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How to Say Hello in Japanese


The representatives of the Western society may experience some difficulties having faced the Japanese etiquette rules. In Japan there are strict rules about such questions where and when to take off your shoes, what to present not to offend the receiving side by chance, how to act in public transport, which clothes to wear and which accessories to choose, how to greet the different people who may be either your bosses or the children of your close friends and relatives. Or example it is supposed that to present an umbrella to an old lady is good but the watch will be the awkward present. It is prohibited to wear two or more layers of pearls around the neck. In the Western culture it is recommended to inform the people who have invited you to some celebration in the case you can't come as early as possible. In Japan that would be supposed to be rude. That would be accepted as if you even didn't want to reconsider your plans.


The meaning of the greeting phrases

The Japanese word "Aisatsu" means "greeting". But indeed the real meaning of this word is far more profound. Many thick foliants are devoted to the topic of aisatsu. They are aimed to reveal the various aspects of this concept including the wide variety of the phrases, poses, remarks and strategies of behavior used by the people in the different communicative stations. The parents teach their children the principles of aisatsu explaining that this is the first and the main thing in etiquette which will prevent them from finding themselves in some awkward situations.


Ohayo Godzaimasu!

Good morning!



Good afternoon!



Good evening!


O-aisite uresij des.

I'm so pleased to see you.



O-genki nanieri des.

O-genki so: des ne.

You look so smart!

?? means energy, health and good spirit.

??? - by all means.


Do: site imas ka?

How are the things?


Tyo: si va: do des ka?

How are you doing?

?? - life

?? - what, how.


Go-kigen ikada des ka?

How are you?

?? - mood, health, spirit.

??? - how.


Ikaga o-sugosi des ka?


O-genki des ka?

How are you? How are the things?


Eh arigato godzaimasu. Yo sikada des ka.

Thank you. I'm fine.


Ma: ma: des ne.

So-so. Thank you.


Botsu botsu des ne.

Not bad.


Eh aikavaradzu des ne.

Thank you. Everything is OK.


O-kadesama de genku des.


Anata wa?

Anata wa ikada des ka?

What about you? And you?


Watashi mo genki des.

Watashi mo aikawaradzu des.

I'm fine as well.


Nanika kawatta koto ga arimasen des ka?

What's up?


Toku ni arimasen.

Everything is fine as always.


Miyage banasi oshite kudasai.

Tell us the latest news. This greeting is used when somebody ha returned from the long trip.


Sibaraku desita ne.

It's nice to see you again. This greeting is used after the holidays or vacations. You may also greet the person who has been on sick day with this pattern.


Oh hisasiburi desita ne. (Hisasiburi des ne).

I haven't seen you for ages.


Nannemburi desita ke!

I haven't seen you for so long!

These are the basic variants of the Japanese greetings.


  • Don't forget to bend your head greeting the person.
  • Don't try to stand too close or hug the Japanese in the sign of greeting.
  • Don't hesitate to greet one and the same person once more if you have already seen him or her during the day.



The first variant of the greeting is the most wide-spread one. It is rather neutral and may be used either with friends or with colleagues of yours.

Of course the modern rules in Japan are not so strict as the obsolete ones but the Japanese people really pay too much attention to some minor details. Some etiquette r ules may be the regional ones. Today the complicated patterns of greeting cause the most part of the problems when the Western people come to Japan. It is supposed that greeting is the main thing in communication process as it allows to show the interlocutor that your intentions are good and you are not going to mistreat him or her.

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