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?


(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.

  • 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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.