11 Useful Formal Phrases to Say Thank You in Japanese!

11 Useful Formal Phrases to Say Thank You in Japanese!

“Thank you” is one of the first phrases that you learn when you are learning a new language. It brings a smile on anyone’s face when you say “Arigato,” but there are a few more formal expressions you can use to say “Thank you” in Japanese. I am a native Japanese speaker and have worked with number of foreign colleagues and clients. These phrases are part of the advice I gave to them which brought them a deeper cultural understanding. So here are some of the phrases that might help you to build a little deeper relationship with Japanese people.



 

11 Useful Formal Phrases to Say Thank You in Japanese!

 

1. Arigato gozaimasu (Thank you – present tense)

In any situation, this is the most standard way to show your gratitude. “Arigato” literally means, “something impossible.” Thus by saying this phrase, you are thanking for the impossible that the person has done.

 

2. Arigato gozaimashita (Thank you – past tense)

It does sound like “Arigato gozaimasu,” but the difference is that this phrase is for something that has already happened. For example, when you receive a present, the more adequate expression is “Arigato gozaimasu” because you are receiving it at the moment. However when you send a thank-you note afterwards, it is more appropriate to write “Arigato gozaimashita” because the act of receiving has taken place in the past.

 

3. Domo arigato gozaimasu / Domo arigato gozaimashita (Thank you very much)

By putting the word “Domo” in front of “Arigato,” it expresses a deep thankfulness. When you want to say more than a simple “Thank you,” these are the phrases that you can use.

 

[The “I Am Sorry” Series]

4. Sumimasen (Excuse me / I am sorry)

Language is not just about “words,” but also it is necessary to know the cultural background. You might hear the phrase “Sumimasen” instead of “Arigato” in many scenes. Since we put a great value on humbleness, we believe that “Sumimasen” shows more humbleness than “Arigato.”

 

5. Osore irimasu (A humble expression to show your gratitude)

This is another humble way to say “Thank you” in Japanese. It sounds a little bit formal, and used especially when you feel greatly “sorry” for another person to do something for you.

 

 

6. Otesuu wo okakeshimasu (Sorry to bother you)

This is another expression that is difficult to literally translate to English, but it is to show your humbleness for causing trouble. It is a great expression to use when you ask someone for a favor.

 

[The Formals]

7. Osewani narimashita (Thank you for your help)

This phrase is often used at an end of a project or when you are leaving to somewhere after a period of stay. “Osewa” is a care or hospitality. Thus this phrase shows your thankfulness for someone’s hospitality. Also this can be used at business scenes.

 

8. Okage samade (With your help)

In Japan, traditionally we believed that any kind of fortune that we are getting is only possible by the indirect help of others. “Okage” is considered the indirect help. If you use this when someone compliments you on your achievement, it will sound fantastic!

 

9. Kansha shite orimasu (I thank you)

The literal meaning of “Arigato” is not exactly “Thank you” in English as explained above. So what is the exact translation of “Thank you” in Japanese? The word “Kansha” is the translation of “to thank” in Japanese. You can use this at a very formal situation such as in a thank-you letter.

 

[The Convenient]

10. Domo (Read the following)

This is a very useful expression that my foreign colleagues have loved! It is not only used to emphasize “Thank you” as used in “Domo arigato gozaimasu,” it can be used alone to show your gratitude. If someone says “Dozo (please),” you can answer by simply replying “Domo.”

 

Conclusion

Although “Arigato” can fulfill the need to show your gratitude at any situation, you can show your humbleness like Japanese if you use any of these phrases. By using them, you can show that you are not the ordinal “gaijin” but a have a real understanding in the culture. Start using them and they will bring a better relationship with your fellow Japanese.

 

11 Useful Formal Phrases to Say Thank You in Japanese!

1. Arigato gozaimasu (Thank you – present tense)

2. Arigato gozaimashita (Thank you – past tense)

3. Domo arigato gozaimasu / Domo arigato gozaimashita (Thank you very much)

[The “I Am Sorry” Series]

4. Sumimasen (Excuse me / I am sorry)

5. Osore irimasu (A humble expression to show your gratitude)

6. Otesuu wo okakeshimasu (Sorry to bother you)

[The Formals]

7. Osewani narimashita (Thank you for your help)

8. Okage samade (With your help)

9. Kansha shite orimasu (I thank you)

[The Convenient]

10. Domo (Read the following)