色) #68699b

If you plan to print this page, you may find that your browser doesn’t print the colors. In that case, check your browser’s help section for printing backgrounds. Usually, there is a Print backgrounds checkbox in the print dialog window.

Other articles in this series:

1. Traditional Japanese Colors
2. Traditional Japanese Colors – Modern Trad
3. Traditional Japanese Colors – In Prints
4. Traditional Japanese Colors – In Textile
5. Traditional Japanese Colors – Pinks and Reds
6. Traditional Japanese Colors – Yellows and Browns
7. Traditional Japanese Colors – Greens

Source for the colors: 日本の伝統色465色の色名と16進数

Kjeld Duits About the Author

Inspired by the stunningly creative street fashion that exploded on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka in the late 1990’s, photo-journalist Kjeld Duits launched JAPANESE STREETS in 2002. This makes JS one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the very first to cover Japanese street fashion.

Recent articles by Kjeld Duits:

Comment (日本語もOK)

You may find this Wikipedia article interesting: "the word for blue (青 ao) is often used for colors that English speakers would refer to as green, such as the color of a traffic signal meaning “go”, or the color of unripe fruit such as bananas.” (Oddly enough, I have blog post in my queue for tomorrow morning that links to this Wikipedia article.)

I find it pretty interesting, actually. I think it has something to do with the fact that green is made up of blue and yellow, so sometimes there may be a grey area, so to speak, haha. Kind of like how you hear kids in English-speaking classrooms arguing over whether the “teal” crayolas are blue or green.

Apr 26, 2010 (4538 days ago)

@Callisto: Very interesting article. I also mentioned these differences in color distinction in my previous article, Traditional Japanese Colors – Greens, but the Wikipedia shows examples from all over the world. Fascinating!

Kjeld Duits (author)
Apr 26, 2010 (4538 days ago)

Well, I will agree with you that all the colors highlighted on this page are definitely blue. That asagiiro is cuttin’ it close, though. xD

Apr 26, 2010 (4538 days ago)

@kagitsune: Thanks. To tell you the truth, quite a few colors on this page do not look blue in my eyes. The top colors through Sabionando, as well as Kamenozoki, Byakugun, Nandoiro, Asagiiro(!) and Shinbashiiro actually look green to me… And I feel that many colors on the bottom are also not really variations of blue.

I have often noticed that my idea of blue is quite different from that of Japanese people. After reading the Wikipedia article that Callisto introduced, I wonder if my views are influenced by my upbringing in the Netherlands and may actually be different from many other cultures as well…

Kjeld Duits (author)
Apr 27, 2010 (4537 days ago)

Thank you again for the wonderful colors! I agree that most of the colors look blue to me, but have my difficulties with the first ones (Mizuasagi (水浅葱) #80aba9 – Sabitetsuonando (錆鉄御納戸) #485859) and Nandoiro (納戸色) #008899 looks quite greenish to me.

Clea Walford
Apr 30, 2010 (4534 days ago)

@Clea: This clearly is an issue that is not limited to Japan as Callisto showed with his link to the Wikipedia article above. Interestingly, Mizuasagi contains the Japanese word for water, mizu, something that in the West is usually described as blue, but occasionally also as green…

Kjeld Duits (author)
Apr 30, 2010 (4534 days ago)

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