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How to Say Hello in Japanese – things you need to know Posted by on Oct 31, 2014 in Culture, Grammar

“Hello” is simply a well known, “Konnichiwa(こんにちは。)” in Japanese.  One of the readers recently asked if there are more than one way of saying hello in Japanese. Well, in today’s blog, I decided to share with you some of the most common ways of saying hi to others in Japanese. Read on!

konnichiwa

photo from CLF on flickr.com

Konnichiwa~ こんにちは。

This word might be just the very first Japanese word you learned when you first started learning Japanese. Konnichiwa is almost universal where there are not too many people who does not know what Konnichiwa means these days. You can use Konnichiwa to almost anyone, including your neighbors, friends, co-workers, your boss, and even to strangers.

Almost all the time, your Japanese conversation could start with Konnichiwa, that is as soon as you make eye contact with the person who is there. However, in Japanese, there is one important thing you need to know.

Use of Konnichiwa (こんにちは) really depends on what time of the day it is.

In Japanese, it is not appropriate to say “Konnichiwa (こんにちは)” to someone 10 am in the morning. Konnichiwa (こんにちは) is probably good to use between 12 pm to 6 pm, in my opinion.

This is because, it is most appropriate to use the following greeting depending on the time of the day.

 

In the morning : Ohayo(おはよう) or Ohayo gozaimasu (おはようございます。more polite) 

During the day: Konnichiwa (こんにちは)

In the evening: Konbanwa (こんばんは)

 

In English, you might say “hi” to people anytime of the day; however, in Japanese, the above greeting is something useful to know as an etiquette. It is not appropriate to say, Konnichiwa (こんにちは) to someone 8 pm, past dinner time.  Once it is dark outside, it will be more appropriate to say, “Konbanwa(こんばんは)” to your neighbor. There is no fine line as to what time is the cut off or anything, but this is sort of a common approach to take: before noon- Ohayo(おはよう、おはようございます), noon to 6pm or so: Konnichiwa (こんにちは), and after dark: Konbanwa(こんばんは).

You also noticed that there are polite way of saying, good morning, which is Ohayo gozaimasu (おはようございます) To say, just “Ohayo (おはよう)” to someone you don’t know or someone older is a no no. You always want to say  Ohayo gozaimasu (おはようございます) in that case.  “Ohayo (おはよう)” sounds very casual, so it is more common to use between your friends or to someone younger than you.  🙂

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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. Tatiana:

    Awesome

  2. Rudra kumar:

    Am an avid learner of foreign languages. So konnichiwa to you sir , as am sure it must well after 1200 there in Japan

  3. Sreejith S S:

    It’s very good to learn a new language and new culture