Have you ever wondered how to say “you’re welcome” in Japanese? Oddly enough, it’s not something that’s regularly taught in school, nor does it frequently, and it’s not often seen in popular Japanese media. But obviously, it’s a super important expression to know and use in any language!
Today, we’ll learn how to say “you’re welcome” in Japanese with added context and some example sentences. So buckle up and enjoy the ride!
- 1 Is there a word for “you’re welcome” in Japanese?
- 2 Responding to “Arigatou” in Japanese
- 3 Other ways to say “you’re welcome” in Japanese
- 4 Wrap Up
Is there a word for “you’re welcome” in Japanese?
If you were to look up “you’re welcome” in a dictionary, you’d come up with the word どういたしまして (dou itashimashite) as a result.
While this word does mean “you’re welcome” in the Japanese language, it needs a bit of content: When used nowadays, どういたしまして is a very formal (almost too formal) expression. It comes across as outdated and old because it is so respectful and is almost exclusively used by the older generation.
So while it’s not wrong to say this, especially in a traditional work environment, on a daily basis, you’d probably never need to say this word!
Maeko: ありがとうございます (arigatou gozaimasu)
Teninsha (store worker): どういたしまして (dou itashimashite)
Now, let’s take a look at other phrases that Japanese people use nowadays. Some even have multiple meanings.
Responding to “Arigatou” in Japanese
For the record, ありがとう (arigatou) is the most common way to say “thank you” in Japanese. It’s probably one of the first words you encounter when learning Japanese.
A longer and more polite form of this expression could be ありがとうございます (arigatou gozaimasu). In very casual conversations, どうも (doumo) can simply be used to assert gratitude.
The responses we will cover here apply to all forms of thank you in Japanese! Let’s get to the topic at hand with that out of the way! Here are the most common ways to say you’re welcome in Japanese:
This is the most informal way to say you’re welcome in Japanese. Technically, this is the casual way to say “yes” in Japanese and is often used as such. But it can also be a “yup” or “you got it.”
Maeko: ところでさくばんのえいがでありがとう (tokoro de sakuban no eiga de arigatou | ところで昨晩の映画でありがとう)
“By the way, thanks for the movie last night.”
Yes, this is the same hai (はい) that we know and love as “yes” in Japanese – but it needs to be drawn out a little when using it to say you’re welcome!
Its usage carries the same context as what we mentioned above, except it’s more formal.
When used with closer friends or family, it’s almost like a “yea yea, don’t mention it.” You know, when all formality is unnecessary, saying you’re welcome is almost tiring? That’s when it’s used!
Shachou (company boss): ゆうたさんのどりょくのせいで、かいははきょねんにひゃくパーセントせいちょうしました。よくできましてありがとうございます (yuuta san no doryoku no sei de, kaisha wa kyonen nihyaku paasento seichou shimashita. Yoku dekimashite arigatou gozaimasu. | 雄太の努力の姓で、会社は去年 200% 成長しました。よくできましてありがとうございます。)
“Thanks to Yuuta’s efforts, the company grew by 200% last year. Thank you for the good work.”
Yuuta: はーい！ (ha-i!)
“(Yes,) of course!”
いいえ / いいえいいえ (iie)/(iie iie)
If you study Japanese in school, you have or will come across this word to mean “thank you.” It means “no,” and in Japanese, it is said and used to hide from praise or flattery. It’s very often doubled up iie iie (いいえいいえ) and usually follows a hand gesture.
This expression is on more of the polite side. The casual equivalent of this is いや / いやいや(iya) / (iyaiya), which is the same thing but spoken with less grace.
Maeko: おとうとをむかえにいってくれてありがとうございました！(otouto wo mukaeniittekurete arigatou gozaimashita! | 弟を迎えに行ってくれてありがとうございました！)
“Thanks so much for picking up my little brother (for me)!”
Yuri: いいえいいえ (iie iie)
“It was nothing.”
When used in conjunction with the て-form in Japanese よかった (yokatta) means that you are glad that something happened. It can be used on its own to say “I’m glad (about that)” and also with verbs.
Instead of saying, “You’re welcome,” it’s common to respond in Japanese with an “I’m glad this could help you” when someone shows gratitude. It can be used in both informal and formal situations.
Takezo: わたしにしょうかしたレストランはマジでうまかったよ。ありがとうー (watashi ni kaishoushita resutoran wa majide umakatta yo. arigatou~ | 私に紹介したレストランはマジでうまかったよ。ありがとう)
“That restaurant you told me about was really delicious. Thanks!”
Maeko: すきでよかった (sukide yokatta | すきでよかった)
“I’m glad you liked it!”
This is a special expression used amongst coworkers and acquaintances that is less of a “you’re welcome” and more of a returned “thank you.” After someone thanks you, you can use this expression to say, “I should thank you as well.” It is a way of reversing the praise immediately to your co-worker who just gave you praise.
On a linguistic note, こちら (kochira) usually refers to “this way” but is a timeless way to say “myself.” こそ(koso) is used after nouns to add an exclusive emphasis on certainty. The combination of the two ends in an expression that reads, “For sure, it should be me (who is thanking you).”
Yuuta: きょうはいそがしいのにおれとあってきめてありがとう (kyou wa isogashiinoni ore to attekimete arigatou | 今日は忙しいのに俺と会って決めてありがとう)
“Even though you are busy today, you decided to meet me. Thank you.”
“I’m the one who should be thanking you.”
Other ways to say “you’re welcome” in Japanese
Of course, there are a million ways to either imply or directly state that an action was no bother on the giver’s behalf. There is no limit to how creative you can get with a reply like that!
But there are usually common terms used to express such a feeling in any language, and here are some of the more common ones in the Japanese language! Here’s a list of the Japanese phrases you can use with their English translation.
“Don’t pay it any mind” in Japanese
- きにしないで (ki ni shinaide | 気にしないで)
A casual expression; this is the negative command form of (ki ni suru), a verb that means to pay attention (to something). You can add ください (kudasai) to the end of this Japanese phrase to make it more polite!
“It’s nothing” in Japanese
- なんでもないよ (nandemo nai yo | 何でもないよ)
This is a casual expression usually said in an emphatic way to literally express that something is nothing!
Another super common way to say this exact same thing would be とんでもない (tondemo nai).
“I am obliged” in Japanese
- きょうしゅくでございます (kyoushuku degozaimasu | 恐縮でございます)
This extremely formal expression will probably never find its way into your own Japanese dictionary, but it’s good to know either way. 恐縮 (kyoushuku) means “to be obliged,” while でございます (de gozaimasu) is the honorific way to say である (de aru), which means “to be.”
“Not a problem” in Japanese
- もんだい じゃない / もんだい じゃありません (mondai janai/mondai jaarimasen)
A neutral expression that says something is “not a problem.”
“Don’t mention it” in Japanese
- べつに (betsu ni | 別に)
べつに (betsu ni) is a popular Japanese term with several meanings. Usually, it’s used to mean “not really” or “not particularly” in sentences with a negative and perhaps critical tone. It can also be used to mean separately or on the side, especially when concerning food items.
When used alone as it is above, it just means “it’s nothing” and is a very casual way to say you’re welcome.
“That’s fine” in Japanese
- いいよ (ii yo)
This is a casual term literally saying, “It’s good.”
“Not at all” in Japanese
- ぜんぜん (zen zen | 全然)
Strangely enough, this word can mean both “never” and “completely.” It is a term that encompasses all of what is associated with it. It may take some practice to get the hang of this one! When used alone, it is short for something like 全然いいよ (zenzen ii yo) or 全然とんでもない (zenzen tondemo nai), both of which we covered above!
“That’s fine” in Japanese
- だいじょうぶ (daijoubu | 大丈夫)
The history of this one is complex – know that it’s one of the best Japanese words to study and remember, and it can be used to say, “you’re welcome!”
Learning about Japanese culture is important in order to express gratitude properly. Sometimes, all you need to do is do a bow, but learning basic phrases like those mentioned above could come in handy when you really want to say you’re welcome in Japanese.
がんばってください (Ganbatte kudasai)! ^^