Aisatsu – Learn Basic Etiquette

Learning the art of あいさつ (aisatsu), or greetings, is crucial in Japanese culture. Politeness and respect are highly valued, and the way you greet others sets the tone for your interactions. In this lesson, we will explore basic Japanese greetings and etiquette for various occasions. Everyday


こんにちは (Konnichiwa) - Hello/Good afternoon: This is a standard greeting used during the day. It's appropriate for both formal and informal situations. When entering a room or meeting someone, a simple "こんにちは" accompanied by a bow is considered polite.

A: こんにちは、やまださん。 (Hello, Mr./Ms. Yamada.)

B: こんにちは、たなかさん。 (Hello, Mr./Ms. Tanaka.)

おはようございます (Ohayou gozaimasu) - Good morning: Used in the morning until around noon, this greeting shows consideration for the time of day. It is appropriate in various settings, including the workplace and casual encounters.

A: おはようございます、せんせい。- Good morning, teacher.

B: おはようございます、せいとさん。- Good morning, student.

こんばんは (Konbanwa) - Good evening This greeting is used in the evening and is suitable for both formal and informal occasions. Similar to "こんにちは," it is often accompanied by a bow.

A: こんばんは、ともだち。- Good evening, friend.

B: こんばんは、どうりょう。- Good evening, colleague.

さようなら (Sayonara) - Goodbye When parting ways, "さようなら" is a common way to say goodbye. However, note that this phrase is more formal and is often used when the separation is expected to be longer.

A: さようなら、おとうさん。- Goodbye, dad.

B: さようなら、むすこ。- Goodbye, son.

Formal Greetings

失礼いたします (Shitsurei itashimasu) - Excuse me/Goodbye (used before leaving): This phrase is employed when entering or leaving a room, especially in a formal setting. It conveys respect and politeness. For example, before leaving a meeting, you might say, "失礼いたします."

A: しつれいいたします。- Excuse me/Goodbye.

B: おつかれさまでした。- Thank you for your hard work.

お疲れ様でした (Otsukaresama deshita) - Thank you for your hard work: This expression is often used after a task is completed, acknowledging the efforts of others. It's a polite way to show appreciation and is commonly used in the workplace.

A: しつれいいたします、せんぱい。- Excuse me, senior.

B: いいえ、おつかれさまでした。- No, thank you for your hard work.

Occasion-Specific Greetings

おめでとうございます (Omedetou gozaimasu) - Congratulations Used to express congratulations, this phrase is suitable for various occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, or achievements. For instance, if someone shares good news, responding with "おめでとうございます" is a thoughtful gesture.

A: おめでとうございます! - Congratulations!

B: ありがとうございます! - Thank you!

ご愁傷さまでした (Goshuushou-sama deshita) - I'm sorry for your loss When offering condolences, this phrase conveys sympathy and understanding. It's a respectful way to express condolences during a funeral or when someone has experienced a loss.

A: ごしゅうしょうさまでした。- I'm sorry for your loss.

B: ありがとうございます。- Thank you.

As we wrap up our first lesson on あいさつ (aisatsu) and basic etiquette in Japanese, remember that these expressions go beyond words – they're a reflection of respect and cultural understanding. Whether it's a casual "こんにちは" or a formal "しつれいいたします," each greeting carries the essence of Japanese courtesy.

These linguistic tools will serve you well in everyday life, formal settings, and specific occasions. So, as you venture further into the world of Japanese language and culture, let these greetings be your guide, opening doors to meaningful connections and shared experiences. Until our next lesson, さようなら (Sayonara), and happy learning!