“Yes” in Japanese – How to express your agreement

This article teaches how to say “yes” in Japanese. Once you remember saying “yes” in Japanese, you will be able to answer yes or no questions and have smooth conversations in no time!

A girl raising her thumb up, smiling

In addition, it will also be an opportunity to discover one aspect of Japanese culture.

Let’s get started!

Basic Words for “Yes” in Japanese

Learning Japanese “yes” and “no” is essential for any learner.

Firstly, there are many ways to say “yes” in Japanese.

  • はい (Hai | “Yes” for formal situations)
  • ええ (Ee | “Yes” for in between formal and informal situations)
  • うん (Un | “Yes” for informal situations)

Among the three words above, はい (Hai | Yes) is the best word to choose as it is the universal option. It is a polite way to respond positively or to show affirmation of the other party talking.

The word ええ (Ee | Yes) works similarly to はい and is for responding with affirmation or acceptance. It is also a common expression in situations that require certain formality.

For the casual setting, うん (Un | Yes). It works almost identically to Yeah or Yep English and is widely used among friends and family.

Basic Words of Positive and Negative Responses in Japanese

Usually, Japanese people use different phrases depending on the required politeness for each situation.

Saying “yes” in a more casual version can sometimes sound rude in Japan. So, be careful and pay attention a little to whom you are talking to or when you are talking.

Polite ways to say “yes” in Japanese

  • はい (Hai | Yes)
  • いいえ (Iie | No)
  • ええ (Ee | Yes)
  • いえ (Ie | No)

Example Phrases in formal conversations

A: にほんははじめてですか?(Nihon wa hajimete desu ka? | | 日本は初めてですか?)

Is it your first time in Japan?

B: はい、はじめてにほんにきました。(Hai, hajimete nihon ni kimashita. | はい、初めて日本に来ました。)

Yes, I came to Japan for the first time.

A: あのひとをしっていますか?(Ano hito wo shitte imasu ka? | あの人を知っていますか?

Do you know that person?

B: ええ、わたしのおとうとです。(Ee, watashi no otouto desu. | ええ、私の弟です。)

Yes, he is my brother.

Casual Form

  • うん (Un | Yes)
  • ううん (Uun | No)
  • おう (Ou | Yes) *
  • いや (Iya | No) *

*This is a slightly mannish expression.

Example phrase in casual conversations

A: いっしょにえいがをみようよ。(Issho ni eiga wo miyou yo. | 一緒に映画を観ようよ。)

Let’s watch a movie together.

B: うん、いいよ。(Un, ii yo)

Yes, sure.

A: パンクをなおしてくれる?(Panku wo naoshite kureru? | パンクを直してくれる?)

Can you fix a puncture?

B: おう、まかせろ。(Ou, makasero. | おう、任せろ。)

Yes, leave it to me. *

*This is a slightly mannish expression.

Very Polite Ways to Say “Yes” in Japanese

Japanese formal conversations sometimes require a high level of honorifics to say “yes.”

Each phrase below is commonly heard in a conversation that involves customer service, business meetings, conversations with your boss, and administrative agencies.

Yes, please. Go ahead.どうぞDouzo
Please. By all means. Sure.是非ぜひZehi
Sure. Certainly. Indeed.勿論ですもちろんですMochiron desu
That's right. I agree.そうですSou desu
You are right. Exactly.仰る通りですおっしゃるとおりですOssharu toori desu
It's fine. Yes, thank you. No, thank you.結構ですけっこうですKekkou desu
No problem. That is fine with me. That is possible.構いませんかまいませんKamai masen
No problem. That is possible.問題ありませんもんだいありませんMondai arimasen
Sure. Leave it to me.お任せ下さいおまかせくださいOmakase kudasai
Sure. Certainly.畏まりましたかしこまりましたKashikomari mashita
I accept.承りましたうけたまわりましたUketamawarimashita
Okay. I got it.了解しましたりょうかいしましたRyoukai shimashita
Yes, I understand. Sure. Leave it to me.了承しました、了承いたしましたりょうしょうしました、りょうしょういたしましたRyoushou shimashita, Ryoushou itashimashita
Yes, I understand. Sure. Leave it to me.承知しました、承知いたしましたしょうちしました、しょうちいたしましたShouchi shimashita, Shouchi itashimashita
Yes, please. Thank you.よろしくお願いします、よろしくお願いいたしますよろしくおねがいします、よろしくおねがいいたしますYoroshiku onegai shimasu, Yoroshiku onegai itashimasu

Alternative Ways to Say “Yes” in Japanese

Besides the ones above, there are other ways to express “yes” in Japan. We’ll teach you more below.

Aizuchi 1: One Word with Multiple Meanings

The words for “yes” and “no” in the Japanese language are called かんどうし (Kandou shi | 感動詞 | Interjection). And one type called あいづち (Aizuchi | 相槌) can work as “yes” in Japanese.

Some people might recognize it as a unique sound that Japanese people often make while listening to others talking.

あいづち (aizuchi) works almost likewise to Yeah, Uh-Huh, or an equivalent word in English.

It represents the listener’s active participation in interactions, understanding, respect, and sometimes surprise.

Here are some sample words:

  • ああ (Aa | Yes. Sure. Okay.)
  • うん (Un | Yes. Sure. Okay.)
  • へえ (Hee | I see. Huh. Oh. Wow.)
  • ふうん (Fuun | I see. Huh. Oh.)
  • そう (Sou | I see. That’s right. Yeah. Wow.)
  • なるほど (Naruhodo | I see. That’s right. So, that’s it.)

Example phrases

かれはカナダじんらしいよ。 (Kare wa kanada jin rashii yo. | 彼はカナダ人らしいよ。)

I hear he is a Canadian.

へえ、そうなんだ。(Hee, sou nanda. | へえ、そうなんだ。)

Oh, is that so?

ふうん、しらなかった。(Fuun, shiranakatta. | ふうん、知らなかった。)

I see, I didn’t know.

おしえてくれてありがとう。(Oshiete kurete arigatou. | 教えてくれて有難う。)

Thanks for telling me that.

However, using あいづち (aizuchi) in the wrong way gives a slightly different meaning.

That is because they can mean yes, no, and between yes and no in Japanese.

Example phrases

きいた? みんなでキャンプにいくんだって。(Kitta? Minna de kyanpu ni iku n datte. | 聞いた?皆でキャンプに行くんだって。)

Did you hear that they are all going camping?

へえ。まあ、ぼくはきょうみないけど。(Hee. Maa, boku wa kyoumi nai kedo. | へえ。まあ、僕は興味ないけど。)

Is that so? Well, I am not interested.

これおいしくない?(Kore oishiku nai? | これ美味しくない?)

Isn’t this delicious?

うん、でもわたしはあっちのみせのほうがすきだな。(Un, demo watashi wa acchi no mise no hou ga suki da na. | うん、でも私はあっちの店の方が好きだな。)

Yeah, but I prefer that store’s food.

Aizuchi 2: The Word Variation

In Japanese, there is a wide range of interjections coming from そう (Sou) and そうです (Sou desu). They both mean similar to “That’s right” in English.

It’s a rather casual way of saying “yes” in Japanese, but you can answer the questions with a word or a whole sentence, depending on your preference.

Basic words

  • そう (Sou | I see. That’s right. Yeah. Wow. Oh.)
  • そう です (Sou desu | You are right. That’s right. Exactly. Yeah.)


  • そうそう (Sou sou | I see. That’s right. Yeah.)
  • そうだ (Sou da | I know. That’s right. Yeah.)*
  • そうだね (Sou da ne | I see. That’s right. Yeah.)
  • そうね (Sou ne | I see. That’s right. Yeah.)**
  • そうか (Sou ka | I get it. That’s right. Yeah. Wow. Oh.)
  • そっか (Sokka | I see. Yeah. Well.)

*This is a slightly mannish expression.

**This is a slightly feminine expression.

Example phrases

きょうからしごとですか?(Kyou kara shigoto desu ka? | 今日から仕事ですか?)

Are you working from today on?

そうです。(Sou desu. | そうです。)

Yes, I am.

もうすぐでばん?(Mou sugu deban? | もうすぐ出番?)

Is it your turn soon?

そう、きんちょうしてきた。(Sou, kinchou shitekita. | そう、緊張してきた。)

Yeah, I’m getting nervous.

Yes or No? The Word with More Than One Meanings

The phrase いいです (Ii desu) is another way to say “yes” in the Japanese language. However, this can both mean yes or no, so you better pay attention to the people’s tone and context.

It sounds a little confusing at first, but understanding the meaning of each sentence is not so difficult.

No problem. I'm fine. It's not necessary.大丈夫だいじょうぶDaijoubu
No problem. I'm fine. It's not necessary.大丈夫ですだいじょうぶですDaijoubu desu
Okay. Sounds good. I agree.いいIi
Okay. Sounds good. I agree. It's not necessary.いいですIi desu
Okay. Sounds good. I agree.結構けっこうKekkou
Okay. Sounds good. No, thank you.結構ですけっこうですKekkou

Example phrases

これたべてもいい?(Kore tabete mo ii? | これ食べてもいい?)

Can I eat this?

いいよ。(Ii yo. いいよ。)


おかわりはどうですか?(Okawari wa dou desu ka? | お代わりはどうですか?)

Do you want some more?

いいです。おなかがいっぱいなので、えんりょしておきます。(Ii desu. Onaka ga ippai nanode, enryo shite okimasu. いいです。お腹が一杯なので、遠慮しておきます。)

No, I’m good. I’m full already, but thank you.

さむくない?(Samuku nai? | 寒くない?)

Aren’t you cold?

だいじょうぶです。きにしないでください。(Daijoubu desu. Ki ni shinai de kudasai. | 大丈夫です。気にしないで下さい。)

No, I’m fine. Please don’t mind me.

The following Japanese words mean neither yes nor no, and give unclear responses to questions.

Such indecisive responses are often referred to as あいまいなにほんごひょうげん (Aimai na Nihongo Hyougen | 曖昧な日本語表現 | Ambiguous Japanese Expressions) in Japanese culture.

And funnily, some native Japanese are not fond of this cultural aspect.


けんとうします。 (Kentou shimasu. | 検討します。)

I’ll consider.

とりあえず、またれんらくするね。(Toriaezu, mata renraku suru ne. | とりあえず、また連絡するね。)

Well, I will contact you again.

まだよていがわからないので、ちょっとかんがえておきます。(Mada yotei ga wakaranai no de, chotto kangaete okimasu. | まだ予定がわからないので、ちょっと考えておきます。)

I’m not sure about the schedule yet, so I’ll give it some thought.

どうかな。むずかしいかもしれない。(Doukana. Muzukashii kamo shirenai. | どうかな。難しいかもしれない。)

I don’t know. It might be difficult to arrange it.

Phrase Repetition in Japanese

It may sound unnatural to English speakers, but people often repeat the same verb or phrase to answer a question in Japan.

In that case, repeating the verb means affirming the answer to the question.


あなたはアメリカからきましたか?(Anata wa amerika kara kimashita ka? | あなたはアメリカから来ましたか? )

Are you from the United States?

そうです。アメリカからきました。Soudesu. Amerika kara kimashita. | そうです。アメリカから来ました。)

Yes, I am from the U.S.

きょうあいにいってもだいじょうぶ?(Kyou ai ni itte mo daijoubu? | 今日会いに行っても大丈夫?)

Is it okay if I go see you today?

だいじょうぶだよ。(Daijoubu da yo. | 大丈夫だよ。)

Yeah, it’s fine.

Japanese words for “yes” adapted from English

There are some Japanese phrases adapted from the English language.

For example, オーケー and オーライ are commonly heard on various occasions to mean “yes” or “alright” in Japan.

  • オッケー (Okkee | おっけー | Okay)
  • オーケー (Ookee | おーけー | Okay)
  • オーライ(Oorai | おーらい | Alright)
  • ラジャー (Rajaa | らじゃー | Roger)
  • イエッサー (Iessaa | いえっさー | Yessir)

Wrap Up

Now you know how to say “yes” in Japanese! Don’t forget to use the right ways to say yes in the Japanese language and leave a great impression! Continue practicing to make the information stick. Perhaps try it with a friend to make it more fun.

がんばってください (Ganbatte kudasai)! ^^

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