Japanese Language Blog

How to write business emails to your boss in Japanese? Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Culture, Grammar

Here is another version of writing business emails in Japanese. The other day, I talked about writing business emails to more of a partner company. In this article, I will cover a bit more variations, such as business emails to your boss.

Writing emails to your boss:


The most important thing you have to remember when writing emails or talking to your boss is to use honorific wording & humble language to show respect towards him/her since your boss will be someone who are in the higher position within an organization. Honorific speech or humble language is pretty complex. People in Japan use this everyday to someone who are older,  who you just met, school teachers, and doctors, etc, depending on their social status.

Addressing or Referring to someone:

Many of you probably know that “~san(さん)” is often used for addressing or referring to people. For example, Yamada-san (山田さん、やまださん). In Japanese, we never call anyone by their first name or last name alone UNLESS you both are good friends. It is very rude to call someone by their first name or last name alone, if you don’t know the person well.  If you are not sure, always say “~ san(さん)””, then you can’t go wrong. However, in organizational environment, we often refer someone by their job title, for especially someone who are in higher ranking than yourself. For example, someone who is a director or chief in organization, they are often called not by their name+san(さん), but by their title itself.

Style of writing to use for your boss:

When you are writing emails to your boss, the style of speech to use is “humble language”. In Japanese, it is called “Kenjougo, (謙譲語、けんじょうご)”.  Humble language is often used to talk about oneself or one’s own group (company, family) V.S. honorific language is mostly used when “describing” the interlocutor and their group.

Examples of humble language:

For example, use the following verbs while talking to your boss:

  • To see – Haikenshimasu (拝見します、はいけんします)
  • To come – Mairimasu (参ります、まいります) or Ukagaimasu (伺います、うかがいます)
  • To eat – Itadakimasu(頂きます、いただきます)
  • To ask – Ukagau ( 伺う、うかがう)
  • To say- Moushimasu ( 申します、もうします)
  • To think- Zonzimasu(存じます、ぞんじます)
  • To understand- Shouchiitashimasu(承知いたします、しょうちいたします)


Example of writing emails to your boss:

Here is the example of Thank-You email to your boss.






経理部 田中 太郎


Subject: Thank you for your advise from the other day

Dear,  Director, Yamada,

Hello, this is Tanaka in Accounting department.

I really appreciate for taking the time for me the other day.

Thanks to you, Director, I feel much better after hearing your advice. To be honest, I was losing confidence in myself by worrying about things by myself. After hearing your advice, I would like to think positively from now on. I am thinking that I might have to ask for your advice again later on, but thank you again for everything.

Best regards,
Taro Tanaka


Kenmei:Senjitsuno adobaisu no orei

Yamada bucho

Keiribuno Tanaka desu.

Senjitsuwa, oisogashiinaka, watashinotameni ojikanwo saiteitadaki arigatou gozaimashita.

Okagesamade, buchokara itadaita adobaisude zuibunto kimochiga rakuni narukotoga dekimashita.  Shoujiki, hitoride nayami jishinwo ushinaikakete imashita. Bucho no adobaisuni manande, kongowa maemukini yatteikimasu. Korekaramo nanikato gosoudan ni notteitadaku kotoga arukato zonjimasuga douzo, yoroshiku onegaimoushiagemasu.

Keiribu Tanaka Taro.


So, what do you think? Hope you got to know a bit about humble language in Japanese! I plan on writing more articles regarding this topic in the near future. So stay tuned!

Lastly, here is a nice tutorial video to learn more about honorific speech in Japanese. Please note: this video requires some Hiragana knowledge.


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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.