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Useful Japanese Phrases

You can utilize this list of the Japanese phrases with your own responsibility.

Thank you very much: Arigatou gozaimasu ありがとうございます

Arigatou gozaimasu ありがとうございます
Arigatou gozaimashita ありがとうございました
  • Japanese phrase: Arigatou gozaimasu ありがとうございます
  • Meaning: Thank you very much.
  • Tips
    • This is one of the most useful Japanese phrases to show your thanks even in a business or formal situation.
    • “Arigatou gozaimashita” ありがとうございました is appropriate if you want to show your thanks at the end of a speech, an event, or anything since the end term “shita した” means past tense in the Japanese language.
    • Saying the full phrase is appropriate in any business situation. Only the first term, “arigatou,” is like “thanks”, and is a little too friendly in business, while it is suitable in casual conversations.

Good morning: Ohayou gozaimasu おはようございます

Ohayou Gozaimasu おはようございます
  • Japanese phrase: Ohayou gozaimasu おはようございます
  • Meaning: Good morning
  • Tips
    • Saying only the first term, “Ohayou,” is too casual in a formal or business situation. “Gozaimasu” shows your respect well to the audience.

Good afternoon: Konnichiwa こんにちわ

Konnichiwa こんにちわ
  • Japanese phrase: Konnichiwa こんにちわ
  • Meaning: Good afternoon

Good evening: Kombanwa こんばんわ

Kombanwa こんばんわ
  • Japanese phrase: Kombanwa こんばんわ
  • Meaning: Good evening

Nice to meet you, my name is / I am [full name]: Hajimemashite, [Full name] to moushimasu. はじめまして、[Full name] ともうします。

Kimura Keiji to moushimasu きむらけいじともうします
Hajimemashite Kimura Keiji to moushimasu はじめまして きむらけいじともうします
Hajimemashite Kimura Keiji to moushimasu. Douzo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu はじめまして きむらけいじともうします、どうぞよろしくおねがいいたします
  • Japanese phrase: Hajimemashite, [Full name] to moushimasu. はじめまして、[Full name] ともうします。
  • Meaning: Nice to meet you, my name is [full name] / I am [full name].
  • Tips
    • Saying only “[Full name] to moushimasu,” meaning my name is [full name], is also suitable in any business or formal situation.
    • “Moushimasu” is humble language, one type of honorific. This phrase surprises me at the knowledge about the Japanese language, since using appropriate honorifics is one of the difficult things in the Japanese language system, even for the Japanese.
    • Saying your full name or your surname is appropriate. Unfortunately, saying only first name, like “Keiji to moushimasu,” only shows your shallow understanding of the Japanese honorific system because the Japanese tend to call their colleague or even a friend by his/her surname.
    • “Douzo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu どうぞよろしくおねがいいたします” with bowing can be added at the end of this phrase to express that your self-introduction is just ended while showing your respect to the audience.
    • While this phrase would show your respect to the Japanese, they would assume you are so familiar with the honorific system in the Japanese language that you can speak the Japanese language fluently.

See you again: Matane またね / Shitsurei shimasu しつれいします

Matane またね
Shitsurei shimasu しつれいします
  • Japanese phrase: Matane またね / Shitsurei shimasu しつれいします
  • Meaning: See you again.
  • Tips
    • Matane is suitable for casual conversations, and not appropriate in any formal situation.
    • Saying “しつれいします Shitsurei shimasu” with bowing is appropriate in formal situations, when you are younger or in a lower business position. The exact meaning of “shitsurei shimasu” is I’ll be leaving now, but the Japanese usually use this phrase at the end of conversations. “失礼します、ありがとうございました Shitsurei shimasu, arigatou gozaimashita” is another way to say at the end of conversations, which includes your thanks.

Cheers!: Kampai! かんぱい!

Kampai かんぱい
  • Japanese phrase: Kampai! 乾杯 かんぱい
  • Meaning: Cheers!
  • Tips
    • Appropriate when making a toast even in any business situation.

Excuse me / I’m sorry (casual apology) / thank you: Sumimasen すみません

Sumimasen すみません
  • Japanese phrase: Sumimasen すみません
  • Meaning: Excuse me, hello / I’m sorry (casual apology) / thank you
  • Tips
    • “Sumimasen すみません” is one of the useful Japanese phrases when visiting Japan because this phrase has many meanings while showing your humbleness and respect to the other person.
    • Sumimasen can be used when you want to ask something to someone or to draw someone’s attention, similar to “excuse me / hello.” You can say “sumimasen” when you want to call a waitstaff at a restaurant.
    • You can say “sumimasen” with bowing a little when you want to make a casual apology, for example when you bump into someone on your way walking.
    • Your thanks can be expressed by saying “sumimasen” in a humble way.

I’m sorry (formal apology): Moushiwake arimasen もうしわけありません

Moushiwake arimasen もうしわけありません
  • Japanese phrase: Moushiwake arimasen 申し訳ありません もうしわけありません
  • Meaning: I’m sorry (formal apology)
  • Tips
    • “Moushiwake arimasen もうしわけありません” with bowing is one of the formal ways to show your sincere apology to the others.