10 Ways to say “Oh My God!” in Japanese!

10 Ways to say "Oh My God!" in Japanese!

There’s no literal translation of “Oh my God!” in Japanese, but there are many ways to express similar senses of meaning, and without sounding stupid or blasphemous (common criticisms of people who say “Oh my God!” a lot).


10 Ways to say “Oh My God!” in Japanese!


1. Delight

Everyday Japanese uses many onomatopoeic expressions to draw attention to things, people or the speaker’s mood. The following example, “Ara ma~a!” is often associated with feelings of delight, joy, amusement, etc.

• A woman at a pet shop sees a puppy: ‘Oh my God! He’s so cute!’
Ara ma~a! Tottemo kawaii wa ne!
[あらまぁ! とってもかわいいわね!]


2. Other Delights!

Some onomatopoeia are common to many languages. The “Wa~o!” and “A~a!” in the following two examples are exact equivalents of “Wow!” and “Aah!” in English.

• A man compliments his lover: ‘Oh my God! You’re so beautiful!’
Wa~o! Nante kireinanda!
[わぉ! なんてきれいなんだ!]

• Afterwards, she says: ‘Oh my God! That was amazing!’
A~a! Tottemo yokatta!
[あぁ! とってもよかった!]


3. Wonder

Hora! is an extremely common and useful expression for drawing attention to things that are interesting or amazing. In this example, “Hora!” adds weight to the following imperative, “Look at that sky!”

• Appreciating a sunset: ‘Oh my God! Look at that sky!’
Hora! Ano sora o mite goran yo!
[ほら! あの空を見てごらんよ!]


4. Surprise

Life is full of surprises, and the two most common ways of expressing surprise or puzzlement in Japanese are “Ar’e!” and “E~e!” They often have a similar meaning to English utterances like “What the…?” or “Eh?” but can also be used where a surprise is particularly significant to the speaker.

• A woman bumps into her old college room mate: ‘Oh my God! Long time no see!’
Ar’e! Honto hisashiburi!
[あれっ! ほんと久しぶり!]

• A man spots his old high school sweetheart pushing a baby buggy: ‘Oh my God! Are all those kids hers?’
E~e! Ano kodomo-tachi wa min’na ano musume no kona no!
[えぇー! あの子供たちはみんなあの娘の子なの!]


5. Disbelief

Not all surprises are welcome, or believable and “Ussō!” expresses this. In the following example, the woman’s disbelief is resentful, as indicated by the somewhat disdainful “ano on’na” (that woman).

• A woman sees her ex in a bar with a girl she hates: ‘Oh my God! Is he really going out with her?’
Ussō! Aitsu hontōni ano on’na to dekake teru no?
[うっそー! あいつ本当にあの女とでかけてるの?]


6. Distaste

Yada! is easily the most common way for Japanese females to object to dubious social, hygiene or sexual habits in men, and the longer the final vowel, the stronger the sense of disgust!

• A man belches at the dinner table. His wife says: ‘Oh my God! Darling, that’s just SO gross!
‘Yada~a! Anata, gehindesho!
[やだぁ! あなた、下品でしょ!]


7. Indignation

Where our disgust veers towards outrage, especially over the plight of others, “Nante!” can be used.

• A woman is watching a TV documentary about child exploitation: ‘Oh my God! Those poor kids!’
Nante! Kawaisōnako-tachi!
[なんて! かわいそうな子たち!]


8. Irritation

When we get annoyed over our own failings, we can use “Taihen da!” But when we get irritated by the things around us when they don’t work properly, we can use “Mattaku!”

• A man wakes up late: ‘Oh my God! I’m going to be late again!’
Taihen da! Mata okure chau!
[大変だ! また遅れちゃう!]

• A man’s laptop PC crashes: ‘Oh my God! Not again! Stupid thing!’
Mattaku! Matana no! Tsukaenai nā!
[まったく! またなの! 使えないなぁ!]


9. Emergency!

Taihen is a very common way of expressing annoyance or inconvenience, but it is also used when we want to alert others to accidents and emergencies. But when expressing panic or concern for ourselves, we’re more likely to use “Dō shiyō!”

• A man witnesses a road accident: ‘Oh my God! Somebody call an ambulance!’
Taihen! Dareka kyūkyūsha o yonde!
[大変! 誰か救急車を呼んで!]

• A girl experiences an earthquake for the first time: ‘Oh my God! What’s happening?’
Dō shiyō! Nani ga okotte iru no?
[どうしよう! 何が起こっているの?]


10. Stand Alone Expressions

As with “Oh my God!” many Japanese expressions can be used on their own without a qualifying sentence where the context is understood by all those present. They include:

E~e! [えぇー!] to express surprise
Dō shiyō! [どうしよう!] to express shock or panic
Sugoi! [すごい!] to express wonderment
Chottō! [ちょっとー!] to express disgust
Ussō! [うっそー!] to express disbelief



The best definition for “Oh my God!” I could find online was in the Urban Dictionary. It says:

“An exclamation of shock or surprise, often used repeatedly by stupid people who are shocked and surprised by almost everything and insert it into conversations whenever possible.”

Occasionally, you might hear young Japanese saying “O~h mai goddo!” – which sounds even more stupid than it does when Americans say it. So, if you’re an English teacher, stop teaching “Oh my God!” to your students; I know for a fact that English, as with Japanese, has a far richer lexicon of expression to draw upon. Crikey!


10 Ways to say “Oh My God!” in Japanese!

1. Delight
2. Other Delights!
3. Wonder
4. Surprise
5. Disbelief
6. Distaste
7. Indignation
8. Irritation
9. Emergency!
10. Stand Alone Expressions


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