Japanese culture is based on respect and etiquette, so the Japanese language requires varying degrees of politeness and formality. How you say "thank you" depends on whether you are speaking to a friend, business colleague, teacher or respected elder.
Typical Way of Saying Thanks
The least formal, casual way of saying “thanks” is “duomo,” which is used when speaking to a close friend or peer. A more polite way of saying “thank you” in Japanese is “arigatou.” You would use “arigatou” if you were thanking an acquaintance or someone you don’t know all that well. To say “thank you very much,” you would say “duomo arigatou.” A more formal way of saying thank you is “arigato gozaimasu.” Use “arigato gozaimasu” when speaking to elders, teachers, in business situations or with those who command your respect. To say “thank you very much” in this same polite form, combine the casual “thanks” with the polite form of thank you and say “duomo arigatou gozaimasu.”
Thank You in Past Tense
“Arigatou gozaimashita” is the past tense form of the polite thank you and is used when someone has given you something that you want to thank him for. Use “arigatou gozaimashita” to express thanks to a teacher, or to a hostess when leaving a party.
Other Formal Ways
“Sumimasen” is another way to say “thank you” in Japanese. This translates also into an apology, as in saying you’re sorry for troubling someone, or thanking her for going out of her way to help you. It is formal and not something you would use with a close buddy. “Osoreirimasu” is the most formal form of saying thank you. "Osoreirimasu" acknowledges someone for her time and effort in your behalf and is most often used in business or with strangers you want to impress.
- Photo Credit XiXinXing/XiXinXing/Getty Images
Japanese Business Letter Etiquette
Business letters are an important form of communication no matter what country you work in, but Japan has turned the practice of...
How to Say "I Love You" in Japanese
Learning a foreign language can be difficult. However, with practice and patience, any language can be mastered. Learn the formal and informal...
How to Say "Beautiful" in Japanese
While very complex in grammar and sentence structure, basic vocabulary in Japanese is easy to pick up. Certain words can get you...
How to Say "Thank You" in Spanish
No matter what country you are in, expressing gratitude is an important part of communication. If you want to express gratitude in...
How to Write Thank You in Japanese for Presents
Whether between friends, colleges or businesses, giving and receiving gifts in Japan has its own customs. With its plethora of unfamiliar do's...
Japanese Thank You Gifts
Japanese gift giving is a social custom with set rules. The Japanese emphasize the ceremony around giving gifts and the presentation more...
Saying "Good Morning" in Japanese
Learn how to say "good morning" in Japanese with expert Japanese language tips in this free online foreign language video clip.
How to Order Food in Japanese
Learn how to order food in Japanese with expert Japanese language tips in this free online foreign language video clip.
How to Ask "How are You?" in Japanese
Learn how to ask "how are you?" in Japanese with expert Japanese language tips in this free online foreign language video clip.
Asking "Do You Speak English?" in Japanese
Learn how to ask "Do you speak English?" in Japanese with expert Japanese language tips in this free online foreign language video...