How to Introduce Yourself in Japanese – All You Need To Know

Today, we’ll teach you simple steps and give you tips on how to introduce yourself in Japanese.

If you’re meeting a Japanese for the first time, knowing how to introduce yourself in Japanese will help you leave a good impression. It’s also one way to impress your boss, colleagues, teachers, or classmates on your first day at work, or school in Japan.

Read on to get started!

How to Introduce Yourself in Japanese

What is “self-introduction” in Japanese?

Before you get into learning how to introduce yourself in Japanese, let’s first learn what “self-introduction” is in Japanese.

To give an introduction of oneself is じこしょうかい (Jikoshoukai) in Japanese where じこ (Jiko) means self while しょうかい shoukai means introduction.

How to introduce yourself in Japanese?

Japanese people usually start their introduction with greetings and a question that is similar to the English question “How are you”. When introducing yourself in Japanese, you can do these first.

After doing these, you can say your name, where you live and then followed by other information you wish to share about yourself such as your school if you are a student, occupation if you’re working and hobbies.

Japanese Greetings

The Japanese are taught the importance of the あいさつ Aisatsu or greetings from childhood. It is very important that you start your introduction with the correct and proper greeting. Remember to do your greeting with a simple bow. Bowing is a sign of respect and politeness in Japanese culture.

Below is a list of basic Japanese greetings you’ll use when introducing yourself to others.

EnglishJapaneseRomaji
Good morningおはようございますohayou gozaimasu
Good morningおはようohayou
Good afternoonこんにちはkonnichiwa
Good eveningこんばんはkonbanwa
Nice to meet youはじめましてhajimemashite

Greetings in Japanese

Greetings in Japanese is called あいさつ (aisatsu).

A group of young people waving their hands

Good morning in Japanese

There are two ways you can say “good morning” in Japanese.

The first way is おはようございます (ohayou gozaimasu). It is a formal way of greeting someone “Good morning”.

おはよう(Ohayou) is another way of greeting a person good morning. However, it’s an informal greeting that has an equivalent meaning to “Morning” in English.

Good afternoon in Japanese

こんにちは(konnichiwa) is a phrase used by Japanese people to say “Good afternoon” or “Hello“. This can be used in a formal or informal setting.

Good evening in Japanese

こんばんは (konbanwa) is the Japanese phrase used to say “Good evening”.

Nice to meet you in Japanese

The word はじめHajime means beginning or start. The phrase はじめまして(Hajimemashite) can be translated as “How do you do?”. It is usually the first phrase that one says when introducing oneself in Japan. It literally means “I am meeting you for the first time”. It’s the same Japanese phrase you’ll use if you want to say to someone “Nice to meet you”.

You may also bow as you say this phrase. Japanese people have also adopted the Western style of handshake so you may do a handshake instead of a bow when saying this beginning phrase for self-introduction.

Saying your name in Japanese

There are three standard ways how you can say your name in Japanese. You can choose from any of the three below depending on the situation and occasion of your introduction.

An office with 3 people, computer and a desk

Remember that in Japan, they say their surname first before they say their given name.

“I am” in Japanese 

One way to introduce yourself is by saying your name. You can usually say it with “I am” plus your name.

“I am” in Japanese is expressed with わたしは (watashi wa). When using わたしは (watashi wa) to say your name, you’ll usually end your sentence with です (desu).

です(desu) at the end of a sentence signifies politeness. Thus you’ll use the following sentence pattern:

わたしは (name) です.

This sentence pattern is one of the standard forms for saying your name.

For example:

わたしは Smith, John です。

Watashi wa Smith, John desu.

I am John Smith.

“My name is” in Japanese

Another way of saying your name is by using “My name is.”

“My name is” in Japanese is expressed as わたしのなまえわ (watashino namae wa). なまえ (namae) means “name” in Japanese. わたしの (watashino) is the Japanese counterpart of “My” so this makes わたしのなまえわ(watashi no namae wa) means “My name is”.

In order to complete this sentence, you’ll use the following sentence pattern:

わたしのなまえわ (name) です.

For example:

わたしのなまえわ (Watashi no namae wa) です.

Watashi no namae wa Smith, John Desu.

My name is John Smith.

“I am called” in Japanese

The formal way of saying your name in Japanese is using the phrase “I am called.” The phrase “I am called” in Japanese is ともうします (tomou shimasu).

This phrase is more formal and expresses humility when introducing oneself. It is usually used when you are introducing yourself to someone of higher rank/status.

ともうします (tomou shimasu) is usually placed at the end of the sentence. When using it, you should use the following sentence pattern:

(name) ともうします.

For example:

 Smith, John とも うします。

 Smith, John tomou shimasu.

I am called John Smith.

“I’m” in Japanese

When saying your name informally or in a casual way, you can use です (desu).

This means you can simply state your name and add です (desu).

(name) です

This sentence pattern can be translated as “I’m” in Japanese.

For example:

John です。

John desu.

I’m John.

This way is often used when you are introducing yourself to someone of the same age or status such as friends of your friend or in an informal occasion or meeting.

Saying where you’re from in Japanese

There are many different ways of saying where you’re from. Some of them depend on how polite or casual you’d like to say it.

A guy in brown sweater waving his hands

からきました (kara kimashita)

からきました is used when telling someone where you’re from. This phrase is made of 2 words which are から meaning “from” and きました form the word きまし meaning “to come”. からきました literally means “I come from”.

To use this phrase, you’ll use the following sentence pattern:

(country) からきました.

For example:

Canada からきました .

Canada kara kimashita.

I am from Canada.

からきました(Kara Kimashita) means I am from. This standard way is the most often used in self-introductions in Japan. It is considered a simple and polite way of telling others where you are from.

からまいりました(kara mairimashita)

This Japanese phrase consists of 2 words: から and まいりました. As mentioned earlier から means “from”. まいりました (mairimashita) is from the word まいりまし (mairimasu) whose dictionary form is まいる (mairu) meaning “to come”. まいる is the formal word for “to come”.

To use this phrase, you’ll use the following sentence pattern:

(country) からまいりました.

For example:

Canada からまいりました.

Canada kara mairimashita.

I am from Canada.

からまいりました(Kara Mairimashita) is a more polite way of saying “I am from”. This way is often used when you are doing your introduction to someone of a higher rank/status. It is a more polite and humble way of telling people what country or place you are from.

からです(kara desu)

If you’d like to say where you’re from in a casual way, you can simply say your country, city, or hometown’s name and add からです.

(country, city, or hometown’s name) からです.

For example:

Canada からです.

Canada kara desu.

I am from Canada.

からです(kara desu) is an informal way of saying “I am from”. It is often used when you are introducing yourself to someone of the same age, status, or rank in society.

すんでいます (sunde imasu)

すんでいます (sunde imasu) means “I live in”. It is usually used when you are introducing yourself in a less formal environment/event.  You can use this phrase using the following structure:

(city or hometown’s name) すんでいます.

For example:

New York すんでいます.

New York sunde imasu.

I live in New York.

Tokyo すんでいます

Tokyo sunde imasu.

I live in Tokyo.

This Japanese phrase comes from the word すんでいる (sunde iru) which means “to live”.

しゅっしんです (shusshin desu)

The word しゅっしん (shusshin) literally means “origin” or “hometown”. The phrase しゅっしんです (shusshin desu) means “my hometown, birthplace, or place of origin is”.

It is another formal way/polite way of saying where you are from. It is usually used when you are introducing yourself to someone older or someone in a higher rank/status in a company or school setting.

When using this to say about your hometown, birthplace, or place of origin, you’ll use the following structure:

(name of place) は しゅっしんです.

For example:

Madrid は しゅっしんです.

Madrid wa shusshin desu.

My hometown/birthplace/place of origin is Madrid.

Share information about yourself in Japanese

Your reason for being in Japan is most often stated in the self-introduction. It is also a way of telling a little bit of information about yourself. Including such private information makes your self-introduction more friendly and interesting.

EXAMPLES:

わたしはりゅうがくせいです。

Watashi wa ryuugakusei desu.

I am an international/foreign student.

わたしのせんもんわにほんごです。

Watashi no senmon wa Nihongo desu.

My major is Japanese./ I am majoring in Japanese.

In the above examples above, the words りゅうがくせい means “foreign student” and せんもん (senmon) means “major” or “the area of specialization in one’s studies in Japan”.

Other せんもん (senmon) or majors in Japanese are the following:

えいご (Eigo) -English

きょういく(Kyouiku) -Education

すうがく(Suugaku)- Math

いがく(Igaku)- Medicine

Ending you じこしょうじゃい (jikoshoukai | self-introduction)

どうぞよろしくおねがいします (Douzo Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu)

The phrase どうぞよろしくおねがいします (Douzo Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu) formally ends your Japanese self-introduction. It can be translated as “nice to meet you or pleased to meet you” however its literal translation means “please be good to me/please take care of me”.

This ending phrase is very important because signifies that you are putting yourself in the care of the person to whom you have introduced yourself. The Japanese would often respond with a repeat of this phrase. Thus, this phrase signifies the start of a good relationship.

Is it rude to shake hands?

When meeting someone, shaking hands is uncommon or rather unusual among Japanese. They normally bow to greet each other.

Nowadays, as more and more foreigners are visiting or living in Japan, the Japanese are making exceptions for ways to greet someone. Shaking hands is acceptable and isn’t rude, especially in a business setup.

Things to Remember!

  1. Keep your self-introduction short but very informative.
  2. Be polite with your gestures and the tone of your voice.
  3. Say the words slowly and clearly. If your Japanese pronunciation is not that good yet, it’s okay, as long as you say the words clearly so others will understand you.
  4. When in doubt, always use the longer phrases for in Japanese, the longer the sentence or the phrases used, the more polite you are.
  5. If it is a choice between bowing and a handshake, always take a cue from the person you are introducing yourself to. If they bow, you should also bow yourself, and if they extend their hand, take it as a cue for a handshake.
  6. Be confident, be friendly and be sincere in your self-introduction.

Good luck with your self-introduction! Ganbatte ne! がんばってね!Do your best!

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