How do you say “happy” in Japanese? I have been asked this question many, many times and this is one of the hardest questions to answer. It really depends on the context and in the course of my career as a professional translator, I’m sure I used tens of different words to translate it, but we have to start somewhere, so here is a very basic list of words that can be used for “happy”.
Long Term Happiness
If you are talking about general, prevailing “happiness” for a period of time: 幸せ（な）、幸福（な）
a happy marriage
I think my mum was happy.
If you are talking about a temporary, passing feeling: うれしい or たのしい (I probably need to write another article about the difference between these two one of these days.)
I’m happy to meet you.
I went to the zoo and I was happy.
Children look very happy.
John is happy with his present job.
I’m happy to go to the party.