“Oh My God” in Japanese – An expression of surprise

This lesson will focus on how to say and write “Oh my god” in Japanese.

A guy with a shocked expression placing his hand on his cheek and another hand on his side

People in Japan may seem calm and composed to some foreigners, but they express their emotions and feelings using their own words and body language.

Also, you will be able to discover the secrets of native Japanese speakers that you have always wondered about.

Let’s check it out!

How to Say “Oh My God” in Japanese

The English exclamation “Oh, my god” is reasonably recognized in Japan but hardly used in day-to-day conversations. While some like オーケー (Ookei | おーけー | Okay), オーライ (Oorai | おーらい | All right), and ドンマイ (Donmai | どんまい | Don’t mind it, No worries), this so-called わせいえいご (Wasei Eigo | 和製英語 | Japanglish) words are widely known and used.

The カタカナ (Katakana | 片仮名 | Katakana, Japanese alphabet) phrase to say “Oh, my god” is オーマイゴッド (Oomaigoddo | おーまいごっど), and this occasionally appears in まんが (Manga | 漫画 | Manga comics), アニメ (Anime | アニメ | Animation), and テレビドラマ (Terebi dorama | てれびどらま | TV drama) to emphasize the emotional states of a character.

Japanese people say “Oh, my god” in different ways from English. Here are some of them.

Oh, my godおーまいごっどオーマイゴッド Oomaigoddo
Oh, my godおーまいごっとオーマイゴット Oomaigotto
Oh, my godおーまいがーオーマイガー Oomaigaa

However, be careful with using the expressions literally. Here are some wrong ways of translating this expression in Japanese.

  • ああ、わたしのかみさま (Aa, watashi no kami sama | ああ、私の神様) – Oh, my God
  • ああ、ぼくのほとけさま (Aa, boku no hotoke sama | ああ、僕の仏様) – Oh, my Buddha
  • おお、いいえ (Oo, iie | おお、いいえ) – Oh, no

Correct ways to say “oh my god” in Japanese

Instead, here are the correct ways to use this phrase. Let’s start with the formal ones.

Formal expressions:

  • なんということでしょう、なんてことでしょう (Nanto iu koto de shou, nan te koto de shou | 何という事でしょう、何て事でしょう)
  • これはたいへんです (Kore wa taihen desu | これは大変です)

Casual Expressions:

  • なんてこと (Nante koto | 何て事)
  • なんてことだ (Nante koto da | 何て事だ)
  • なんてこったい (Nante kottai | 何てこったい)
  • これはたいへんだ (Kore wa taihen da | これは大変だ)

These phrases have the meanings of “What does this mean,” “What is happening,” and “This is troublesome” in Japanese. Native speakers use this in many different ways and in various situations.

New Vocabulary

Here are some useful words that we have covered above:

is called, is named, that/which means~と言う~という ~to iu
thing, matter, fact
really, very, awful, serious大変たいへんTaihen


なんということでしょう。わたしはこれからどうしたらよいのでしょうか。 (Nanto iu koto de shou. Watashi wa kore kara dou shita ra yoi no de shou ka. | 何という事でしょう。私はこれからどうしたら良いのでしょうか。)

Oh, no. What should I do from now on?

なんてことだ!こんなはずじゃなかったのに! (Nante koto da! Konna hazu ja nakatta no ni | 何て事だ!こんな筈じゃなかったのに!)

Oh, dear! It wasn’t supposed to be like this!

なんてこったい、はやくしないとたいへんだ (Nante kottai, hayaku shinai to taihen da | 何てこったい、早くしないと大変だ)

Oh my gosh. I need to hurry. I don’t know what will happen next otherwise.

The three sentences above can convey anger, sadness, frustration, and surprise. Also, the fundamental meanings depend on the tone of the language and how one uses it.

Why the Japanese “Oh, My God” doesn’t have a word for “God”

Did you notice that the Japanese phase doesn’t have the word “God” as the original English? There is a cultural reason behind it.

Japan has two major religions, しんとう (Shintou | 神道 | Shinto, Shintoism) and ぶっきょう (Bukkyou | 仏教 | Buddhism), both of which have long influenced Japanese customs and practices.

However, many people nowadays are neither religious nor follow any particular deity as in other countries. Japanese people are more like natural worshippers, so references to かみ、かみさま (Kami, Kami sama | 神、神様 | my god, deity) or “my lord” doesn’t fit their culture well.

Other Examples of saying “Oh, My God” in Japanese

The Japanese phrase “Oh, my god” often holds an adjective instead of the phrases related to “God.” Let’s see the other ways to express it.

Formal “Oh, My God” in Japanese

Here are the formal ways to say “Oh my God” in Japanese. If you’re speaking to someone older or of a higher social rank than you, this is the version that you should use.

This is bad 大変です たいへんです Taihen desu
This is terrible, You're the worst 酷いです ひどいです Hidoi desu
I'm surprised 驚きました おどろきました Odoroki mashita
I'm surprised 吃驚しました びっくりしました、きっきょうしました Bikkuri shimashita, Kikkyou shimashita
It's wonderful 素晴らしいです すばらしいです Subarashii desu
I'm moved 感動しました かんどうしました Kandou shimashita
I'm impressed 感銘を受けました かんめいをうけました Kanmei wo ukemashita

Informal “Oh, My God” in Japanese

If you’re speaking to a friend or someone close to you, you can use this version instead.

This is bad 大変だたいへんだ Taihen da
I'm surprised 吃驚したびっくりした、きっきょうした Bikkuri shita, Kikkyou shita
I'm moved 感動したかんどうした Kandou shita
It's wonderful 素晴らしいすばらしい Subarashii
I'm moved to tears 泣けるなける Nakeru
This is the best 最高ださいこうだ Saikou da
This is the worst 最低ださいていだ Saitei da
This is the worst, It's terrible 最悪ださいあくだ Saiaku da

Slang for “Oh, My God” in Japanese

Below are some related slang words to “Oh my god” in Japanese.

Oh, no, really?, Are you sure? まじ?、まじかマジ?、マジか Maji?, Maji ka
Darn it *vulgar expressionくそ、くそっ Kuso
Darn it *vulgar expression, originally the Buddhist term for beasts 畜生ちくしょう Chikushou


たいへんです!いそがなければ!(Taihen desu! Isoganakere ba! | 大変です!急がなければ!)

Oh, no! We need to hurry!

ひどいわ!こんなことになるなんて! (Hidoi wa! Konna koto ni naru nan te | 酷いわ!こんな事になるなんて!)

Oh, my god! I can’t believe this happened to me! *feminine phrase

とてもかんどうしました。なんてすてきなけしきなんでしょう! (Totemo kandou shimashita. Nante suteki na keshiki nan de shou! | とても感動しました。何て素敵な景色なんでしょう!)

I’m very impressed. What a lovely view!

もう!びっくりした!あやうくけがをするところだった (Mou! Bikkuri shita! Ayauku kega wo suru tokoro datta | もう!びっくりした!危うく怪我をするところだった)

Oh, my gosh! I was surprised! I was on the verge of getting hurt.

Japanese Interjections

The English expression like “Oh, my god” is called かんどうし (Kandoushi | 感動詞 | Interjection) or かんたんし (Kantan shi | 感嘆詞 | Interjection) in Japanese.

literally translated to "Moving word") 感動詞 かんどうし Kandou shi
literally translated to "Wonder word") 感嘆詞 かんたんし Kantan shi
literally translated to "Intermission word") 間投詞 かんとうし Kantou shi

Japanese interjections can imply five different things.

  1. かんどう (Kandou | 感動 | excitement) → ああ (Aa)、おお (Oo)、えっ (E)、ほう (Hou)、まあ (Maa)
  2. よびかけ (Yobikake | 呼びかけ | call) → もしもし (Moshimoshi)、ねえ (Nee)、こら (Kora)、さあ (Saa)、まあ (Maa)
  3. おうとう (Outou | 応答 | response) → はい (Hai)、いいえ (Iie)、さあ (Saa)、なに (Nani)
  4. あいさつ (Aisatsu | 挨拶 | greeting) → おはよう (Ohayou)、こんにちは (Konnichiwa)、さようなら (Sayounara)
  5. かけごえ (Kakegoe | かけ声 | yell, shout) → えい (Ei)、よし (Yoshi)、さあ (Saa)

Some words may sound identical from one to the other, so don’t forget to pay attention to the full context.

You can also recognize the sound difference by paying close attention to the exclamation marks, question marks, and accents.


ああっ!どうしてすてちゃったの? (Aa! Doushite sute chatta no? | ああっ!どうして捨てちゃったの?)

Oh, no! Why did you throw it away?

ああ、おはようございます (Aa, ohayou gozaimasu | ああ、お早う御座います)

Oh, good morning.

ああ、しってたよ (Aa, shittetayo | ああ、知ってたよ)

Yes, I knew that already. (this is typically used by men)

えー!さそえばよかった! (Ee! Sasoe ba yokatta | えー!誘えば良かった!)

Oh, my god. I should have invited you!

えっ、もうきてたの? (E, mou kiteta no? | えっ、もう来てたの?)

Oh, you’re already here.

ええ、ぜひおねがいします (Ee, zehi onegai shimasu | ええ、是非お願いします)

Yes, please do so.

まあ!こんなところであうなんて (Maa! Konna tokoro de au nan te | まあ!こんなところで会うなんて)

Oh, my god! Who would expect to meet you in a place like this. (this is typically used by women)

まあ、そうおこらないで (Maa, sou okoranai de | まあ、そう怒らないで)

Come on, don’t be so angry.

へえ、まあわるくないんじゃない? (Hee, maa waruku nai n ja nai? | へえ、まあ悪くないんじゃない?)

Oh, well. It’s not bad, is it?


Below are the words used above:

Exclamation mark (!) 感嘆符かんたんふKantan fu
Question mark (?) 疑問符ぎもんふGimon fu
Exclamation mark (!)びっくりマークBikkuri maaku
Question mark (?)はてなマークHatena maaku

Sounds related to “Oh my god” in Japanese

It might be a well-known fact, but native Japanese speakers tend to make funny sounds and noises from time to time.

These sounds don’t work as proper word, but it holds the meanings of shock, excitement, and nervousness like English “Oh, my god.”

For example, a brisk sound and long vowel sound commonly means “Oh,” “Whoa,” “Wow,” and “Oops.”

And, hissing noises through their teeth function as “Oh, no” or work similar to English swear words. It’s called したうち (Shitauchi | 舌打ち | the tongue clicking noise) in the Japanese language and is described as ちっ (Chi | Tsk) in written form.

  • あっ、ああ、あー (A, Aa)
  • えっ、ええ、えー (E, Ee)
  • おっ、おお、おー (O, Oo)
  • まっ、まあ、まー (Ma, Maa)
  • わっ、わあ、わー (Wa, Waa)
  • うわっ、うわあ、うわー (Uwa, Uwaa)
  • きゃっ、きゃあ、きゃー (Kya, Kyaa)
  • ぎゃっ、ぎゃあ、ぎゃー (Gya, Gyaa)
  • ちっ、チッ (Chi) *vulgar expression
  • ちぇっ、チェッ (Che) *vulgar expression


Below are some sample sentences:

えー、しらなかったよ (Ee, shiranakatta yo | えー、知らなかったよ)

Oh, my goodness. I didn’t know that

うわっ、そこにいたの? (Uwa, soko ni ita no? | うわっ、そこに居たの?)

Whoa, were you there?

きゃー!おどろかせないでよ! (Kyaa! Odorokasenaide yo! | きゃー!驚かせないでよ)

Wow! Don’t be surprised! *women speech

おお!いまのみた?すごいきれいだった (Oo! Ima no mita? Sugoi kirei datta | おお!今の見た?すごいきれいだった)

Oh! Did you see that now? It was very beautiful

ちっ!もたもたあるいてんじゃねえよ! (Chi! Motamota aruite n ja nee yo! | ちっ!もたもた歩いてんじゃねえよ!)

Tsk! Don’t walk so slowly! *vulgar, men speech

Oh, My God” in Japanese digital communication

Using emojis えもじ (Emoji | 絵文字 | pictogram) is a common way to express yourself in digital communication. Here are some useful ones that you can use.

Emojis for positive emotions

Happiness, Excitement, Surprise, and so on:

(♥д♥) happy, exciting
(゚∀゚) pleased, exciting
(≧∇≦) exciting, greeting with smile
٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و delighted, exciting
(๑`·ᴗ·´๑) exciting, try my best

Emojis for negative emotions

Anger, Frustration, Sadness, Disappointment, and so on:

(ꐦ°᷄д°᷅) angry, frustrated
Σ(゚ロ゚;) surprised, disappointed
(꒪ཫ꒪; ) sad, disappointed, and dangerous
((( ; ´•ω•` ; ))) sad, disappointed, and confused
(๑°⌓°๑) surprised, confused

Wrap Up

Expressing surprise, shock, frustration, or any similar emotions is easier if you know the right words. How do you express this feeling? Do you also say, “oh my god” or “omg?” Leave us a comment below!

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