Have you ever wondered how to say “Happy Anniversary” in Japanese? By knowing this, you can congratulate your friends and families on their birthdays or other life events in the Japanese language.
We’re going to learn how to say this greeting in this lesson. It will surely be a practical phrase to know whether you’re in Japan or not. Let’s find it out!
- 1 How to say “Happy Anniversary” in Japanese
- 2 How to congratulate people on their anniversary
- 3 The most formal way to congratulate in Japanese
- 4 How can you say “〜 th” Anniversary/Birthday in Japanese?
- 5 Translations of English phrases and Christian-related phrases
- 6 Various anniversaries in Japan
- 7 How many Omedetou songs have you listened to?
- 8 Let’s congratulate people with “Omedetou” next time!
How to say “Happy Anniversary” in Japanese
In Japanese, there are two ways to say greet someone “Happy Anniversary:”
- おめでとう (Omedetou | 御目出度う)
- おめでとう ご ざ い ます (Omedetou gozaimasu | 御目出度う御座います)
The phrase おめでとう (Omedetou) is the expression to pass your congratulations to someone close to you. While おめでとうございます (Omedetou gozaimasu) is more or less a politer way of expressing general celebrations.
Overall, these types of greetings are called おいわいのことば (O iwai no kotoba | お祝いの言葉 | congratulations) or しゅくじ (Shukuji | 祝辞 | congratulatory speeches).
Strictly speaking, the following two expressions have the かんじ (Kanji | 漢字 | Chinese characters) form. However, ひらがな (Hiragana | 平仮名) forms are more common in various situations.
Below are other words related to congratulating someone during anniversaries or birthdays.
|congratulations||お祝いの言葉||おいわいのことば||O iwai no kotoba|
|a death anniversary often associated with Buddhism in Japan||命日||めいにち||Meinichi|
|gift, present||お祝いの品||おいわいのしな||Oiwai no shina|
How can we politely say “Happy Anniversary?”
If you’re familiar with the idea of Japanese けいご (Keigo | 敬語 | Polite forms, Honorifics) already, you might have questions about using this greeting on certain occasions. Let’s learn the politeness of each phrase here.
The most casual way to congratulate someone is to finish the phrase simply with おめでとう (Omedetou | Congratulations), and it’s the standard form for friends and family members. A casual congratulatory message conveys warm and friendly wishes to someone close to you.
On the other hand, when you want to sound a little more formal, adding an honorific prefix お (O | 御) or ご (Go | 御) to the noun will do the job. Honorific prefix might be confusing at first, but you can learn by heart eventually.
To make a formal phrase suitable for business or other formal occasions, we recommend using both the honorific prefix and politer ending ございます (gozaimasu | 御座います). (See the example: 3) Using the Hiragana form instead of the Kanji is preferred for the ございます(gozaimasu).
“Happy Wedding Anniversary” in Japanese:
Here are the different ways to express “Happy wedding anniversary” to a couple:
- けっこんきねんびおめでとう (Kekkon kinenbi omedetou | 結婚記念日おめでとう)
- ごけっこんきねんびおめでとう (Go kekkon kinenbi omedetou | ご結婚記念日おめでとう)
- ごけっこんきねんびおめでとうございます (Go kekkon kinenbi omedetou gozaimasu | ご結婚記念日おめでとうございます)
“Happy Birthday” in Japanese:
Below are various ways to greet someone with a happy birthday in Japanese. We also have a full article that will tell you more about this greeting.
- たんじょうびおめでとう (Tanjoubi omedetou | 誕生日おめでとう)
- おたんじょうびおめでとう (O tanjoubi omedetou | お誕生日おめでとう)
- おたんじょうびおめでとうございます (O tanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu | お誕生日おめでとうございます)
How to congratulate people on their anniversary
The single word おめでとう (Omedetou) is universal and good enough to congratulate the wife and husband’s anniversary. It also doesn’t have strict rules on when or how to use it.
However, mentioning someone’s birthday or anniversary before saying Omedetou is more common. It’s also typical to write these phrases in message cards, letters, and e-mails, together with verbal communications.
Even though the phrase きねんびおめでとう (Kinenbi omedetou | 記念日おめでとう) would be the perfect translation for the English “Happy Anniversary” in the Japanese language, people prefer a little more specific way to note what kind of きねんび it is to celebrate.
|Happy First Date Anniversary||初デート記念日おめでとう||はつでーときねんびおめでとう||Hatsu deeto kinenbi omedetou|
|Happy Wedding||結婚おめでとう||けっこんおめでとう||Kekkon omedetou|
|Happy Birthday||誕生日おめでとう||たんじょうびおめでとう||Tanjoubi omedetou|
|Congratulations on your graduation||卒業おめでとう||そつぎょうおめでとう||Sotsugyou omedetou|
The most formal way to congratulate in Japanese
These are common expressions on formal occasions. These phrases’ translations would be “My sincere congratulations,” “I offer you my hearty congratulations,” and “Best wishes for something” in English.
If you want to display your courtesy, you can remember these superior expressions.
*mostly used in written form
このたびは、ごしょうしんおめでとうございます。こころよりおいわいもうしあげます。 (Kono tabi wa, goshoushin omedetou gozaimasu. Kokoro yori o iwai moushiagemasu. | この度は、ご昇進おめでとうございます。心よりお祝い申し上げます。)
Congratulations on your promotion. Best wishes from the bottom of my heart.
りゃくぎながらしょちゅうをもって、しゅくがのごあいさつとさせていただきます。(Ryakugi nagara shochuu wo motte, shukuga no go aisatsu to sasete itadakimasu | 略儀ながら書中をもって、祝賀のご挨拶とさせていただきます。)
I would like to express my congratulatory greetings with this letter.
How can you say “〜 th” Anniversary/Birthday in Japanese?
To congratulate 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or more anniversaries in the Japanese language, you need to add め (Me | 目 | 〜th, 〜times) or other words.
If it’s the first anniversary, you can also use はじめて (Hajimete | 初めて | the first time). To congratulate from the second time on, see the examples below.
はじめてのけっこんきねんびおめでとう (Hajimete no kekkon kinenbi omedetou | 初めての結婚記念日おめでとう)
Happy 1st wedding anniversary
にかいめのけっこんきねんび (Ni kai me no kekkon kinenbi | 2回目の結婚記念日)
2nd wedding anniversary
かのじょへのさんかげつきねんびギフト (Kanojo e no san ka getsu kinenbi gifuto | 彼女への3ヶ月記念日ギフト)
3-month anniversary gifts for my girlfriend
けっこんごしゅうねんきねんデート (Kekkon go shuu nen kinen deeto | 結婚5周年記念デート)
2nd wedding anniversary date
じゅうはっさいのたんじょうびおめでとう (Juuhassai no tanjoubi omedetou | 18歳の誕生日おめでとう)
Happy 18th Birthday
にほんではおおくのきぎょうが2018ねんにそうりつ100しゅうねんをむかえた (Nihon dewa ooku no kigyou ga nisen juuhachi nen ni souritsu hyaku shuu nen wo mukaeta | 日本では多くの企業が2018年に創立100周年を迎えた)
Many companies celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2018 in Japan
Below is some related vocabulary that you can use should you greet someone on their anniversary or birthday.
|month||カ月, か月||かげつ||Ka gestsu|
Some English phrases like “Happy Birthday” and “Happy Wedding” below are well-known in かたかな（Katakana | カタカナ | 片仮名) forms in Japan. Even though people don’t use these phrases in verbal communication much, it’s one of the typical ways to congratulate someone in a written message.
Additionally, Christian celebration phrases permeate Japanese society without great importance. You can often see these phrases as advertisements during the Christian holiday season, and Christmas is considered a romantic event rather than family time in Japan.
|Happy New Year||ハッピーニューイヤー||はっぴーにゅーいやー|
|Happy Valentine's Day||ハッピーバレンタイン||はっぴーばれんたいんでー|
|Happy White Day||ハッピーホワイトデー||はっぴーほわいとでー|
Various anniversaries in Japan
As a Japanese language learner, you’ve probably noticed that Japanese people care about each greeting’s meaning, while they also have a unique cultural feature for celebrating anniversaries and certain life events.
In this chapter, we learn what kind of anniversaries people give importance to and how people celebrate these anniversaries in Japan.
School and Education
Ceremonies are probably one of the hallmarks of Japanese tradition, and school entrance or graduation ceremonies are no exception.
Japanese education year begins and completes in spring with beautiful cherry blossoms. はるはであいとわかれのきせつ (春は出会いと別れの季節 | Spring is a season of farewell) is one of the common sayings in Japan.
|enrolment in kindergarten||入園||にゅうえん||Nyuuen|
|entrance to school||入学||にゅうがく||Nyuugaku|
|advance to the next grade||進級||しんきゅう||Shinkyuu|
|passing the exam||合格||ごうかく||Gougaku|
にゅうがくおめでとう (Nyuugaku omedetou | 入学おめでとう)
Congratulations on entering school
ごそつぎょうおめでとうございます (Go sotsugyou omedetou gozaimasu | ご卒業おめでとうございます )
Congratulations on your graduation
Work and Career
The country has a work tradition based on lifetime employment and hiring new graduates. There has been some change in recent years, but many workers still spend their whole career at one company until their retirement.
Thus, the very Japanese expression like ことぶきたいしょく (Kotobuki taishoku | 寿退職 | resigning from a company on marriage) and ていねんたいしょく (Teinen taishoku | 定年退職 | reaching mandatory retirement age) are born.
|getting a job||就職||しゅうしょく||Shuushoku|
|changing the job, getting a new job||転職||てんしょく||Tenshoku|
|retirement, quitting the job||退職||たいしょく||Taishoku|
しょうしんおめでとう (Shoushin omedetou | 昇進おめでとう)
Congratulations on your promotion
あらたないっぽをふみだされること、こころよりおいわいもうしあげます (Arata na ippo wo fumidasareru koto, kokoro yori o iwai moushiagemasu | 新たな一歩を踏み出されること、心よりお祝い申し上げます )
I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart on taking a new step forward
The Land of the Rising Sun is a monogamous society, and people over 18 years can get married legally in Japan. The modern style of matrimony began around the Muromachi period (むろまちじだい | 室町時代 | from 1336 to 1573).
In recent years, the country has been moving forward with the same-sex marriage condition though it still has a long way to go.
According to a survey conducted in 2020, over 50% of Japanese have a legal partner. Some couples celebrate anniversaries just like in the West, and each term originates in the original British names.
|Wedding Anniversary||結婚記念日||けっこんきねんび||Kekkon Kinenbi|
|the 25th Silver Wedding Anniversary||銀婚式||ぎんこんしき||Gin kon shiki|
|the 30th Pearl Wedding Anniversary||真珠婚式||しんじゅこんしき||Shinju kon shiki|
|the 35th Coral Wedding Anniversary||珊瑚婚式||さんごこんしき||Sango kon shiki|
|the 40th Ruby Wedding Anniversary||ルビー婚式||ルビーこんしき||Rubii kon shiki|
|45th Sapphire Wedding Anniversary||サファイア婚式||サファイアこんしき||Safaia kon shiki|
|the 50th wedding anniversary, Golden Wedding Anniversary||金婚式||きんこんしき||Kin kon shiki|
|the 55th Emerald Wedding Anniversary||エメラルド婚式||エメラルドこんしき||Emerarudo kon shiki|
|the 60th Diamond Wedding Anniversary||ダイヤモンド婚式、ダイアモンド婚式||ダイヤモンドこんしき、ダイアモンドこんしき||Daiyamondo kon shiki, Daiyamondo kon shiki|
ぎんこんしきおめでとう (Ginkonshiki omedetou | 銀婚式おめでとう)
Happy Silver Wedding Anniversary
りょうしんのきんこんしきいわいにりょこうをプレゼントした (Ryoushin no Kinkonshiki iwai ni ryokou wo purezento shita | 両親の金婚式祝いに旅行をプレゼントした)
I gave my parents a trip as a gift for their golden wedding anniversary
A survey conducted in 2020 indicated that over 75% of Japanese people do not believe in any religion. However, customs and ideas associated with Shinto and Buddhism have been influencing Japanese culture for a long time. Many Japanese families still carry out traditional celebrations, especially for their newly born babies and growing-up children.
For example, people used to believe that gods would watch over children until they became 7, so there are many occasions to celebrate their growth until that age in Japan. Here are some of the celebrations related to the children’s growth.
|the 5th month pregnancy celebration||帯祝い||おびいわい||Obi iwai|
|the 7th day after birth celebration||お七夜||おしちや||O shichiya|
|the 32nd day for boys and the 33rd day for the girl of after birth celebration||初宮参り、お宮参り||はつみやまいり、おみやまいり||Hatsumiya mairi, O miya mairi|
|the 100th day after birth celebration wishing not to worry about food for the rest of their life||お食い初め、百日祝い||おくいぞめ、ももかいわい||O kui zome, Momoka iwai|
|baby's first annual festival||初節句||はつせっく||Hatsu sekku|
|first birthday celebration||初誕生日||はつたんじょうび||Hatsu tanjoubi|
|3rd, 5th, and 7th birthday celebration||七五三||しちごさん||Shichi-Go-San|
Celebration of Longevity
Probably, many people have heard once or twice that Japan is recognized as one of the most long-lived countries in the world. In 2021, Life expectancy reached the highest record in history in Japan, and it has become 81.64 for men and 87.74 for women.
It’s believed that Japan has been celebrating longevity called ちょうじゅいわい (Chouju iwai | 長寿祝い) since the Nara period (ならじだい | 奈良時代 | from 710 to 794), and it’s believed to derive from China.
Even today, many families celebrate their long-lived family members with good food and gifts to relish their health and the beauty of life. The colors below symbolize a happy and healthy life for the person celebrating the birthday.
|longevity celebration||長寿祝い||ちょうじゅいわい||Chouju iwai|
|the 60th Birthday Celebration||還暦||かんれき||Kanreki||Red|
|the 70th Birthday Celebration||古希||こき||Koki||Purple|
|the 77th Birthday Celebration||喜寿||きじゅ||Kiju||Purple|
|the 80th Birthday Celebration||傘寿||さんじゅ||Sanju||Golden brown|
|the 88th Birthday Celebration||米寿||べいじゅ||Beiju||Golden brown|
|the 90th Birthday Celebration||卒寿||そつじゅ||Sotsuju||White|
|the 99th Birthday Celebration||白寿||はくじゅ||Hakuju||White|
|the 100th Birthday Celebration||紀寿、百寿、百寿||きじゅ、ひゃくじゅ、ももじゅ||Kiju, Hyakuju, Momoju||White|
|the 108th Birthday Celebration||茶寿||ちゃじゅ||Chaju|
|the 111th Birthday Celebration||皇寿||こうじゅ||Kouju|
|the 120th Birthday Celebration*||大還暦||だいかんれき||Dai Kanreki|
*also considered the second 60th Birthday Celebration
Japanese memorial days and national holidays
In general, the Japanese word きねん (Kinen | 記念) has a meaning of commemoration in English, but it also refers to a simple memorialization and a non-celebratory recollection.
|anniversary, holiday, memorial day||記念日||きねんび||Kinen bi|
|stele, monument||記念碑||きねんひ||Kinen hi|
|memorial park||記念公園||きねんこうえん||Kinen kouen|
|keepsake picture, souvenir photograph||記念写真||きねんしゃしん||Kinen shashin|
|anniversary of the end of the war||終戦記念日||しゅうせんきねんび||Shuusen kinenbi|
|Japanese emperor's funeral memorial||大喪記念||たいもきねん||Taimo kinen|
|Disaster Prevention and Volunteerism Day (January 17)||防災とボランティアの日||ぼうさいとボランティアのひ||Bousai to Boranthia no Hi||A reminder of the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995|
|A-Bomb Day, (Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony)||広島原爆の日||ひろしまげんばくのひ||Hiroshima Genbaku no Hi||A reminder of World War Ⅱ|
|Disaster Prevention Day (September 1)||防災の日||ぼうさいのひ||Bousai no Hi||A reminder of the Great Kantou earthquake in 1923|
Other Anniversary Days
|Mt. Fuji Day (February 23)||富士山の日||ふじさんのひ||Fujisan no hi|
|International Marriage Day*||国際結婚の日||こくさいけっこんのひ||Kokusai Kekkon no Hi|
|Reading Day for Children (April 23)||子ども読書の日||こどもどくしょのひ||Kodomo Dokusho no Hi|
|No Trash Day**||ごみゼロの日||ごみゼロのひ||Gomi Zero no Hi|
* the first day Japan officially recognized marriage to foreigners on 14th March in 1873
**the beginning of Garbage Reduction and Recycling Promotion Week, on the 30th of May
National Holiday in Japan
|on the 1st of January||元旦||がんたん||Gantan|
|on the second Monday in January||成人の日||せいじんのひ||Seijin no Hi|
|on the 11th of February||建国記念日||けんこくきねんび||Kenkoku Kinenbi|
|the Vernal Equinox Day on the 20th or the 21st of March||春分の日||しゅんぶんのひ||Shunbun no Hi|
|on the 29th of April||昭和の日||しょうわのひ||Shouwa no Hi|
|on the 3rd of May||憲法記念日||けんぽうきねんび||Kenpou Kinenbi*|
|on the 4th of May||みどりの日||みどりのひ||Midori no Hi|
|on the 5th of May||こどもの日||こどものひ||Kodomo no Hi|
|on the 3rd Monday in July||海の日||うみのひ||Umi no Hi|
|on the 11th of August||山の日||やまのひ||Yama no Hi|
|on the 3rd Monday in September||敬老の日||けいろうのひ||Keirou no Hi|
|the Autumnal Equinox Day on the 22nd or the 23rd of September||秋分の日||しゅうぶんのひ||Shuubun no Hi|
|on the 2nd Monday in October||スポーツの日||スポーツのひ||Supootsu no Hi**|
|on the 3rd of November||文化の日||ぶんかのひ||Bunka no Hi|
|on the 23rd of Novenber||勤労感謝の日||きんろうかんしゃのひ||Kinrou Kansha no Hi|
|Reigning Emperor's birthday, on the 23rd of February||天皇誕生日||てんのうたんじょうび||Tennou Tanjoubi***|
*a part of so-called holiday season “Golden Week”
**formally named たいいくのひ (Taiiku no Hi | 体育の日 | a gymnastic day)
*** during the current Reiwa period
How many Omedetou songs have you listened to?
These are all-time favorite J-POP songs to congratulate various scenes and anniversaries. Why don’t you check them out for fun while studying Japanese?
- 卒業 (Sotsugyou | そつぎょう | Graduation) by Ozaki Yutaka in 1985
- 乾杯 (Kanpai | かんぱい | Cheers) by Nagabuchi Tsuyoshi in 1988
- CAN YOU CELEBRATE? by Amuro Namie in 1997
- 未来へ (Mirai e | みらいへ | To the future) by Kiroro 1998
- おめでとう (Omedetou | Congratulations) by Judy and Mary in 2001
- 3月9日 (Sangatsu Kokonoka | さんがつここのか | March 9th) by Remioromen in 2005
- さくら (Sakura | Cherry blossoms) by Ketsumeishi in 2005
- Flowers by Yamazaki Masayoshi in 2013
- 花束を君に (Hanataba wo kimi ni | はなたばをきみに) by Utada Hikaru in 2016
- 夢 (Yume | ゆめ) by GReeeeN in 2016
- 君にサチアレ (Kimi ni sachi are | きみにさちあれ) by Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra in 2022
Let’s congratulate people with “Omedetou” next time!
Now you know how to say “Happy anniversary” in Japanese! Even if you don’t speak the Japanese language fluently yet, knowing the celebration message phrases are nice to learn.
You can congratulate a friend on their birthday or precious anniversary with おめでとう and smiles. We’re quite sure that the other person will be amazed and happy that you remember and how much your language skills has improved! If you did, let us know how it went, and drop your answers in the comment box below!
If you’re still interested to learn more about greetings, we have an article dedicated just to Japanese greetings right here.