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Learn the Most Useful Compliments in Japanese

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Giving compliments makes people feel important and happy, and compliments are a great way to express your positive feelings. However, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do!” There’s a particular way that people give and respond to compliments in Japanese.

Before giving compliments in Japanese, keep this in mind: Humbleness and modesty are the most important values in Japanese culture. Therefore, it’s considered bad manners to show off and explicitly exhibit your abilities and achievements. For this reason, people aren’t used to receiving a lot of praise.

However, it’s still a good thing to give a compliment when someone has great traits or has done wonderful things. Giving compliments is a useful way to improve communication and your relationships with others.

Let’s learn the most useful Japanese compliments and how to give them at JapanesePod101.com!

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Table of Contents

  1. Complimenting Someone’s Appearance
  2. Complimenting Someone’s Work
  3. Complimenting Someone’s Skills
  4. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere
  5. What to Expect After Giving Compliments
  6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Complimenting Someone’s Appearance

Compliments

In Japanese culture, compliments aren’t given directly, contrary to compliments in other cultures (such as American). Compliments in Japanese tend to be mild, indirect, and euphemistic.

1 – Hair

Casual:
髪の毛切った?ショートヘア似合うね。かわいい (かっこいい) ね!
Kaminoke kitta? Shōto hea niau ne. Kawaii (kakkoii) ne !
“Did you cut your hair? The short hairstyle suits you well. You are cute (handsome)!”

The Japanese compliment above is in the casual style. In order to say it politely, change the predicate 述語 (Jyutsugo) to the polite honorific 丁寧語 (Teineigo).

Polite:
髪の毛切りましたか。ショートヘア似合いますね。かわいい (かっこいい) ですね!
Kaminoke kirimashita ka. Shōto hea niaimasu ne. Kawaii (kakkoii) desu ne !

2 – Outfit

Casual:
そのシャツいいね。
Sono shatsu ii ne.

Polite:
そのシャツいいですね。
Sono shatsu ii desu ne.
 
Meaning: “That shirt is good.” (“Your shirt looks good.” )

Casual:
そのスカート素敵だね。どこで買ったの?
Sono sukāto suteki da ne. Doko de katta no?

Polite:
そのスカート素敵ですね。どこで買いましたか。
Sono sukāto suteki desu ne. Doko de kaimashita ka.

Meaning: “That skirt is nice. (Your skirt looks nice.) Where did you buy it?”

3 – Smile

Casual:
笑顔が素敵だね /かわいいね。
Egao ga suteki da ne / kawaii ne.

Polite:
笑顔が素敵ですね /かわいいですね。
Egao ga suteki desu ne / kawaii desu ne.

Meaning: “(Your) smile is nice / pretty.”

4 – General

Casual:
彼女はとても美人だね。
Kanojo wa totemo bijin da ne.

Polite:
彼女はとても美人ですね。
Kanojo wa totemo bijin desu ne.

Meaning: “She is very beautiful.”

Casual:
彼は背が高くてハンサムだね。
Kare wa se ga takakute hansamu da ne.

Polite:
彼は背が高くてハンサムですね。
Kare wa se ga takakute hansamu desu ne.

Meaning: “He is tall and handsome.”

Two Japanese Women Talking and Laughing Over Coffee

How to compliment a Japanese girl: Egao ga totemo kawaii ne. = “Your smile is very cute.”

2. Complimenting Someone’s Work

In Japanese business settings, people typically use the formal and honorific language. Some people use casual language toward younger subordinates, but you should never use casual language when talking to your boss, seniors, or clients, because it’s very rude and inappropriate. Following is a list of the best compliments in Japanese for the workplace.

5 – Good job! / Well done!

Casual: 良くやったな!(Yoku yatta na!)
Polite: 良くやりましたね!(Yoku yarimashita ne!)

6 – Great work! / Excellent! / Bravo!

Casual: お見事!(O-migoto!)
Polite: お見事です!(O-migoto desu!)

7 – (Your) presentation today was very good.

Casual: 今日のプレゼンとても良かったよ。(Kyō no purezen totemo yokatta yo.)
Polite: 今日のプレゼンとても良かったです。(Kyō no purezen totemo yokatta desu.)

8 – That’s a nice idea with pretty good sense.

Casual: なかなかセンスの良いアイディアだね。(Nakanaka sensu no ii aidia da ne.)
Polite: なかなかセンスの良いアイディアですね。(Nakanaka sensu no ii aidia desu ne.)

9 – You are amazing to have solved that difficult matter easily.

Casual: あの難しい案件を簡単に解決させてすごいね。(Ano muzukashii anken o kantan ni kaiketsu sasete sugoi ne.)
Polite: あの難しい案件を簡単に解決させてすごいですね。(Ano muzukashii anken o kantan ni kaiketsu sasete sugoi desu ne.)

* すごい (sugoi) is a Japanese adjective which can be translated as “great,” “amazing,” “wonderful,” “cool,” etc. This is often used when something or someone has strong abilities.

The casual phrase すごいね (Sugoi ne) and polite phrase すごいですね (Sugoi desu ne) are very useful phrases you can use in many situations. They can be used just like “Wow!” in English.

Two Businessmen Shaking Hands

Here’s a compliment for a Japanese businessman: Kyō no purezen totemo yokatta desu. = “Presentation today was very good.”

3. Complimenting Someone’s Skills

10 – The meal is very delicious! You are good at cooking. (You are a good cook!)

Casual: ご飯がとてもおいしいよ!料理上手いね!(Gohan ga totemo oishii yo! Ryōri umai ne!)
Polite: ご飯がとてもおいしいです!料理上手いですね!(Gohan ga totemo oishii desu! Ryōri umai desu ne!)

11 – You have skills and a good sense of photography.

Casual: 写真のスキルがあって、センスもいいね。(Shashin no sukiru ga atte, sensu mo ii ne.)
Polite: 写真のスキルがあって、センスもいいですね。(Shashin no sukiru ga atte, sensu mo ii desu ne.)

12 – Your English is very fluent!

Casual: 英語がすごくペラペラだね!(Eigo ga sugoku perapera da ne!)
Polite: 英語がすごくペラペラですね!(Eigo ga sugoku perapera desu ne!)

*ペラペラ (Perapera) is a Japanese onomatopoeia which expresses a state of fluent speech.

13 – You run really fast! You could participate in the Olympic Games!

Casual: 足がすごく速いね!オリンピックに出られそうだね!(Ashi ga sugoku hayai ne! Orinpikku ni deraresō da ne!)
Polite: 足がすごく速いですね!オリンピックに出られそうですね!(Ashi ga sugoku hayai desu ne! Orinpikku ni deraresō desu ne!)

14 – You are (so) amazing that you can do anything!

Casual: 何でもできてすごいね!(Nan demo dekite sugoi ne!)
Polite: 何でもできてすごいですね!(Nan demo dekite sugoi desu ne!)

Someone Doing Japanese Calligraphy with a Brush

Good handwriting skills are praised in Japan as it’s considered a skill of the well-educated and sophisticated.

4. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere

Sometimes, compliments sound fake when you praise too much or only use words. Here are some tips for giving sincere Japanese compliments to avoid sounding empty.

1 – Avoid Direct and Exaggerated Expressions

As mentioned in the introduction, many Japanese people aren’t used to receiving compliments, especially when they’re very direct.

It becomes more natural and sounds real when you make a comment with euphemistic and indecisive expressions, and avoid using straightforward words.

For example:

Not Good
豪華なスカートを履いていますね。
Gōka na sukāto o haite imasu ne.
“You are wearing a gorgeous skirt.”

Good
ファッションのセンスが素敵ですね。
Fasshon no sensu ga suteki desu ne.
“Your fashion sense is nice.”

Not Good
君の瞳はとても美しいよ。
Kimi no hitomi wa totemo utsukushii yo.
“Your eyes are very beautiful.”

Good
笑顔がとても素敵だね。
Egao ga totemo suteki da ne.
“Your smile is very nice.”

2 – Don’t Praise; Tell Instead

When you compliment someone in Japanese, it sounds more natural and real when you tell them casually instead of actually praising them. The key point is to say positive things to him/her casually and naturally in the flow of conversation.

For example:

When a boy likes a girl, he shouldn’t just give her compliments one after another whenever he wants: “You are cute today, too,” “You’re so nice,” “You have a pretty hairstyle.”

However, he can give positive comments during a conversation if the situation allows for it:

At a cafe, if the girl he likes pours water to refill his glass, he can say ありがとう、優しいね (arigatō, yasashii ne.), which means “Thank you, you are kind.”

Or, when she shows him pictures of her trip, he can tell her 楽しそうだね、笑ってる顔がとてもかわいいよ(tanoshisō da ne, waratte ru kao ga totemo kawaii yo.), which means “It looks fun, your smiling face is very cute.”

3 – Refer to Someone to Add Credit

When you give compliments, refer to someone else’s comment in order to avoid direct compliments, and to add credit to make it more realistic.

For example:

田中さんは仕事ができる人だと上司が言っていました。私も本当にそう思います。
Tanaka-san wa shigoto ga dekiru hito da to jōshi ga itte imashita. Watashi mo hontō ni sō omoimasu.
“My boss said that Tanaka-san is someone who is good at his job. I really think so, too.”

みんなも言っているように、君はとても優しいね。
Minna mo itte iru yō ni, kimi wa totemo yasashii ne.
“As everyone is saying, you are very thoughtful.”

5. What to Expect After Giving Compliments

Positive Feelings

As mentioned, modesty and humbleness are important values in Japanese culture, and Japanese people aren’t used to receiving a lot of compliments or direct expressions of praise from others.

While American people usually receive compliments with confidence and pride, Japanese people often receive them with hesitance and a shy feeling. Some Japanese people may reply with negative or denial phrases to express their humbleness, rather than admitting their good ability/quality. Doing so would be considered boasting and showing pride.

Response Examples :

1.

Casual: 全然そんなことないよ (zenzen sonna koto nai yo)
Polite: 全然そんなことないです (zenzen sonna koto nai desu.)
Meaning: “(I’m) not (that) at all.”

This phrase is one of the most typical responses to compliments in Japanese. Often, compliments are met with denial, and 全然〜ない (zenzen — nai) is a common expression which means “not — at all.”

A:
ドイツ語をペラペラ話せてすごいね!
Doitsugo o perapera hanasete sugoi ne!   
“You are great that you can speak German fluently!”

B:
全然すごくないよ。
Zenzen sugoku nai yo.  
“I’m not great at all.”

2.

Casual: もっと上手くできたのだけど… (Motto umaku dekita no da kedo…)
Polite: もっと上手くできたのですが… (Motto umaku dekita no desu ga…)
Meaning: “I could have done better…”

This is another typical response to Japanese compliments. Saying that he or she could have done better is a way of showing modesty and that he/she needs to keep making an effort rather than satisfying the status quo.

A:
今日のプレゼンとても良かったですよ!
Kyō no purezen totemo yokatta desu yo!   
“Your presentation was very good today!”

B:
そうですか?もっと上手くできたのですが…
Sō desu ka? Motto umaku dekita no desu ga…
“Was it? I could have done better…”

3.

Casual: (OOOの)足元にも及ばないよ ([OOO no] ashimoto ni mo oyobanai yo)
Polite: (OOOの)足元にも及びません ([OOO no] ashimoto ni mo oyobimasen)
Meaning: “can’t hold a candle to (OOO)” / “nowhere near as good as (OOO)”

This phrase is usually used in formal settings to respond to compliments. It literally means “I don’t even reach (someone’s) feet.” It expresses modesty by referring to someone better than you, and often, it’s the person who gave the compliment. This phrase is also used as お世辞 (O-seji), or “flattery,” to flatter a boss or client for smoother communication and relationships in traditional Japanese business customs.

Boss:
今日の商談良くやったな!君は強い交渉力を持っている。
Kyō no shōdan yoku yatta na! Kimi wa tsuyoi kōshōryoku o motte iru.
“Well done with the business today! You have a strong negotiation skill.”

Subordinate:
部長の足元にも及びません!
Buchō no ashimoto ni mo oyobimasen!
“I’m nowhere near as good as you, Director!”

For more useful phrases for business, please check out Phrases for Doing Business Successfully and Must-Know Expressions for Agreeing and Disagreeing.

A Tranquil Garden and Temple in Japan
The important Japanese value of modesty is reflected in phrases toward compliments.

6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

In this article, we introduced the most useful Japanese compliments and how to give/respond to compliments in Japanese. Did you find it interesting that Japanese compliments are quite a reflection of Japanese culture? Always remember not to start bragging about your skills or traits after receiving a compliment in Japan!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language and other useful Japanese phrases for different situations, you’ll find much more helpful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

Here’s some more information about compliments in Japanese with audio:

Together with compliments, learn the Top 20 Words for Positive Emotions!

And that’s not all! Learn faster and enjoy studying Japanese at JapanesePod101.com!

Before you go, let us know in the comments if there are any Japanese compliments you still want to know! We’d be glad to help, and look forward to hearing from you!

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Getting Angry in Japanese: 20+ Useful Japanese Angry Phrases

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It’s essential to be able to express your feelings when communicating with others in everyday life. Knowing how to express your emotions in Japanese, including anger, will help you have smoother communication with Japanese people. Although showing anger with swear words isn’t common in Japanese culture, there are various angry phrases in Japanese you can use.

Knowing angry phrases, and how to show that you’re angry in Japanese, will not only help you understand Japanese anime and Japanese TV shows better, but it will also improve your conversation and communication skills.

In this article, we’ll introduce useful angry Japanese expressions and phrases to help you discuss your emotions. Let’s learn various expressions here at JapanesePod101!

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Table of Contents

  1. Angry Imperatives
  2. Angry Warnings
  3. Angry Blames
  4. Describing How You Feel
  5. Phrases to Calm Someone Down
  6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Angry Imperatives

Complaints

The following phrases are commonly used phrases in the imperative form for expressing anger in Japanese.

1 – Shut up.

  • 黙れ (damare) — impolite, order form
  • うるさい (urusai) — literally means “noisy”

Damare is a very hostile and impolite expression. You probably won’t hear this in daily conversations, but maybe in Japanese anime, especially those that are adventurous or involve lots of battles. Urusai is very casual and it’s a soft way to express “Shut up.”

Example

A: またアイス食べてるの?太るよ。
A: Mata aisu tabete ru no? Futoru yo.
A: “Are you eating ice cream again? You’ll get fat.”

B: うるさいな、ほっといて!
B: Urusai na, hottoite !
B: “Shut up, leave me alone!”

2 – Stop it.

  • やめて (yamete) — casual
  • やめなさい (yamenasai) — polite, order form
  • やめろ (yamero) — impolite, order form

Yamete is a very casual and commonly used expression. Yamenasai is polite and usually said by a person in a superior position toward a person(s) in a lower position. Yamero is a very casual and impolite way to express “Stop it.”

Example

Mari:
やめて!ママ、お兄ちゃんがぶった!
Yamete! Mama, o-nii-chan ga butta!
“Stop it! Mom, my (big) brother hit me!”

Takashi:
マリが先に僕を押してきたんだ!
Mari ga saki ni boku o oshite kita n da!
“Mari pushed me first!”

Mom:
2人ともやめなさい!
Futari tomo yamenasai!
“Both of you, stop it!”

“Stop it, I don’t wanna hear it. ” = Yamete, kikitakunai.

3 – Cut it out.

  • やめて (yamete) — casual
  • いい加減にして (iikagen ni shite) — casual

Iikagen ni shite is a very useful expression which literally means “Be in good moderation.” It can be translated as “That’s enough,” “Cut it out,” and “Stop it.”

Example

いい加減にして!今すぐやめないと警察を呼ぶよ!
Iikagen ni shite ! Ima sugu yamenai to keisatsu o yobu yo!
“Cut it out! I will call the police if you don’t stop now!”

4 – Leave me alone.

  • ほっといてよ (Hottoite yo)

Hottoite yo is a casual expression that’s typically used between people who are in a close relationship, such as family members and close friends.

Example

もう子供じゃないんだから、ほっといてよ!
Mō kodomo ja nai n da kara, hottoite yo!
“I’m not a child anymore, leave me alone!”

Little Girl Pouting

“I’m not a kid anymore, leave me alone!” = Mō kodomo ja nai n da kara, hottoite yo!

5 – Get lost.

  • 失せろ (usero) — impolite, order form

You’re likely to hear this expression in Japanese anime and movies. Usero is a very impolite and hostile expression which you’ll probably hear used by a very angry Japanese man or yakuza in a movie.

Example

失せろ!2度と姿を現わすな!
Usero! Ni-do to sugata o arawasu na!
“Get lost! Never show up again!”

2. Angry Warnings

Use these angry Japanese phrases to let someone know they’re going too far and it’s time to back off!

1 – Don’t mess with me.

  • 私に関わらないで (watashi ni kakawaranaide) — casual
  • 俺に関わるな (ore ni kakawaru na) — masculine

Watashi ni kakawaranaide is milder and a bit more feminine, while ore ni kakawaru na is a stronger, masculine expression. They both have the connotation of “Don’t get involved with me.”

There are various Japanese personal pronouns. Watashi is for the unisex “I” in the formal style, but it sounds more feminine in the informal style. Ore is commonly used by men in very casual situations.

Example

私に関わらないで。さもないと、大変な目にあうよ。
Watashi ni kakawaranaide. Samonaito, taihen na me ni au yo.
“Don’t mess with me, or you’ll have a hard time.”

2 – You’re asking for trouble.

  • 面倒 / 厄介なことになるよ (mendō / yakkai na koto ni naru yo)

This is a very useful phrase that you can use in many different situations. If you want to say it in a polite way, change the last word to narimasu yo.

Example

そんなことしたら、面倒なことになるよ。
Sonna koto shitara, mendō na koto ni naru yo.
“You’re asking for trouble if you do so.”

3 – Don’t make me say it again.

  • 同じことを何度も言わせないで (onaji koto o nan-do mo iwasenaide)

This is another very common phrase you can use in many situations. If you want to say it in a polite way, add the word ください (kudasai) to the end.

Example

片付けをして!同じことを何度も言わせないで。
Katazuke o shite! Onaji koto o nan-do mo iwasenaide.
“Clean up! Don’t make me say it again.”

Negative Verbs

4 – This is my last warning.

  • これが最後の警告だ (kore ga saigo no keikoku da)

You’re likely to hear this Japanese angry phrase in TV shows or movies. If you want to say it in a polite way, change the word だ (da) at the end to です (desu).

Example

これが最後の警告です。次は訴えます。
Kore ga saigo no keikoku desu. Tsugi wa uttaemasu.
“This is my last warning, I will sue you next time.”

5 – I can’t tolerate anymore.

  • もう我慢できない (mō gaman dekinai)
  • もう耐えられない (mō taerarenai)

These are commonly used angry Japanese sayings when someone can’t stand something anymore. If you want to say it in a polite way, conjugate the negative form ない (nai) to the polite ません (masen).

Example

もう我慢できない!今すぐそのうるさい音楽を止めろ!
Mō gaman dekinai! Ima sugu sono urusai ongaku o tomero!
“I can’t stand anymore! Stop that loud music right away!”

Angry Bald Man Screaming at Someone

“I can’t tolerate this person anymore !” = Kono hito ni wa mō taerare nai!

6 – Watch your mouth.

  • 言葉に気をつけろ (kotoba ni ki o tsukero) — order form

This rough phrase is commonly used by angry Japanese people in TV shows and movies. If you want to say it in a milder way, change the word つけろ (tsukero) to つけなさい (tsukenasai), or even more politely, つけてください (tsukete kudasai).

Example

親に向かってその口の聞き方はなんだ!言葉に気をつけなさい!
Oya ni mukatte sono kuchi no kikikata wa nan da! Kotoba ni ki o tsukenasai!
“Don’t you dare talk to your parent like that! Watch your mouth!”

3. Angry Blames

1 – Who do you think you are?

  • 何様のつもり?(nani-sama no tsumori?) — casual

This is a casual phrase that you can use with people you’re close to, such as family or friends. When you want to imply a stronger meaning, add お前 (omae), a rude form of “you,” in front of the phrase.

Example

私に全部家事をやらせて、あなた何様のつもり?私は家政婦じゃないのよ!
Watashi ni zenbu kaji o yarasete, anata nani-sama no tsumori? Watashi wa kaseifu ja nai no yo!
“Who do you think you are to make me do all the house chores? I’m not a housemaid!”

2 – Are you out of your mind?

  • 頭おかしいんじゃないの?(atama okashii n ja nai no?) — casual
  • 正気ですか (shōki desu ka) — polite

Atama okashii n ja nai no? is a casual phrase that’s used among close friends or family members, while shōki desu ka is a more polite expression that can be used in workplaces.

Example

何でこうしたの?頭おかしんじゃないの?
Nande kō shita no? Atama okashii n ja nai no?
“Why did you do this? Are you out of your mind?”

Female Colleague Scolding Male Colleague

“How could you say that? Who do you think you are?” = Yokumo sonna koto ieta wa ne, nani-sama no tsumori?

3 – What’s wrong with you?

  • あなた一体どうしたの?(anata ittai dō shita no?)

This casual phrase is used to express frustration at someone’s unreasonable behavior.

Example

今すぐやめて!あなた一体どうしたのよ!
Ima sugu yamete! Anata ittai dō shita no yo!
“Stop it right now! What’s wrong with you?”

4 – Listen to me.

  • ちゃんと聞いて (chanto kiite) — casual
  • ちゃんと聞きなさい (chanto kikinasai) — polite

Chanto kiite is a casual phrase that’s used among family and friends, while chanto kikinasai is the polite and imperative form which is usually used by a superior/senior person to a junior person.

Example

言い訳をやめてちゃんと聞きなさい!
Iiwake o yamete chanto kikinasai !
“Stop making excuses and listen to me!”

5 – It’s your fault.

  • あなたのせいだ (anata no sei da)

This phrase is casual and commonly used. When お前 (Omae) is used instead of あなた (anata), it becomes an even stronger expression. This is because お前 (Omae) is a rude way of saying “you.”

Example

全部あなたのせいです。責任とってください。
Zenbu anata no sei desu. Sekinin totte kudasai.
“It’s all your fault. Take responsibility for it.”

6 – It’s none of your business.

  • あなたに関係ない (anata ni kankei nai)

This phrase is casual and commonly used. In order to say it more politely, use ありません (arimasen) instead of ない (nai).

Example

これは私的なことで、あなたに関係ありません。
Kore wa shiteki na koto de, anata ni kankei arimasen.
“This is a private matter and none of your business.”

4. Describing How You Feel

Now that you’ve learned how to get angry in Japanese, let’s take a look at how to describe your emotions or why you’re angry.

1 – It’s getting on my nerves.

  • イライラする (iraira suru) — casual

This is a casual phrase that’s commonly used. Especially among younger people, 超ムカつく (chō mukatsuku) is also frequently used, and is considered 若者言葉 (youngster language).

Example

彼のそのような態度にイライラする。
Kare no sono yō na taido ni iraira suru.
“His attitude gets on my nerves.”

2 – I’m fed up with it.

  • うんざりだ (unzari da)

This phrase is casual and very common to use. By adding する (suru), meaning “do,” or its conjugated form next to うんざり (unzari), you can also use it as a verb.

Example

彼女の言い訳にうんざりします。
Kanojo no iiwake ni unzari shimasu.
“I’m fed up with her excuses.”

3 – I hate it.

  • 嫌だ (iya da)

This is a casual phrase that’s frequently used to express one’s discomfort. To say it more politely, use です(desu) instead of だ (da).

Example

嫌だ!歯医者に行きたくない!
Iya da! Haisha ni ikitakunai!
“I hate it! I don’t want to go to the dentist!”

Man Fed Up with Life

“I hate it! I wanna quit! ” = Iya da! Mō yametai!

4 – I’m disappointed.

  • がっかりだ (gagari da) — casual
  • 失望しました (shitsubō shimashita) — polite

がっかりだ (gagari da) is the casual phrase, while 失望しました (shitsubō shimashita) is a more polite form that can be used in formal situations.

Example

彼のプレゼンのひどい内容に失望しました。
Kare no purezen no hidoi naiyō ni shitsubō shimashita.
“I’m disappointed with the terrible content of his presentation.”

5. Phrases to Calm Someone Down

1 – Take a deep breath.

  • 深呼吸して (shinkokyū shite) — casual

深呼吸 (shinkokyū) is “a deep breath” and して (shite) is the conjugated form of する (suru), meaning “do.” If you want to say it more politely, add the word ください (kudasai) at the end.

Example

頭にきたら、深呼吸して10秒数えてください。
Atama ni kitara, shinkokyū shite jū-byō kazoete kudasai.
“When you get angry, take a deep breath and count ten seconds.”

2 – Calm down.

  • 落ち着いて (ochitsuite)

This is a conjugated form of 落ち着く (ochitsuku), which means “relax.” If you want to say it more politely, add the word ください (kudasai) at the end.

Example

騒がず落ち着いてください。
Sawagazu ochitsuite kudasai.
“Please don’t make a fuss and calm down.”

Woman Meditating on the Beach

“Let’s take a deep breath and calm down.” = Shinkokyū shite ochitsukimashō.

3 – Write it down.

  • 書き出して (kakidashite)

The word 書き出して (kakidashite) consists of 書く (kaku), meaning “write,” and 出す (dasu), meaning “out.” If you want to say it more politely, add the word ください (kudasai) at the end.

In Japanese culture, 写経 (Shakyō) (Sutra copying and writing) of Buddhism is considered the action of calming one’s mind by concentrating only on writing, without thinking about anything else. This is done to empty one’s mind.

Example

ケンカの時は大声を出す前に、紙に嫌なことを書き出して。
Kenka no toki wa ōgoe o dasu mae ni, kami ni iya na koto o kakidashite.
“When quarreling, write down the things you don’t like on paper before yelling.”

4 – Think from a different point of view.

  • 違う観点から考えて (chigau kanten kara kangaete)

It’s always good to try to see things from different angles; this also changes the way you think about things.

Example

こんな時は、違う観点から考えてみよう。
Kona toki wa, chigau kanten kara kangaete miyō.
“Let’s think from a different point of view at times like this.”

For more angry phrases in Japanese, and to hear Japanese pronunciation, see
Phrases to Use When You’re Angry.

6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

In this article, we introduced 20+ useful angry phrases in Japanese. Although Japanese people don’t often show angry emotions expressly, it’s helpful to know some angry phrases in Japanese for better understanding and communication.

Do you feel ready to express your anger in Japanese now? Let us know in the comments!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language and other useful Japanese phrases for different situations, you’ll find much more helpful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to help you improve your Japanese language skills. For example, here’s some more information about expressing emotions in Japanese, with audio:

To learn how to hold conversations in Japanese, check out Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations and Top 10 Conversational Phrases.

And there’s much more! Learn Japanese faster and enjoy studying the language and culture at JapanesePod101.com!

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Life Event Messages: Happy Birthday in Japanese & More

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Giving proper greetings and celebration messages is essential in making relationships better. Whether you have Japanese friends online, live in Japan, or just want to understand Japanese culture, it’s good to know how Japanese people celebrate events and what they say. Once you learn how to say Happy Birthday in Japanese, Happy New Year in Japanese, and Merry Christmas in Japanese, use them practically with your friends!

Japan has various life and annual events to celebrate. Some of them come from the Western culture, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day. But there are unique Japanese traditions as well, such as the twentieth and sixtieth birthdays, also called 成人 (Seijin) and 還暦 (Kanreki) respectively.

So, how do you wish someone well in Japanese? In this article, we introduce practical life event messages. Let’s master holiday greetings in Japanese, and more, here at JapanesePod101!

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Table of Contents

  1. Birthday + Turning 20 Years Old
  2. Japanese Congratulations: Graduation
  3. Japanese Congratulations: New Job / Promotion
  4. Retirement + Turning 60 Years Old
  5. Japanese Congratulations: Wedding & Marriage
  6. Japanese Congratulations: Pregnancy and Birth
  7. Bad News
  8. Injured/Sick
  9. Death/Funerals: Offering Condolences in Japanese Culture
  10. Holidays
  11. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Birthday + Turning 20 Years Old

Happy Birthday

As is the case in other cultures, birthdays are a happy celebration in Japan. Japanese people celebrate one’s birthday with a cake with candles, and by singing the Happy Birthday to You song in English (Japanese people also sing this song in English because it’s very easy and simple). In most cases, people have a birthday party, and friends and family give gifts to the birthday person.

A person’s twentieth birthday is very important in Japanese culture, because this is the official age of maturity, called 成人 (Seijin) in Japan, and one is officially recognized as an adult. Apart from individual twentieth birthday celebrations, Japan has the national holiday 成人の日 (Seijin no Hi), or “Coming of Age Day,” on the second Monday of January every year.

Check out our Coming of Age Day page for related Japanese vocabulary.

Here are phrases to say Happy Birthday in Japanese.

1- Happy birthday!

Japanese: (お) 誕生日おめでとう!
Pronunciation: (O)tanjōbi omedetō!

It literally translates to “birthday (tanjōbi) congratulations (omedetō).” It sounds more polite when you put お (O) in front of tanjōbi.

When you want to say it during a formal occasion, or to an older person, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end, which makes it even more polite.

2- Belated happy birthday!

 
                  
Japanese: 遅くなったけど、(お)誕生日おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Osoku natta kedo, (o)tanjōbi omedetō!

You can still wish your friends a happy birthday, even if you weren’t able to do so on the actual day!

Osoku natta kedo means “It’s late, but…” To make it more polite and formal, say Osoku narimashita kedo.

3- Wish you enjoy a special day!

                   
Japanese: 特別な日を楽しんでね!
Pronunciation: Tokubetsu na hi o tanoshinde ne!

A birthday is a special day, and when you want the birthday girl/boy to enjoy it, you can tell her/him this phrase.

To say it politely in a formal way, change ね (ne) to ください (kudasai).

Birthday Party

It’s common to sing Happy Birthday to You in Japan.

2. Japanese Congratulations: Graduation

Basic Questions

Whether it’s a kindergarten or university, completing school is worth a happy celebration. Japanese schools have both entrance and graduation ceremonies at the schools, which family members also attend.

Graduation from a university is often a big celebration, especially for the graduate’s parents who get to experience the fulfilling feeling of having finished raising their child. Graduates also celebrate with friends for their achievements and the good memories they made together.

Here are phrases for celebrating graduation.

1- Congratulations for your graduation!

                  

Japanese: 卒業おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Sotsugyō omedetō!

It literally translates to “graduation (sotsugyō) congratulations (omedetō).” For formal occasions, such as when a school principal is addressing students, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end. This makes it polite and respectful.

2- Well done for striving for four years!

            
Japanese: 大変な4年間よく頑張ったね!
Pronunciation: Taihen na yo-nenkan yoku ganbatta ne!

You can say this phrase to family members or friends. When you just want to say “well done,” it’s yoku ganbatta ne.

3- Lead your way step by step to make your dream come true.

      

Japanese: 夢に向かって一歩一歩進んでください。
Pronunciation: Yume ni mukatte ippo ippo susunde kudasai.

This phrase is often used by parents or seniors to a new graduate to encourage his/her new path in life.

It literally means “toward a dream (yume ni mukatte),” “step by step (ippo ippo),” and “go forward (susunde kudasai),” in a polite way.

Crowd of Graduates

Graduation of Japanese schools is in March.

3. Japanese Congratulations: New Job / Promotion

When a new university graduate gets a new job, family and friends celebrate him/her, usually by going out for a nice dinner. Some parents give a gift that will be useful for their work, such as a watch or a set of suits. In return, the child takes his or her parents out for a nice dinner once he/she gets their first salary.

When someone has a job promotion, family, friends, and sometimes his/her boss and team, celebrate him/her. It doesn’t necessarily involve giving a gift, but people go out for a drink or dinner, in most cases.

Here are phrases to celebrate getting a new job/promotion in Japanese.

1- Congratulations for your new job / promotion!

                
Japanese: 就職 / 昇進おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Shūshoku / Shōshin omedetō!

It literally translates to “employment (shūshoku) / promotion (shōshin),” and “congratulations (omedetō).” You can use this phrase to congratulate your friends, family, and younger colleagues.

Coworkers Celebrating

In Japan, the start of work for newly employed graduates is usually in April.

2- Good luck in your new workplace.

Japanese: 新しい職場で頑張ってね。
Pronunciation: Atarashī shokuba de ganbatte ne.

This is a very useful phrase to use when your friend or family member gets a new job.

It breaks down to “at new workplace (atarashii shokuba de),” and “strive well (ganbatte ne).” If you want to say it more politely for a formal setting, change ね (ne) to ください (kudasai).

3- I’m looking forward to your success.

   
Japanese: あなたの活躍を楽しみにしています。
Pronunciation: Anata no katsuyaku o tanoshimi ni shite imasu.

This is a polite phrase that a family member or boss/elder colleague can tell someone who gets a new job or a promotion. It breaks down to “your success (anata no katsuyaku),” and “I’m looking forward to (tanoshimi ni shite imasu).”

4. Retirement + Turning 60 Years Old

Talking About Age

Traditionally, the age of retirement in Japan is sixty. In the traditional Japanese employment system, called 終身雇用 (Shūshin koyō), or “life-time employment,” retirement means that someone has finished working by serving a company for some decades. It’s considered honorable and respectable.

Not only family, but also his/her company and colleagues, often have a celebration party with flowers and gifts. Nowadays, due to an increase in the aging population, active and healthy seniors continue to work after they turn sixty years old, sometimes until their sixty-fifth of seventieth birthday.

On the other hand, turning sixty years old is considered good fortune and a cause to celebrate; this celebration is called 還暦 (Kanreki). Following the traditional sixty-year calendar cycle of the lunar calendar, turning sixty means accomplishing its cycle. Thus, it’s the beginning of another cycle in his/her life. The person’s family celebrates him/her by giving gifts in red, which is the color of fortune.

Below are phrases to celebrate retirement/sixtieth birthdays in Japanese.

1- Congratulations for your retirement!

Japanese: 定年退職おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Teinen taishoku omedetō!

This is a very common phrase of congratulations. It literally translates to “retirement age resignation (teinen taishoku) congratulations (omedetō).”

When you want to say it for a formal occasion, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end; this makes it even more polite.

2- Well done for 30 years of contribution.

Japanese: 30年間の献身お疲れ様でした。
Pronunciation: San-jū-nenkan no kenshin otsukare-sama deshita.

お疲れ様 (Otsukare-sama) is one of the most common Japanese untranslatable words. It has various meanings, depending on the situation. But in this case, it means “Well done.”

3- Please enjoy your new stage of life.

Japanese: 次の新しい人生を楽しんでください。
Pronunciation: Tsugi no atarashii jinsei o tanoshinde kudasai.

Retired people often spend plenty of their new free time for hobbies and enjoyment. This polite phrase is useful when you wish for someone to have a nice life after retirement.

5. Japanese Congratulations: Wedding & Marriage

Marriage Proposal

The average age of a person’s first marriage nowadays is older (around thirty) than it was some decades ago; people’s views on marriage are becoming more diverse and flexible, as well. However, getting married and having a wedding is still a big life event in Japan.

Japanese marriage traditions typically include the following:

  • 結納 (yuinō), or “engagement ceremony”
  • 入籍 (nyūseki), or “official marriage register”
  • 挙式 (kyoshiki), or “wedding ceremony”
  • 披露宴 (hirōen), or “wedding party”

The western style of wedding ceremonies is becoming very popular in Japan, although there are some people who prefer the traditional Japanese style with the 着物 (kimono).

So, how do you congratulate a wedding in Japanese? Below are phrases for celebrating marriage in Japanese.

1- Congratulations for your marriage!

Japanese: 結婚おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Kekkon omedetō!

This is a very common phrase for congratulations in Japanese when someone is getting married. It literally translates to “marriage (kekkon) congratulations (omedetō).”

When you want to say it in a formal occasion, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end; this makes it even more polite.

2- I wish you happiness for many years to come.

   
Japanese: 末長くお幸せに。
Pronunciation: Suenagaku o-shiawase ni.

It literally translates to “for a long time (suenagaku), be happy (o-shiawase ni).” This phrase is also commonly used together with Kekkon omedetō.

3- Have a wonderful married life.

                  
Japanese: 素敵な結婚生活を送ってね。
Pronunciation: Suteki na kekkon seikatsu o okutte ne.

This is another common message for a newly married couple. When you want to say it in a formal occasion, change ね (ne) to ください (kudasai).

Man Putting Wedding Ring on Woman's Finger

Japanese weddings are conducted in either the western style or the Japanese traditional style.

6. Japanese Congratulations: Pregnancy and Birth

Pregnancy and birth are auspicious events in someone’s life. Traditionally, people give congratulation messages when a pregnant woman announces her pregnancy, and send her gifts after the baby is born. Japanese culture doesn’t have a “baby shower” celebration traditionally; however, the baby shower is becoming popular among young people due to the influence of western culture.

Below are phrases to celebrate pregnancy/birth in Japanese.

1- Congratulations for your pregnancy!

Japanese: 妊娠おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Ninshin omedetō!

For a formal occasion, change 妊娠 (ninshin), meaning “pregnancy,” to ご懐妊 (go-kainin), which is a more respectful form of the word “pregnancy,” and add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end to make it more polite and respectful. However, this form is very formal and not commonly used.

2- I wish a healthy baby will be born.

                  
Japanese: 元気な赤ちゃんが生まれますように。
Pronunciation: Genki na aka-chan ga umaremasu yō ni.

It literally means “lively baby (genki na aka-chan), be born (umaremasu)” + expression of wish (yō ni).
This phrase is also commonly used together with Ninshin omedetō.

3- Congratulations for a baby’s birth!

             
Japanese: 赤ちゃんの誕生おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Aka-chan no tanjō omedetō!

Tell this message when your friend has their baby. For a formal occasion, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end; this makes it more polite and respectful.

7. Bad News

Life isn’t always full of happy events and celebrations, and sometimes bad things can happen in our lives. In Japanese culture, it’s very important to have empathy and give consideration to other people’s feelings. This is because the culture puts values on 和 (Wa), or harmony in our society.

When someone tells you bad news, it’s good to listen carefully first, show that you understand him/her, and then say something to cheer him/her up.

Here are some Japanese condolences messages that you can say to those who have bad news.

1- I’m sorry to hear that.

                       
Japanese: それは残念です。
Pronunciation: Sore wa zannen desu.

It literally translates to “it is regrettable (sore wa zannen)” + polite way to finish a sentence (desu).

Say this to your colleague, for example, if he confides in you that he couldn’t pass a promotion exam, or his pet has passed away.

2- I understand your feelings.

Japanese: あなたのお気持ち分かります。
Pronunciation: Anata no o-kimochi wakarimasu.

It literally translates to “your feeling [polite] (anata no o-kimochi), I understand (wakarimasu).” This is a typical message to show that you understand him/her and that you’re with him/her.

3- Cheer up!

Japanese: 元気出して!
Pronunciation: Genki dashite!

This is a very straightforward phrase to cheer someone up. Say this phrase to your friends or someone who has a close relationship with you.

8. Injured/Sick

An unexpected injury or sickness can happen anytime and to anyone. Whether it happened to your grandparent, friend, or colleague, it’s always nice to offer him or her some warm messages.

Here are some useful phrases you can say to those who get injured/sick.

1- How are you feeling?

 

Japanese: 気分はどうですか。
Pronunciation: Kibun wa dō desu ka.

This is a typical question you can ask when someone falls ill. If it’s a family member or someone very close to you, you can also say kibun wa dō? in a casual manner. Japanese people often make おかゆ (O-kayu), or “rice porridge,” for a sick person as an easy-to-digest and stomach-friendly meal.

2- I hope you get well soon.

Japanese: 早く良くなりますように。
Pronunciation: Hayaku yoku narimasu yō ni.

This is a very common and important phrase that you can tell any injured or sick person.

3- Please take care.

                       
Japanese: お大事に。
Pronunciation: O-daiji ni.

This is another very important phrase you should tell an injured/sick person. This is usually said at the end of a conversation before you leave.

For a more polite form, add なさってください (nasatte kudasai) when speaking to someone elderly or respectable.

Children Giving Their Sick Mother a Gift

Healthcare in Japan provides universal-care based on the national health insurance program.

9. Death/Funerals: Offering Condolences in Japanese Culture

While a newborn life is blessed and celebrated, any life is destined to experience death sooner or later. Death is considered a serious matter, and a funeral is usually held solemnly. Even if it happened to a person who is very close, Japanese people use formal and respectful language for messages to the deceased’s family and relatives.

Below are condolence phrases in Japanese that you can use.

1- Please accept my sincere condolences.

Japanese: お悔やみ申し上げます。
Pronunciation: O-kuyami mōshiagemasu.

This phrase is formal and commonly used to show your condolences, usually at a funeral. It literally translates to “condolence (o-kuyami), [I] say (mōshiagemasu).” Note that the last word here is the most respectful and humble expression for the word “say.”

2- I pray that his/her soul may rest in peace.

 
Japanese: ご冥福をお祈りいたします。
Pronunciation: Go-meifuku o oinori itashimasu.

This phrase is formal and very commonly used. It literally translates to “happiness in the next world (go-meifuku), [I] pray (oinori), do (itashimasu).” Note that the last word here is a humble expression.

3- I’m so sorry, I don’t know what to say.

Japanese: 御愁傷様です。なんと言っていいかわかりません。
Pronunciation: Go-shūshō-sama desu. Nan to itte ii no ka wakarimasen.

You can use this polite phrase when someone tells you that someone you know has passed away. Go-shūshō-sama refers to a thing or status that people lament and grieve.

10. Holidays

Do you know whether Japanese people celebrate Christmas in Japan? Yes, they do! However, most Japanese people don’t have any religious feeling for Christmas celebrations; it’s rather regarded as a special and romantic event for couples, or as a happy event for friends and family to eat cakes and give gifts. Christmas Day isn’t a national holiday in Japan.

On the other hand, お正月 (o-shōgatsu), or New Year’s Day, is a traditional annual festive holiday. It’s one of the most important events of the year, and family and relatives get together and celebrate the coming new year. January 1 is the actual holiday, and many companies are off from the end of the year until the first few days of January.

Here are phrases for holiday greetings in Japanese, including how to say Merry Christmas in Japanese and Japanese New Year congratulations!

1- Merry Christmas!

 
Japanese: メリークリスマス!
Pronunciation: Merī kurisumasu!

How to say Merry Christmas in Japanese is almost the same as in English. It’s directly imported in Japanese, but Japanese people pronounce it in the Japanese way. Also, it’s written merī kurisumasu.

Check out Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary for more Christmas-related terms in Japanese.

2- Happy New Year!

Japanese: 明けましておめでとう!
Pronunciation: Akemashite omedetō

“Happy New Year” in Japanese is akemashite omedetō, which literally means “(a new year day has) dawned (明けまして), congratulations (omedetō).” This is the most-used phrase for “happy holidays” in Japanese for the new year.

When you want to say it in a formal occasion or to an older person, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end; this makes it even more polite.

3- To another good year!

Japanese: 今年もよろしく!
Pronunciation: Kotoshi mo yorosiku!

This phrase is very popular among friends, colleagues, and clients.

Kotoshi mo means “this year, too” and yoroshiku is another one of the most common Japanese untranslatable words. It has various meanings depending on the situation, but in this case, it means “best regards” or “favorably please.”

For more useful holiday greetings in Japanese, check out Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season and Happy New Year! Words & Phrases for the New Year! You’ll learn Japanese winter seasonal greetings and customs.

Traditional Japanese New Year's Food

おせち (osechi) is a special meal for the New Year in Japan, and we eat it with best wishes phrases in Japanese.

11. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

We introduced Japanese life event messages, such as how to say Happy Birthday in Japanese and Merry Christmas in Japanese. I hope this article was useful in improving your Japanese for better communication with your friends!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language and holiday greetings in Japanese, you’ll find much more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

For more about Japanese holidays and Japanese holiday vocabulary, check out Holidays in Japan. To learn about how to express your feelings, you’ll find Words and Phrases to Help You Describe Your Feelings useful; you can even learn and practice your pronunciation with audio. And for conversation practice, Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations and Top 10 Conversational Phrases are very helpful!

Know that your hard work will pay off; with enough practice, you’ll be speaking like a native in no time with JapanesePod101.com!

Before you go, let us know which of these phrases you’ll be able to use first! Are there any life event messages you still want us to cover? Let us know in the comments!

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Nyūgakushiki: The School Entrance Ceremony in Japan

The school entrance ceremony in Japan, or Nyūgakushiki in Japanese, is one of the most momentous occasions in a student’s life, and it takes place each year as the cherry blossoms bloom.

In this article, you’ll learn all about this celebratory season and gain some new vocabulary along the way.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is the School Entrance Ceremony?

The Japanese school entrance ceremony name is Nyūgakushiki.

Nyūgakushiki is a time of both encouragement and excitement about the coming year for students in every grade, though the Japanese high school entrance ceremony may be the most exciting for new students.

During a school entrance ceremony, Japanese students celebrate their enrollment in a school, and that enrollment is also authorized. A school entrance ceremony, or 入学式 (にゅうがくしき), can take place for enrollment in schools of any education level. Thus, there is a Japanese elementary school entrance ceremony, one for middle school, another for high school, and even enrollment ceremonies for universities and vocational schools.

2. When are the Entrance Ceremonies?

Mt. Fuji During the Springtime

The school entrance ceremonies typically take place in early April, not long after the graduation ceremonies in late March.

3. A Japanese School Entrance Ceremony

Japanese Parents Standing with Their Children for a School Entrance Ceremony

As mentioned, in Japan, school entrance ceremony season takes place after the graduation ceremonies near the end of March. During a graduation ceremony, graduating students are awarded a school certificate; in universities and graduate schools, students receive a diploma. The graduation ceremonies in Japan are very formal; men wear nice suits, while females who are graduating must wear traditional kimono and hakama.

For the school entrance ceremony, Japanese students going into high school wear their brand-new uniforms and participate in the welcoming ceremony. From elementary school to high school, the homeroom teacher calls each new student, who the principal then offers words of encouragement and support. Afterward, a student chosen as a representative makes a pledge concerning their new school life. For sentimental reasons, someone may also take a photograph of the new class together.

Sometimes, there may be a 来賓挨拶 (らいひんあいさつ), or “speech by a guest of honor,” for the ceremony.

4. Two Important Songs

Do you know what Japanese students sing at each school entrance ceremony?

There are actually two things they can sing. During a ceremony, there is a time for 校歌斉唱 (こうかせいしょう), or “singing of school song.” Students also sing the 国歌 (こっか), or “national anthem.”

5. Essential Japanese Vocabulary for School Entrance Ceremonies

Someone Playing the Piano for the Japanese National Anthem

Are you ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important Japanese words and phrases for the school entrance ceremony season!

  • 春 (はる) — “spring”
  • 式 (しき) — “ceremony”
  • 入学式 (にゅうがくしき) — “school entrance ceremony”
  • 学校行事 (がっこう ぎょうじ) — “school event”
  • 新入生 (しんにゅうせい) — “new student”
  • 国旗 (こっき) — “national flag”
  • 国歌 (こっか) — “national anthem”
  • 在校生 (ざいこうせい) — “current student”
  • 歓迎の言葉 (かんげいのことば) — “words of welcome”
  • 来賓挨拶 (らいひんあいさつ) — “speech by a guest of honor”
  • 校歌斉唱 (こうかせいしょう) — “singing of school song”

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Japanese School Entrance Ceremony vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Nyūgakushiki with us, and that you took away some valuable cultural information.

Do you have a special school entrance ceremony in your country? If so, how do you celebrate or participate in it? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

If you’re fascinated with Japanese culture and can’t get enough, we recommend that you check out the following pages on JapanesePod101.com:

That should be enough to quench your thirst for Japanese cultural knowledge for a little while, but for the full learning experience and more fun resources, create your free lifetime account today. JapanesePod101.com has tons of learning resources for learners at every level, so there’s something for everyone.

We look forward to having you!

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Celebrating Hinamatsuri: The Japanese Doll Festival

Hinamatsuri (Japanese Doll Festival) is a special Japanese holiday dedicated to praying for the well-being of little girls. This holiday is unique to the Japanese culture, and is steeped in both traditional and modern cultural values and beliefs.

In this article, you’ll learn many interesting Japanese Doll Festival facts, from the holiday’s origins to how it’s celebrated today. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

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1. What is the Japanese Traditional Doll Festival?

The Japanese Doll Festival (Hinamatsuri), unique to Japan, is a festival that prays for the healthy growth of little girls.

The history of Hinamatsuri goes back a long way. It’s said that the hihina (or hiina) play, which involved making little dolls out of paper or earth and dressing them in clothes, and which went on over a thousand years ago, was the prototype of the modern-day Hinamatsuri.

Gradually, this evolved into a custom called Nagashibina, which was to pray for sound health. During Nagashibina, these dolls were used as substitutes for real people, had people’s bad luck transferred to them, and were sent floating down the river.

After this, with the passing of time, it became typical for the dolls to be displayed and admired indoors, as they are today, as mamori-hina. The mamori-hina watch over the happiness and growth of the daughter of the house.

A girl’s first Doll Festival is referred to as 初節句 (hatsuzekku). For this celebration, the maternal grandparents often give a set of dolls. With this gift, they place a wish that the doll will be used as a scapegoat so that their cute granddaughter will not suffer from disaster.

2. Japanese Doll Festival Date

Peach Blossoms

Each year, the Doll’s Festival takes place on March 3. If you match it to the old Japanese calendar, Hinamatsuri takes place when the peach trees are blooming.

3. Japanese Doll Festival Activities and Displays

People display a set of graceful dolls in ancient court costumes on a tier of five to seven shelves, which is called 雛人形 (Hina Ningyō). The dolls are arranged as follows:

  • Emperor and Empress Dolls: Called 内裏雛 (だいりびな), these are displayed on the top shelf. Generally, the emperor doll is placed on the left side and the empress doll on the right. This custom also influences weddings—the groom sits on the left, and the bride on the right. Gold folding screens are arranged behind the emperor and empress dolls on a red felt carpet.
  • Three Court Ladies: Called 三人官女 (さんにんかんじょ), these are displayed on the second tier from the top. The court ladies care for the emperor and empress.
  • Five Court Musicians: Called 五人囃子 (ごにんばやし), these are displayed on the third tier from the top. The musicians are often depicted playing different musical instruments for the amusement of the emperor and empress.

People usually display the dolls a few weeks in advance of March 3. Some dolls are exquisite and have seven or eight layers of decoration. The value of such dolls can be more than 500,000 yen (or over $4,500). There are also popular compact types that can be decorated easily and stored in apartments and rental housing.

On the Doll Festival, these dolls are offered 菱餅 (hishimochi), or “diamond-shaped rice cakes,” and ひなあられ (hina-arare), or “sweet rice crackers.” A celebration is then held in front of the dolls, during which people consume lots of Japanese Doll Festival food and drinks. These include 白酒 (しろざけ), or “white sake,” and a meal of chirashizushi and clam soup.

It is said that it’s best to put away the dolls as soon as the festival is over. This is because of the saying “late to clear away then late to marry.” Some believe that “a daughter who cannot clean will not become a good bride.”

4. Momo no Sekku

Do you know which flower is used for Doll’s Festival decorations, and why?

The correct answer is a “peach blossom.” Peach blossoms bloom from the end of March to the beginning of April of the lunar calendar, just around the time of the Doll’s Festival. For this reason, the festival is also known as 桃の節句 (Momo no Sekku) or “Peach Seasonal Festival.”

In the past, peaches were believed to have the power to purge evil spirits. Therefore, peach blossoms are used as decorations for the Doll’s Festival to obtain the protection of peaches and help girls grow up healthy. 

5. Must-Know Vocab for the Japanese Doll’s Festival

Japanese Emperor and Empress Dolls

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the essential vocabulary words you’ll need to talk about the Doll Festival in Japanese!

  • ひな祭り (ひなまつり) — “Doll Festival”
  • 白酒 (しろざけ) — “white sake”
  • 三人官女 (さんにんかんじょ) — “three court ladies”
  • 桃の花 (もものはな) — “peach blossom”
  • ぼんぼり (ぼんぼり) — “paper lamp”
  • 右大臣 (うだいじん) — “minister of the right”
  • 左大臣 (さだいじん) — “minister of the left”
  • お雛様 (おひなさま) — “hina doll”
  • 雛あられ (ひなあられ) — “hina arare
  • 金屏風 (きんびょうぶ) — “gold screen”
  • 五人囃子 (ごにんばやし) — “five court musicians”
  • 女雛 (めびな) — “empress doll”
  • 男雛 (おびな) — “emperor doll”
  • 内裏雛 (だいりびな) — “emperor and empress dolls”
  • 菱餅 (ひしもち) — “diamond-shaped rice cake”
  • 蛤のお吸い物 (はまぐりのおすいもの) — “clear broth soup with clams”
  • ちらし寿司 (ちらしずし) — “chirashi-zushi”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, visit our Japanese Doll’s Festival vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Japanese Doll Festival with us! Are there any similar holidays in your country, or is this holiday very new to you? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in learning more about the unique Japanese culture and holidays, you can visit the following pages on JapanesePod101.com:

Whatever your reasons for developing an interest in Japanese culture or the language, know that JapanesePod101.com is the best way to expand your knowledge and improve your skills. With tons of fun and effective lessons for learners at every level, there’s something for everyone!

Create your free lifetime account today, and start learning Japanese like never before.

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Japanese Netflix Programs: Learn Japanese with Netflix

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It’s wonderful if you can learn Japanese and have entertainment at the same time. Yes, it is possible with online streaming services! One of the most famous and popular is Netflix, which nowadays offers a wide range of Japanese shows and movies. A lot of Japanese movies on Netflix are available with subtitles in both Japanese and English, so it’s ideal to learn by listening to actual pronunciation, reading what words mean, and/or checking vocabulary and spelling. In terms of understanding Japanese culture, Netflix can also be a great source for this.

When it comes to learning and entertainment, watching Japanese shows on Netflix is much easier and useful than watching them on TV or at actual movie theaters. Watching Japanese shows on Netflix doesn’t require traveling to theaters, you don’t need to bother checking schedules, and you don’t need to remember to record. Most of all, you can repeat lines at any time, and as many times as you like, with subtitles so that you can learn Japanese more efficiently.

Whether you just want to enjoy watching Japanese movies on Netflix casually, or you want to try learning conversational Japanese, Netflix is one of the best options for you. Either way, watching Netflix Japanese shows will boost your Japanese skills and allow you to see Japanese culture in action.

So what’s on Japanese Netflix? Here’s JapanesePod101’s list of recommended Japanese Netflix titles for an enjoyable Japanese learning experience!

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Table of Contents

  1. Midnight Dining / 深夜食堂 (Shin’ya Shokudō)
  2. Hibana: Spark / 火花
  3. Terrace House / テラスハウス
  4. Ainori Love Wagon / あいのり
  5. Atelier / アンダーウェア
  6. Solitary Gourmet / 孤独のグルメ
  7. Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman / さぼリーマン甘太朗
  8. Million Yen Women / 100万円の女たち
  9. Dad of Light / ファイナルファンタジーXIV 光のお父さん
  10. Jiro Dreams of Sushi / 二郎は鮨の夢を見る
  11. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Midnight Dining / 深夜食堂 (Shin’ya Shokudō)

Midnight Diner is a Japanese TV series, based on the manga of the same title: 深夜食堂 (Shin’ya Shokudō). This Japanese show is currently one of the best Japanese Netflix shows. This drama is mainly about a diner which operates at midnight, and follows the owner’s interactions with his customers.

The setting of the show is a small Izakaya named “Meshiya” in Shinjuku, the big city that never sleeps in Tokyo. As Shinjuku is busy with its nightlife, there are always customers who visit this midnight diner (open from midnight to seven o’clock in the morning). Customers come to the diner for delicious traditional Japanese food and relaxing conversation with the master chef after their stressful day. What’s interesting is that each customer has a unique and touching story.

You’ll learn about how Japanese people talk about their lives, dreams, and love lives, and get a taste of Japanese traditional night foods and drinks. When it comes to the language they use, it may be a bit difficult for beginners, as the characters speak in a very casual style (sometimes with slang), which is far from using the structured formal language. However, this can be useful learning material for grasping colloquial Japanese.

You’ll probably hear Japanese curse words in some episodes, but here’s a tip for you: Japanese Curse Words You Should Never Use.

2. Hibana: Spark / 火花

Hibana, the Japanese word meaning “spark,” is a Japanese Netflix show based on the award-winning novel written by a Japanese comedian. Inspired in part by the author’s real life, the story is about two young manzai comedians and their struggles as they try to become big stand-up comedians. This show has ten episodes, and each episode focuses on one year of their lives, totaling a span of ten years.

This Japanese Netflix show attracts viewers’ attention and draws them into the story as it depicts human drama with stark reality, both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. The drama is well-filmed to show human relationships and the reality of competitiveness in the comedy industry.

For Japanese learners, it’s useful to know how people use conversational Japanese around close friends, seniors, and juniors, using both the formal and informal language. For this reason, we recommend this show for intermediate-level Japanese learners. This show also gives insight into the culture and industry of Japanese comedy.

Many Japanese comedians are from the Kansai area, and they speak Kansai dialect. For more information on this topic, check out our Japanese Dialects guide!

3. Terrace House / テラスハウス

This Netflix Japanese show is based on the reality TV show that aired on Japanese Fuji TV with five series, and now they’ve made a Netflix original series. This reality show follows the lives of young Japanese strangers—three girls and three guys—living together in one posh house. Viewers get to see how different people get to know each other and form human relationships (and sometimes romance) over time.

This show doesn’t have a particular story, nor dramatic turn of events. However, this is a good way to know how the younger Japanese generations interact with each other in everyday life. Although they share their lives under one roof, each member still engages in their own work or study outside the house, and they’re free to enter and leave. This setting makes the show more realistic and interesting.

If you want to make new Japanese friends and speak natural Japanese (which normal textbooks don’t teach), this can be the ideal show to watch. You can learn how to speak when you’re getting to know someone new, and how to start conversations.

This Japanese Netflix show is recommended for Japanese learners at the intermediate level. The conversations are mostly informal and spoken among young people, without structured or formal language.

4. Ainori Love Wagon / あいのり

This Japanese show on Netflix is originally from the popular Japanese TV program which was first aired two decades ago. The Japanese word Ainori means “ride together,” and can also mean “love ride,” based on how it’s read. This reality show follows seven young, single Japanese participants who go on a road trip to foreign countries in a pink van. The goal of participants is to find real love and become a couple with another participant while on the budget-type trip. They’ll then finish traveling and return to Japan together.

Ainori is an interesting love reality show which also introduces foreign countries and cultures during the participants’ travels. Each participant has a unique personality, and as you keep watching, you may find some favorite characters whom you want to support and see them happily form a couple. Unlike Terrace House, which features fancy people and a posh house, Ainori has more events, adventure, and drama as the participants travel to foreign lands.

We recommend this show for intermediate Japanese learners. Similarly to Terrace House, conversations are informal, without structured or formal language. It’s good for learning how young Japanese people talk and communicate with each other.

If you want to learn more about love phrases, check out Romance and Love in Japanese here!

5. Atelier / アンダーウェア

Atelier (the title of the original Japanese version is アンダーウェア meaning “Underwear” ) is a Netflix Japanese drama produced by Fuji TV for Netflix. It has thirteen episodes, and the real and famous lingerie company sponsors and supports this drama, making it more realistic in detail.

This show centers on a girl who has started her career at a high-end lingerie company and struggles to do well there. Through all the happenings, the story focuses on her interactions and relationship with her boss and the owner of the company. The character settings remind viewers of Anna Wintour and Miranda Priestly.

This Japanese Netflix drama provides viewers with a chance to learn some business conversation in Japanese for the office setting, and gives viewers insight into the daily life of a young employee. It’s good for intermediate-level learners.

6. Solitary Gourmet / 孤独のグルメ

Looking for good Japanese Netflix shows about food?

Solitary Gourmet is based on the original Japanese comic of the same name, and it has been produced as a Japanese TV drama series. It’s now available on Netflix.

This show is about nothing but Japanese cuisine, and it’s great for Japanese food lovers. The story follows a Japanese salesman who travels to different places across Japan for business, and visits various restaurants. He has a great passion for food, and he feels ultimate happiness when he indulges in eating delicious food.

It may sound boring, as it’s about a businessman eating alone, but this show actually offers something more and can be very addictive. In each episode, the main character tries out new restaurants and bars, and he enjoys every detail of speciality food. It’s intriguing how he tastes food and describes it to himself (in his head) in detail.

This is recommended for Japanese food fans and those who are interested in the Japanese food culture. You’ll learn a lot more about Japanese cuisine than just sushi and ramen. Also, watching this show is a great way to improve your vocabulary, especially in terms of adjectives.

7. Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman / さぼリーマン甘太朗

This is another one of the top Japanese Netflix shows which is based on the manga comics featuring food, but this one is about sweets. What’s interesting and attractive about this series is that the featured cafes, patisserie, and sweets and desserts are real, although the story itself is fiction.

The story of this Japanese Netflix series centers on a salaryman, Kantaro, who is considered a go‐getter and hardworking businessman. However, his seemingly fast and efficient work is actually motivated by his endless passion for sweets and desserts. He manages his work in such a way that he can sneak out to eat sweets in various places across Tokyo. Each episode focuses on a particular kind of sweet.

This show is good for Japanese learners, especially those who love sweets. If you live in Tokyo or have a chance to visit Tokyo, you can actually try the sweets featured in this show! If that’s possible, try to learn what Kantaro says to describe sweets; you’ll be able to practice those phrases while tasting yummy sweets. This show also offers a great chance to learn formal business Japanese.

8. Million Yen Women / 100万円の女たち

This Japanese show on Netflix is also based on a manga, and the series was co-produced by TV Tokyo and Netflix into a live-action drama.

This mysterious plot features a young novelist, and five beautiful women who suddenly moved in with him to pay him a crazy one-million yen per month to help his living. Each of the five women has unique characteristics and background stories, making the story more attractive.

He wonders why these women came to his place to offer him such crazy help, but it’s forbidden to ask them questions. However, through living with them, a small piece of the mystery is revealed little by little in each episode.

This is one of the most fascinating Japanese Netflix programs today. This show is very amusing as the story is shrouded in curious mystery and viewers are pulled into its unique world to discover the secret. You can simply enjoy watching it, but it can also be good material to learn conversational Japanese. It’s recommended for beginner- and intermediate-level learners.

9. Dad of Light / ファイナルファンタジーXIV 光のお父さん

Improve Pronunciation

This was originally a TV drama based on a true story from a blog, and is the first live-action series to commercialize the game Final Fantasy XIV.

The story focuses on a father and his son as they reconnect by playing the online role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV. The son, who feels distant from his father after years of little conversation, tries to break the ice. He remembered that he and his father played Final Fantasy III together when he was a kid, and they had a good bond through the game. He hopes that this passion for FFXIV will help them reconnect and he plans to become friends with his father in the online game without telling him who he really is. Over time, through playing and working together in-game, he tries to understand and communicate with his father better.

This Japanese Netflix TV series would be very interesting for gamers, particularly those who already have some knowledge about Final Fantasy. This show features a lot of game-related vocabulary, and is recommended for beginner- and intermediate-level learners.

10. Jiro Dreams of Sushi / 二郎は鮨の夢を見る

If you couldn’t tell, Japanese Netflix TV shows about food are quite popular. This one also features food, but is different from the others on this list because it’s a documentary film. The film was directed by David Gelb, and the documentary focuses on Jiro Ono (小野 二郎 Ono Jirō), who is an eighty-five-year-old sushi master.

The film features the legendary Jiro’s renowned restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro which has three Michelin stars. His restaurant, located in the middle of Ginza, one of the most expensive districts in Tokyo, has merely ten seats, but the minimum price per person is from ¥30,000. The documentary also focuses on Jiro’s relationship with his two sons, both of whom are also sushi chefs (and one of them is his eventual heir).

This documentary gives insight into the ultimate Japanese craftsmanship and pursuit in the art of food. The Japanese spoken in this film isn’t a perfect tool for learning, but it still helps you to deepen your knowledge of Japanese.

11. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

Best Ways to Learn

I hope this Japanese Netflix list of the best shows on Netflix to learn Japanese is helpful, and that it makes your Japanese studies more enjoyable! By now, you should have a better idea of how to use Japanese Netflix content to make learning fun and efficient.

Ready to watch Japanese Netflix? Which of these Japanese Netflix programs are you most interested in? Let us know!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills. For example, Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations to practice your Japanese with audio. If you’re a fan of Japanese anime, How to Learn Japanese with Anime? and 76 Must-Know Japanese Onomatopoeia Words are helpful. If you’re planning to visit Japan, check out 3 Reasons to Learn Japanese Before Traveling!

Know that your hard work will pay off; with enough practice, you’ll be speaking like a native in no time!

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Kenkoku Kinen no Hi: Japan’s National Foundation Day

Japan is a country steeped in a rich history and fascinating culture, both of which the Japanese people reflect on each year on 建国記念日 (けんこくきねんび), or National Foundation Day in Japanese. This is a major holiday in Japan, celebrating the beginning of the country’s history. In this article, you’ll learn all about Japan’s National Foundation Day, from its origins to modern-day celebrations and traditions.

Are you ready to dive in? Let’s get started!

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1. What is National Foundation Day in Japan?

National Foundation Day is a day to commemorate the founding of the country and cultivate a love for it. It’s celebrated on the day the first Emperor of Japan was crowned as the “Day that Japanese history began.” This national holiday was first celebrated during the Meiji Era, where it was known as Kigensetsu.

While many countries celebrate Foundation Day on the date that they became independent, Japan is different. In the past, Japan was ruled by an Emperor. The lineage of many generations of Emperors can be traced back to times of mythology thousands of years ago. The first Emperor was crowned by God with the purpose of expanding her realm, and has been respected by the Japanese people since ancient times. This is why Foundation Day is celebrated on the day that the first Emperor was crowned—the beginning of 日本の歴史 (にほんのれきし), or Japanese history.

2. Foundation Day Date

Japanese Flag Waving in the Wind

Each year, National Foundation Day in Japan takes place on February 11.

3. How Does Japan Celebrate National Foundation Day?

On National Foundation Day, Japan holds events such as political lectures, symposia, and gatherings throughout the country. The Emperor system has its controversies, with opinions being divided in recent years about it following the female line. The National Foundation Day is an opportunity to hear the views of experts on the state of the country, and to deepen one’s own thoughts.

Starting with the Meiji Jingu, which is dedicated to Emperor Meiji, there are shrines that hold festivals for events such as National Foundation Festivals and Kigensai. There are a variety of festivals held that involve doing things such as pulling a portable shrine and playing drum and pipe music through a spectacular parade.

While remembering the many ancestors who were instrumental in the development of Japan for thousands of years since ancient times, people make wishes that the country will be even more prosperous in the future.

4. First Emperor of Japan

Who was the first Emperor of Japan, or 初代天皇 (しょだいてんのう)?

The correct answer is Emperor Jinmu. According to the Nihon Shoki, Emperor Jinmu was crowned on Lunar New Year’s Day of 660 B.C., or February 11 on the solar calendar. The Nihon Shoki is a book that was compiled at the beginning of the eighth century and is the oldest history book in Japan. In the book, it’s recorded that Emperor Jinmu was born with intelligence and a strong will.

Did you know that Japan has a unique way for counting years? It’s called the Kōki and starts counting from the year of the coronation of Emperor Jinmu. The first year in the Imperial Era was 660 B.C.

5. Essential Vocabulary for National Foundation Day

Japanese People Celebrating National Foundation Day

Ready to study some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for National Foundation Day!

  • 祝日 (しゅくじつ) — “holiday”
  • 建国 (けんこく) — “founding of a nation”
  • 日本書紀 (にほんしょき) — “Chronicles of Japan”
  • 神武天皇 (じんむてんのう) — “Emperor Jimmu”
  • 即位 (そくい) — “coronation”
  • 日本の歴史 (にほんのれきし) — “Japanese history”
  • 初代天皇 (しょだいてんのう) — “first emperor of Japan”
  • 建国記念日 (けんこくきねんび) — “National Foundation Day”
  • 歴史 (れきし) — “history”
  • 紀元節 (きげんせつ) — “Empire Day”
  • 公布 (こうふ) — “promulgation”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Japanese National Foundation Day vocabulary list! You can also watch the video above to learn more essential vocabulary with Risa!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Foundation Day in Japan is a unique holiday that pays tribute to the country’s history and early beginnings, while simultaneously encouraging people to look ahead to the future. Does your country have a similar holiday? Let us know in the comments section!

If you’re interested in continuing to learn about Japanese culture and holidays, you may find the following pages useful:

Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn more about Japanese culture or the language, know that JapanesePod101.com is the best place to expand your knowledge and improve your language skills. With tons of lessons for beginners, intermediate learners, and more advanced students, there’s something for everyone!

What are you waiting for? Create your free lifetime account today and gain access to everything you could possibly want to know about Japan!

Happy learning! 🙂

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Japanese Conjunctions: Learn Japanese Linking Words

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If you’re learning Japanese grammar, you may be surprised by how many variations there are of Japanese conjunctions and Japanese connective particles, and how they vary depending on the use of sentences.

When you think about speaking your mother tongue, the flow of your sentences is very natural, without redundancy or lack of words. This is because you can use conjunctions effectively and naturally to connect sentences.

In this way, in Japanese grammar, conjunctions are one of the most essential parts of speech. When you master Japanese conjunctions, you’ll be able to speak Japanese quite fluently!

By the end of this article, you should have a better idea about Japanese conjunctions meaning, how to use Japanese conjunctions, and have an increased Japanese conjunction vocabulary!

Here are some of the most basic and useful Japanese conjunctions and connectives. Let’s enjoy learning here at JapanesePod101.com!

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Table of Contents

  1. What is a Conjunction?
  2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts
  3. Conjunctions to Express Condition
  4. Conjunctions to Express Cause
  5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition
  6. Conjunctions to Express Choices
  7. Other Useful Japanese Conjunctions
  8. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. What is a Conjunction?

Sentence Patterns

Conjunctions are words that connect and conjoin phrases, clauses, or sentences together. A conjunction word doesn’t have a meaning itself, much like prepositions. Conjunctions in Japanese function similarly to how they do in English.

The conjunction in Japanese is usually a particle or postposition that’s usually used at the end of the dependent clause(s), determining the relationship of the conjoined clauses. Examples of these relationships include copulative, disjunctive, adversative, and conclusive.

For example, here are the most common Japanese conjunctions by type:

  • Copulative Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the addition and/or connection of meanings.

    And:
    と、(to)
    や、 (ya)
    そして (soshite)

    Also:
    も、(mo)
    もまた (mo mata)

    Then:
    そして、 (soshite)
    それから (sorekara)

    Or:
    または、(mata wa)
    また (mata)

  • Disjunctive Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the disjunction of their meanings.

    -or, -or : -ka, -ka ‥か、‥か
    -and, -and : -ya, -ya ‥や、‥や

  • Adversative Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the opposition of their meanings.

    But:
    しかし、(shikashi)
    が、(ga)
    けど (kedo)
    けれども (keredomo)
    なのに (nanoni)
    でも (demo)

    However:
    しかしながら、 (shikashinagara)
    ところが (tokoroga)
     
    Despite:
    にもかかわらず (nimokakawarazu)

  • Conclusive Conjunctions

    So:
    それで、(sorede)
    なので (nanode)

    And then:
    それから、(sorekara)
    その後 (sonogo)

    Therefore: 
    それゆえに、(soreyue ni)
    だから、(dakara)
    したがって (shitagatte)

    Thus:
    ゆえに、(yue ni)
    したがって (shitagatte)

There are exceptions where Japanese language conjunctions can’t be used to connect equivalent clauses or sentences. However, we’ll explain the basic and most important Japanese conjunctions in this article.

Japanese Conjunctions

Japanese conjunctions have a wide range of variations

2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts

Here are the commonly used Japanese conjunctions which connect clauses/sentences with a function of addition.

1- と (to)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It simply adds one thing to another.
  • Usage:と(to) is used when you list everything that’s applicable. と (to) can only be used to connect nouns.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごみかんバナナがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo to mikan to banana ga arimasu.
    There are apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

    • In this case, there are only apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

2- や (ya)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It adds one thing to another.
  • Usage: や (ya) is similar to と (to), but it’s used when you list only some parts of a whole, which are applicable. や (ya) can only be used to connect nouns.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごみかんがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo ya mikan ga arimasu.
    There are apples and oranges on the table.

    • The translation in English is the same as that for the example for と (to). In this case, however, it implies that there are things besides the apple and orange on the table.

3- そして (soshite)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It adds things to each other, like the last words. It can also mean “thus” and “and then.”
  • Usage: そして (soshite) is used to add noun(s), or to explain an action that follows.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごとみかん、そしてバナナがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo to mikan, soshite banana ga arimasu.
    There are apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

    私はりんごを食べます。そしてみかんも食べます。
    Watashi wa ringo o tabemasu. Soshite mikan mo tabemasu.
    I’ll eat an apple. And then I’ll eat an orange, too.

3. Conjunctions to Express Condition

Improve Listening

There are several variations of Japanese conjunctions which are used to introduce a conditional clause.

1- もし (moshi)

  • Meaning: It means simply “if,” but it can also mean “in case” and “supposing.”
  • Usage: When using もし (moshi), the end of a sentence should be conjugated to the conditional form, such as: たら (-tara), なら (-nara), ならば (-naraba), or すると (-suruto).

    When the conditional form is emphasized, it’s possible to omit もし (moshi) and the sentence still keeps the expression of condition.

  • Example:

    もし明日雨が降るなら、ピクニックは中止です。
    Moshi ashita ame ga furu nara, pikunikku wa chūshi desu.
    If it rains tomorrow, the picnic will be cancelled.

2- たら (tara)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.
  • Usage: As mentioned above, たら (-tara) is used at the end of a clause/sentence, along withもし (moshi) at the beginning. It’s usually used to express a relationship of assumption, as well as a specific and one-time consequence.
  • Example:

    もし時間があったら、映画を見たいです。
    Moshi jikan ga attara, eiga o mitai desu.
    If I have time, I want to watch a movie.

3- なら (nara)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.
  • Usage: なら (-nara) is also used at the end of a clause/sentence, along withもし (moshi) at the beginning.

    Unlike たら (-tara), なら (-nara) is usually used to express a speaker’s decision, order, hope, or opinion of assumption when assuming a certain thing.

  • Example:

    京都へ行くなら、新幹線で行きたいです。
    Kyōto e iku nara, Shinkansen de ikitai desu.
    If I go to Kyoto, I want to go by Shinkansen.

4- すると (suruto)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.すると (suruto) can also mean “then.”
  • Usage: When using すると (suruto) as a conditional conjunction, と (to) or だと (da to) usually come in front of it. It expresses a relationship of assumption and a consequence.
  • Example:

    彼が間に合わないとすると、私たちは会議を始められません。
    Kare ga maniawanai to suruto, watashi-tachi wa kaigi o hajimeraremasen.
    If he can’t come in time, we can’t start a meeting.

Group Talking Over Drinks

When you use conjunctions effectively, conversations will go smoothly.

4. Conjunctions to Express Cause

There’s also a number of Japanese conjunctions which are used to express cause. Combining two clauses/sentences with the following conjunctions denotes a reason and result. In Japanese grammar, note that the clause/sentence that states the reason comes first.

1- だから (da kara) / から (kara)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “so,” “therefore,” or “thus.”
  • Usage: だから (da kara) and から (kara) are very similar. However, a noun usually comes in front of だから (da kara), and an adjective or verb comes before から (kara).
  • Example:

    明日は日曜日だから 仕事はしません。
    Ashita wa nichi-yōbi da kara shigoto wa shimasen.
    Tomorrow is Sunday, so I don’t work.

    太るからケーキは食べません。
    Futoru kara kēki wa tabemasen.
    I will get fat, so I don’t eat cakes.

When considering the word order in Japanese grammar, it’s easier to remember the meaning as “so” rather than “because,” to match the order in English grammar.

2- ので (node)

  • Meaning: This word means “so” or “thus.”
  • Usage: ので (node) is used the same way as から (kara), but ので (node) is somewhat more polite.
  • Example:

    辛いので食べられません。
    Karai node taberaremasen.
    It is spicy, so I can’t eat it.

3- ため (tame) / のため (no tame)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “because (of) …” or “as a consequence of …”
  • Usage: Both ため (tame) and のため (no tame) have the same meaning, but an adjective or verb usually comes before ため (tame), and a noun comes in front of のため (no tame).
  • Example:

    宝くじが当たったため、私は車を買いました。
    Takarakuji ga atatta tame, watashi wa kuruma o kaimashita.
    I bought a car because I won the lottery.

    のため電車は遅れました。
    Yuki no tame densha wa okuremashita.
    Because of the snow, the train was delayed.

4- なぜなら (nazenara)

  • Meaning: This word means “because.”
  • Usage: When you use なぜなら (nazenara), please remember that a sentence of a particular situation comes before なぜなら (nazenara), and a sentence to explain why follows it. It often comes with だから (da kara) or から (kara) to explain why.
  • Example:

    彼女は怒って帰りました。なぜなら彼氏が浮気したのを知ったからです。
    Kanojo wa okotte kaerimashita. Nazenara kareshi ga uwaki shita no o shitta kara desu.
    She got angry and left, because she came to know her boyfriend had cheated on her.

Two Women Talking

In order to learn which conjunction is appropriate to use and in what situation, try to listen to how Japanese people use Japanese conjunctions in various situations.

5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition

Here are several examples of Japanese conjunctions which are used to denote contrast.

1- しかし (shikashi) / でも (demo)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: Both しかし (shikashi) and でも (demo) are the most commonly used conjunctions to express opposition. They usually come at the beginning of a sentence and refer to the statement which was mentioned before. しかし (shikashi) is often used in formal situations, while でも (demo) is more casual and colloquial.
  • Example:

    気温は低く寒いです。しかし、 花が咲きました。
    Kion wa hikuku samui desu. Shikashi, hana ga sakimashita.
    The temperature is low and it’s cold. However, flowers bloom.

    外は暖かい。でも、風は冷たい。
    Soto wa atatakai. Demo, kaze wa tsumetai.
    It is warm outside. But the wind is cold.

2- が (ga) / だが (daga)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: が (ga) and だが (daga) are almost the same, but が (ga) is used to conjoin separate sentences with a comma, and だが (daga) is often used at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Example:

    お金はある、旅行する時間がない。
    O-kane wa aru ga, ryokō suru jikan ga nai.
    I have money, but I don’t have time to travel.

    春は好きです。だが、夏は好きではないです。
    Haru wa suki desu. Daga, natsu wa suki de wa nai desu.
    I like spring. But I don’t like summer.

3- ところが (tokoroga) / なのに (nanoni)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: ところが (tokoroga) and なのに (nanoni) have similar meanings which express reverse conditions. They have a nuance of surprise, or sometimes complaint, which contrasts the expectation. ところが (tokoroga) is more formal, while なのに (nanoni) is used in a casual way and in colloquial speech.
  • Example:

    彼女は勉強をしなかった。とことろが、試験に受かった。
    Kanojo wa benkyō o shinakatta. Tokoroga, shiken ni ukatta.
    She did not study. But she passed the examination.

    彼は先生だ。なのに、英語を話せない。
    Kare wa sensei da. Nanoni, eigo o hanasenai.
    He is a teacher. But he can’t speak English.

4- けど (kedo) / けれども (keredomo)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “but,” “however,” “though,” and “although.”
  • Usage: While しかし (shikashi) and でも (demo) are often used at the beginning of a sentence with a comma, けど (kedo) and けれども (keredomo) are used to conjoin two separate sentences to express reverse conditions.

    けど (kedo) and けれどもけど (keredomo) are almost the same. However, けれども (keredomo) is slightly more formal and polite, while けど (kedo) is often used in a casual way and in colloquial speech.

  • Example:

    外は暖かいけど、風は冷たい。
    Soto wa atatakai kedo, kaze wa tsumetai.
    It is warm outside, but the wind is cold.

    私は1ヶ月お菓子を食べなかったけれども、痩せなかった。
    Watashi wa ikkagetsu o-kashi o tabenakatta keredomo, yasenakatta.
    Although I didn’t eat snacks for a month, I didn’t lose weight.

6. Conjunctions to Express Choices

Improve Listening Part 2

Here are some basic Japanese conjunctions which are used to express choices and alternatives.

1- または (matawa) / もしくは (moshikuwa)

  • Meaning: This word means “or” or “otherwise.”
  • Usage: These conjunctions are used when you want to show options for something. または (matawa) and もしくは (moshikuwa) are very similar, and there’s not much difference in their meaning and usage. または (matawa) is more common and is used more often than もしくは (moshikuwa).
  • Example:

    電車またはバスで行きます。
    Densha matawa basu de ikimasu.
    I will go by train or bus.

    クレジットカードもしくは、電子決済でお支払いください。
    Kurejitto cādo moshikuwa, denshi kessai de o-shiharai kudasai.
    Please pay by credit card or through an electric payment.

2- か (ka)

  • Meaning: This word means “or,” or “whether…or.”
  • Usage: か (ka) is almost the same in meaning as the English word “or.” With this meaning, か (ka) is usually used twice in a sentence to indicate alternatives.
  • Example:

    今レストランは開いている、 閉まっている、知っていますか。
    Ima resutoran wa aite iru ka, shimatte iru ka, shitte imasu ka.
    Do you know if the restaurant is open or closed now?

3- あるいは (aruiwa)

  • Meaning: This word means “or” or “alternatively.”
  • Usage: あるいは (aruiwa) is another Japanese conjunction to express a choice between A or B. This is often used to show things which are of the same or similar kind. It has a nuance of “alternatively.”
  • Example:

    私は来年大阪あるいは名古屋へ転勤になります。
    Watashi wa rainen Ōsaka aruiwa Nagoya e tenkin ni narimasu.
    I will be transferred to Osaka or Nagoya next year.

Woman Thinking

Some Japanese conjunctions are only used in colloquial speech, and some are mostly used in formal settings.

7. Other Useful Japanese Conjunctions

It is good to know other useful Japanese conjunctions to improve your conversation skills. Here are some commonly used expressions.

1- ところで (tokorode)

  • Meaning: This word means “by the way.”
  • Usage: This phrase is often used when you change the topic in a conversation, and it’s generally used before asking a question.
  • Example:

    ところで、今週末は何か予定ありますか。
    Tokorode, konshūmatsu wa nani ka yotei arimasu ka.
    By the way, do you have any plans for this weekend?

2- 一方で (ippō de)

  • Meaning: This phrase can mean “on the other hand,” “while,” or “meanwhile.”
  • Usage: 一方で (ippō de) is used to indicate that the following sentence will be in a direction different from the previous sentence. The following sentence doesn’t necessarily have to be completely opposite from the previous one. 一方で (ippō de) can be also be used to mean “while” or “meanwhile.”
  • Example:

    彼女は寿司が好きです。一方で彼はピザが好きです。
    Kanojo wa sushi ga suki desu. Ippō de kare wa piza ga suki desu.
    She likes sushi. On the other hand, he likes pizza.

3- 例えば (tatoeba)

  • Meaning: This means “for example.”
  • Usage: This phrase can be used exactly the same as “for example” in English. It’s used when you want to give examples.
  • Example:

    私の趣味はスポーツです。例えば、水泳とテニスが好きです。
    Watashi no shumi wa supōtsu desu. Tatoeba, suiei to tenisu ga suki desu.
    My hobby is sports. For example, I like swimming and tennis.

4- さらに (sarani) / その上 (sonoue)

  • Meaning: These words can mean “in addition” and “moreover.”
  • Usage: Bothさらに (sarani) and その上 (sonoue) are used when you want to add something. その上 (sonoue) has a slightly stronger emphasis thanさらに (sarani).その上 (sonoue) is literally translated as “on top of that.”
  • Example:

    日曜日に買い物へ行き、さらにジムへ行きました。
    Nichi-yōbi ni kaimono e iki, sarani jimu e ikimashita.
    I went shopping, and moreover, I went to the gym on Sunday.

    日曜日に買い物へ行き、さらにジムへ行きました。その上、夜は映画を見に行きました。
    Nichi-yōbi ni kaimono e iki, sarani jimu e ikimashita. Sonoue, yoru wa eiga o mi ni ikimashita.
    I went shopping, and in addition, I went to the gym on Sunday. Moreover, I went to see the movie.

Please see our article on Must-Know Adverbs and Phrases for Connecting Thoughts for more examples with audio.

8. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this Japanese conjunctions list is helpful for your Japanese language studies. By learning Japanese conjunctions, your conversation skills will improve a lot, and you can enjoy speaking Japanese much more!

Which conjunctions do you plan on using soon? Which ones are you still struggling with? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re keen on learning more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a plethora of free lessons for you to help you boost your Japanese language skills, regardless of your current skill level:

All of your studying and practice will pay off, and soon you’ll be speaking and writing in Japanese like a native! And SpanishPod101 will be here throughout your language-learning journey with support and effective lesson materials!

Best wishes, and happy learning!

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Japanese Etiquette and Manners

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What is Japanese etiquette?

Japanese culture is well-known for its politeness and unique features, and what is thought to be normal in other countries isn’t always common in Japan. Many foreign tourists wonder what exactly the DO’s and DON’Ts in Japan are when traveling to Japan for the first time.

Japanese people are warm and welcoming to travelers, and they understand if foreign travelers don’t know all the Japanese customs. However, it’s always good to know the basic Japanese etiquette and manners in advance to make your trip more smooth and enjoyable. It’s also a part of experiencing and exploring the Japanese culture.

Here’s our guide to Japanese manners and etiquette, especially for travelers. Here, you’ll find all the Japanese etiquette tips, Japanese customs, and other Japanese etiquette for foreigners you need to know!

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Table of Contents

  1. Basic Japanese Etiquette
  2. Japanese Table Etiquette & Manners
  3. Japanese Etiquette for Sightseeing
  4. Japanese Etiquette for Greeting
  5. Japanese House Guest Etiquette
  6. Japanese Business Etiquette
  7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Basic Japanese Etiquette

Thanks

The DO’s and DON’Ts in this first section are very basic, and they’re common in most important occasions in Japan.

1- DO’s

  • Be Polite

    Politeness may be the basis for other Japanese etiquette rules. It’s noted that Japanese etiquette is greatly influenced by the concept of collectivism, which is characterized by fairness among people and prioritization of interests of the social group over individuals. It also emphasizes on maximizing the benefits and goodness of the group through each individual’s effort and thoughtfulness. This means that being polite and kind to others is for everyone’s convenience and happiness.

  • Respect

    Respect is another very essential value when it comes to Japanese manners and customs. In order to add to everyone’s happiness, you should respect others’ rights, interests, convenience, and so on. In addition, influenced by Confucianism, respecting elders is also important; please help elders cross the street, walk up stairs with luggage, and so on.

  • Be Punctual, Even Early

    Keeping time is imperative in Japanese culture social etiquette. This is a way of respecting others and not wasting their valuable time. Japanese trains arrive on time, and Japanese people usually arrive five to ten minutes before the meeting time. If it’s an interview at a company, it’s not good enough to arrive just on time; you’re expected to arrive earlier than the appointment time. Definitely keep this in mind if you’re serious about learning Japanese business etiquette.

  • Keep in Order

    To be fair to everyone and respect others, Japanese people naturally queue up even if there’s no instruction to do so. For instance, they may keep from rushing into an activity if they see that there are already too many people doing it. You’ll see Japanese people queuing neatly aside the opening doors of the train on crowded weekday mornings.

Interior of a Metro Car

Keep public places clean and do not litter.

2- DON’Ts

  • Don’t Bother Others

    Prioritization of the group’s interests also means that bothering and annoying others is considered very bad manners in Japan. Even if you’re starving or don’t have enough time, please refrain from eating smelly foods (such as fast food) on the train, or putting on makeup during the ride.

  • Don’t Litter

    Streets are not your own room, so don’t litter on the streets. Usually, you don’t find many trash bins along the streets in Japan, but you’ll notice that the ground is free from rubbish. It’s common courtesy according to modern Japanese etiquette to keep your trash with you until you find a bin or arrive home.

  • Don’t be Loud

    Another important Japanese etiquette rule: In public places, you’re expected not to make loud noises. Especially on a train, keep your conversation voice soft and quiet. Talking loudly or talking on the phone will make surrounding Japanese people feel uncomfortable. Please don’t forget to set your mobile phone to silent when you’re on a public transportation.

2. Japanese Table Etiquette & Manners

Hygiene

There are quite different table manners and etiquette in Japan compared to other countries. Don’t be surprised; when in Japan, do as the Japanese do!

1- Greet Before/After Eating

This is one of the most basic Japanese greeting etiquette rules, and Japanese people do this for every meal.

According to Japanese etiquette table manners, you should say いただきます (Itadakimasu) before eating. The phrase Itadakimasu doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but it means “I’m thankful for this food and I will start eating.”

Also, say ごちそうさまでした (Gochisō-sama deshita) after you’ve finished eating. This phrase means “It was delicious,” and it shows appreciation for the meal.

2- Use Chopsticks Properly: Chopstick Etiquette in Japan

When you’re an adult, you’re expected to know how to use chopsticks properly as this is good Japanese etiquette when eating. So when you’re eating at a Japanese cuisine restaurant, try to use chopsticks. If you don’t have the confidence to use chopsticks well, you can still ask a waiter for forks and knives.

However, don’t play with your chopsticks. It’s considered rude behavior, as well as childish, if you hold one stick with one hand and the other stick with the other hand, poking food around or pointing to something with your chopsticks, etc.

In addition, never stick them vertically in your rice bowl and never use your chopsticks to pass a piece of food to someone else’s chopsticks directly. These actions are associated with funeral rituals and the deceased, and are considered the worst possible chopstick behavior.

3- Make Noise While Eating Soup Noodles

According to Japanese manners and etiquette, making noise while you’re eating is considered bad manners. The only exception is for soup noodles such as ramen, udon, and soba, when it comes to slurping soup and noodles. Slurping shows that you’re enjoying your food. However, making chewing noises isn’t appropriate, and it’s considered rude and is associated with poor education. Close your mouth while you’re chewing food.

Bowl of Noodles

Slurping is ok only for soup noodles in Japan.

4- Do Not Pour Your Own Drink When You’re with Someone

This is another typical Japanese etiquette rule when dining. When you dine out with your friends, colleagues, or your boss, it’s rude to pour your own drink yourself. You pour drinks for everyone else first, and then they will pour your drink in return.

Usually, those who are youngest or in the lowest position of a hierarchy should be the one to pour elders drinks first. This is especially true for work-related occasions.

Even among friends, pouring drinks for each other is considered nice, and it shows your mutual thoughtfulness toward a good friendship.

5- Do Not Pay a Tip

Good news for everyone! According to Japanese etiquette, money shouldn’t be given as a tip. This bit of Japanese etiquette when visiting may surprise you, but don’t leave a tip on the table. Otherwise, the waiter/ess will run after you to let you know that you forgot your money. If you try to hand a tip to them, the staff member will wonder what the money’s for and won’t know what to do with it.

So, just keep your change in your pocket, even if you’re impressed by nice Japanese services. Instead, tell a staff member that you really liked their food or services with a smile.

Group of People Eating Out

Make sure you use chopsticks properly, especially at proper Sushi and Japanese restaurants.

3. Japanese Etiquette for Sightseeing

Bad Phrases

In this section, we’ll go over etiquette in Japan you need to keep in mind while sightseeing! This is just simple Japanese etiquette to ensure you’re polite and respectful wherever you are.

1- At Shrines and Temples

There are numerous 神社 (jinja) or “Shintō shrines” and お寺 (o-tera) or “Buddhist temples” across Japan. Foreign tourists are welcome to visit them, but there are particular manners and etiquette rules for sightseeing.

Shrines and temples are considered sacred places, and you should behave quietly with respect. Smoking is not allowed inside of the precincts. Take off your hat and don’t dress too casually when you enter buildings (for example, don’t wear beach sandals).

When arriving at the main building, throw a coin into an offering box in front of the sacred object. Then, make a short prayer with your palms together in front of your chest.

When entering Shrines, you need to do a purification ritual. There’s a water source usually located near the main 鳥居 (Torii) gate and you need to purify your body before proceeding further into the Shrine.

Take a provided ladle to scoop up water and pour it over both of your hands to rinse them. Then pour a bit of water in your hand and use it to rinse your mouth. Do not swallow the water, but spit it out on the ground. Put the ladle back to where it was.

2- Taxi Doors

More often than not, Japanese taxi doors are automatic! So note this tip on Japanese cultural etiquette for taxis.

When you stop a taxi, the driver will pull the lever and open the door (usually for the back seat) for you. After you get in a taxi, the door will close automatically. So don’t try to open or close the taxi door by yourself.

Taxi Dashboard

Japanese taxi calculates fee by meters.

3- Onsen and Swimming Pools

温泉 (Onsen), or hot springs, is one of the most popular things to do in Japan, especially during the cold seasons. If you have large tattoos on your body, however, you have to be checked to see if you’re allowed to use Onsen or the public swimming pool.

This essential Japanese etiquette rule may seem strange, so let us explain.

Traditionally, most Japanese onsen and public pools ban people with tattoos from using the facilities. This is because they intend to keep out Yakuza and members of crime gangs, who are associated with having body tattoos.

However, due to the growing demand of foreign tourists with tattoos, the number of tattoo-friendly facilities is increasing. Some facilities provide cover-up tape to allow those with tattoos access to the facilities. Be sure to check the availability in advance if you have visible tattoos on your body.

When you use Onsen, Japanese etiquette requires that users wash their bodies before entering a pool. Onsen is shared with others and it must be kept clean and hygienic. Even if you’re very excited to experience Onsen, don’t rush straight into a pool; clean yourself first.

Onsen

Japanese Onsen is usually gender-separated and you can’t wear swimsuits.

4. Japanese Etiquette for Greeting

As you learn Japanese etiquette, knowing how to greet is essential. Greeting is imperative to the Japanese etiquette and manners, as politeness and respect start from the greeting.

1- Bowing

Bowing is one of the most important common Japanese body language gestures for both formal and informal occasions. People bow to greet, nod, thank, and apologize.

There are variations of how to bow, depending on the depth, duration, and seriousness, but foreign tourists aren’t expected to understand all of it. Japanese people won’t be offended if visitors don’t bow correctly.

Bow politely; bend your head and back in a straight line when you meet someone, thank someone, or say goodbye. Bowing can be a bit awkward for you at first if you’re used to shaking hands, but follow and imitate how Japanese people bow. When someone bows to you as a greeting, it’s usually sufficient to do the same in return.

Two Men Bowing to Each Other

Bowing properly and politely is one of the most important business manners.

2- Shaking Hands but No Hugging/Kissing

Japanese people also shake hands when they greet often, such as in a work-related setting. However, the Japanese don’t hug or kiss as a greeting. Japanese people prefer to keep personal space, and traditionally avoid intimate physical body contact in public.

Hugging as a greeting can be done by Japanese people only in special cases, such as meeting someone you know well after quite a long time, or when a person is extremely emotional with joy or in mourning. Ordinary Japanese people never kiss as a greeting. If you try to hug or kiss a Japanese person whom you just met, they will get startled and feel offended.

So, when you greet Japanese people, just bow or shake hands. Do not hug or kiss.

5. Japanese House Guest Etiquette

1- Remove Your Shoes

Japanese people never wear shoes inside of a house. Every house has 玄関 (genkan) or a sunken-foyer entrance inside of the door where you remove your shoes before you actually enter the main section of the home.

You also have to remove your shoes when entering Japanese traditional accommodations which are called 民宿 (minshuku) or 旅館 (ryokan), temple halls, some restaurants, and buildings with 畳 (tatami) areas. Tatami is a type of mat made of grass used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms.

It’s very rude and offensive if you enter places with your shoes on where you’re supposed to take them off, so please be aware!

2- Bring a Gift

One of the essential Japanese etiquette rules when visiting someone’s house is to bring a little お土産 (o-miyage), or a gift, for the host in return for their hospitality. It’s common courtesy to give a nicely wrapped gift to the host to show your appreciation for their invitation. Common gifts include sweets or drinks that they can share and enjoy while you’re visiting.

It’s rude to visit without a gift, especially when you know that the host will cook meals for you. So, when you’re invited to your friend’s place, buy cakes or a bottle of wine, and arrive on time.

Two Glasses of Wine Being Poured

A bottle of wine or Champagne would be a good choice to take for a dinner invitation.

3- Slippers

If you’re invited to someone’s home as a guest, you may be offered a pair of slippers at the genkan for walking around inside. Slippers are okay on wooden or smooth flooring, but don’t wear slippers on tatami flooring. Remove your slippers before entering a Japanese tatami room.

In addition, some households have toilet slippers. You should change out of your original slippers into toilet slippers when you enter the restroom, and never step outside the restroom wearing toilet slippers. Some hotels and restaurants also have such separated slippers in the restroom.

To learn more, please watch our YouTube video about How to Visit Someone’s House.

6. Japanese Business Etiquette

Business

Now, it’s time for our Japanese business etiquette guide. Be mindful of all the Japanese business etiquette dos and don’ts here, because they can make or break your first impression.

1- Greeting and Introduction

According to Japanese business etiquette rules, when you meet someone in a business-related occasion, it’s considered good manners to greet them with a decent bow. You should also introduce yourself briefly with your business card.

As for bowing, stand straight first, put your hands in line with the sides of your body, and bend your upper body forward. You shouldn’t bow too quickly, and don’t just bend your head nor arch your back.

Japanese people usually talk about themselves with their name, which company they work for, what job position they’re in, and sometimes how long they’ve worked for their company or industry. Telling or asking for detailed personal information is usually inappropriate.

To learn more about bowing, please see How to Bow in Japan & Manners.

2- Exchanging Business Cards

When you meet someone, exchanging 名刺 (meishi), or business cards, is a must-do business custom in Japan in formal settings. Treat a business card with care, as Japanese people regard it as one’s face.

Make sure you give or receive a business card with both hands when exchanging cards. Handing a card with just one hand is considered very rude. Further, read a card you were given carefully, and ask some questions or offer comments; this is a good way to start a conversation.

Man Giving Woman a Business Card

Japanese businessmen often bow when they exchange business cards.

3- Dining in Business Settings

Whether you’re dining with colleagues, your boss, or your clients, the seating position is important in business settings.

The seat in the deepest part of the room and the furthest place from the door is considered the best seat, and it should be offered to the most respected person (such as the person in the highest job position, or the oldest person). Further, clients are prioritized above your colleagues, even your boss. The seat closest to the door is considered the least important position, and this is usually used by the youngest person.

Also, the youngest person (or the person in the lowest job position) should usually take everyone’s drink order and tell it to the waiter or waitress. The most respected or important person often gives a small speech and gives a Kanpai toast.

Dining in a business setting in Japan is very hierarchical, and roles at the dining table are implicitly allocated and performed according to the participants’ attributes.

To learn more, our video about How to Attend a Japanese Company Drinking Party is useful.

7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

We hope this article about Japanese etiquette and manners is helpful, and that you’ll have a more enjoyable experience when you visit Japan!

If you’d like to learn about the Japanese language, you’ll find very useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

We also have a YouTube channel where you can enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation. Learning Japanese gestures is also very helpful when it comes to understanding Japanese etiquette and culture.

When you plan to visit Japan, don’t forget to check out the following content: Learn the Top 25 Must-Know Japanese Phrases!, Top 20 Travel Phrases You Should Know in Japanese, Best Traveling Tips and Places to Visit in Japan!, and much more.

Before you go, be sure to let us know in the comments what you thought about our Japanese etiquette guide. Do you feel more confident now, or is there still a situation or topic you need information about? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Japanese Calendar Dates: Reading Dates in Japanese and More

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Learning how to read dates is one of the most basic things when learning a new language, and it’s essential in everyday life. For instance, you use dates when making appointments, buying tickets for a particular day, asking for someone’s birthday, etc.

Expressing the date in Japanese isn’t very complicated. The date in Japanese mostly follows the counter system, with just a few exceptions; English, on the other hand, has different names for the months and days of the week.

You’ll be able to learn dates in Japanese much easier once you know Japanese numbers. If you’re not yet familiar with numbers in Japanese, please visit Japanese Numbers on our website.

Table of Contents

  1. How are Dates Usually Expressed in Japanese?
  2. How to Say the Years in Japanese
  3. How to Say the Months in Japanese
  4. How to Say the Days in Japanese
  5. How to Say the Days of the Week in Japanese
  6. Practical Phrases to Talk about Dates in Japanese
  7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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1. How are Dates Usually Expressed in Japanese?

Numbers

How to say dates in Japanese is very simple. Dates in Japanese writing start with the year, then the month, and finally the day. The only exception is when there’s a particular instruction to write it a different way, such as on an entry form.

1- How to Write Dates in Japanese

1. April 30, 2019 is written as follows:

2019年4月30日 or 2019/04/30  

  • 年 (nen) : year
  • 月 (gatsu) : month
  • 日(nichi) : day

2. With the days of the week, Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 is written as follows:

2019年4月30日 (火曜) or 2019年4月30日 (火)

  • The days of the week are usually indicated in a round bracket ( ) and placed after the day.
  • The name of the day is expressed in a short form.

Tuesday is 火曜日(ka-yōbi), but when it’s expressed in a written form, it usually becomes 火曜 (ka-yō) or just 火 (ka).

2- How to Read Dates in Japanese

2019年4月30日 (火曜) is read as follows:

Ni-sen jū-kyū / nen / shi / gatsu / san-jū / nichi / ka-yō

Literally translated as:
Two-thousand ten nine / year / four / month / three ten / day / Tuesday

To listen to the pronunciation of basic Japanese numbers, please visit Numbers on our website.

3- Examples

  • 今日は2019年1月13日です。
    Kyō wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen ichi-gatsu jū-san-nichi desu.
    Today is January 13th, 2019.
  • 私は1990年5月1日生まれです。
    Watashi wa sen kyū-hyaku kyū-jū-nen go-gatsu tsuitachi umare desu.
    I was born on May 1st, 1990.
  • 試験は2019年8月30日です。
    Shiken wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen hachi-gatsu san-jū-nichi desu.
    The examination is on August 30th, 2019.

Man Looking at Schedule

In Japan, keeping the date and time for appointments is very important. Please don’t mix up months and dates!

2. How to Say the Years in Japanese

1- Gregorian Calendar

The Gregorian calendar is very common in Japan to express the years.

Just say the year and then add “nen (年)” which is a year counter meaning ‘year’.

  • 1575年 : sen go-hyaku nana-jū go-nen
  • 1998年:sen kyū-hyaku kyū-jū hachi-nen
  • 2003年:ni-sen san-nen

In some cases, numbers can be expressed with the last two digits as a short version.

For example, 1998 is 98年 (kyū-jū hachi-nen).

2- Japanese Era Calendar

Did you know that there’s also a Japanese calendar?

The Japanese people use 和暦 (Wareki), or the Japanese era calendar, which is based on the reigns of Japanese emperors. The previous era was called 平成 (Heisei), which started on January 8, 1989, when the previous Emperor, Akihito, acceded to the throne following the death of his father. The current era is called 令和 (Reiwa), which started on May 1, 2019, when the current Emperor, Naruhito, acceded to the throne following the abdication of his father.

2019 is the first year of the Reiwa era. It’s written as 令和1年 and read as Reiwa ichi-nen.

This traditional Japanese era calendar is often used for official occasions and in written form, such as in official documents used for public services at a city hall.

3- Vocabulary for Describing Relative Years

  • 今年 ことし (Kotoshi) : This year
  • 去年 きょねん (Kyonen) : Last year
  • 一昨年 おととし (Ototoshi) : The year before last year
  • 来年 らいねん (Rainen) : Next year
  • 再来年 さらいねん (Sarainen) : The year after next year
  • 閏年 うるうどし (Urūdoshi) : Leap year
  • 毎年 まいとし (Maitoshi) : Every year

4- Examples

  • 今年は2019年です。
    Kotoshi wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen desu.
    This year is 2019.
  • 来年の2020年はうるう年です。
    Rainen no ni-sen ni-jū-nen wa urūdoshi desu.
    The next year of 2020 is a leap year.
  • 2005年は平成17年です。
    Ni-sen go-nen wa Heisei jū nana-nen desu.
    2005 was year seventeen of the Heisei era.
  • 私は2012年に結婚しました。
    Watashi wa ni-sen jū ni-nen ni kekkon shimashita. 
    I got married in 2012.

3. How to Say the Months in Japanese

Months

1- Saying the Month in Japanese: Japanese Months

Using months and dates in Japanese is very simple. It follows this simple pattern, without exception:

Name a number (1-12) of the month, and then just add 月 (gatsu), which is a month counter meaning “month.”

 

          English           Kanji           Hiragana           How to read
1           January           一月            いちがつ           ichi-gatsu
2           February            二月           にがつ           ni-gatsu
3           March            三月           さんがつ           san-gatsu
4           April            四月           しがつ           shi-gatsu
5           May           五月           ごがつ           go-gatsu
6           June            六月           ろくがつ           roku-gatsu
7           July            七月           しちがつ           shichi-gatsu
8           August           八月           はちがつ           hachi-gatsu
9           September           九月           くがつ           ku-gatsu
10           October           十月            じゅうがつ           jū-gatsu
11           November           十一月           じゅういちがつ           jū ichi-gatsu
12           December           十二月           じゅうにがつ           jū ni-gatsu

In order to listen to the pronunciation of the months in Japanese, please visit Talking about Months on our website.

2- Relative Vocabulary for the Month in Japanese

  • 今月 こんげつ (Kongetsu) : This month
  • 先月 せんげつ (Sengetsu) : Last month
  • 先々月 せんせんげつ (Sensengetsu) : Month before last month
  • 来月 らいげつ (Raigetsu) : Next month
  • 再来月 さらいげつ (Saraigetsu) : Next next month
  • 毎月 まいつき (Maitsuki) : Every month

3- Examples

  • 私は六月生まれです。
    Watashi wa roku-gatsu umare desu.
    I was born in June.
  • 日本では四月に学校が始まります。
    Nihon de wa shi-gatsu ni gakkō ga hajimarimasu.
    School starts in April in Japan.
  • 私の誕生日は先月でした。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa sengetsu deshita.
    My birthday was last month.
  • 今月は仕事が忙しいです。
    Kongetsu wa shigoto ga isogashii desu.
    This month is busy with work.

4. How to Say the Days in Japanese

Weekdays

1- Days

How to say the days of the month in Japanese is a bit more complicated.

The basic pattern for days and dates in Japanese is number + 日 (nichi), which is a day counter meaning “day.”

All the dates are written in this pattern. However, when it comes to reading, there are some exceptions and irregularities, indicated in blue in the chart below.

The days, especially those from one to ten, have a unique reading which is very different from ordinary Japanese Numbers. After eleven, it’s basically read with regular numbers and 日 (nichi), except for fourteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-four, and twenty-nine.

It’s very common to use Arabic numerals to express dates, together with the kanji 日 (nichi). For example: 1日, 24日, 30日, etc.

Dates are also often written in Kanji, especially in official documents and vertical writing scripts. 

English           Kanji           Hiragana           How to read
1st      一日      ついたち      tsuitachi
2nd      二日      ふつ・か      futsuka
3rd      三日      みっ・か      mikka
4th      四日      よっ・か      yokka
5th      五日       いつ・か     vitsuka
6th      六日      むい・か      muika
7th      七日      なの・か      nanoka
8th      八日      よう・か      yōka
9th      九日      ここの・か      kokonoka
10th      十日      とお・か      tōka
11th      十一日       じゅう・いち・にち      jū ichi-nichi
12th      十二日      じゅう・に・にち      jū ni-nichi
13th      十三日      じゅう・さん・にち      jū san-nichi
14th      十四日      じゅう・よっ・か      jū yokka
15th      十五日      じゅう・ご・にち      jū go-nichi
16th      十六日      じゅう・ろく・にち      jū roku-nichi
17th      十七日      じゅう・しち・にち      jū shichi-nichi
18th      十八日      じゅう・はち・にち      jū hachi-nichi
19th      十九日      じゅう・く・にち      jū ku-nichi
20th      二十日      はつ・か      hatsuka
21st      二十一日      に・じゅう・いち・にち      ni-jū ichi-nichi
22nd      二十二日      に・じゅう・に・にち      ni-jū ni-nichi
23rd      二十三日      に・じゅう・さん・にち      ni-jū san-nichi
24th      二十四日      に・じゅう・よっ・か      ni-jū yokka
25th      二十五日      に・じゅう・ご・にち      ni-jū go-nichi
26th      二十六日      に・じゅう・ろく・にち      ni-jū roku-nichi
27th      二十七日      に・じゅう・しち・にち      nijū shichi-nichi
28th      二十八日      に・じゅう・はち・にち      ni-jū hachi-nichi
29th      二十九日      に・じゅう・く・にち      ni-jū ku-nichi
30th      三十日      さん・じゅう・にち      san-jū-nichi
31st      三十一日      さん・じゅう・いち・にち      san-jū ichi-nichi

2- Relative Vocabulary for Days

  • 今日 きょう (Kyō) : Today
  • 昨日 きのう (Kinō) : Yesterday
  • 一昨日 おととい (Ototoi) : The day before yesterday
  • 明日 あした (Ashita) : Tomorrow
  • 明後日 あさって (Asatte) : The day after tomorrow
  • 毎日 まいにち (Mainichi) : Everyday

3- Examples

  • 今日は六月一日です。
    Kyō wa roku-gatsu tsuitachi desu.
    Today is June 1st.
  • 五月五日は子供の日で、祝日です。
    Go-gatsu itsuka wa kodomo no hi de, shukujistu desu.
    May 5th is Children’s Day and it is a national holiday.
  • 私の誕生日は二月二十日です。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa ni-gatsu hatsuka desu.
    My birthday is February 20th.
  • 4月24日の天気予報は雨です。
    Shi-gatsu ni-jū yokka no tenki yohō wa ame desu.  
    The weather forecast on April 24th is rain.

Flipping Through Pages of a Calendar

The Japanese calendar often starts on Sunday.

5. How to Say the Days of the Week in Japanese

1- Days of the Week

How to say the days of the week in Japanese is simple. All of them are named after elements and nature, and they all end with 曜日(yōbi) which denotes a day of the week.

English      Kanji      Hiragana      How to read      Meaning
Monday      月曜日      げつ ようび      gets-yōbi      月 means “moon”
Tuesday      火曜日      か ようび      ka-yōbi      火 means “fire”
Wednesday      水曜日      すい ようび      su- yōbi      水 means “water”
Thursday      木曜日      もく ようび      moku-yōbi      木 means “wood”
Friday      金曜日      きん ようび      kin-yōbi      金 means “gold”
Saturday      土曜日      ど ようび      do-yōbi      土 means “earth”
Sunday      日曜日      にち ようび      nichi-yōbi      日 means “sun”

In order to listen to the pronunciation of the days of the week in Japanese, please visit Talking about Days on our website.

2- Relative Vocabularies of Week

“Week” in Japanese is 週 (shū).

  • 平日 へいじつ (Heijitsu) : Weekday
  • 週末 しゅうまつ (Shūmatsu) : Weekend
  • 今週 こんしゅう (Konshū) : This week
  • 先週 せんしゅう (Senshū) : Last week
  • 先々週 せんせんしゅう (Sensenshū) : Week before last week
  • 来週 らいしゅう (Raishū) : Next week
  • 再来週 さらいしゅう (Saraishū) : Next next week
  • 毎週 まいしゅう (Maishū) : Every week

3- Examples

  • 今週は金曜日が休みです。
    Konshū wa kin-yōbi ga yasumi desu.
    Friday is off this week.
  • 2月4日は月曜日です。
    Ni-gatsu yokka wa getsu-yōbi desu.
    February 4th is Monday.
  • 来週の土曜日は結婚記念日です。
    Raishū no do-yōbi wa kekkon kinenbi desu.
    Saturday of next week is a marriage anniversary.
  • 月曜日から金曜日まで仕事で忙しいです。
    Getsu-yōbi kara kin-yōbi made shigoto de isogashii desu.
    I am busy with work from Monday to Friday.

Person Writing on a Calendar Planner

Saturdays and Sundays are usually off at work and school in Japan, but some schools have classes on Saturdays and some people work on weekends.

6. Practical Phrases to Talk about Dates in Japanese

1- Appointments / Reservations

  • 2月14日は何か予定ありますか。
    Ni-gatsu jū-yokka wa nani ka yotei arimasu ka.
    Do you have any plans for February 14th?
  • 土曜日と日曜日の週末なら空いています。
    Do-yōbi to nichi-yōbi no shūmatsu nara aite imasu.
    I am free on weekends, Saturday and Sunday.
  • 12月25日に予約は取れますか。
    Jū ni-gatsu ni-jū go-nichi ni yoyaku wa toremasu ka.
    Can I make a reservation for December 25th?
  • 7月13日に予約をお願いします。
    Shichi-gatsu jū san-nichi ni yoyaku o onegai shimasu.
    Please make a reservation for July 13th.

Table with Reserved Sign On It

When you make an appointment or reservation, make sure you mention the date in addition to the day of the week.

2- Asking / Answering Questions

  • 今日は何日の何曜日ですか。
    Kyō wa nan-nichi no nan-yōbi desu ka.
    What day is it today?

    今日は3月10日の日曜日です。
    Kyō wa san-gatsu tōka no nichi-yōbi desu.
    Today is March 10th and Sunday.

  • あなたの誕生日はいつですか。
    Anata no tanjōbi wa itsu desu ka.
    When is your birthday?

    私の誕生日は8月7日です。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa hachi-gatsu nanoka desu.
    My birthday is August 7th.

  • いつから学校が始まりますか。
    Itsu kara gakkō ga hajimarimasu ka.
    When does your school start?

    私の学校は4月1日に始まります。
    Watashi no gakkō wa shi-gatsu tsuitachi ni hajimarimasu.
    My school starts on April 1st.

7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this article about reading dates in Japanese is helpful for you to improve your Japanese. The date is one of the most important counters when it comes to numbers. There are a variety of Japanese counter words for each object, action, or event that you should also learn.

If you’d like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

On our YouTube channel, you’ll enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about reading dates in Japanese now! Do you feel like you know your way around Japanese calendar dates and saying dates in Japanese? Why not practice telling dates in Japanese by dropping us a comment with today’s date?

We always look forward to hearing from you!

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