Top 10 Japanese Greetings for Working Professionals

Mainichi Shimbun – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Greetings are of high importance in Japanese society. Proper greetings are must in Japanese day to day life. The importance of proper greetings is embedded on peoples mind from a young age. Importance and proper way of greeting is taught to kids from kindergarten and elementary school students.

Enthusiastic greetings are must in Japanese business culture as well. Cheerfully loud greetings are characteristics of Japanese offices, restaurants and other social places in Japan.Cheerful greetings are important for a warm and comfortable work environment. In Japan people are supposed to greet each other with energy and vigor. Japanese greetings are closely related to ‘reigi sahou’ or ‘courtesy and manners’ by which the Japanese confusion tradition maintained its social hierarchy.
Learning few Japanese Greetings will surely help to feel confident and comfortable in work environment.

Here is a list of most useful Top 10 Japanese workplace greetings.


おはようございます(Ohayou Gozaimasu )-

This is a must know greeting to start your day on a positive note. It means ‘Good Morning’ in Japanese. Every morning all the Japanese offices get ready for a hectic day with the cheerful and enthusiastic greeting of ‘Ohayou Gozaimasu!’ It is generally used until about 11am. ‘Ohayou gozaimasu’ literally means “It’s early”.



This is roughly equivalent to “good day” or “good afternoon” and is used until late afternoon. ‘Konnichiwa’ actually means ‘Today’ and it is often used as Japanese equivalent of ‘Hello’.


お元気ですか(Ogenki Desu ka)-

‘Ogenki Desu Ka’ mean ‘How are you’ in Japanese. It is replied by saying ‘Hai,Genki Desu.’ This means ‘Yes, I am Fine.’ This phrase will surely help to start a good conversation.



This word can come to your rescue in any situation. If you are unsure what to say just use ‘Sumimasen’ and you will survive. This is undoubtedly the most convenient Japanese word. Originally, it is used to say “Excuse me,”. It also means “Sorry,” and even, sometimes used as, “Thank you.” what a savior…isn’t it?


お願いします(Onegai Shimasu)-

‘Onegai’ in Japanese means ‘Request’ and ‘Onegai Shimas’ is ‘I request you.’ Japanese people are very polite and courteous. They will always ‘request’ rather than asking to do something directly. So whatever you require or want someone to do ‘request’ them saying ‘Onegai shimasu’. For example ‘Pen Onegai Shimasu’(Please give me the pen) or ‘Goshiji Onegai Shimasu’(Please instruct me). ‘Yoroshiku Onegai Shimasu’ is an important greeting and it is often used in business situations. It conveys a meaning similar to ‘Best Regards’ in English.


ありがとうございます(Arigatou Gozaimasu)-

Expressing gratitude for the smallest thing is customary in Japan and knowing this greeting will surely get you some happy smiles. ‘Arigatou Gozaimasu’ means ‘Thank You’ in Japanese. The word ‘Arigatou’ can be used with family, friends and people you are very familiar with. Often a word called ‘Domo’ is added to before this phrase to make it more polite; ‘Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu’.


大変申し訳ございません(Taihen Moushiwake Gozaimasen)-

Japanese people apologize habitually. Apologies show that a person takes responsibility and feel regret about his wrong doing. An apology is taken more seriously in Japan compared to outside word. The Japanese use the terms and phrases for sorry generously. The phrase ‘Gomennasai’ is used more casually and is more similar to ‘my bad’ in English. ‘Sumimasen’ is also used as sorry. However ‘Taihen Moushiwake Gozaimasen’ is used in formal situations to convey deep apologies. It literally means “I have no excuses for what I have done”. This phrase is often used in email conversations as well to show your regret.


お疲れ様です(Otsukaresama Desu)-

This expression is used ritualistically on daily basis in every Japanese work place. This phrase is used to appreciate your co-workers efforts. It does not have any exact English translation. It roughly means ‘You must be tired after all the hard work today’ or ‘Thank you for a job well done’ and often used for co-workers. This phrase is also used in the beginning of internal emails to coworkers as a greeting. ‘Otsukaresama desu’ is also used as reply to a ‘bye’ from a co worker who is leaving before you. This expression is strictly used for co-workers (insiders).


いつもお世話になっております(Itsumo Osewani Natte Orimasu)-

This greetings is used for customers or to people who are not part of your organization. It roughly means something like ‘Thank you for your constant support and co-operation.’ Or ‘I am/we are grateful’ or ‘I am/we are obliged’ .This phrase is often used in business email communication with customer (outsiders). This is a useful greeting to show your gratitude for someone’s continuous work or service for you. It is also used to start Telephone conversations. It is a formal expression and is not generally used with your family or friends. This greeting is used almost all the time to start a business conversation.


お先に失礼します(Osakini Shitsurei Shimasu)-

This phrase is used while greeting someone before leaving office or work place. It means ‘Sorry that I am leaving before you.’ This expression is used just before you leave the office. ‘Osakini Shitsurei Shimasu’ is usually replied as ‘Otsukaresama Desu!’(You must be tired after all the hard work today).


Japanese business organizations are very Structured and hierarchical. Like many other things in Japan, Japanese business culture also has its unique protocols. These Japanese greetings help maintaining the harmony in that structure and give it a pleasant and warm touch.

Greetings in any culture or language definitely impact the surroundings positively. Learning these few Japanese greetings will surely make your work experience with the Japanese more comfortable and interesting.

Gambatte ne! (Do your best!)



Freelance blogger. Japanese language and culture enthusiast. Studied Japanese Language and culture from Kanazawa University, Japan. Worked as Japanese-English bilingual in Multinational companies.