11 Ways to Say Goodbye in Japanese
11 Ways to Say Goodbye in Japanese

11 Ways to Say Goodbye in Japanese

Leaving Japan? How would you say goodbye in Japanese? There are many ways to say goodbye in Japanese and native Japanese speakers are familiar with them. Japanese people use different phrases to say goodbye depending on the context.

How to Say Goodbye in Japanese

  1. Sayonara (さよなら): This is the standard way of saying goodbye in Japanese. It is for more formal occasions and usually used when you aren’t going to see the person for a while.
  2. Ja ne (じゃね): This is a casual way of saying goodbye, often used among friends. It can be translated as “See ya”.
  3. Mata ne (またね): This phrase roughly translates to “See you later”. It is also informal and used amongst friends or people the same age. You can say this to your Japanese friends in informal settings.
  4. Shitsurei shimasu (失礼します): This is a polite way to say goodbye, usually used in professional or formal situations. It literally means “I’m going to be rude (by leaving)”. Note this is a formal phrase.
  5. Oyasumi nasai (おやすみなさい): This phrase is used to say “Good night”.
  6. Ittekimasu (行ってきます): This phrase is used when you’re leaving your own house. The usual response is “Itterasshai”.
  7. Itterasshai (行ってらっしゃい): This is the response to “Ittekimasu”, usually said by the person who is staying home.
  8. Mata ashita (また明日): This means “See you tomorrow”.
  9. Mata raishuu (また来週): This means “See you next week”.
  10. Gokigenyou (ごきげんよう): A formal way to say goodbye, often used in very formal situations or in old-fashioned TV shows.
  11. Dewa mata (ではまた): This is a formal way of saying “Well then, see you”. It’s used in both personal and professional situations.

Now that you have 11 ways to say goodbye in Japanese, lets look at some specific phrases in detail.

Mata Ne explained

“Mata ne (またね)” is a commonly used phrase for saying goodbye in Japanese, particularly in less formal settings or among peers and close friends. The term “mata” translates to “again”, and “ne” is a particle often used at the end of sentences for emphasis or to invite agreement. Therefore, “Mata ne” can be loosely translated as “See you again”. It indicates the speaker’s expectation to meet or interact with the other person in the near future. This phrase exhibits the warm and friendly nature of Japanese conversation, where endings are often seen not as a goodbye forever, but as pauses until the next meeting.

Ki Wo Tsukete Explained

“Ki wo tsukete (気をつけて)” is a Japanese phrase often used when parting ways, and it translates to “Take care” in English. It is a warm expression of concern for the other’s well-being. The phrase “ki wo tsukete” is made up of “ki”, which means “spirit” or “mind”, “wo”, a particle used to mark the direct object, and “tsukete”, the te-form of “tsukeru” which means “to attach” or “to apply”. Essentially, the phrase can be understood as “apply your mind” or “pay attention”. It is often used when someone is about to embark on a journey, start a new venture, or whenever there is a perceived risk. It shows the speaker’s wish for the listener to stay safe and attentive.

O genki de explained

“O genki de (お元気で)” is a commonly used farewell phrase in Japanese, translating to “Be well” or “Stay healthy” in English. The phrase is made up of “o”, an honorific prefix signifying respect, “genki”, which means “health” or “vigor”, and “de”, a particle indicating the state of being. Therefore, “O genki de” essentially wishes the listener good health. It is often used when you’re not sure when you’ll see the other person next, and is seen as a considerate and polite way to part ways. It underlines the concern inherent in Japanese culture for the well-being of others.

Osaki ni Shitsurei Shimasu Explained

“Osaki ni shitsurei shimasu (お先に失礼します)” is another common phrase in Japanese, often used when leaving work before others. It roughly translates to “Excuse me for leaving before you” in English. The phrase is made up of “osaki”, meaning “ahead” or “first”, “ni”, a particle indicating direction or purpose, and “shitsurei shimasu”, a polite expression signifying “excuse me” or “I’m sorry”. The phrase is steeped in the Japanese culture of humility and respect for others, particularly in professional environments. It is generally used as an apologetic acknowledgement that the speaker is finishing their work day before others, encapsulating the conscientious nature of Japanese work ethics.

Ja Mata Ne Explained

“Ja mata ne (じゃあまたね)” is a casual farewell phrase in Japanese, which translates to “See you later” in English. The phrase consists of “ja”, a casual way to say “well then”, “mata”, meaning “again”, and “ne”, a particle often used for emphasis or to request confirmation. “Ja mata ne” is commonly used between friends or peers, indicating an expectation to meet again in the near future. This phrase reflects the informal and friendly aspects of Japanese conversation, showcasing how Japanese language can be tailored to different levels of formality based on the relationship between speakers.

Osewa ni Narimasu Explained

“Osewa ni narimasu (お世話になります)” is a term often heard in Japanese social and professional interactions. It is an expression of gratitude, often used to thank someone in advance for their help or cooperation. The phrase translates to “I will be in your care” or “I will be under your favor” in English. It encapsulates the appreciation and respect inherent in Japanese culture, particularly towards those who are offering assistance or support. The term “osewa” refers to care or assistance, while “ni narimasu” signifies receiving or being under someone’s care. This phrase highlights the importance of interdependency and gratitude in Japanese social and workplace culture.

Mata Raishu Explained

“Mata raishu (また来週)” is a phrase in Japanese that translates to “See you next week” in English. It is used when parting ways with the expectation of meeting again in the following week. The word “mata” means “again”, and “raishu” means “next week”. This phrase is commonly used in both personal and professional settings. It signifies the speaker’s anticipation of the future encounter, strengthening the bond of the relationship. Like many other Japanese phrases, “mata raishu” showcases the considerate and future-oriented aspects of the Japanese culture.

Odaiji ni Explained

“Odaiji ni (お大事に)” is a sympathetic phrase often used in the Japanese language, which translates to “Take care of yourself” or “Get well soon” in English. The literal translation of “odaiji” is “important matter,” implying the importance of one’s health and well-being, while “ni” is a preposition often used in Japanese to denote a direction or a purpose. The phrase is used when someone is unwell or facing difficulties, expressing the speaker’s concern and well-wishes for the person’s recovery. Through “odaiji ni”, the speaker shows empathy and respect for others’ well-being, embodying the compassionate and caring aspects of Japanese culture.

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