What is Kokoro
This is the Japanese word for heart. It is pronounced “koh-koh-roh.” The “roh” syllable is pronounced quickly and softly.
Kokoro is the word for the metaphysical heart, as in “heart, mind, spirit.”.
Kokoro has a meaning related to the soul. Therefore the word is often used in Japanese literature and music to refer to "heart and soul" in one.
The Japanese character for kokoro is 心
However, when kokoro is translated into English, it is usually translated as “mind”. Now this is not a wrong translation at all. But if you know the concept of kokoro, you would understand it better.
Kokoro are mind, emotions, feelings,
spirit and soul.
Let’s List More Meanings of Kokoro
When you hear a good story that makes you feel warm, what kind of expression would you use? One word I could think of was “heartwarming”.
So, when you are touched by a good story, you feel warm in your heart. We all know that we are not talking about anatomical heart here. We are talking about our emotions/feelings.
Now why do you think we shout [Kiai] before, during and after our strike? We are trying to encourage ourselves. We are trying to charge ourselves up so we can bravely confront our opponent standing right in front of us. We need really a strong heart, i.e. fighting spirit. You can also add soul here. Put your heart and soul into your techniques and your fight.
The term, kokoro, can have various meanings depending on how we use it. For example, when I say, “your kokoro is dirty”, what do you think it means? Does it make sense if I say your mind is dirty? It means you are selfish and do not think about others and apply very dirty tricks to gain whatever you want.
What do you think it means if I tell you to keep your kokoro stable?
It means “stay focused and calm”.
“Strong kokoro” means “strong mentality”.
“Kokoro is weak“means your mental strength is weak.
When your kokoro dances, you are excited.
When you change your kokoro, it is very close to “changing your mind”, which means you are changing your thoughts.
Put your kokoro in something means you put your soul, feelings and thoughts in it.
Stop fighting because you kokoro is snapped in half, it means you’ve lost your fighting spirit.
The Japanese word for the physical organ is shinzou.
The Japanese characters for shinzou are 心臓
Shihan A. I. Fredericks