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How to Say Happy Birthday in Japanese? Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Culture, Grammar

Today’s post is all about the “Birthday”.  How would you say, “Happy Birthday!” in Japanese? Well, “Birthday” is “Tanjo-bi (たんじょうび、誕生日)” or “O-tanjo-bi (おたんじょうび、お誕生日)” in Japanese. By adding, “o” at the beginning, it sounds more softer; therefore, many women use it that way. Also, smaller children use in that form. Below is the list of some of the most often used expressions related to birthday.

birthday

Photo from modernbean on flickr.com

 

Happy Birthday! – (O)tanjo-bi omedetou! (おたんじょうび おめでとう。お誕生日おめでとう).

or Otanjo-bi omedetou gozaimasu! (おたんじょうび おめでとう ございます。お誕生日おめでとうございます。).

***By adding “gozaimasu” at the end, it sounds more polite; therefore, you would say this to someone older or to him/her who is in higher social status than yourself. You could also use this to someone who you don’t know too well. However, in writing (for example, emails or letters) it sounds more polite to use with “gozaimasu” even for a close friend.**

 

Happy 30th Birthday! – Sanju ssaino otanjo-bi omedetou.(さんじゅっさいの おたんじょうび おめでとう。三十歳のお誕生日おめでとう。)

**In Japanese, when we say Happy Birthday to someone, we don’t actually say 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc..   We would rather call it, 1 year old- birthday, 10 year-old birthday, 30 year-old birthday, etc..

 

Wishing you a wonderful birthday! –Subarashii tanjo-bi ni narimasuyouni! (すばらしい たんじょうびに なりますように。素晴らしい誕生日になりますように。)

 

Happy Birthday to my best friend.– Shinyu-no anatani, otanjo-bi omedetou. (しんゆうのあなたに おたんじょうび おめでとう。親友のあなたに、お誕生日 おめでとう)

 

Happy Birthday, my love. – Aisuru anatani, otanjo-bi omedetou. (あいするあなたに おたんじょうび おめでとう。愛するあなたに、お誕生日おめでとう)

 

Wishing you a wonderful year ahead.-Subarashii ichinen ni narimasu youni. (すばらしい いちねんに なりますように。素晴らしい 一年に なりますように。)

 

May all your birthday wishes come true. -Anatano negaiga subete kanaimasuyouni. (あなたの ねがいが すべて かないますように。あなたの根願いが全てかないますように。)

 

Hope you have the best party ever! – Imamadede ichiban saikou na pa-ti- ni narimasuyouni. (いままでで いちばん さいこうな パーティー になりますように。今までで、一番 最高な パーティーに なりますように。)

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Some useful words to know for birthday are:

Birthday Cake – Ba-sude- ke-ki (バースデーケーキ)

Birthday Card – Ba-sude- ca-do (バースデーカード)

Birthday Party – Ba-sude- pa-ti-(バースデーパーティー)

Surprise Party – Sapuraizu Pa-ti- (サプライズ パーティー)

Candles – Ro-soku (ろうそく)

Balloon – Fu-sen (ふうせん、風船)

Feast – Gochi sou (ごちそう、ご馳走)

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About the Author:keiko

Born and raised in Japan. She currently lives in U.S. with her husband and two kids.


Comments:

  1. Emmagail:

    Thank you so much for making this post! It’s very helpful! I’m trying to write a birthday card to a friend of mine who has an interest in Japanese, so I’m thankful to have stumbled upon this post!

  2. Shiba:

    Thank you to teach Japanese. Hope to know more such phrases. Have a nice day.

  3. Erika:

    Thank you so much for this! I am deeply into Japanese culture and wished to have my birthday cake in Japanese for my 15th in honor of being able to visit there for a month this summer.

    • keiko:

      @Erika Hello Erika,

      Thank you for posting your comments. I love how you put it, “birthday cake in Japanese.” I have to tell you, there are so many kinds of birthday cakes in Japan you can choose from at the bakery. You will love it!

      I can tell you are really into learning Japanese. I am glad I could be helpful in your learning via this blog, and will continue to try to be a distant helper for a learner like you! Have a safe trip to Japan this summer. I plan to be there this summer as well. Good luck with your learning!

  4. Tony Gardner:

    Hello. I was pleased to find this information. My daughter Sophia turns ten years old today and since she is beginning to explore Japanese culture, I wanted to be able to wish her a happy birthday in Japanese.

    I will give her the contact information for your blog. She will find it interesting and useful, I am sure.

    Best wishes,

    TONY GARDNER

  5. Wanda:

    Hi my name is Wanda and my surname is Mapikana from South Africa. Japan is very far from South Africa and according to what I believe, there are few Japanese here in South Africa which makes it hard for us to learn this language ( Nihongo) but I do have an interest in learning Nihongo although it seems as a very hard language. How do I say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU in Nihongo?

    • keiko:

      @Wanda Hi Wanda,

      Happy Birthday will be, Otanjo bi omedeto(お誕生日 おめでとう。たんじょうび おめでとう) in Japanese. 

      Thanks,
      Keiko


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