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I've watched a few anime and keep coming across a word that sounds like "henki". In the subtitles, the sentences are like "Are you ok?", "How are you feeling?". With those translations, I'd expect the word to be "genki". I didn't know if maybe in some dialects the "g" could be pronounced as a "h".

So am I crazy or am I onto something?

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No. If there is more context, we may be able to tell what it actually is. –  user458 Jul 15 '12 at 16:41
Possibly 平気{へいき}. –  nkjt Jul 15 '12 at 16:46
@nkjt probably gave the answer... and should have done so as a real answer... Can you move your comment to an answer, please? –  Dave Jul 16 '12 at 0:27
Since I can't find an immediate example, I'll have to agree with @Dave. –  dotnetN00b Jul 16 '12 at 0:35
@nkjt, how the heck did you get furigana in a comment?!? –  BillyNair Jul 16 '12 at 20:10

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

(Figured I should write more than two words for an answer). What you are hearing is probably 平気{へいき}. I'd say it's more 'okay' as in calm, collected, emotionally unaffected by something than in the physical sense.


Pretend to be okay. (put on a brave face, stiff upper lip, etc)

It is sometimes used in a negative sense to refer to having no problem doing X (where X is something most people wouldn't do or would have some doubts/feel guilt about doing)

平気で 嘘{うそ}をつく

Be fine with lying/lie without a second thought.

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This sounds right to me. I can't possibly imagine a speaker saying /henki/. Although, in fast speech the velar plosive /ɡ/ can be realized as the velar fricative [ɣ] as long as it is both preceded and followed by a vowel or semivowel (The Sounds of Japanese, Vance, 2008, page 76). Since, we are talking about an utterance-initial /ɡ/ I don't know if it's eligible for this plosive->fricative weakening. But this sloppy kind of speech wouldn't appear in anime unless it was overtly gruff. –  taylor Jul 16 '12 at 10:57

nkjt is correct. I'm just putting this here for completeness.

An example of heiki (平気{へいき}) being used to mean cool or okay.

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