In order to figure out how to say “thank you” in Japanese, the first thing you need to determine is how polite your expression of gratitude is. Some phrases are more informal than others. There are also certain phrases that express gratitude in only certain situations. Here we will give you a brief explanation on what you need to know to express gratitude in Japanese.
Method 1 of 4: Method 1: Casual Appreciation
Step 1. Say "domo arigatou
"This is the informal way of saying 'thank you'.
- Use this expression with friends or co-workers, but avoid using it with someone who has more authority than you. Also avoid wearing it in formal situations.
- Pronounce domo arigatou as doh-moh ah-ree-gah-toh.
- And write it in its non-romanized form as follows: ど う も あ り が と う.
Step 2. Shorten it to "arigatou
"Arigatou is a very informal way of saying 'thank you'.
- You can use this phrase with friends and family. On the other hand, someone with a higher status, such as a supervisor or teacher, should be treated with more respect.
- Pronounce arigatou as ah-ree-gah-toh.
- In its non-romanized form, write it like this: あ り が と う.
Step 3. You can also say “dome”
Domo is more casual than arigatou.
- By itself, dome means "somehow", but it is also understood as a "thank you" depending on the context of the conversation.
- You will not be able to use it in formal contexts. If you need to be formal, you need a much more formal phrase.
- Pronounce dome as doh-moh.
- And write it in its non-romanized form like this: ど う も.
Method 2 of 4: Method 2: Formal Thank You
Step 1. Say "arigatou gozaimasu
"This phrase means" thank you very much."
- You can use arigatou gozaimasu with people who have a higher social status than you, including supervisors, older adults, teachers, and people you just met who seem older or more senior than you.
- You can also use this phrase to express formal gratitude to someone close to you.
- Pronounce arigatou gozaimasu as ah-ree-gah-toh goh-zah-ee- mas.
- The phrase is written in its non-romanized form like this: あ り が と う ご ざ い ま す.
Step 2. Change to "domo arigatou gozaimasu"
This is an even more formal way of saying "thank you very much."
- Use this phrase with those who have a higher social status than yours or in formal circumstances. You can also use this phrase to express sincerity with someone you are familiar with.
- It is pronounced as' "doh-moh ah-ree-gah-toh goh-sah-ee-mas".
- And it is written in its non-romanized form like this: ど う も ご ざ い ま ず い ま す.
Step 3. Express your gratitude in the past tense with an "arigatou gozaimashita"
If someone has done something for you in the past, change the phrase to past tense by changing the -u at the end of gozaimasu to -ita.
It is pronounced as follows: ah-ree-gah-toh go-za-ee-ma-shi-tah
Method 3 of 4: Method 3: Appreciation Specific to a Circumstance
Step 1. Use "gochisou sama deshita" after a meal
If the host serves you dinner or someone invites you to lunch, you should say this after the meal to express your gratitude.
- At the beginning of the meal, you should say "itadakimasu".
- The phrase is pronounced as follows: goh-chee-soh sah-mah deh-shee-tah.
Step 2. At the end of a work day, say "o-tsukaresama deshita"
It essentially means something between the lines of "thank you so much for your hard work."
- The implication of this is that the person has worked hard and deserves a break. This phrase is the polite way to show gratitude for the other person's hard work.
- Pronounce this by saying: oh-tsoo-kah-reh-sah-mah des.
Step 3. In Osaka, say "ookini"
This is not standard Japanese. This is the way to say "thank you" in the areas near Osaka.
- Ookini can mean "thank you". It can be used at the end of a sentence or used on its own to show appreciation to someone.
- The term was a way to indicate quantity and was used with "arigatou", thus ookini arigatou. Over time, the sentence was shortened until it was ookini.
- Pronounce ookini like this oh-kee-nee.
- The phrase is written like this: お お き に.
Method 4 of 4: Method 4: Respond to a thank you
Step 1. Respond with "dou itashi mashite"
In both a casual and formal context, this phrase is used to respond to a thank you. Essentially it is a "you're welcome."
- Pronounce the phrase as follows: doh i-tah-shi mah-she-teh.
- The phrase is written as follows: ど う い た し ま し て.
- Informally, instead of "dou itashimashite", you can say "iie", pronounced "e-yay" and written い い え, which literally means "no". In doing so, you tell the person you helped "it was nothing" or "No thanks."