10 Ways to Say Thank You in Japanese

Are you ready to say Thank You in Japanese?

If you’ve seen any popular Japanese movie or TV show, you must have heard the word ‘arigatou’. ‘Arigatou’ is a fast and easy way to say Thank you in Japanese. Yet, there are even more ways to say Thank you and it depends a lot on who you say it to!
 
In Japan, your social status means a lot. And how you talk to people depends on where you stand in this social class. If you are talking to someone in a higher social class than you, you would use a more polite form of the phrase.
 
If you are talking to someone at the same or lower social level than you, you would use a more simple or casual phrase.
 
It can also change based on when you gave thanks. If you are giving thanks for something that happened in the past, then how you would say thank you also changes!
 
It can get complicated, but we have some great examples and sample audio to help you through this.

A Simple Thanks

This form is the one you hear in all the TV shows and movies. Arigatou (ありがとう) is a fast and easy way to say Thank you in Japanese. You should only use this when speaking to one of your peers and it’s somewhat casual.
 
For example, if one of your friends lends you a pencil, then you could say Arigatou (ありがとう) .

A Little Bit More Formal “Thank You Very Much”

If you need to emphasize your thanks, then you can use the phrase, “Doumo Arigatou” (どうもありがとう). This phrase is more formal than before. You could use this if someone did something that helped you a lot and it might have been an inconvenience for them.
 
If one of your friends woke up early in the morning to take you to the airport, that would deserve a “Doumo Arigatou” ( どうもありがとう).

Saying “Thank You” to your Superiors

What if your teacher came by and showed you how to solve a difficult math rpboelm? You would not want to use one of the phrases above. They are too casual for such a situation. “Arigatou Gozaimasu” (ありがとうございます) is the right phrase to use in such a situation.
 
This is the first form of thank you when speaking to someone in a higher social class than you in Japan. Other people that would fall under this category would be your boss or a policeman.

Saying “Thank you very much” to your Superiors

Your boss walks by your desk and gives you a promotion! She’s taking a big chance on you but knows you’ll succeed. Remember how adding “Doumo” to “Arigatou” emphasizes a thank you? You can do the same with “Doumo Arigatou Gozaimasu” (どうもありがとうございます)!

Getting Casual

Sometimes even saying “Arigatou” is too much. Who has time to deal with four syllables? When you are in a rush or don’t want to put in the effort, a simple “Doumo” (どうも) will do the trick.
 
Be warned! Don’t use this phrase if you are talking to someone higher up than you! They could become offended that you didn’t take the time to thank them in the correct way. You can use this phrase with people lower than you as well, such as your younger sibling.

A slang form of “Thank you”

Slang language is words and phrases you would use in a very casual environment. In English, you wouldn’t use the word, “Yo” to your teacher. In Japan, there is a slang word for “Thank you” that you can use in very casual settings. A simple “Azasu” (あざす) will do the trick.

Saying “Thank you” for what happened in the past

Sometimes you forget to say “Thank you” or did not have the chance. If you need to say thanks for an event that happened in the past, you can use the phrase, “Arigatou Gozaimashita” (ありがとうございました). This is past tense version of the similar phrase you learned earlier. You can learn all about past tense usage in our Japanese lessons!

Did your friend throw an amazing party last week? Now is the time to say “Arigatou Gozaimashita” (ありがとうございました).

Thanking someone for fixing your mistake

People make mistakes. And then there are people kind enough to help fix those mistakes. If you find yourself in a situation where you failed and there is someone to help, you can say “Sumimasen” (すみません).
 
“Sumimasen” ( すみません) can mean “sorry” and “excuse me”. It can also mean “Thank you” when you are thanking someone for helping you pick yourself up off the ground.

An awe inspiring Thank You

When someone has done an act that amazes you, you need a phrase that captures your gratitude. “Osoreirimasu” (おそれいります) is a phrase you don’t want to use often. This phrase used for special occasions and for very formal situations.

Saying Thank You with Japanese text messaging

We all shorten our sentences when we’re texting, and Japanese is no different. Often you will see these different forms of the expressions above:

あざす or あーと or ありー are used as short forms of “Arigatou Gozaimasu” (ありがとうございます).

In English you can even type AZS which is short for azasu!

Sometimes, the rules don’t apply

Like any language, you sometimes need to bend the rules to fit the situation. The phrases you’ve learned are good to learn and the way to use them are straight forward. But the time will come where you may feel you need to use a certain phrase in a situation that isn’t described. That’s okay! Try it out!
 
If you want to learn more phrases and how to speak even more Japanese, remember to sign up for our Japanese lessons!

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  Comments: 11


  1. Wow, so many variations of saying thank you in Japanese. interesting to know that there are several ways to appreciate someone effort and these are some of better ways. i started learning Japanese a few months back with help of Hiragana Flash Cards by Carddia. And that helped me a lot to understand these new ways.


  2. I love to learn Japanese language quickly but it’s too hard for me but I’m not gonna think like that. So please help me learn Japanese language quickly.


    • あんきたさん, 日本語 is not a language that you can learn quickly, it is impossible. The reason is simple and not as you would understand in your native tongue, the process of learning 日本語 is not so much about to study to learn a language, but to engage on a life long journey of discovery, a sort of adventure that you unravel as you deepen the understanding of this most beautiful language upon the face of this earth and as Biblical Hebrew is the language of the messengers of Light, Japanese is the language of the sword over the heart and so it is my heart that puzzles my heart. One was hunting for Love, later to discover that it is Love that caught him first. He reasoned that he had caught her, he was mistaken, she had him and his love even before he made the Choice. He was doomed forever, like a grape in the wine, his love was for her as she drunk the wine, the grape entered her blood and reached her heart, the grape was his Love, her heart was his prison eternal from which there was no escape. There are no short cuts to climbing a mountain, one way or another, you still need to reach the one and the same peak, you could fly on the back of an eagle to the top, but what good that would be when you would not have the experience of what it means to climb it? To reach that peak with the help of an eagle would be as worthless as to watch 2 hours of a 100000000 hour long movie or as worthless as to learn Japanese quickly, for to learn Japanese as the Japanese know it, is to learn Japanese the long and hard way. That will teach you to be more patient.

  3. shayada samarasinghe


    This was very helpful to me !! Thanks alot ..actually nice app !!😁😁


  4. So helpful. I especially like the audio to help with the pronunciation. I lived in Kanazawa, Japan for 7 years and love the people and the country.


  5. Doumo arigato gozaimasu!


  6. I love the explanation of why it is best to understand Japanese through a journey. Osoreirimasu.


  7. I took a university course in Japanese civilization, from an American professor who who a bachelors in mathematics from Harvard, a Ph.d in physics from Yale, and a degree in Japanese civilization from a school in Japan.

    My impression is that the spoken Japanese language relates to internal desires and passions that relate to the natural world, and collective understanding, so that afew words can describe profound ideas, but only if the language is learned from childhood.

    Otherwise Japanese is just a system of linguistic rules lacking much meaning. I have written Haiku in English, and it follows the rules of Haiku, but it isn’t like Japanese Haiku translated into English.

    If you think about it, English also differs by who you are speaking to. I have had countless foreign students who are curious about words and phrases that have nothing to do with dictionary definitions. “Shoot the breeze” or “Redneck” or “Miss, Mrs., Madam, Ms.” or “Painting the town red” or “Crash referring to sleep”.

    There are infinitely many such terms/phrases that would be inapprpriate in many instances. Yet, Japanese language contains a deep experiential component difficult to understand as a second language. And easy to make errors that lead others to incorrect assumptions.


  8. I took a university course in Japanese civilization, from an American professor who hasa bachelors in mathematics from Harvard, a Ph.d in physics from Yale, and a degree in Japanese civilization from a school in Japan.

    The spoken Japanese language relates to internal desires and passions that relate to the natural world, and collective understanding, so that afew words convey grand meaning. But only if the language is learned from childhood.

    Otherwise Japanese is just a system of linguistic rules lacking much intended meaning. I have written Haiku in English, and it follows the rules of Haiku, but it isn’t like Japanese Haiku translated into English.

    English also differs by social context.I have had countless foreign students curious about words and phrases that have nothing to do with dictionary definitions. “Shoot the breeze” or “Redneck” or “Miss, Mrs., Madam, Ms.” or “Painting the town red” or “Crash” referring to drug-induced sleep”.

    There are infinitely many such terms/phrases that would be inapprpriate in many instances. Yet, Japanese language contains a deep experiential component difficult to understand as a second language. And, if spoken in the wrong context, lead others to incorrect assumptions.


    • Yes, Japanese is indeed a vague language. Kanji, hiragana, and katakana..on top of the necessity of the keigo classification of honorifics. There are a large number of homonyms, and even pronunciation may sound similar, the meaning depends on the context, the setting, and the characters used. This could be one of the reasons why native Japanese people often say “nihongo jouzu da ne” to foreign speakers of it because of its complexity and vagueness.

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