Greetings and Farewell Phrases in Japanese

Artículo revisado y aprobado por nuestro equipo editorial, siguiendo los criterios de redacción y edición de YuBrain.

The Japanese language, often referred to as Nippon, is the official language of Japan, spoken by approximately 128 million people.

In many cultures, greetings are essential to initiate a conversation. Japanese culture, in particular, places significant emphasis on greetings and rituals to convey respect. This is paramount in Japan, where societal norms prioritize courtesy.

Thus, understanding and correctly using greetings and farewell phrases is crucial. Typically, greetings are paired with a bow, the depth of which indicates the level of respect being shown.

Aisatsu (挨拶), or “greetings,” are vital in all social interactions and signify respect. Consequently, there are diverse greetings, tailored to the situation, the relationship, and the individuals involved.

Farewell Greetings in Japan

There are numerous ways to bid farewell in Japan. Some greetings have set responses, while others are more flexible. Here are some commonly used farewell phrases:

Reciprocal Greetings: These can be reciprocated with the same phrase.

  • Sayonara (さよなら) / “Goodbye”
  • Konbanwa (こんばんは) / “Good evening”
  • Oyasuminasai (おやすみなさい) / “Good night”
  • Ittekimasu (いってきます) / “See you later”
  • Dewa mata (ではまた) / “See you later”
  • Mata Ashita (またあした) / “See You Tomorrow”

Traditional Farewell Greetings: These are often heard in historical films and dramas.

  • Gokigenyo (ごきげんよう)
  • Saraba (さらば)

Informal Greetings: Used among close friends and family.

  • Mata ne (またね) / “See you later”
  • Jaane (じゃあね) / “Goodbye”
  • Baibai (バイバイ) / “Bye”

Greetings Without Set Responses:

  • Moshi, moshi (もしもし) / “Hello?” Used primarily for phone calls.
  • Odaiji ni (お大事に) / “Take care!” Often heard in medical settings.

Greetings with Specific Responses:

  • Ittekimasu (いってきます) / “I’ll be back.” The response is itterasshai, meaning “go and come back.”
  • Osaki desu (お先です) is a concise version of osaki ni shitsurei shimasu, used when leaving work. The reply is otsukaresama desu, acknowledging the person’s hard work.

Other Common Greetings:

  • Ohayou (おはよう) / “Good morning”
  • Konnichiwa (こんにちは) / “Good afternoon”
  • Kombanwa (こんばんは) / “Good evening”
  • Youkoso (ようこそ) / “Welcome”
  • Okaerinasai (おかえりなさい) / “Welcome home”
  • Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu (よろしくおねがいします) / “Nice to meet you”
  • Irasshaimase (いらっしゃいませ) / “Welcome” Used in shops and restaurants.

Bibliography

  • Taranov, A. Spanish-Japanese vocabulary – 9000 most used words. (2013). Spain. T&P Books.
  • Nakazawa, Y. Koi. Dictionary. Basic Manual of Japanese. (2021). Spain. Satori Editions.
  • Trombley, G.; Takenaka, Y.; Zurita Pardo, A. Japanese From Scratch! 1. (2013). Spain. Yes Japan Corporation.
  • Hirano, T. Different Expressions for Saying ‘Goodbye’ in Japanese. Japanese in the cloud. Available at https://japonesenlanube.com/blog-sobre-el-idioma-japones/decir-adios-en-japones/.
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Cecilia Martinez (B.S.)
Cecilia Martinez (Licenciada en Humanidades) - AUTORA. Redactora. Divulgadora cultural y científica.

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