I am a Bear – Learn Japanese With Song Lyrics!

Today we’re going to learn how to say “I am a bear” with the help of mega famous, multi platinum selling superstar, Hikaru Utada. Once you can say this, you can be anything!

The phrase we will be studying is “boku wa kuma,” the title of song we will be listening to.

But we’ll have to take it slow and first talk a bit about the many ways to say “I” in Japanese.

Something that might be a little bit odd about this song is that a woman is using the word “boku” for “I.” “Boku” is generally perceived as being more masculine, but is increasingly being used by woman, especially in song lyrics.

So, what are some of the other ways to say “I” in Japanese?

“Watashi” is generally the first form of “I” that foreigners learn. This is always a good option, but it can have a little bit of a feminine feel, especially in casual situations.

Then we have “ore” which is a rough, masculine way to say “I” and is usually only used between close male friends.

In general, however, pronouns are not used in Japanese. You will sound much more natural if you omit the pronoun whenever it is clear who you are talking about.

For example, if I am going to say my name, “Andy desu” sounds much more natural than “Watashi wa Andy desu” or the especially cringe worthy “Watashi no namae wa Andy desu.”

Let’s fly through the rest of the sentence.

“Wa” is the topic marker particle. The word before “wa” is the topic of the sentence.

“Kuma” is Japanese for bear. In this sentence example, replace “kuma” with any other noun to be anything you want.

“Desu” is the polite form of “is.” If you are a more casual bear, you could say “boku wa kuma da” or if you want to be even more casual you could just say “boku wa kuma.”

So, with all that, let’s watch the music video!

Watch the video first (because its a great video) and then follow along with the lyrics and translation.

“Boku wa kuma” by Hikaru Utada Japanese Lyrics and English Translation

ぼくはくま くま くま くま

boku wa kuma kuma kuma kuma

I am a bear bear bear bear


車じゃないよ くま くま くま

kuruma ja nai yo kuma kuma kuma

I am not a car! Bear bear bear


歩けないけど踊れるよ

arukenai kedo odoreru yo

I can’t walk, but I can dance!


しゃべれないけど歌えるよ

shaberenai kedo utaeru yo

I can’t speak, but I can sing!


ぼくはくま くま くま くまぼくはくま くま くま くま

boku ha kuma kuma kuma kuma x2

I am a bear bear bear bear x2


けんかはやだよ くま くま くま

kenka wa yada yo kuma kuma kuma

I don’t like to fight! bear bear bear


ライバルは海老フライだよ

raiburu wa ebi furai da yo

My rival is fried shrimp!


ゼンセはきっとチョコレート

zense wa kitto chokoreeto

I was most certainly chocolate in a previous life


ぼくはくま くま くま くまぼくはくま くま くま くま

Boku wa kuma kuma kuma kuma

I am a bear bear bear bear x2


冬は眠いよ くま くま くま

Fuyu wa nemui yo kuma kuma kuma

During the winter I am sleepy! Bear bear bear


夜は「おやすみ、まくらさん」

Yoru wa “oyasumi, makura san”

At night: “good night, Mr. Pillow”


朝は「おはよう、まくらさん」

Asa wa “ohayou, makura san”

In the morning: “good morning, Mr. Pillow”


ぼくはくま くま くま くま夜は「おやすみ、まくらさん」

Boku wa kuma kuma kuma kuma…yoru wa “oyasumi makura san”

I am a bear bear bear bear…at night: “good night, Mr. Pillow”


朝は「おはよう、まくらさん」

Asa wa “ohayou, makura san”

In the morning: “good morning, Mr. Pillow”


ぼくはくま くく くま

Boku wa kuma ku-ku-kuma

I am a bear b-b-bear


ママ くま くま

Mama kuma kuma

Mama bear bear


Hopefully you learned a little bit of Japanese from this song. Have questions? Ask them below! Happy learning.

Want to learn some basic Japanese greetings? Check out the first volume of the “Let’s Go to Nihon!” series on Amazon!

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