“Nice to Meet You” in Japanese – Express It in Various Forms

Do you know that learning how to say “nice to meet you” in Japanese comes with its perks? It is technically the first stage of any greeting between new acquaintances. It’s also the first impression you make on someone, which always holds a certain kind of weight no matter who’s measuring.

girl waving and smiling

Today we tackle to ins and outs of saying this phrase in Japan, including how to use the expression at every level of formality, the kanji associated with the term, and related vocabulary.

Do you know how to read Japanese words? If not, this article has romaji versions of the vocabulary to help you out. However, we encourage you to learn Japanese alphabet so you can read the Japanese words in hiragana and katakana, too.

So kick back, relax (your body), and let’s get those brains working in this article!

How to Say “Nice to Meet You” in Japanese

We’ll teach you different ways to say “nice to meet you” in Japanese. Which one to use will depend on the person you’re talking to or the level of formality.

Let’s discuss each one below!

“Nice to Meet You” in Japanese (Standard)

はじめまして。よろしくおねがいします (hajimemashite. yoroshiku onegaishimasu | 初めまして。よろしくお願いします) is the most standard form of “nice to meet you” in Japanese. This is the practical version of this phrase among all its other variations.

To speak more fairly, these are really two set phrases that are very often placed together, as when meeting someone for the first time. Let’s take a look at each for a second.

If you want to express it in a more direct way, you can say はじめまして (hajimashite | 初めまして). It literally translates as “(we are) meeting for the first time…”

よろしくおねがいします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu | よろしくお願いします) is more like asking the person you’re meeting to “please take care” of you. It sounds a bit strange directly translated into English, but it is an omen and declaration of creating a considerate relationship between you and the other person.

Both can be expressed on their own (and as slightly different variants sometimes) to mean “it’s nice to meet you,” so it’s best to think of the complete phrase as having both components together.

When used in actual conversation, one’s name almost always comes in between these two expressions. It starts to add up if you consider the definitions of each expression, as we highlighted just above.

Example Sentences

はじめまして。わたしはなつきです。よろしくおねがいします (hajimemashite. watashi wa natsuki desu. yoroshiku onegaishimasu | 初めまして。私は夏樹です。よろしくお願いします)

Nice to meet you. I’m Natsuki. (Please be kind to me)

はじめまして。わたし、わたるともうします。よろしくおねがいします (hajimemashite. watashi, wataru to moushimasu. yoroshiku onegaishimasu | 初めまして。私、渉と申します。よろしくお願いします)

Nice to meet you. I’m Wataru. (Please be kind to me) 

As you can see, the ending of this formal greeting sounds so strange in English that it’s more reasonable to simply consider it as a part of the entire expression, “nice to meet you,” that takes its own shape in the completely unique Japanese language!

Not to mention, there are other usages for these terms in Japan, which we dive into moving forward!

“Nice to Meet You” in Japanese (Formal)

There are many ways to say “nice to meet you” in Japanese in formal expressions! Keep in mind that these are standalone phrases that do not fit into any complex sentence structures. In other words, they’re always in these forms and always said on their own!

Adding どうぞ (douzo)

どうぞよろしくお願いします (douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu) is the exact the same phrase minus the addition of どうぞ (douzo). This cute little prefix can be found in several places throughout Japan and simply makes what it touches more polite!

Respectful Way

よろしくお願いいたします (yoroshiku onegai itashimasu) is the same expression except for our します (shimasu) has now become いたします (itashimasu).

This invites the introduction of what is known as けいご (keigo | 敬語), or respectful speech, into the picture. You may want to use this formal version of the phrase when meeting an elder, a senior, on a higher status, or anyone deserving great respect.

Poetic Way

おあいできてうれしいです (oai dekite ureshii desu | お会い出来てうれしいです) is another formal version. This phrase is a little more poetic.

The お会いできて (oai dekite) part of this translates as “the ability to meet,” whereas うれしい (ureshii) means “joyful” or “happy.” When put together, it expresses the joy of a first meeting.

Honorable Way

In another poetic narrative, おめにかけてこうえいです (ome ni kakete kouei desu | お目にかけて光栄です) which translates directly as “it is an honor for you to have appeared within my view.”

Whereas 光栄 (kouei) means honor, お目にかけて (ome ni kakete) is “before my eyes,” but is like a humble form to say “to meet.” Cool right!?

“Nice to Meet You” in Japanese (Casual)

よろしく (yoroshiku) can be used as a casual way to say ” nice to meet you” in Japanese under certain circumstances. This is pretty much exclusively used in very social settings amongst peers and friends of the same age and status.

It basically declares that formalities should be bypassed, and the good relationship should continue on casual ground and equal footing. This one is not to be used in any other circumstance without the risk of being rude and discourteous in Japanese culture.

Example Sentences

おれのなははるです。よろしく (ore no na wa haru desu. yoroshiku | 俺の名は春です。よろしく)

Hey, I’m Haru. Nice to meet ya.

うん、ゆじですよ。よろしく (un, yuji desu yo. yoroshiku | うん、ユジですよ。よろしく)

I’m Yuji. Nice to meet you.

Other Usages of “yoroshiku”

よろしく (yoroshiku) is a really cool expression, so here is a complementary tip on another way to implement its magic into your Japanese language!

We mentioned that よろしく (yoroshiku) in よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) or requests for another to “be kind to” or “care for you.” Well, this word can also be used with the same literal meaning in some other sentences.

Example sentences

こちらはゆうたのおばあさんです。よろしくお願い (kochira wa Yuuta no obaasan desu. Yoroshiku onegai | こちらは雄太のお婆さんです。よろしくおねがい)

This is Yuuta’s grandmother. Please look after her.*

*The お願い (onegai) is redundant here, but it would be somewhat more natural to say.

よろしく (yoroshiku) can also be used as a way to request that someone send your care along to someone else. In other words, it’s a way of giving regards on your behalf:

いもうとによろしくね (imouto ni yoroshiku ne | 妹によろしくね)

Say hi to your little sister for me / Give my regards to your younger sister.*

*Pro-Japanese Tip: The particle に (ni) used here is used to point or direct the notion of the regards toward the ‘younger sister’ that is the subject of the sentence!

“Nice to Meet You” in Kanji

As a bit of a bonus, here is a quick Kanji breakdown of this expression to better understand the overall context – and to study some extra Japanese in the process!

初めまして (hajimemashite) comes from the verb はじめる (hajimeru), which means to start or begin. Also, 初めて (hajimete) is a Japanese adverb that means “for the first time.” In short, this kanji is all about the commencement of new beginnings!

The kanji in the おねがい (onegai | お願い) piece of お願いします (onegaishimasu) translates as “wish” or “request.” It is used as a polite way to say “please” at the end of a call to action for native Japanese speakers.

よろしく (yoroshiku) does not use any Kanji. When standing alone as such, it can translate to mean “well” or “suitable.”

Replying to “yoroshiku onegaishimasu”

コチラコソ (kochira koso) is a super useful expression for Japanese people that essentially flips the honor or praise back around to whoever is doling it out. We’ve added this here since it’s also useful to know and apply when meeting someone for the first time.

The application is simple – it can either be used totally on its own or just before repetition of the original phrase as a rebuttal.

Example Sentences

どうぞよろしくおねがいいたします (douzo yoroshiku onegaiitashimasu | どうぞよろしくお願いいたします。)

It is a true pleasure to meet you.

こちらこそよろしくおねがいいたします (kochira koso yoroshiku onegaiitashimasu | こちらこそよろしくお願いいたします。)

The true pleasure is all mine!

Wrap Up

Saying “nice to meet you” in Japanese is really important as it affects how relationships start. There are various ways to say it based on how formal you want to be.

Learning Japanese such as these phrases can help you understand the language better, making conversations go well and relationships grow positively.

Have you tried using these phrases when talking to Japanese speakers? Share your experience in the comments below!

がんばってください (ganbatte kudasai)! ^^

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