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Can the color cyan (#00FFFF or 0, 255, 255 / google color picker) refer to the color mizuiro? Mizuiro in Japanese literally means "water-colored" so I wanted to know if mizuiro could refer to the cyan color or any of its variations mentioned below. I would also like to know if there are other color words that can be used to describe these colors.

Cyan Color 1(#71D1CF HEX code or 113, 209, 207 RGB code / google color picker)

Cyan Color 2(#00CBD2 or 0, 203, 210 / google color picker)

Cyan Color 3(#AFE8EA or 175, 232, 234 / google color picker)

Cyan Color 4(#68C1C2 or 104, 193, 194 / google color picker)

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  • If you want to refer standard color names and codes there is JIS規格 JIS Z 8102:2001 物体の色名. The list has many traditional Japanese colors. They are used for building materials, printing industries etc to standardize color because colors are highly subjective. Maybe you can find some that are close to the 4 cyan colors? Apr 2, 2023 at 7:13

2 Answers 2

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Typical 水色 contains much more red and less green in the RGB space, i.e., much whiter (see this Wikipedia article). But I think it's perfectly understandabke to call cyan (#00ffff) 濃い水色 or 鮮やかな水色.

EDIT: Among the colors you listed, #afe8ea is closest to what Japanese people imagine with 水色. You can find many traditional Japanese colors if you search, but most of these are rare and even Japanese people are not familiar with them. Common color names around blue and green that Japanese use in everyday life (aside from 青 and 緑 themselves) are 水色 and 青緑. So if they see vivid cyan like #00ffff, most people describe it as 濃い水色 or maybe 青に近い青緑.

See also: Is there a word that describes greenish-blue colours (of any shade)?

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  • Thanks for your help! The best color I could find that resembles the cyan colors I picked is 'mizuasagi' although it seems to be grayer in color.
    – Bluestar7
    Apr 8, 2023 at 20:53
  • @Bluestar7 I happen to know "asagi" is some greenish color, but it's never used in daily life. Maybe "mizu-asagi" is a variation of it?
    – naruto
    Apr 9, 2023 at 1:23
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Here is the Japanese Wikipedia entry for 水色 that you can look at, but here are some key points:

  1. 現在では一般的に淡い青色のことを水色と呼ぶことがあり、その中には空色などが含まれることが多い。空色はとくに水色に近いため、色鉛筆やクレヨンのセットでは水色に代表されることが多く、しばしば同一視される。

  2. 英語のアクアは一般的な水の色を表す名前であるが、ウェブカラーではAquaは青緑に近く彩度の高い色合いとして定義されている。

  3. そのほかにも英語には水の色に由来する色名が多い。

So the verdict is.....🤷‍♂️? Sky Blue and 水色 are often used interchangeably. It addresses the fact that web "aqua"/cyan is a saturated blue-green (which we know by its values), but it doesn't say definitively that you can/can't call that 水色. And there are many colour names in English based on the colour of water...so I suppose they fall under 水色. To this end, the page lists some other colour names: アクアブルー, [水縹]{みず・はなだ}, アクアグリーン, and ウォーターグリーン.

I would say the four colours you gave could probably safely be called 水色 in conversation, or even in a general specification. But you could also more closely try to pigeonhole them into one of those other colours when you need to be more precise.

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