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THANK YOU in Japanese | 12 brilliant expressions to thank in proper way

As many of you may already know that how to say “Thank you” in Japanese is

“ありがとう (Arigatoo)”

But when you actually communicating with Japanese people , you will realize that they use different word to say “Thank you” in some cases.

There are lots of way to express your gratitude depending on each situation.

Today I would like to share the basic and advanced “Thank you in Japanese language with you.  Also explaining about 辞儀じぎ (Ojigi)/ the bow may used with it.

OK, Let’s start from the basic first!

Thank you in Japanese|4 Basic ways

There are 4 basic ways to say “Thank you” in Japanese.
Let’s master them first!

1. Thank you

ありがとうございます
(Arigatoo gozaimasu)

This is the formal way. When you are in situation to say “Thank you” to someone you don’t know so much or elder person, this is the right phrase to use.

Basically when you talk to an elder person in Japan (If you and the person is not so close), we always use けい (honorifics / polite language) to them.

Where is the reception?受付うけつけはどこですか?
(Uketsuke wa doko desuka)
It ’s the counter over there.
あちらのカウンターです。
(Achira no kauntaa desu)
Thank you.
ありがとうございます。
(Arigatou gozaimasu)

2. Thank you very much

どうもありがとうございます
(Doomo arigatoo gozaimasu)

If you want to express your gratitude even more, please add どうも to ありがとうございます.

For example, when you receive a successful call from a job interviewer, when you sign a big job contract with another company, or when someone in a higher social position helps you.

面接めんせつ結果けっか当社とうしゃへの採用さいよう決定けっていいたしました。
(Mensetsu no kekka, toosya e no saiyoo ga kettei itashimashita)
As a result of the interview, we have decided to hire you for our company.
Really!?
本当ほんとうですか!?
(Hontoo desuka)

Thank you very much!!
どうもありがとうございます!!
(Doomo arigatoo gozaimasu)

3. Thanks

ありがとう
(Arigatoo)

This is the casual way to say “Thanks“. You can use this phrase to your friends or person younger than you.
Japanese people basically do not use honorifics in conversations between friends. So you can always use ありがとう to your friends.

Oh my, I forgot to bring my pen…
あー、ペンってくるのわすれた…
(Aa, pen mootte kuru no wasureta)
You can use this one!
これ使つかって!
(kore tsukatte)
Thanks!
ありがとう!
(Arigatoo)

4. Thanks a lot

どうもありがとう
(Doomo arigatoo)

You can add どうも to ありがとう when you want to emphasize ”thanks”.

誕生たんじょうおめでとう、オリビア!!
(Tanjoobi omedetoo, oribia)

Happy birthday, Olivia!!

これ誕生たんじょうプレゼント!
(kore tanjoobi purezento)

Here is your birthday present!

わー!どうもありがとう!!
(waa, doomo arigatoo)

Wow! Thanks a lot!!

Did you master basics already?
Let’s study advanced expressions now!

Advanced expressions beyond ありがとう

ありがとう is not only word to express your gratitude in Japan. Japanese people normally use some different words to say “Thank you” in each situation.

1. Thank you in advance.

・よろしくおねがいします。(Yoroshiku onegaishimasu) formal

This is a formal way to say “Thank you in advance” in Japan. Used very common in Japan from everyday life to business scenes.

・よろしくおねがいたします。(Yoroshiku onegai itashimasu) very formal

・よろしく!(Yoroshiku) casual

つづきよろしくおねがいたします。
(Hikitsuzuki yoroshiku onegai itashimasu)
Thank you in advance for your continued cooperation.

2. Thank you in past tense

ありがとうございました。(Arigatoo gozaimashita)

Use this if you want to thank someone for what happened in the past.

このまえはメールありがとうございました。
(Konomae wa meeru arigatou gozaimasita)

Thank you for your email the other day.

※When saying casual way in past tense, ありがとう as same as in present tense is fine.

昨日きのうほんおしえてくれてありがとう!
(Kinoo wa nihongo wo oshietekurete arigatoo)
Thank you for teaching me Japanese language yesterday.

3. Thank you for your work.

すうおかけします。(Otesuu okake shimasu)

A word that expresses gratitude when asking someone for time-consuming work.

Aしゃのペンキの見積みつもりももらえますか?
(A sha no mitsumori mo moraemasuka?)

Can you give me a quote for the paint of company A as well?
はい。本社ほんしゃもどってかくにんしたらすぐにおくりますね。
(Hai. Honsha ni modotte kakunin shitara suguni okurimasu ne)
OK. I will return to the head office to check it and send it to you immediately.
すうおかけします。
(Otesuu okake shimasu)
Thank you.

4. Humbly thank you in formal scenes.

おそります。(Osore irimasu) lighter

This is a phrase that express gratitude for the actions of customers or superiors in formal situations.

これ、みなさんでどうぞ。(Kore, minasan de doozo)
Here are some gifts for you all.
おそります。(Osore irimasu)
Thank you.

恐縮きょうしゅくです。(Kyooshuku desu) deeper

This is a emphasized phrase to the one above. This is not a phrase that you use on a daily basis, but is used when you receive an honorable award or when you receive a word of encouragement or compliment from someone with high status.

CEO:本当ほんとうがんっていますね。(Hontoo ni yoku ganbatte imasu ne)
You are really doing well.
WORKER:恐縮きょうしゅくです。(Kyooshuku desu)
Thank you very much.

5. Thank you always.

いつもお世話せわになっております。(Itsumo osewa ni natte orimasu)

You can use this when meeting someone taking good care of you and your family or business partners. (ex, Children’s school teachers, doctors, business partners or customers)

むすがいつもお世話せわになっております。
(Musuko ga itsumo osewa ni natte orimasu)
Thank you for always taking good care of my son. 

6. I really appreciate it.

本当ほんとう感謝かんしゃします。(Hontoo ni kansha shimasu)

This is good to use when expressing your deep appreciation with respect to someone. Suitable for formal speeches and deep gratitude to superiors.

7. Thank you with hesitation or sorry.

すみません。(Sumimasen)

Japanese people use this word when they say thank you with hesitation or sorry. Situation like when someone picks up something dropped on the ground for them, collecting their mistake, getting a unexpected gift or special service from someone.

あの、これちましたよ。 (Ano, Kore ochimashita yo)  
Hey, you dropped this.
すみません。(Sumimasen)
Thank you.

8. Thank you in Slang.

・あざっす。(Azassu)

Mostly young boys are using this phrase between 
friends or someone very close.

・あざーす!(Azaasu)

It is a famous phrase of a popular Japanese comedian named “ザキヤマさん(Zakiyama-san)” in Japan. Some people use this to say “Thank you” in half joke way.

Does it really necessary to bow to thank you?

Bowing is not required in all situations.

Basically, Japanese people bow when expressing gratitude in formal or business scenes.

You don’t need to bow when you just ask someone for directions or when you receive a gift from someone in daily life.


There are basically 3 different ways to bow as picture above in Japan.

They use only 敬礼けいれい(Keirei) and 最敬礼さいけいれい(Saikeirei)  to bow and thank people in business and formal occasions.

敬礼けいれい(Keirei) ーThe polite bow. Fold your hips up to 30 degrees and lower your gaze. This is the most common bow to use in wide range of situations.

最敬礼さいけいれい(Saikeirei) ーThe most polite bow. Fold your hips up to 45 degrees and look down to your feet. This is used when they sincerely apologize to someone or expressing deep gratitude to someone with high status.

Today’s summary

There are 4 basic ways to say “Thank you” in Japanese.

Formal
ありがとうございます
(Arigatoo gozaimasu)
どうもありがとうございます
(Doomo arigatoo gozaimasu) emphasized
Casual
ありがとう
(Arigatoo)
どうもありがとう
(Doomo arigatoo gozaimasu)
emphasized

There are also some phrases to express your gratitude in each situation different from ありがとう.

If you can use these words properly, Japanese people will be impressed that you really understand and love their culture well!

If you have any question, please give me a comment and ask me anytime!

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