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Thank You! 7 Japanese Phrases To Express Your Gratitude

Thank You! 7 Japanese Phrases To Express Your Gratitude

Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe

Written by Mayo Nomura

2020.06.02 Bookmark

In this article, we introduce seven different Japanese phrases you can use to express your thanks. Learn the differences and nuances when conveying how grateful you are in the Japanese language.

Express Your Thanks In Japanese!


Even if you don't understand Japanese, it's good to know how to express your appreciation in Japanese. In this article, we'll be introducing several phrases for saying "thank you".

*For how to read the pronunciations within the [ ], please check the following article: Japanese Basics: English In Japan And Japanese Pronunciation

1. Arigato gozaimasu! / Thank you!

[arigato: gozaimas]

This is a polite way of saying "thank you".

While traveling in Japan, this is probably the most basic "thank you" phrase you'll be using.

"Arigato" is for Friends

"Arigato" is also a phrase that you will hear often.

This is a casual way of saying "thank you", usually used toward family, your partner and friends who are the same age or younger than you.

When expressing thanks to a stranger or person older than yourself, especially toward teachers or your seniors at work, you should definitely use the polite version: "arigato gozaimasu".

Most of the people you talk to during your trip will probably be strangers. For example, you should say "arigato gozaimasu" to shop or hotel staff.

2. Domo arigato gozaimasu / Thank you very much

[do:mo arigato: gozaimas]

This one is for the situations when you want to be even more polite.

3. Hontoni arigato gozaimasu / Thank you so much

[honto:ni arigato: gozaimas]

If you want to emphasize your appreciation, you can say "hontoni arigato gozaimasu". If you want to be a little more casual, you can say "hontoni arigato" [honto:ni arigato:].

4. Arigato gozaimashita / Thank you (Past)

[arigato: gozai mashta]

When you want to say thanks upon leaving after being helped at a shop or being guided around town for a day, you should say "arigato gozaimashita", instead of "arigato gozaimasu".

Also, if you're writing an email to someone who helped you out in Japan after you've returned to home, you'll be using "arigato gozaimashita".

If the person you're talking to is someone you know well, you can just use the casual version "arigato".

5. Iroiro arigato gozaimashita / Thank you for everything

[iroiro arigato: gozai mashta]

If someone helped you out for various things throughout your trip, you can try saying "iroiro arigato gozaimashita".
It's normal form is "iroiro arigato".

The word "iroiro" means "various things", "many things", or even "everything". This is a general phrase you can use to thank someone for more than one situation.

6. Sumimasen / Sorry

[sumimasen]

Sumimasen(Polite)

If you can't pronounce "sumimasen", you can just say "suimasen"[suimasen] instead.

Gomen(Casual)
[gomen]

If you say "sumimasen" or "gomen" (both meaning "sorry) along with "arigato gozaimasu", you can make yourself sound more polite.

Ex.

・Arigato gozaimasu, sumimasen.

・Arigato, gomen.

These words are probably words you'll learn as phrases for saying "sorry".

Why do the Japanese say "sorry" also when expressing their thanks? This is because by apologizing, they are expressing their thanks and sorry for the time and/or work it took for someone to help them.

If someone helped you in a way that used their own money or time, you can try saying "sumimasen" or "gomen" along with the usual "thank you" to express your understanding of the sacrifice they made for you.

7. Ie ie / No no (Not at all/No problem)

[ieie]

A phrase that you will often hear as a reply to "arigato gozaimasu" is "ie ie".

You might've learned that "you're welcome" in Japanese is "do itashimashite", but actually, this phrase isn't used very often in present day.

How to reply to "arigato gozaimasu" depends on the person, and there are many variations. It might be fun to write down as a memo to yourself what different people say when you say your thanks to them.

Review

1. Arigato gozaimasu! / Thank you!
[arigato: gozaimas]

2. Domo arigato gozaimashita / Thank you very much
[do:mo arigato: gozaimas]

3. Hontoni arigato gozaimasu / Thank you so much
[honto:ni arigato: gozaimas]

4. Arigato gozaimashita / Thank you (Past)
[arigato: gozai mashta]

5. Iroiro arigato gozaimashita / Thank you for everything
[iroiro arigato: gozai mashta]

6. Sumimasen / Sorry.
[sumimasen]

7. Ie ie / No, no. (Not at all/No problem)
[ieie]

Make use of these seven phrases to express your gratefulness in a variety of situations.

For those already studying, we recommend taking online conversation lessons with CafeTalk (1,000 yen coupon included).

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