“OK” in Japanese — Positive and neutral ways to say it

Knowing how to say “OK” in Japanese is extremely helpful in everyday situations, and it could be the next chapter for Japanese learners already familiar with “Yes” and “No” phrases.

Happy looking girl with a thumbs up on both hands

Let’s have a deeper look at the variations and explanations for “OK” or “Okay” in Japanese!

How to Say “OK” in Japanese

The term “OK” has also been incorporated from English into Japanese. In casual situations, you can use オーケー (ookee) or オーケーです (ookee desu) when respect is required.

For expressing understanding, the most effective way to convey “OK” in Japanese is to use わかった (wakatta). If formality is needed, you can opt for わかりました (wakarimashita).

As you know, we use the English phrase “OK” in various situations. Not to mention approval and agreement, it sometimes refers to a sign of indifference or simply showing possibilities. And this is no exception in the Japanese language.

The Japanese phrase for “OK” can have multiple meanings depending on the context and intonation.

The different versions of OK in Japanese

“OK” doesn’t have a straightforward meaning in Japanese. You can’t use it casually with everyone, as the level of formality matters in Japan. Let’s learn them below!

Positive OK in Japanese

The following phrases are general “OK” and “it’s okay” in Japanese and the most casual way to answer questions like “Is it okay?” or “Are you okay?” in Japanese.

Formal and Positive

  • だいじょうぶです (daijoubu desu | 大丈夫です | It’s OK. That’s OK. I’m OK.)
  • わかりました (wakarimashita | 分かりました、解りました、判りました | It’s OK. That’s OK. I see.) *Literally, “I understood” in Japanese
  • もんだいありません (mondai arimasen | 問題ありません | It’s OK. That’s OK. No problem.)
  • いいです (ii desu | 良いです、好いです、善いです | It’s OK. I’m okay. It’s good.) *Spoken language
  • よいです (yoi desu | 良いです、好いです、善いです | It’s OK. I’m okay. It’s good.) *Written language
  • まあまあです (maa maa desu | It’s okay. I’m okay. So-so.)
  • わるくありません (warukunai | 悪くありません | It tastes/sounds/smells/looks/feels okay.)

Casual and Positive

  • だいじょうぶ (daijoubu | 大丈夫 | It’s okay. I’m okay.)
  • わかった (wakatta | 分かった、解った、判った | It’s okay. That’s okay. I see.) *Literally, “I understood” in Japanese
  • いい (ii | 良い、好い、善い | It’s okay. It’s good.) *Spoken language
  • よい (yoi | 良い、好い、善い | It’s okay. It’s good.) *Written language
  • もんだいない (mondai nai | 問題ない | It’s okay. I’m okay. No problem.)
  • まあまあ (maa maa | It’s okay. I’m okay. So-so.)
  • わるくない (warukunai | 悪くない | It tastes/sounds/smells/looks/feels okay.)

Example Sentences

  • ちょっとちこくしそう。 (chotto chikoku shisou | ちょっと遅刻しそう。)

I think I’ll be a little late.

わかった、きをつけてきてね。(wakatta, ki wo tsukete kite ne | わかった、気を付けて来てね。)

OK, get here safely.

  • へやをそうじしておいてくれる? (heya wo soujishite oite kureru? | 部屋を掃除しておいてくれる?)

Can you clean the room?

いいよ、あとでやっておくね。(ii yo, ato de yatte oku ne. | いいよ、後でやっておくね。)

Okay, I’ll take care of it later.

“OK” is important in Japanese talks, often connected with saying “yes.” Take a look at the instances below. In these cases, “OK” fits well in Japanese chats when agreeing.:

  • たべられる? (taberareri? | 食べられる?)

Is the meal alright with you?

うん、だいじょうぶ。おいしいよ。(un, daijoubu. oishii yo. | うん、大丈夫。美味しいよ。)

Yeah, it’s Okay. I like this.

  • なまえはこのスペルであっていますか?(namae wa kono superu de atte imasu ka? | 名前はこのスペルで合っていますか?)

Is this the correct spelling of your name?

はい、もんだいありません。(hai, mondai arimasen. | はい、問題ありません。)

Yes. it is. No problem.

You can add supplemental words to be more friendly and casual. Here are some examples:

  • このまえはごめんね。(kono mae wa gomen ne. | この前はごめんね。)

I’m sorry about the other day.

もういいよ。わたしもいいすぎた。(mou ii yo. Watashi mo iisugita. | もういいよ。私も言い過ぎた。)

Don’t worry about it anymore. I think I said too much.

  • じかんはだいじょうぶですか? (jikan wa daijoubu desu ka? | 時間は大丈夫ですか?)

It might take longer, but is it okay with you?

ぜんぜんだいじょうぶです。(zenzen daijoubu desu. | 全然大丈夫です。)

It’s totally okay.

Note: よ (yo) at the end of the phrase is a type of しゅうじょし (shuujo shi | 終助詞 | sentence-ending particle) in Japanese. It doesn’t have extra meaning as a word but adds nuance to the sentence. Some words like ね (ne) or わ (wa) work similarly.

Less Positive Ways to Say OK in Japanese

It’s not uncommon that Japanese native speakers don’t give you a clear “Yes” or “No” answer and reply with だいじょうぶ (daijoubu) or まあまあ (maa maa). Many Japanese people don’t express their feelings and thoughts using words, but you will understand the meaning by paying close attention to the context.

Let’s see the example sentences and get used to the Japanese way.

Formal Neutral or Negative Words

  • だいじょうぶです (daijoubu desu | 大丈夫です | It’s OK. I’m OK. Alright.)
  • まあまあです (maa maa desu | It’s OK. I’m OK. Alright.)
  • いまひとつ (imahitotsu | 今一つ | It’s not the best. It could be better.) *Commonly written in Hiragana
  • わるくありません (warukunai | 悪くありません | It tastes/sounds/smells/looks/feels okay.)
  • いいです (ii desu | That’s okay. No, thank you.)
  • いらないです (iranai desu | 要らないです | That’s okay. No, thank you.) *Spoken language
  • いりません (irimasen | 要りません | That’s okay. No, thank you.)
  • けっこうです (kekkou desu | 結構です | That’s okay. No, thank you.)
  • おきづかいなく (okizukai naku | お気遣いなく | Please don’t go to any trouble for me.)
  • きにしないでください (ki ni shinaide kudasai | 気にしないで下さい | Please don’t worry about it.)

Casual Neutral or Negative Words

  • だいじょうぶ (daijoubu | 大丈夫 | It’s OK. I’m OK. Alright.)
  • まあまあ (maa maa | It’s OK. I’m OK. Alright.)
  • いまいち (imaichi desu | 今一 | It’s not the best. It could be better.) *Commonly written in Hiragana
  • わるくない (warukunai | 悪くない | It tastes/sounds/smells/looks/feels okay. Alright.)
  • いい (ii | That’s okay. No, thank you.)
  • いらない (iranai | 要らない | That’s okay. No, thank you.)
  • けっこう (kekkou | 結構 | That’s okay. No, thank you.)
  • おかまいなく (okamai naku | お構いなく | That’s okay. No, thank you.)
  • きにしないで (ki ni shinaide | 気にしないで | Don’t worry about it.)

Example Sentences

  • いまひとつだけど、そんなにわるくないできだ。(ima hitotsu dakedo, sonna ni warukunai deki da | 今一つだけどそんなに悪くない出来だ。| Not quite right, but it’s alright.)
  • あじはどう?まあまあってところかな。(aji wa dou? maa maatte tokoro kana. | 味はどう?まあまあってところかな。| How does it taste? I think it’s just okay.)
  • このまえのりょかんはどうだった?ぼくはわるくなかったとおもう。(kono mae no ryokan wa doudatta? boku wa warukunakatta to omou. | 悪くない | It’s okay. I’m okay. It’s not bad.)
  • あ!ゴミをすてるのをわすれていました。いいですよ、わたしがやっておきます。(a! gomi wo suteru no wo wasurete imashita. mou ii desu yo, watashi ga yatteokimasu. | あ!ゴミを捨てるのを忘れていました。いいですよ、私がやっておきます。| Ah! I forgot to throw out the garbage. No, it’s OK, I’ll do it.)
  • おかわりはどうですか?いいえ、おかまいなく。もうおいとまします。(okawari wa dou desu ka? iie, okamainaku. mou oitomashimsu. | おかわりはどうですか?いいえ、お構いなく。もうお暇します。| No, it’s okay. Thank you. I’ll leave soon.)
  • おちゃはもうけっこうです。ありがとうございます。(ocha wa mou kekkou desu. arigatou gozaimasu. | お茶はもう結構です。ありがとうございます。| I’m good for now. Thank you.)

Slang to Say “OK” in Japanese

Did you know? Japanese people commonly use the directly translated English word.

It’s not appropriate to use them in a formal situations, but native speakers use them in various casual situations.

The Japanese converted “OK” only suggests positive meanings and has no other nuances. On the other hand, Japanese words such as だいじょうぶ (daijoubu | 大丈夫) and いいよ (ii yo) could work in both positive and negative ways with tone changes, just like the actual English word.

The locals use direct translation of the English word “okay.” For example:

  • OK (Ookee | OK)
  • オーケー (Ookee | OK)
  • オッケー (Okkee | OK)

Also, they have many variations as internet slang and Kaomoji.

  • おk (Oke | OK)
  • おこk (Okoke | OK)
  • おけまる (Okemaru | OK)
  • よきまるもんざえもん (Yokimaru monzaemon | Good, no problem at all)
  • (๑•ㅂ•) ok♡
  • おけ( ¯꒳¯ )b✧
  • (*•∀•)ノ”

Here are other slang ways to say “okay,” which are also pretty common in Japan.

  • りょうかい (ryoukai | 了解 | OK. Sounds good.)
  • りょ (ryo | OK. Sounds good.)
  • よさげ (yosage | 良さげ | It tastes/sounds/smells/looks/feels good.)
  • いいかんじ (ii kanji | 良い感じ | OK. Sounds good. Looks good.)
  • ラジャー (rajaa | Roger)

Just like in any other language, slang is vital for informal talk among friends, peers, and specific social circles. Japanese slang enhances the language with cultural depth and subtlety, mirroring the evolving trends, attitudes, and expressions of the youth.

Example Sentences

  • こんどうみにいこうよ。(kondo umi ni ikou yo. | 今度海に行こうよ。)

Why don’t we go to the sea sometime soon?

オッケー、いつにする?(ookee, itsu ni suru? | オッケー、いつにする? )

Okay, when do you want to go?

  • これであってますか? (kore de attemasu ka? | これで合ってますか?)

Is this correct?

OKです。(ookee desu! | OKです!)

It’s OK.

Can you say “ok” in formal situations?

Saying “OK” or オーケー (ookee) isn’t suitable for formal situations like in businesses or customer service. That’s why it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the other two types of けいご (Keigo | 敬語 | Honorifics) in Japanese.

  • ていねいご (teinei go | 丁寧語 | polite language)
  • そんけいご (sonkei go | 尊敬語 | respectful language)
  • けんじょうご (kenjou go | 謙譲語 | humble language)

Native speakers often use けんじょうご (kenjou go | 謙譲語 | humble language) and そんけいご (sonkei go | 尊敬語 | respectful language), and sometimes these combined expressions on various circumstances.


  • かしこまりました (kashikomarimashita | Certainly. Of course.)
  • しょうちいたしました (shouchi itashimashita | 承知いたしました | I understood)
  • さしつかえありません (sashitsukae arimasen | 差し支えありません | I don’t mind.)
  • もんだいございません (monsai gozaimasen | 問題ございません | No problem)
  • ごしんぱいにはおよびません (go shinpai ni wa oyobimasen | ご心配には及びません | I do not need your concern.)
  • よろしくおねがいいたします (yoroshiku onegai itashimasu | よろしくお願いいたします | Thank you. Please take care of it.)


In conclusion, many casual and polite ways to say “OK” in Japanese exist.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Japanese ways of communication, you may find it confusing to understand them at first. でも、だいじょうぶです! (demo daijoubu desu! | But it’s okay!) You can always ask what the reply means.

Knowing how to say “OK” in Japanese is the key to smoother conversations. It’s a flexible reply, fitting for most questions and scenarios you’ll encounter in Japan. This two-letter word opens doors to everyday interactions in this vibrant culture.

Let’s start using “OK” phrases in Japanese and getting used to it!

がんばってください (ganbatte kudasai)! ^^

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