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How to write business emails in Japanese Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Grammar

Have you ever thought of writing emails in Japanese?  Well, for those who are interested in writing emails in Japanese, I will show you some of the key vocabularies and examples below.

First, let’s become familiar with some vocabularies for main words below.

Dear – Haikei (拝啓、はいけい)

Subject – Kenmei (件名、けんめい)

Sender – Sashidashi nin (差出人、さしだしにん)

Address – Atesaki (宛先、あてさき)

Urgent – Shikyu (至急、しきゅう)

Notice – Kakuninzumi (確認済、かくにんずみ)

To Whom It May Concern – Go tantousha sama (ご担当者様、ごたんとうしゃさま)

Dear Mr. Smith – Smith sama (スミス様、スミスさま)

Best Wishes – Keigu (敬具、けいぐ)

Signature – Shomei (署名、しょめい)

Below are some useful expressions to know for writing emails…

  • I am contacting you regarding~ =~no kende mail wo sashiagemashita (~の件で、メールを差し上げました。~のけんでメールをさしあげました。)

Key words to note:

Regarding ~ = ~no ken, contacting = Sashiagemashita

  • I want to discuss ~ with you = ~no kende gosoudanga gozaimasu(~の件で、ご相談がございます。~のけんでごそうだんがございます。)

Key words to note:

discuss = soudan,  want to = gozaimasu

  • I realize you are very busy but..= go tabou no tokoro osoreirimasuga…(ご多忙のところ恐れ入りますが。。。ごたぼうのところ おそれいりますが。。。)

Key words to note:

very busy = go tabou, I realize = osoreirimasuga..

  • With regard to ~, I am very interested in your proposal = ~no kenni tsukimashite, onshano goteian ni taihen kyoumiwo motte orimasu. (~の件につきまして、御社のご提案に大変興味を持っております。~のけんにつきまして、おんしゃのごていあんにたいへんきょうみをもっております。)

Key words to note:

very interested in = taihen kyoumiwo motsu, proposal = goteian

  • If you have any questions, please contact us. = Fumeina tenga gozaimashitara otoiawase kudasai. (不明な点がございましたら、お問い合わせください。ふめいなてんがございましたら、おといあわせください。)

Key words to note:

questions = fumeina ten, contact = otoiawase

  • I look forward to hearing from you. =Ohenjiwo omachi shite orimasu. (お返事をお待ちしております。おへんじをおまちしております。)

Key words to note:

hearing from you = Ohenji, look forward to = omachi shiteorimasu.

Here is the short email example. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

拝啓 山田様、

来年度の商品開発について、ご連絡いたします。先日、御社からご提示されました案に大変興味を持っております。ご多忙のところ恐れ入りますが、この件に関してご相談がございます。会議を開きたいと思いますので、どうぞ、ご都合のいい日時をお知らせください。お返事をおまちしております。

敬具

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

はいけい やまださま、

らいねんどのしょうひんかいはつについて、ごれんらくいたします。せんじつ、おんしゃから ごていじされましたあんにたいへんきょうみをもっております。ごたぼうのところ おそれいりますが、このけんにかんしてごそうだんがございます。かいぎをひらきたいとおもいますので、どうぞ、ごつごうのいいにちじをおしらせください。おへんじをおまちしております。

けいぐ

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Haikei Yamada sama,

Rainendono shouhin kaihatsu ni tsuite,gorenrakui itashimasu. Senjitsu, onshakara goteijisaremashita anni taihen kyoumiwo motteorimasu. Gotabou no tokoro osore irimasuga konokennikanshite gosoudanga gozaimasu. Kaigiwo hirakitaito omoimasunode,douzo gotsugounoiihinichiwo oshirasekudasai. Ohenjiwo omachishiteorimasu.

Keigu

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Mr. Yamada,

I am contacting you regarding the product development for next year. With regard to the development, I am very interested in your proposal from the other day. I realize you are very busy, but could you please let me know what day and time is convenient for our meeting? I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerly,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, what do you think?  If there is any other topic you would like me to cover, please feel free to let me know!

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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. Brad:

    Great article! Could you write one about business emails within a company, such as to a coworker or boss?

  2. bouhafs:

    I’m from Algeria and I am really interested in japanese,but I find kanji is hard put to learn it ,could you do me a favour helping me to overcome this problem,God bless you, thanks in advance.

    • keiko:

      @bouhafs Hi there!
      I know Kanji’s can be hard to learn. But I strongly believe that if you start with basic ones first, you will soon build your Kanji knowledge. In Japan, school children start learning Kanji’s starting at 1st grade. They learn the basic 80 of them during the 1st grade. Perhaps you could start with those and expand from there. Once you master the first 80, then move onto the next 160 Kanji’s that 2nd graders learn. I have to find the ones with English explanation, but to start with, check out the web

      site:http://homepage1.nifty.com/hottayukio/kanji.htm

      This site has 80 basic Kanji’s and it also shows you the stroke order.
      Good luck!

  3. carlene:

    I’m wondering how common it is to include いつもお世話になります at the beginning and 宜しくお願い致します at the end….

    Thanks!

    • keiko:

      @carlene Hi carlene,

      Good question! いつもお世話になります. or いつもお世話になっております。is very common to say at the beginning of the email.You would normally say this to someone like, your children’s teachers, or someone who is at higher social status… you would not say this to your close friends. 宜しくお願い致します is often used at the end of the email if you are asking something in your email. This expression is often used among friends as well if you are asking your friend to do something for you.Hope this helps.

  4. bruce:

    This is really right? : Urgent – Shikyu (至急、しきゅう)

    strange!

    • keiko:

      @bruce Yes, urgent means Shikyu (至急、しきゅう) in Japanese. 🙂

  5. Junaidy:

    Hi Keiko san, great article and thank you for sharing,

    Just want to check with you, if we want to address spell Japanese name and we don’t know the appropriate Kanji for the receiver name, should I tyoe in katakata or hiragana?

    Thank you.

    • keiko:

      @Junaidy Hi Junaidy,

      Thanks for your comment! Great question! Normally for business emails, I think Katakana might look more appropriate. I have seen many Katakana’s used to address someone’s names (without Kanji) rather than Hiragana’s. Generally speaking, Hiragana’s are expressed as “soft-looking” characters in Japanese. If it was an email to your close friend, you would want to use Hiragana rather than Katakana as Katakana has a bit more “formal” look to it.
      Hope this makes sense!

  6. Hana:

    Thank you for a very handy article!

    One question – you used ‘sama’ in your example. When addressing a complete stranger in an email, would it matter if you used ‘san’ or ‘sama’? I am worried it will look a bit weird if I used ‘sama’. I was told ‘sama’ was reserved for, like, the queen or something! I might have been told the wrong info!!

    Thanks!

    • keiko:

      @Hana Hi Hana,

      Great question! When addressing to a stranger, you would actually want to use “sama” rather than “San”. Sama will always sound much more polite than san. Sama is not just for king and queen, but anytime you want to be polite especially if you don’t know the person well. Sama will be perfect! Hope this helps!

  7. Bob:

    Hi Keiko-san,

    I work in a US based company and need to write to my Japanese counterparts in Japan. I have good enough Japanese language skills to converse in meetings, but reading/writing skills are not as good.

    I was curious about a previous question that came up. I feel like your example is very formal and would be very respectful to customers or other important people you are contacting. But in my case, I will be conversing with my counterparts in Japan.

    Would the vocabulary used to write an email to my counterpart still be the same? Or would that sounds odd because it would be overly formal? Thank you for your help!

    • keiko:

      @Bob Hi Bob,

      Very good question. The example I posted on the blog site was very formal example. If your counterparts in Japan are someone you know very well, you could sound a bit more friendly. However, I would still use polite form, especially since you will be writing an email. Exactly what are you going to be writing to them about? Perhaps I can cover the topic as an example of writing to business counterparts in my future posts. Let me know.

      Thanks,
      Keiko

  8. Sridharan:

    Dear Keiko san

    Kindly inform the words in Japan for the following

    Best Regards

    Dear Sir

    Thanks and Regards

  9. Burcu:

    Great blog! It helped me a lot to write an e-mail today. I have a quick question for situations in which we are addressing a certain office/division in a university or company and we don’t have the knowledge of any particular person’s name. What sort of addressing word should we use in such cases? Thanks in advance!

    • keiko:

      @Burcu Hi Burcu,

      Thank you for your feedback. If you don’t know individuals names to whom you are addressing, I would use something like,
      “~ 各位(かくい)”  Here ~ kakui is something like “To All” in English. So, for example if you are addressing your email to a group of people who are related to the “Project A”, you would say, “Project A 関係者 各位” or “Project A かんけいしゃ かくい” This is “Project A Kankeisha Kakui” Kankeisha Kakui is “all related parties”.

      Hope this helps!

  10. shobha:

    Hi keikosan very useful info. Can you also tell about the seasonal exlressions used to start a letter..onegaishimasu

    • keiko:

      @shobha Hi there,
      Yes, that will be a great topic for my next blog post. I will get working on it! Thank you!

  11. li:

    Hey! keiko san! your blog is great. Thanks a lot. It helps me so much!

  12. Nishith S:

    Hello Keiko San,
    Its so nice of you for posting the contents that are so useful for japanese learners…
    Please keep up the good work.お願いします。。。
    私も日本語を勉強していますが、メールでへのやり取りはめっちゃ難しいと思う。いろいろ探してこのサイトを見つかってとてもよかったです。。。
    メールで尊敬語や丁寧語を使われているから、
    一致する言葉や文書が見つけないとできないよね。。。
    ケイコさん、お手伝ってくださって有難うございました。。。
    これからもお願いします。。。

    • keiko:

      @Nishith S Hi Nishith S san,

      Thank you for your comments! I am really glad my blog post was helpful to you. Your Japanese sounds great, and writing is well written with Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. So nice to hear from a reader like you about my posts. Thank you again! Keiko