“Happy Anniversary” in Japanese – Ways to congratulate

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.

Happy Anniversary text with balloons and a flower bouquet beside it

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!

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.

Related Vocabulary

Below are other words related to congratulating someone during anniversaries or birthdays.

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomaji
congratulations お祝いの言葉 おいわいのことばO iwai no kotoba
congratulatory speeches 祝辞 しゅくじShukuji
celebration お祝い おいわいOiwai
celebration 祝い事 いわいごとIwaigoto
to celebrate 祝う いわうIwau
to celebrate お祝いする おいわいするOiwaisuru
anniversary 記念日 きねんびKinenbi
birthday 誕生日 たんじょうびTanjoubi
a death anniversary often associated with Buddhism in Japan 命日 めいにちMeinichi
gift, present 贈り物 おくりものOkurimono
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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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.

  1. たんじょうびおめでとう (Tanjoubi omedetou | 誕生日おめでとう)
  2. おたんじょうびおめでとう (O tanjoubi omedetou | お誕生日おめでとう)
  3. 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.

Examples:

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomaji
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.

KanjiHiraganaRomaji
おめでとうございますOmedetou gozaimasu
お祝い申し上げますおいわいもうしあげますOiwai moushiagemasu
お慶び申し上げますおよろこびもうしあげますOyorokobi moushiagemasu
祝賀しゅくがShukuga*
慶賀 けいがKeiga*

*mostly used in written form

For example:

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

Related Vocabulary

Below is some related vocabulary that you can use should you greet someone on their anniversary or birthday.

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomaji
anniversary, memorial 記念 きねんKinen
〜th 周年 しゅうねんShuunen
dayにちNichi
month カ月, か月 かげつKa gestsu
yearねんNen
〜th, 〜timesかいKai
〜th, 〜timesMe
year, ageさいSai
A groom and bride dancing together beside a table with a wedding cake, wine, and wine glasses

Translations of English phrases and Christian-related phrases

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.

EnglishKatakanaHiragana
Happy Anniversaryハッピーアニバーサリーはっぴーあにばーさりー
Happy Birthdayハッピーバースデーはっぴーばーすでー
Happy Weddingハッピーウエディングはっぴーうえでぃんぐ
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
Happy Easterハッピーイースターはっぴーいーすたー
Happy Halloweenハッピーハロウィーンはっぴーはろうぃーん
Happy Christmasハッピークリスマスはっぴーくりすます
Merry Christmasメリークリスマスめりーくりすます

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.

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomaji
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
graduation 卒業 そつぎょうSotsugyou
passing the exam 合格 ごうかくGougaku

Example:

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.

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomaji
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
promotion 昇進 しょうしんShoushin
promotion 栄転 えいてんEiten
retirement, quitting the job 退職 たいしょくTaishoku

Example:

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

Wedding

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.

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomaji
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

Example:

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

Child Growth

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.

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomaji
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
coming-of-age celebration 成人 せいじんSeijin

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.

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomajiImportant colors/symbolism
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.

For example:

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomaji
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

Memorial Day

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomajiCommemoration for
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

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomaji
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

EnglishKanjiHiraganaRomaji
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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.