A few minutes ago on TV I heard the phrase 実に. I know that is used like 実は - means the fact, that... But what the person have mean by saying 実に?

2 Answers 2


実に is used as an adverb, for example to reinforce a feeling or emphasize a fact.

実に美しい。 [It|He|She|etc] is _truly_ beautiful.

truly, really, indeed would all be acceptable translations (depending on the context). @DariusJahandarie suggested truly and it fits actually very well as it shares the same "truth" root (see my comment about itself).

実は is used as To tell the truth or To be honest for example in English, in order to reveal a truth that until now was somehow hidden.

実は昨日でした。 [To tell the truth|Actually], it was yesterday. (with the added meaning that you didn't know and now I reveal it to you)

The difference comes from the function of the particle appended to it. here has the same meaning as ほんとう which you may be more acquainted with. And with which you encounter the same difference when appended by either or :

ほんとうに優しい。 [He|She]'s very/really kind.
ほんとうは優しいよ。 In truth / Actually, [I|he|she] [am|is] kind. (meaning e.g. "[I don't|He doesn't] look so, but in truth ...")

Same again with 実際{じっさい}: 実際に and 実際は have similar nuances.

You may encounter in other expressions again such as 実のところ, or 実をいうと, which both mean the same as 実は. You see here that 実をいうと translates directly into the English to tell the truth.

To sum it up, I could answer to @DariusJahandarie bewilderment about my initial omission of truly as a potential translation for 実に by:


, and by the way those wouldn't be interchangeable ;)

PS: stumbled upon this extensive list of examples of usage of 実に along with translations, it might be a good resource to forge a better feeling of the various contexts the expression can be used.

  • 1
    You've answered the basic question but your answer would be more useful if you explained a bit more about 実(じつ) -eg does it mean the same in both cases?, is it only used with these particles?
    – Tim
    Sep 26, 2014 at 23:59
  • The question is specifically about the difference between 実に and 実は, and I think it's better to understand them idiomatically. At the core though, refers to the truth (ほんとう) as opposed to lies (嘘{うそ}), or truthfulness of feelings / intentions (integrity, sincerity). Which boils down to the same basic idea of truth. It's more a nuance induced by the particle ( vs ). I'll add en example with ほんとう it may make it easier to grasp a feeling of the difference.
    – desseim
    Sep 27, 2014 at 1:12
  • This is the better answer.
    – istrasci
    Sep 27, 2014 at 2:31
  • 2
    Both answers are fine, but I have to say I'm a little confused that no one has opted to translate 実に as "truly", which seems like the obvious thing to do to me. :-) Sep 27, 2014 at 2:36
  • @DariusJahandarie "true"... I'll add it ! thanks :)
    – desseim
    Sep 27, 2014 at 3:44

実に means "very", "really, "surely" in English and 本当に in Japanese.

For example, あなたは実に美しい。(You are very beautiful).

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