Learning Japanese for Business – 1

Posted on 20. Apr, 2015 by in Culture, Grammar



Photo by Petri Damstén on flickr.com



For the next few articles, I would like to focus on some of the  useful Japanese expressions you can use, perhaps in your business.  Many of you have mentioned that you would like to know more about Japanese expressions you can use for business purposes.


In the business environment, the most important thing to be aware is to be always “polite”. Japanese has many honorific expressions you can use to show your respect. It is always better to be polite than to be more friendly in business environment.


Quick example will be to use ~ desu (です), rather than using ~dayo(だよ).  Using ~dayo(だよ) at the end of the sentence might sound more friendly, and will be appropriate for a conversation among friends, however, it will not be appropriate for business conversations.


With that said, here are some useful expressions you can use during a discussion.


The theme for today’s meeting is ~. ==> Kyono mi-tingu no te-ma wa ~ desu.(きょうのミーティングのテーマは~です。)

We would be discussing ~ during today’s meeting. ==> Kyono mi-tingu dewa ~nitsuite hanashiai masu. (きょうのミーティングでは、~についてはなしあいます。)

Do you agree with his opinion? ==> Kareno iken ni sansei desuka?(かれのいけんにさんせい ですか?)

I agree with his idea. ==> Kareno kangae ni sansei desu. (かれのかんがえにさんせいです。)

I disagree with her idea. ==> Kanojo no ikenniwa hantai desu.(かのじょのいけんには、はんたいです。)

I can’t agree with everyone.==> Minasan ni wa sansei dekimasen. (みなさんには、さんせいできません。)

Why not? ==> Doushite dekinai no desuka? (どうして できないの ですか?)

Could you please elaborate it a little more? ==> Mousukoshi kuwashiku setsumei shite moraemasenka? (もうすこし、くわしく せつめいして もらえませんか?)

Would you please give me some examples? ==> Gutairei o agete moraemasenka? (ぐたいれいをあげて もらえませんか?)

I got your point. ==> Anatano iitaikoto wa wakarimashita. (あなたのいいたいことはわかりました。)

Objection! ==> Igiari! (いぎあり!)

We are going off on a tangent.==> Hanashi ga sorete shimatte imasu. (はなしがそれてしまっています。)

We need to revisit this subject. ==> Kono kadai wa mata hanashiau hitsuyo ga arimasu.(このかだいは また はなしあうひつよう があります。)

I need more clarification on ~. ==> ~ nitsuite motto setsumeiga hitsuyodesu. (~についてもっとせつめいが ひつようです。)

That’s not the point. ==> Sokoga pointo dewa arimasen. (そこがポイントではありません。)

Here is what we discussed today. ==> Kyo hanashiatta kotowa kore desu.(きょう、はなしあったことはこれです。)

Japanese Honorific Suffixes Part 4

Posted on 14. Apr, 2015 by in Grammar

So far, I have covered a couple of Japanese honorific suffixes since last month. Here are some of the past suffixes if you would like to review.

Japanese Honorific Suffixes Part 1 (~さん)

Japanese Honorific Suffixes Part 2 (~ちゃん)

Japanese Honorific Suffixes Part 3 (~くん)

Last honorific suffix that I would like to cover is ~sama(さま). In this article today, let me go over the details as to how you can use the suffix correctly.


Photo from cwyen729 on flickr.com


~sama(さま) – 様 (さま)

~sama(さま) is a respectful way of calling someone. You can use this to male or female. You can use this whenever you would like to show your respect; however, here are the typical examples of how you can use ~sama.


1) When speaking to someone who is in higher social status than yourself.

Example: Yamamoto sama (山本様、やまもとさま)

2) When speaking to customers.  For example: Okyaku-sama(お客様、おきゃくさま) Okyaku means customer. Instead of calling your customer by name, you can generally call the person by saying “Okyaku-sama(お客様、おきゃくさま)”

3) When referring to God of any religion. People often refer “God” by “Kami-sama(神様、かみさま).

4) When addressing  your post cards or letters to someone. You will indicate ~sama(さま) in front of the post card or envelop. For example, Mr. Tanaka will be written as “Tanaka sama (田中様、たなかさま)” in Japanese.

5) #4 is also true when you are writing your emails to someone you don’t know too well or to someone who is in higher social status, or to your customers.

6) ~sama(さま) is also used to say:

Gochisou sama (ご馳走様、ごちそうさま) - This expression is used after each meal, by thanking whoever cooked your meal for you. In English, this would mean, “Thank you for the delicious meal.”

Omachi do sama(お待ち同様、おまちどうさま) – “Thank you for waiting.”

Gokuro sama(ご苦労様、ごくろうさま) – “Thank you for your hard work.”

Otsukare sama(お疲れ様、おつかれさま) – “Thank you for your hard work.”

The last two means the same thing; however,  Otsukare sama(お疲れ様、おつかれさま) is used more casually among friends and family.


Japanese Honorific Suffixes Part 3

Posted on 28. Mar, 2015 by in Culture, Grammar

This is my third post regarding Japanese honorific suffixes. I have covered so far ~ さん(san) and ~ちゃん(chan).   If you would like to review them, just click the link under each suffix. In this blog post today, I will explain about~くん(kun).  In Japanese language, it is very important to understand the use of honorific suffixes. If you use them in a wrong way, you could easily offend others. Or if you don’t use it at all, you could also sound very rude and impolite. The use of  ~くん(kun) is very specific in that you would want to know when to use it properly. Read on!



photo from bryan… on flickr.co



This honorific suffix is very similar to ~ちゃん(chan) except that it is used mainly for boys.  It is very common to use ~くん(kun) for younger boys, including babies and toddlers. It is ok to use this suffix to someone who is younger than you; however you would not use this suffix to someone who is older than you. For someone older, you would want to use ~さん(san) or ~さま(sama) which I will explain in my next blog.


There are two exceptions to the rule I mentioned above. One is at workplace, and another at school setting. Young female employees are often referred to as “last name +  ~くん(kun)”. For example, Tanaka-kun(たなかくん), Hashimoto-kun(はしもとくん), or Yamamoto-kun(やまもとくん) etc.. So in this case, even if the person is a female, she is referred to as her last name +  ~くん(kun).  ~くん(kun) = boys rule does not apply here.


Another exception to the ~くん(kun) = boys  rue, is at school. Especially higher than high school level, it is also common for teachers or professors to address female students by her last name +  ~くん(kun).


In my opinion, if you are not sue which honorific suffix to use, just stick with ~san(さん) at first. Once you become more familiar with the use of each honorific suffix, you would be able to know when to use each one of them.


The last honorific suffix I would like to cover is ~さま(sama). This one is also very unique in that you would need to know when to use it. Stay tuned!