HAPPY BIRTHDAY in Japanese | Best Birthday Wishes & Messages

If you have Japanese friends or lovers, you want to try giving them a message in Japanese to celebrate their birthday, right?

I was really moved when I first got a birthday card in Japanese from my husband. The message written in Japanese was short and simple, but it definitely made my day.

So I would like to share how to say and write “Happy Birthday” in Japanese with you today. There are also some useful example of birthday messages and introducing Japanese way of the birthday cerebration for each occasion.

Hope you enjoy reading this article and make your special person’s day!

How to say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” in Japanese?

There are 2 common ways to say “Happy Birthday” in Japanese as below.

1. Casual way


Tanjoobi Omedetoo!

For your friends and family, we normally use casual way to say “Happy Birthday”.

2. Formal way


Otanjoobi Omedetoo gozaimasu.

If your Japanese teacher or colleague has a birthday, let’s use formal way to say. If you are not sure which way to use, it’s always better to go with formal way in Japan. You won’t be wrong.

If you want to give someone a birthday message on the phone, call their name first and say “Happy Birthday” like this: 

English:       Ms. Tanaka, Happy birthday!

Japanese:    なかさん、お誕生日たんじょうびおめでとうございます!

Pronunciation:  Tanaka san, Otanjoobi Omedetoo gozaimasu

It’s nice to have a letter or an emails that you can look back over and over and keep for a long time! Let’s also learn how to write a birthday message in Japanese below.

How to write “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” in Japanese?

The Japanese language utilizes three alphabets, Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji.

Kanji are characters that themselves represent complete words and meanings.

Katakana and hiragana are phonetic characters, and each character has no meaning and represents only a sound.

When writing sentences in Japanese, we usually combine hiragana with kanji. Katakana is usually used when writing words of foreign origin in Japanese.

1. Kanji mixed with Hiragana



Adults usually write message cards using Kanji. If you write a birthday message to Japanese older than 12 years old, I recommend you to use Kanji.

2. Hiragana



Hiragana is the first Japanese character we learn at school. If you write a birthday card to kids, you can use Hiragana to write.

3. Katakana



We normally use Katakana only for the words of foreign origin, so if you would like to use Katakana, let’s try to write “Happy Birthday” as below. This style of writing is often used to write a message between young people.

English:           Happy Birthday!

Katakana:      ハッピー  バースデー!

Pronunciation:       Happii  baasudei

Now, let’s actually write a message referring to the sample below!

Birthday Message Ideas in Japanese

Here are 3 samples of birthday messages for your fellow!

If you have different case that you would like to know, give me a comment! I’ll try add some more samples for you.

1. Message for your friend

You can combine a and one of b, also can additionally choose one or some messages from c.

a) Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday (Name)!

b) Birthday Wishes


 I wish you a happy year!


I hope this year will be another happy year for you.


May this year be a wonderful year.


I wish you a wonderful year full of smiles!


Wishing you a wonderful year!

c) Additional Messages


  I hope you like my present.


  I’m looking forward to seeing you again.

・また近々ちかぢか 一緒いっしょみにこうね。

  Let’s go drink again soon!


   We are far away, but I’m always rooting for you.


   We are always together!


   Thank you always!


   I love you!

2. Message for your lover

You can combine a and one of b, also can additionally choose from C.

a) Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday (Name)!

b) Birthday Wishes


I wish you the best birthday ever!


  I wish you a wonderful year full of happiness and smiles.


Wish you all the best and happiness.


I wish you a healthy and joyful year.

c) Additional Messages


  I’m happy to celebrate your birthday together this year.


Thank you for being with me all the time.


  Let’s celebrate our birthday together every year.


  Your happiness is my happiness.


I am really happy to marry you.


  I love you with all my heart.


I love you. (casual)

3. Message for your Colleague and Coworker

You can combine a and one of b, also can additionally choose from C.

a) Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday Mr./Ms.(Name)!

b) Birthday Wishes


Wishing you a great year.


 Wishing you a happy year.


Have a wonderful year.


Best wishes for your health and happiness.


Wishing for your continued success.

c) Additional Messages


Thank you always.


It’s a pleasure working with you.


You are the best boss ever.


Working with you is a great honor and joy for me.


Let’s go drink together again!

After writing the message, let’s prepare for the birthday party!

There are various ways to celebrate a birthday in each country. Japanese people loves happy surprise! Would you like to keep it in your original style? or wanna try Japanese style?

Now let’s look at the general way of birthday celebration in Japan.

How we cerebrate birthday in Japan?

Depending on who’s birthday, we celebrate it in a little different way as below.

Hope this will help you to please someone special to you!

Birthday with Family

When we cerebrate our family member’s birthday, we normally prepare presents, message card, whole cake and special dinner.

Some people ask each other what they want, and some people give it as a surprise. Normally kids get a present from parents every year, so they look forward to it and sometimes ask their parents early what they want for their next birthday.

A whole cake with a number of years of candles is a symbol of birthday celebrations. After the candles are lit, everyone sings a birthday song and the birthday person blows out the fire. This is usually done after dinner at home or in the restaurant and shares cakes for desserts.

Birthday with Friends

It depends on how close you and your friends are, we cerebrate it different.

If we have a close friend at university, we might keep a surprise party and treat him/her. We reserve a restaurant or 居酒屋いざかや(Izakaya)/ drinking restaurant, preparing cake and present. Basically the birthday person just joins and the friends keep a party for her/him.

When you just individually cerebrate a friend birthday, you may just go out with your friend and give him/her a small present.

If it’s not such a close friend, you can just text or email a birthday message to the person.

Birthday with your loved one

Most Japanese people think that birthday is a very special day, Especially girls! If you have a Japanese girlfriend or boyfriend, I highly recommend you to remember their birthday and cerebrate it together.

Birthday gift, dinner, cake and message card are must. The surprise of the flower bouquet may be good, too.

Even if you are in a long distance relationship, please be sure to remember her/him birthday and make a call.


In Japan, men and women in normal relationship do not exchange cash unless they are married. You can buy a gift for them but you better not give them cash as gift.

Birthday for Coworker or Colleague

Some workplaces celebrate birthdays, but some don’t.

Most big companies won’t do it. Some small companies might keep a small drinking party at restaurant for the birthday person.

In this case, basically everyone drink together and pay for the birthday person. Sometimes everyone spends a small amount of money together to buy a birthday gift to the person as well.

Today’s Summary

How to say “Happy Birthday!” in Japanese is

誕生日たんじょうびおめでとう!/Tanjoobi OmedetooCasual )

誕生日たんじょうびおめでとうございます!/Otanjoobi Omedetoo gozaimasuFormal)

If you are not sure which way to say, casual or normal?

It’s always better to go formal!

Handwriting birthday card will be appreciated more than typing. Even if you cannot write Japanese letters well, it doesn’t matter. We always appreciate your concern and efforts!

I introduced some Japanese way to cerebrate a birthday today, but we always love to try new culture, too!

You may want to try your original celebration that combines Japan and the culture of your country.

Wishing you a wonderful birthday with someone special for you!






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